I asked the driver who took me from the airport to my guest house in Wailuku, Maui what people were talking about these days on the island. I always want to know about this…what is taking up the space in the local paper and being talked about?
He said that one thing that got people riled up was how the local Halloween celebration has turned into a bacchanalia, with lots drunken revelers and naughty costumes. The Kapunas, or elder Hawaiians, have begun to object to all of the crazy partying, and even though the mayor and council had a meeting to discuss their concerns, these folks weren’t happy with what took place and felt dissed by the officials.
Lahaina closes down a section of the street and it’s turned into something less G-rated than what many of us on the mainland might expect to see on Halloween. Sounds familiar, I’ve heard that Halloween is now the second biggest money spending partying holiday after Christmas. Perhaps the grown ups in their see-thru tops and racy outfits have pushed the elders a little too far.
Roger also told me about the difficulties he and other construction workers have had getting work. “Nobody is doing much building here, the construction economy is bad..bad.” He said he’s a journeyman electrician and hasn’t worked in the field since 1999. Now instead he drives a van for a local transportation company, since there are no large hotels or other projects being built here.
Another interesting project that will bring money here is an initiative to develop smart meters so that all of the solar panels pouring energy back into the grid can be managed without burning out the wires. It’s a three-year endeavor that will be developed on Maui and some day go across all of the islands as solar power continues to boom.