SO YOU WANT TO RETIRE IN HAWAII II
Living in Hawaii
I retired from my government job last May, 2010 and moved to Hawaii in July, 2010. I came bringing my wife and her 4 four legged critters in tow. I thought that I would relay a little information about the transition while the memories remain fresh and does not fade with the list of other experiences that I have forgotten over time. While I have learned a little about the other islands, my specialty is the Big Island of Hawaii.
Flora and Fauna
Flora: I have to tell you from the beginning, I worked like a field hand in the yard as the property was not well cared for by its previous tenants. Your basic job is to keep the ever encroaching jungle from overwhelming your back yard. There is this very prolific vine, very similar to the kudzu in the American South that grows on everything, everywhere. Pulling the vine out from the root is like extracting teeth. On the positive side, we have all manner of fruit in the yard that my wife is familiar with as she lived in the area for some time previously, but was certainly foreign to me. She goes out into the yard in the morning and picks limes, figs, breadfruit, lemons, passion fruit, star fruit and (sour sop?) If it wasn’t for the natural pests, we would probably plant more. Because of the plentiful rains and sunshine all forms of vegetation life do quite well here. Across the street from our humble abode is the first thing we see when we open the front door, a patch of rather imposing jungle. I have enclosed a photo, see for yourself. Because we are diligent about removing unwanted vegetation in our immediate environment, we keep the mosquitoes and other insects under better control. There is any number of flowering plants throughout the year. I hope that many of you are not troubled by allergies.
Fauna- I had just gotten use to sitting down in the living room to watch television, when something shows up in my peripheral vision moving down a wall. Rather than be alarmed, I recognize and accept these visitors native to this strange land. The gecko and an a wide assortment of small lizards are commonly found and are just as routine as the house fly was for me back home, in Colorado. Some of the more troubling life forms are the centipedes, which my wife warns, are capable of delivering painful stings when disturbed. For that reason, I remain reluctant to run around barefoot. There are the snails and slugs that are our neighbors. Watching them move, I now understand why the snail is universally associated with slow moving. But, in spite of this, they seem to get to our choicest plants and vegetation fast enough, though. The ubiquitous cockroach is an evolved entity here. They have wing spans equivalent to any 747 and truly lives up to its reputation as the ultimate vermin. We have to keep things clean, food covered and put away properly. We have all of our kitchen utensils in Tupperware containers. You can never get rid of all of them, but they cease to be a constant companion. Then, of course, I cannot leave out the frogs and toads, to include the coqui that, according to the ‘missus’, makes that cricket sounding noise during the night. The chorus starts just after dark and the performance ends just before dawn. The mornings are some of the most beautiful times of day here; you have to see it for yourself. This area is primarily rural in nature; you will find chickens and roosters running around at random. This was not exactly my vision of Hawaii, but here it is. While, the Denver area was overrun with squirrels, I have yet to see one here. Feral cats here are the equivalent of the squirrels in Colorado. When it comes to the larger mammals we have the whales and their mating songs that visit in January. We hear that and the surf as we are only a 5 minute walk from the coast. My wife got pretty sick eating fruit from the sour sop tree. She is sort of a ‘back to nature gal’ at heart. The fruit had been bitten by a rat (rats climb trees and get onto roofs and are pretty resourceful here). She picked up a severe intestinal infection. Against my advice, she thought she could just cut away the area the rat had bitten into, but it was not so simple. The lesson learned is that while there are plenty of fruit trees, one must be careful not to partake of the forbidden fruit. A paradise it is, but it certainly is not the Garden of Eden, due caution is advised.
In other installments I will touch on other topics related to settling in the AlohaState permanently such as:
Cost of Living http://hubpages.com/hub/So-you-want-to-retire-in-Hawaii-I
Employment/the Economy http://hubpages.com/hub/SO-YOU-WANT-TO-RETIRE-IN-HAWAII-III
General Environment/People http://hubpages.com/hub/SO-YOU-WANT-TO-RETIRE-IN-HAWAII-IV
Pros and Cons: http://hubpages.com/hub/SO-YOU-WANT-TO-RETIRE-IN-HAWAII-V
I will have a few photos taken with the ‘Kodak’ in and around our immediate environment that I can share with you