Archive - June, 2012

A Hidden Island & A Lost Story

A year ago I was looking at an old map of Hawaii, noticing several islands not depicted on tourist maps and brochures. One in particular intrigued me since it sat just south of Kauai, and was close enough to be seen from the shore.

I learned that the Island has been privately owned by the Robinson sheep farming family since the 1800’s. Less than 150 people live there. Hawaiian is still spoken as the primary language.

There is no telephone service, and automobiles are not allowed; horses and bicycles are the main form of transportation. Solar power provides all of the electricity. There are no hotels or general stores. Barges deliver groceries from Kauai.

The isolation is self-imposed, the Robinson’s enjoy caretaking this lost portion of Hawaiian culture.

The Island’s name is Ni’ihau and it is home to one of the forgotten events of World War Two.

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America’s Most Dangerous Vacation

I was recently asked where I believe the absolute best place to go on vacation in the United States is, and before I could answer, a person near me said, “Florida, no question.”

After rattling off all of the beaches and theme parks that are available, this person gave us the the “palms-up, shoulder-shrug, eye-brow raise” to indicate that this really was a no brainer answer.

When I said that I thought Hawaii was a better spot, this person responded with a shocked, “And get eaten by a shark?!”

It sounded true.

Hawaii has a lot of sharks; according to the International Shark Attack Files at the University of Florida, Hawaii has had 101 unprovoked shark attacks since 1670. Eight of these were fatal. That’s one fatal shark attack every 42 years.

As a well documented shark avoider, I decided to look into the number of shark attacks in Florida. The numbers were astounding: 637 attacks since 1882.  This made me wonder if anybody knew how dangerous a place Florida is?

Which brings me to these not-quite-middle-school-level research findings on the dangers of traveling to America’s “most dangerous tourist location.”

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The Space Between

I was warned this week that men were going to try to hold my hand.

Seriously.

I’m in Africa right now and one of the trip leaders told me to expect that grown men might try to take me by hand as we were walking together.  They also told me not to worry about it because it’s a perfectly normal thing for an African man to do with his friend.

This didn’t make me any less anxious, mostly because I’m not an African man.

It made me think about what I would do if an African man took me by the hand while we are walking…

Would I instinctively flinch?

I don’t want to be offensive.

Would I just act naturally?

How do you act naturally?

I’ve never held hands, as a grown man, with another grown man before.

What’s the protocol?

Do I swing my arms?

How hard should I grip?

Who’s thumb goes on top?

Will we interlock our fingers?

What do I do when our hands get sweaty?

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO LET GO?

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