Big Island

Commoditizing paradise.

A Jekyll and Hyde of an island with one half draped in perpetually thick cloud cover and deluged by interminable showers.

The other half infuriatingly bone dry if you happen to be put up in the former.

Package deals luring mechanical middle class families with 2.3 kids with the promise of a slice of pre-packaged paradise, complemented by off the shelf adventures, guided “discovery” tours and extortion rackets thinly veiled as restaurants.

Disheveled prematurely aged couples with a raucous gaggle of entitled kids and disorganized strollers in tow. Fashion and appearance conscious travelers trying to appear suitably suave with white threads protruding from their ears and gaping at their bleeding edge cellphones held in bloody hands as if it were a slab of irresistible iron and their eyes helpless magnets.

Stores selling aloha devalued to the tune of being stamped on every convenience item imaginable and water conveniently filled into future landfill trash at 3 dollars a bottle.

An ancient, proud, majestic people swindled of their ancestral, spiritual lands and the whole thing turned into an apathetic, robotic dollar generating machine.

Homeless crack-smoking delusional bums infesting every street corner. A penchant for establishments to nonchalantly close when foot traffic is at its very peak. Theatrically grand ocean and mountain views from hotel suite compensate for the relentless aquatic assault from the heavens. An army of gregarious birds in nearby trees seem to be having a nocturnal gathering to rival Kumbh Mela.

Magnificent twin behemoth volcanoes belching smoke and fire, spewing molten rock into the ocean and creating land at rates that make real estate agents helplessly salivate. An alien landscape encompassing most of the earth’s climate zones and a temperature gradient to rival the physical gradient within the span of an hour’s genteel drive.

Pristine forests in gaudy shades of green cramming primordial valleys and running up hills as far as the eye can see in a seemingly vertical wall of trees. Vertiginous waterfalls roaring down from unsuspectingly placid streams into a swirling crucible of foam and spray.

Nature’s grandeur and man’s grandiosity side by side in a spectacular widescreen amphitheater.

The spirit of aloha seems weakest on this island. Perhaps the topography – two distant halves separated by a desolate wilderness – and the extremes of weather probably have a bearing.

Worth at least one visit in the ultimate analysis for the bizarre and grotesque natural wonders. Avoid spending too much time in human settlements.

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