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Up Front Lahaina

May 13, 2010
Lahaina News

... Well, to continue my little sojourn to the South Pacific, I left a perfectly, wonderful time in New Zealand to proceed to the Fiji Islands — arrival was orderly for a full plane — and fast — unlike my last trip four years ago ...


... The new administration has made many changes,  and it shows — the people are calmer and seem happier — the ride from the airport to Nadi Town passes all the houses — newly painted with gardens — no more shanty town -- the old Regent Hotel on Denerau Island has had a facelift without losing its considerable charm and has been joined by three new hotels along the beach front — all white concrete but — to each his own — the huge mangrove swamp has been replaced by a housing development built around waterways ...


... Many years ago as I enjoyed a cold one at the Regent, I was joined by a gentleman who introduced himself as a civil engineer. The huge mangrove swamps were being ripped out by the Japanese developer.  My new friend shook his head — they are making a terrible mistake, he said — they are creating the way for a great flood ... and two years ago, it happened. My hosts Ruthie and Bill Campbell — Bill is Fiji's premier photographer — lost everything as did hundreds of others — including Bill's priceless collection of antique cameras. With no mangrove swamp to absorb the flood waters, the river surged into Nadi Town — and all but destroyed it...


... But I still found some mangrove crabs out in the boonies — steamed them in beer Maui-style ... took a day trip on the 100-foot schooner "Whales Tale," the brainchild of Wharf Cinema Center's Paul Myers ... sailed to an island which was barely spared by the recent hurricane or typhoon as they call it ... snorkeled the reef followed by a scrumptious lunch featuring local delicacies, including kava — then a hectic volley ball game ... and on the sailing trip home, we were entertained by the talented crew led by Captain Paulo — who has been with "Whales Tale" since it was built over 25 years ago — still a unique and grand vessel ...


... Left Fiji with the promise to myself to return again soon now that Continental is flying there from Honolulu — though in all honesty, after the First Class 'back of the bus' treatment of Air New Zealand on the way down — Continental needs to pull its socks up if it plans to increase the visitor satisfaction on that route — pull them way up ... in fact ...


... And so arrived at the third world airport of Honolulu International — scruffy, worn and torn after Auckland and Nadi — will the new governor take notes? ...


... And home sweet home — I thought 2012 was to be the year of strife — what with Icelandic volcanoes, whole countries on the verge of bankruptcy — an oil spill that is terrifying in its destructive possibilities — Times Square taking a near miss — incidentally, the Homeland Security taking pats on the back from saving Times Square — forget it — it was the vigilance of a policeman, on horseback yet!!! ...


... And the political scene here is moving along at a clip, with hats flying into the mayoral race ring — the mud starting to fly in the 2nd Congressional race is becoming a spectacle ... and the contenders for the Governor's race are still not set in stone — with one probable contender still holding out on announcing — and we wonder why? ...


Up Front Lahaina is a twice monthly feature. To protect his innocence, the writer chooses to remain anonymous. The views expressed in this column belong to the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Lahaina News staff and owners.

 
 
 

 

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