Friday, March 14, 2008

The Cost of Paradise

Original owner stirs kava regularly in wooden serving bowl

old fashioned serving bowl with place for attaching handle

original serving bowl size

original kava bowl

my coconut bowl used in Kava Bar
Kona's Kava Bar

Kona coffee coop
Kona Coffee Coop

I keep wondering how anyone can afford to live here and I ask. Good grief little apts for $15oo are not unusual. Every trip to the grocery is $45 for very little food. It seems that eating out of the health food store is healthier and about the same price.
I also saw the same problem in Colorado after visiting there a few years ago. I am sorry for the long time locals unless they held onto their land and heaven knows how their children will be able to live here.
The locals I ask say they work 3 jobs to afford the apartments they are never in. Farmer's markets help but you gotta know when and where they are and some of those items are organic and expensive as well.
I asked a young woman at the Kona Farmer's Coop and she said lots of family members share the same small living space. She also talked about all the homeless families living on the beach on another island here. They don't want to, they have to.
I am eating out of my cooler a lot and sometimes it almost seems like it would be cheaper to just eat out. A block of ice melts fast and cost from $2.89 -$3.89. I have to consider how many meals I can make from a loaf of bread, cheese, turkey and mustard. I eat out of the trunk a lot. Cheese and milk are very expensive. One half gallon of Organic milk can be $6.50 or so. Even turkey lunch meat costs more. It is enough to make you eat all the leftovers including stale cookies.
Gas is going for about$3.80. And I have a good deal on a rental car at $200 a week. My hotel is a boarding house type with no private bath although it is just across the hall at $198 per week.
I did splurge today and found the Kava bar and bought 2 coconut cups full of Kava at $5 each. I asked a lot of Kava questions so I can make Kava sets when I get home and have a Kava party at the shop. The stuff numbs your lips and makes you relax and it is legal.
It was the last day and hour the old owners. The regular customers kept shouting how many minutes they had left. People brought them food and leighs. I was there as the new people took over. The couple who released it to the new owners were moving to Grapevine Texas. They seemed more like the Austin type to me and the male owner reminded me a lot of Kelly K.
It all felt kind of familiar as I consider the fate of my shop. They were sad and happy at the same time. Just like me. And they were giving away extra stuff they could not take back to the mainland.
Take a look at that big bowl of Kava on the counter which they stir all the time. Should we like it they can mail it to us in Tulsa. It tastes a little weird but you get used to it. They don't sell it to people under 18, pregnant ladies and you should not have it with alcohol or you are likely to upchuck it. It is also a diet suppressant and a diuretic.
Back to the food. It is hard to eat healthy here. I put stuff in my cart, reevaluate it, put some back and hope for the best.
I stopped for some meat at a Hawaiian Bar b Q and was disappointed. It was shredded pork and supposedly came with salad. It was difficult to understand the menu and I just went for it just like the guy standing next to me who said he was going to make his kids taste it first.
Got back to my room and discovered some light colored juice in the bag and the styrofoam was sweating. I opened it to see way too much food and nothing would keep well in the cooler.
So eat it. It cost money and I really wanted a bite of meat. The pork was really really salty and was nestled in a sour leafy oriental cabbage. I thought it had a mild seafood flavor which should not have been there. Two big scoops of white sticky rice and a plop of macaroni salad with too much runny mayo. I ate the meat, the cabbage, a little rice and two bites of macaroni salad and then I started burping. It was way to rich and salty. Wonder if those kids are still alive?
So much for "local food." Luckily I had a small glass of red wine to wash it down and a bit of sweet potato cake with some of that left for breakfast.
I should have come back earlier and eaten here at the Manago where I hear the pork chops are great and would only have cost 50 cents more. You can even get a half order.
Local food seems heavy, expensive and not very healthly. I gotta try harder. I'm smarter that this!
I have always wanted to write an eat cheap and healthy book for road travel or how to cope with our not so great American restaurants and crappy motel breakfast
. "What have you got when Fast Food is slow?" "How to get down the turnpike without stopping at MacDonalds for the typical fast food meal?'
Tip: Take homegrown sliced tomatoes, sprouts and order a plain small cheeseburger and fix it in the parking lot. If you dare, wash it down with about 4 ounces of red wine and see if that helps. Take your own homemade granola to the motel, use their milk or yogurt, grind your own coffee beans and use their hot water to make it. There are ways to survive if you are picky. I gotta get more picky.


  1. Doesn't sound very appetizing. Sorry.

  2. It cured me of wanting meat. Oranges sound real good again!