Hawai’i on Foot or “I Never Learned to Drive!”

November 27th, 2009
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I’m an unapologetic pedestrian. I can’t drive and I can’t say I particularly care to learn. Honestly, I prefer places that driving isn’t necessary. And the places I might want to get to by driving are places like Napa, Provence or the Italian countryside where I really want to go to sample wine and have 3 hour lunches wouldn’t be especially conducive to responsible driving. Tammi can’t drive either, although she actually wants to learn and has been taking classes in pursuit of that.
Regardless, neither of us currently have a license. That proved a bit of a limitation in getting around on Hawai’i's more rural islands. Neither The Big Island or Kauai are particularly accommodating for the non-drivers.
The Big Island, being more rural and, well, Big, was the most challenging of the two. Taxis cost about $5 per mile to get around and I ended up dropping $100 just getting to our hotel from the airport. Besides the tour we took of the island, we didn’t get beyond the grounds of our resort and it’s sister hotel.
Kauai was a bit easier, with towns only a couple miles apart and a bus system that could get us up to the north shore of the island. But it only runs until 6:15pm and doesn’t run at all on Sundays, which led to some rearranging of plans. Even with that, we put in more than a mile or two walking while we were there.
Coming from New York, it’s funny to see the reactions of locals and hospitality folks when asked about getting around without a car. They initially assume we’re being cheap and try to convince us that it’s worth it to get a car. When we explain that that’s not an option, they just think we’re weird.
I’m writing this back in Honolulu, which though touristy and laden with hi-rises and Waikiki Wackos, is more familiar terrain for a city boy like me.

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