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by Laramie Boyd
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2015 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
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There's a sleepy little island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that beckons travelers
who want to escape the big city trappings. The fertile soil there, first deposited by erupting volcanos, and compressed into sandy
beaches by world famous surfing waves, produces coffee beans, mango, papaya, guava, bananas, papaya for poi, and of course pineapples
and other island veggies. And the surrounding sea provides some of the best deep-sea fishing on Earth. Off shore fishing trawlers
as well as one-man dinghies can haul in the delicious mahi mahi, ahi, and ono, flavors just right to complement the world famous mai
tai cocktail, the drink floating the little umbrella the island is famous for. The island is home to luaus, where wahines, (wa-'he-nees),
beautiful Hawaiian girls, dance the hip-swaying hula in short grass skirts, 2 coconut-half tops, and wear plumeria laden necklace
leis and ear decoration petals, while husky Hawaiian hales, pronounced 'ha-leis, risk the twirling baton fire dance to the beat of
native drums. All the while a wild pig roasts in an underground fire pit to be served beachside in a lavish island buffet by one of
the many ocean front condominium complexes.
This little piece of ground is just 5 hours
away from mainland U.S.A., by jet, and is named Kauai, in the 50th state of Hawaii, where one mountain in the center of the island
averages over 400 inches of rain yearly. But once in a while, Kauai comes awake. And on September 6 last, on a crisp, rain-cloud morning,
some 1500 runners, including some from 43 states and 17 foreign countries, showed up to run, walk, or ride, in the grueling Kauai
Marathon, said to be one of the toughest courses there is. Seven hundred island residents volunteered to help keep track of the runners
and to organize the after race festivities located alongside Poipu Beach. Spread out among the finishers were senior citizen walkers,
mothers pushing their babies in strollers, a man in a wheel chair, and some in all manner of dress, from sleek string bikinis to chicken
costumes. I can think of only two things missing that might have made the evening more memorable: Donald Trump landing in his helicopter,
or President Obama showing up in Air Force One, where he says he was born. The evening seemed to be a resounding success without them,
I must say.
Just beyond the Marathon finish line, booths were set up for the runners and
on-lookers, where they all strolled leisurely, taking advantage of the free soda pop, beer, snacks, coffee, and tables piled high
with bananas. There were commemorative T-shirts, backpacks and other items offered for sale at bargain prices. And of course, medals
for the winners. And every participant interviewed said they would be back next year to give it another go. I hope I'm lucky enough
to be on hand too. For now I know why the local newspaper is named "tgi, the garden island", which Kauai truly is. Go there some day.
You'll be glad you did.