Thursday, March 8, 2018

Making a living

It is expensive to live in Hawaii. Housing and pretty much anything you must purchase is expensive. I wonder about how folks get by. The barista at my favorite coffee shop now knows me by sight and we have occasionally had brief conversations. When she learned I had retired from a career in education, she volunteered that she had first been a teacher in Kauai, but made $35,000 and now made more as a barista. That experience I catalog as another in the series of things I know about support for K12 education. She said she lives on the other side of the island. I have pretty much seen all sides of the island and there is lots of housing that appears to me to be "low income", but I can see how getting by on $35,000 would be a constant struggle.

A very large proportion of the economy is based on the tourist trade - rentals, food, entertainment, sightseeing, etc. I still don't see how folks afford all of the million dollar homes. Outside money, real estate investors, and builders I assume.

I find the small plot farmers the most interesting. How do they survive on growing produce for farmer's' markets?

The coconut sellers fascinate me. You see at least one at every farmer's market and many set up along the road here and there. Pretty much the same image - a pickup with some coconuts in the back and a guy hacking away with a machete in a very skilled way. I am not a fan of coconut so I have not sampled, but I do have questions. Coconuts are everywhere. The palm trees are part of the scene, but require maintenance. There is a job there if you want to climb to the top of these very tall and slender trees and lop off the coconuts so they don't fall on the rich clients who inhabit your fancy hotel, but might sue you if they were hit by a falling coconut. So, do these same folks have a side income selling these discarded nuts to guys who sit beside the road selling as a way to stay alive and surf. Are coconuts farmed in places? Are there varieties of coconuts with some more suited to consumption? I suppose I could Google these things, but it is time to go back to being a retired tourist.

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