With a frozen Mai Tai in hand while sitting in the warm sun and cool breeze of the Hawaiian Islands on a tropical winter vacation, I find myself in an ideal position to look around and list what’s wrong with Hawaii. Why not? All the promotional literature is so positive that it would be useful to have a guide of faults to be aware of, things to avoid and problems that need solving.

Okay then. Let’s get down to business. Hawaii is a big place and it shouldn’t be hard to generate a list of conditions that must be corrected or at least noted. Since I’ve been here less than a week it will be a cinch for me to spot irregularities in the perfection, or discord in the harmony, that pervades everything a visitor encounters. Someone who has a long history here would find this task difficult because they are already accustomed to any flaws in the incredibly fine weather, the exceptionally friendly people and the rhythm of life that seems to generate happiness and well-being in all aspects of life.

Right off the bat, well, let me see, the first thing that comes to mind is, uh, my outdoor shower. I have noticed that when I use the shampoo that has been sitting out in the sun, it comes out of the bottle actually warm to the touch. It’s a luxurious feeling to use warm shampoo after decades of getting accustomed to cold, thick shampoo that, in effect, assaults the hand and scalp. I will wager that no high-priced hotel offers the penthouse suite with sun-heated shampoo ready to use in the shower whenever you want. It’s just off the chart.

In today’s hedonistic society I realize it’s difficult to make a case that there is something wrong with warm shampoo. However I am quite sure that our Puritan forefathers would have had no trouble condemning the sheer giddiness of getting warm shampoo dispensed in an outdoor shower. Surly it’s just wrong and very naughty indeed.

You might be thinking that warm shampoo is not intrinsically a Hawaii problem; the same situation may crop up in any semi-tropical location. True, but it’s an added touch of luxury to this already naturally sumptuous environment which is not too common on the planet. Getting warm shampoo in the sticky heat of Miami might go unnoticed there but here, within the parameters I have mentioned, it most certainly is a major point at issue.



Next there is the population problem. For all the comfort and great lifestyle, it’s a mystery why the island isn’t wall- to-wall people. Sure, Honolulu is bulging and some of the bigger towns are choked up, but this is no Bermuda; once you’re away from town, it’s comfortably sparse.

However, Hawaii really is wall-to-wall plants. They just can’t get enough of the island. If there’s a spot available, some plant will establish itself. If you’re a plant and thinking of going to Hawaii, you can be on TripAdvisor and Air BnB all day long and you won’t find anyplace available to set down your roots.

Plants have claimed every available niche. So why not people? One obvious reason is that people cannot live on a piece of land that is practically vertical. People need to be able to get out of bed in the morning and not tumble two thousand feet to their death. So much of Hawaii is covered by staggeringly beautiful, near vertical mountains that until we all get our personal jet packs and flying cars they promised us in the 1950s, no one is going to be developing the upper altitudes here. And it’s just as well: the mountains supply a backdrop to the valleys and coastal areas that cannot be duplicated. It’s all part and parcel of the Hawaii experience.

Okay, they have some bugs like the eight-inch centipede that surprised my wife but, hey, every state has bugs. Her scream was not much louder than the one she produces 

upon finding a three-quarter-inch earwig back home. And I didn’t scream at all. No harm done and the bug went about his business of probably finding available accommodations for the night. Good luck with that.

So be forewarned. Watch out when you come to Hawaii. There will be warm shampoo, uneven population and a few bugs.

Also, the Mai Tais warm up and disappear far too rapidly. I have to go and remedy this.