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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Archive for July, 2012

The Big Island: Kama’aina-style

Posted by Guest | July 11th, 2012 | Filed under Personal Reflection, Sustainability
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all photos by Mark Wasser

The surf, the sand, the sea: what’s not to love about Hawaii? Well, besides the continuous fleet of rental cars that circumnavigate the island every day. This week in the Thought Kitchen, guidebook author and Hawaiian local Bree Kessler gives us a little insight into the art of low-carbon road tripping and how to travel the big island Kama’aina-style.

By Bree Kessler

There are a variety of reasons why the kama’aina (Hawaiian word for “local”) take the bus on the Big Island of Hawaii. When living in Hawaii, I ride the bus because it combines my two favorite things: public transportation and conversations with strangers.

Just like the lifestyle in Hawaii, a ride on the Hele On bus ($1 per person and an additional $1 for large bags and bikes) can move slowly. But this pace allows for the opportunity to “talk story” with fellow riders. I seldom ride the bus without sitting near someone who invites me to a party or suggests a great hidden beach to check out. Sometimes the conversations are more serious like on one trip from Hilo to Volcanoes National Park when I offered a therapy session to a transitioning woman and in turn learned about the unique history of transgenderism in Hawaii (this meeting seemed fated given that I am a trained social worker who teaches courses on the psychology of gender).

The Big Island essentially has only one main highway that circumvents it – making it extremely easy both to figure out the bus routes (on the website) and to catch a bus from nearly anywhere. There are some established bus stops and times, but the bus system in Hawaii is similar to the bus culture in Latin America: meaning you can hail down a bus anywhere and be dropped off anywhere you want.

While some bus routes run hourly, there are other routes that are only available a few times a day making it necessary to plan your schedule carefully. Nevertheless, the extra effort definitely is worth it not only for the money you’ll save on the rental car itself and gas (the islands ain’t cheap) but also, the bus is the best way to interact with the local community who, for the most part, relish in “talking story” with anyone who gets onboard.

Bree Kessler is a freelance writer and storyteller who fears the continental United States and thus splits her time between Hawaii and Alaska. She is the author of the Moon Handbook: Big Island of Hawaii. You can check out her stories on life in the Arctic Circle at www.parkdispatches.com.

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Summer’s Mix: Music for the road

Posted by leighann | July 11th, 2012 | Filed under Music, Who We Are
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photo by Dan Sharp

We’re lost, but we’re making good time. - Yogi Berra

It was August of ’93, and it was hot, the kind of hot that melts pavement and stifles ambition. My mother and I were 82 miles and 14 songs into our 3000-mile cross country road trip when—in between the silence of songs—my friend Billy’s voice announced over the car speakers: “Turn off the air conditioner, roll down the windows, and scream ‘f#@k yeah’ as loud as you can. That includes you Mrs. Franson.”

So we did as Billy’s mixed tape instructed. And it was at this moment—when the humid air hit my face and the sun dipped below the landscape —that Ray Charles bid me adieu and my home state of Georgia faded on the horizon one last time.

It’s that song (you probably know the one) that always takes me back to that moment—the smell of the air, the color of the sky, the anticipation of what was ahead. This is why we carefully build the perfect playlist. So that hopefully, the landscape and melody meet up and create an indelible moment in time. Or just helps us stay awake. Either way, music and the road are meant for each other.

So here’s a mix of songs (compiled by the team) that showed up at the right place and the right time. Some expected, some not. Some for inspiration, some not. But mostly meant for creating a landscape the feels right in the moment.

Johnny Cash – I’ve Been Everywhere Man
Bob Marley – Sun is Shining
The Black Keys – Money Maker
Willie Nelson – On the road again
Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Brooklyn
JJ Cale - Travelin’ Light
Bob Dylan – You Ain’t Going Nowhere
Barr Brothers – Beggar in the Morning
The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
Traffic – The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
Sam Cooke – Bring it Home
Blitzen Trapper – Country Caravan
Mark Lanegan Band with Izzy Stradlin & Duff McKagan – Strange Religion
Jack White – Hypocritical Kiss
Neill Young – Cortez the Killer