Friday, July 13, 2007

Carlton's Log, lava lava every where

So yeah, there's a lot of lava on the Big Island, lots of lava. You notice it from the air when you arrive in the plane, and well when you land it's all around you. You also notice the lack of green. "Hey, this is an island! Where's the jungle?" Hawaii has a little bit of everything for the discerning tourist, white rock graffiti, a jungle in the east, a desert in the west, tacky tourist towns in the south, rain forests inland and in the north, and even snow capped mountains that used to blow up and spew volcanic rock everywhere. Lava has taken it's share of the landscape.

This year we are told via signs pretty much everywhere and also on the local radio, that we are in a drought. A serious drought; and that the risk of wild fires are looming. We drove yesterday through a valley that had been literally consumed sometime recently. Everything had been charred down to the nub. Nothing left for miles and miles except ....lava.

Lava covered pretty much the entire island and just sat there decomposing for a zillion years and then you get either very rich soil, (coffee growers' delight and rain forest sans cafe), or you get scrub brush that is trying its' darnedest to grow up through rock that hasn't quite finished the decomposition cycle. There is desert scrub on about half the land we see here.

Rain means everything and some places on this island get deluged every day, misted on a regular basis or left to dry out literally. Our hotel brags "the sunniest beaches on the island" for a reason... they are smack in the middle of the driest part of the land. It's true the humidity here is like 90%, but that isn't enough to keep the place green. It takes "green" to keep it pretty...and that means money.

Our hotel was built by Billionaires and they had money enough to plant and keep the surrounding area green and lush. Add mother nature's constant humidity and a few dozen landscaper's to tame it all and you get pretty pictures I keep sending of the hotel.

If you look however at the photos in this set you can tell where the money flows over the lava. The folks right across the highway, the ones who make our beds each day, they live in the scrub. They are also told to "conserve what water they use and to not use too much. Be careful with fire, and make sure they take care of what they have." We tourists are free to waste whatever we want and enjoy the beauty.

add to sk*rt


Jamie J said...

I love the Big Island because of it's diversity. In one day you can see literally every different landscape and climate. That is sad about the drought though. I hope they get some rain soon.

chronicler said...

Money makes the world go around, the world go around, the world go around, that clinking clanking sound!

The Pea said...

Great point!! I love the pictures keep um coming!

Maren said...

Wow. What a place. I am enjoying your travel log.

s'mee said...

Thanks everyone! Jamie's right, this island has every climate. each day we saw things that reminded us of home...except of course the colour of the water...holy cow.

It is really difficult however to see the two class society that has been created there, the "have"s and the "have not"s, the money makes all the difference in how one lives on this diverse island. I can see why the native islanders get frustrated with the tourists. But in reality the money from the tourists keeps the island running. I am not sure what the answer is. I just know that I wish the tourists were more appreciative of what they get to visit.