My mother-in-law had a guidebook to Kaua'i called, appropriately enough, The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed. She read snippets from it during the whole week, and I enjoyed them so much I bought the book on our last day on the island at the disturbingly named Whalers General Store in Kapaa.
I do things rather backwards, buying guidebooks after the trip, but it works for me.
And let me digress here about the apostrophe (or okina...or 'okina, depending on your source) in Hawaiian words. I am fully aware that I have been inconsistent about using them. The title of the guidebook doesn't use it, yet some people, including my aunt Sylvia, do. The okina represents a glottal stop, which just means you close off the airflow in your windpipe while speaking.
Isn't glottal an ugly word? It sounds ugly and looks ugly. But it's also a slightly onomatopoeic word, because before you say it, you have to pause to take that gl in, don't you?
The okina is used in native Hawaiian to clarify pronunciation, and I want to respect the native culture, especially because the native people are working hard to recover what has been lost. But I haven't yet found consistency in websites, books, or brochures on this issue. Since you aren't paying me to write this blog, I'm not going to worry too much about my inconsistency on this, but if you happen to be native Hawaiian, please note that I respect your culture and want to do right by it. Mahalo.
Anyway, one of my favorite snippets of information from the guidebook involved a bridge. Kaua'i has a number of one-lane bridges, and we only drove across one that I remember, but the Waipa Bridge shows how government truly is insane, even in paradise.
"... the Waipa Bridge...was built in 1912 for $4,000. It's so sturdy that it has never needed a major repair. The state found this intolerable [emphasis added] and planned to replace it with a $5 million bridge that would hopefully require lots of maintenance. Local residents banded together in the late '90s and successfully fought 'em off." --Andrew Doughty
Now, don't you just have to buy a guidebook with snippets like that?