The Good, the Bad, and the Gorgeous

North of Kona, lava rock stretches like a crumpled black cloth for 60 miles. It's so open and endless it's dizzying-- like the long empty drive through Nevada or the Salt Flats. Acacia trees, thorny kiawe scrub, and patches of yellow grass grow crackling and dry on the older lava flows.
Interrupting the black savannah, down by the beach, the resorts gleam in smooth green golf-grass oases.

Are they good or bad?

On the good side, sure, lots of locals work there-- I have friends who go down there, watering and trimming the lawns, distributing the towels, printing the paychecks, vacuuming, patrolling the grounds, clearing the buffet plates, watching the pool. Tourists come to the island to stay at these places and be spoiled and entertained and tanned and soothed-- and along the way they rent cars, eat dinner, buy souvenirs from other places where other local people work. So the tourist economy is doing a little trickling: tourists come, spend money, your boss makes money, so you get paid.

Also they play host to really wonderful public events. Last night there was a falsetto contest and a poke contest ($15 admission for all the salty raw fish you ever wanted). The Taste of the Range showcases Hawaii island chefs using Hawaii grown fruits, vegetables and meat.

But then there's the question of the beachfront sewage injection system. And the shocking amount of chemical pesticides and fertilizers required to green up all those nice golf courses. And the fact that the resorts import mainlanders for all of the white-collar jobs.

So can I bang my malihini gavel and judge?

More to come!

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