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Kaua’i

The Global Internet Project meeting begins on Monday in Honolulu. A good friend invited my wife and I to visit with her for a few days ahead of time at her house at Moana Kai Beach in Papa’a on the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii. The brisk two mile walk before breakfast the first morning was exhilarating. Seeing whales spray and jump from the water was a special treat and the majesty of their tails up in the air just as the sun was coming up was beautiful. After lunch I headed for Pacific Island Rentals so the afternoon could include a motorcycle ride around the island.

Jerry was very helpful in getting me get through all the paperwork and ready to check out the 2003 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic. It was a beautiful black machine with only 900 miles on it. The safety and operational briefing was short because the Road King is almost identical to bikes I have myself back home. I started out down Route 56 and was ecstatic at how well the bike handled and how beautiful the scenery was. It would be the perfect ride — or so I thought. The first 30 miles or so were uneventful as I traveled through Kapa’a, Lihue, Hanamaulu, Puhi, Kaumualii, Lawi, Kalaheo, and Hanapepe. Then I saw the large gray clouds forming above the mountains in the distance and I wondered if I might end up getting wet – that turned out to be an understatement.

After 40 miles or so, I reached Waimea and then turned to the north and began the climb up to Waimea Canyon State Park. And then the rain began. It was just a sprinkle at first, then a light shower, and as I neared the top of the canyon, a steady downpour. Fortunately, the roads are made of crushed volcanic material and showed no signs of being slippery. I was very cautious knowing from experience that the early stages of rain are the most dangerous because the water initially rests on top of any oil that may be on the road and becomes very slippery. I was quite careful as I negotiated the hairpin turns climbing the mountain. When I got to the lookout at the state park, I saw people climbing down from the viewing area telling me not to waste my time going further because there was nothing to be seen. The canyon was filled with clouds. I had reached an altitude of 4,000 ft. above sea level but unfortunately there was nothing to be seen. I began the journey back down and stopped at several points along the way to take some pictures as things began to clear. The views were magnificent albeit cloudy. After getting to the bottom of the canyon again, I stopped for some local shrimp and a diet Pepsi and then headed back on Route 56 where another rain shower began. By the time I got back to Kapa’a, I was soaked through to the bone but nevertheless, I enjoyed my 100 miles and 4 hours on the Road King Classic immensely.

Jack Harter Helicopters has been in business for 38 years and they have their sight-seeing business down to a science. The initial briefing let us know what to expect and included a complete safety briefing about the Eurocopter Astar seven-passenger helicopter. Upon entering the helicopter, we put buckled up and put our earphones on. I have always marveled at how helicopters can fly and how a pilot could manipulate them. (My commercial pilot’s license and instrument rating for fixed wing aircraft are valid but it has been a number of years since I was current). Our pilot, Doug, was able to handle the complex flying through the canyons while at the same time maintaining radio contact with other helicopters in the air and giving us a comprehensive description of the many wonders that we saw from above the beautiful island of Kaua’i. I’ll post the pictures in the Gallery as soon as I get to a broadband connection.

A final unexpected treat was to attend the Kaua’i Concert Association presentation of The Takács Quartet at the new local community college auditorium. The Takács Quartet is recognized as one of the world’s greatest string quartets. Since its formation in 1975, the ensemble has appeared regularly in every major music capital and prestigious festival around the world. The quartet is based in Boulder, Colorado, where it has held a Residency at the University of Colorado since 1983. The Takács is a Resident Quartet at the Aspen Festival and its members are also Visiting Fellows at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Their performance was spectacular. The animation and eye contact these professionals displayed was like nothing I have ever seen. Naturally, I loved the Mozart quartet but the Ravel piece, considered too contemporary when it was written, was stunning in every respect.

The upcoming global Internet project meeting is very much on my mind as the weekend comes to an end. On Sunday, I’ll fly from Kaua’i to Honolulu and meet some people to begin final preparations for the important meetings that will take place during the week. The subject of spam is one that is very important to all Internet users. It threatens so many things that make the Internet profound and important. I for one am hopeful, in fact optimistic, that the multi-faceted solution which the Global Internet project has been advocating can in fact bring major improvements to the situation in 2003. I am looking forward to the next few days of intensive discussions, debates and resulting recommendations.