Hello Friends and Family,

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Lana`i: Lana`i City

Today's Life After HP chronicles the morning of my last day on Lana`i — with a walkabout in Lana`i City. First, you must note that there are only 3,000 or so residents on the entire island of Lana`i plus a handful of tourists. Even though most of the locals live in Lana`i City, it seems strange to call it a city — perhaps town or village would fit better. The photo below shows what would be called "downtown". It wraps around the real center of town, Dole (as in "Dole Pineapple") Park. You can see that there are no big buildings — no "big box" stores, no chain restaurants, no parking meters — just small businesses run by locals — quite refreshing, actually.

One of the prominent businesses is the Blue Ginger Cafe. This is a favorite meeting place for residents — both for snacks and full meals. The menu is modest but there are plenty of dishes to satisfy even the picky eaters.

The name of the cafe comes from the beautiful blue ginger plants growing on the side of the restaurant. Blue ginger resembles white ginger but is actually not related. In all my travels to the islands, this is the only blue ginger I have ever encountered. White ginger, which is common in Hawai`i, has a wonderful fragrance — as evidenced by white ginger perfume which is commonly sold in the tourist shops. Blue ginger has no fragrance.

And did you notice the Christmas decoration hanging over the middle of the street in the first photo above? You'll recall that I was in Hawai`i in November and even though summer is fast approaching, it has taken me this long to share the photos and stories of my trip.

Of course, no visit to Lana`i City would be complete without a visit to the Dis N Dat Shop. As I understand the story behind this shop, a married couple visited Lana`i planning to retire here. But, like some retirees, retirement didn't suit them and they began collecting and selling various "artsy" items. Now you can find mobiles, wind chimes, handmade jewelry, stained glass, garden ornaments, home decor items, T-shirts, ceramics, batik scarves, etc. When you enter, the din of the wind chimes is shocking — an electric fan moves the air around the chimes to keep them sounding.

Wow, a surprise awaits you parked on the lawn outside Dis N Dat — a Nash Metropolitan. This car dates back to my youth in the late fifties and early sixties — a two-seater economy car. Now it does not surprise me to see such "antique" cars in Arizona because of our low humidity which helps preserve products made of steel. But it does surprise me to see one anywhere in Hawai`i because of the humidity and salt air — which causes cancer in cars.

Here is the International Food and Clothing Center — rather much like a old-fashioned general store. It reminded me of my uncle's general store in Showell, Maryland where I worked two summers during my teenage years. Ah, nostalgia.

And I love this tiny old plantation house that now contains the Island Images Beauty Salon. Quaint.

For your driving pleasure, the only gas station on Lana`i. As I mentioned in a previous issue, gas was over $5 per gallon while I was there — partially a function of the nationwide gas gouging that was going on — but also the result of Lana`i's relative isolation and this station's monopoly on gasoline sales. Curiously, the only rental car agency is housed in the back of this building.

As I walked around Lana`i City, I was drawn to the flowers — so many varieties just growing on walls and in yards. Note the poinsettia bush below — we are used to seeing them as potted plants around Christmas — but here in Hawai`i they grow quite nicely outside and will eventually develop into bushes or even small trees.


My time on Lana`i was drawing to a close but I have one more "adventure" to share next week — a photo shoot with my friend Larry. Until then, remember that...

Life is good.

Aloha,
B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc.