Showing posts with label Columbus Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Columbus Day. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Something to Crow About: Kauai’s Birds of Paradise

KauiSm2014 008It was easy to be captivated by the beautiful birds that unknowingly entertained us during our time this fall on Hawaii’s island of Kaua’i.

This twosome clucked and cooed sweet nothings to each other early each morning, oblivious to the two of us sitting below them sipping coffee and watching the sun wake the day during our time in Princeville on Kauai’s North Shore.

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Morning love songs - Princeville, Kaua'i
Birds of paradise – just the phrase evokes images of cooing doves and graceful tropical creatures, like the swan that glided past our Poipu condo with regularity – undisturbed by the camera-toting visitors, like me.

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But, wait! These aren’t the ‘real’ birds of paradise on this island!

The real birds of this paradise – the one’s that give the island something to crow about -- are the hundreds of roosters, hens and chicks that freely roam the streets, sidewalks, parks, and public areas from restaurants to rental car lots.

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This fellow was patrolling the parking lot at a scenic overlook. . .

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And this one was ducking rain drops at the end of the road on the North Shore’s, Ha’ena Beach Park, in much the same manner we tourists were scurrying to find shelter from the often intense rain squalls there.

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But the funniest by far were the resident trio of mischief makers (pictured above) at the Marriott Waiohai in Poipu.  One morning while I was on our fourth floor deck, the normally quiet surroundings came to life with a commotion below me.

A guest in the ground floor unit just below us -- a grown man -- was shooing this Fowl Flock from his patio by doing what one might call a chicken dance -- hopping about while flapping his bended arms.  It worked for a minute or two then they chicken danced right back to him.  It went on for a few minutes .
(I was so busy laughing I didn’t think to get the camera).

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Chicken Marketing in Kaua'i
What Came First – the Chicken or the Egg?

One might ask from where the multitudes of these strutting troubadours came.  Historians can’t put all their eggs in one basket so I found two answers: the Polynesians who discovered the islands centuries ago brought chickens with them and they’ve been here since then. Some say the large numbers of Feral Fowl can be blamed on 1992’s Hurricane ‘Iniki that blasted the island with 145 mph winds (gusts of 165 mph) and scattered domestically raised poultry far and wide. 

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Whatever the origin, they are a permanent part of the population now.  Souvenirs with roosters are everywhere from tee-shirts to home-décor, notepads to Christmas tree ornaments!  The tourism folks really do have something to crow about!!

Post Script: Your thoughts on Columbus Day

HAL 2009 cruise photos 051I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank those of you who responded to last week’s post about celebrating Columbus Day. 
The responses to that post are examples of what blogging should be – a thoughtful exchange of ideas and opinions from across the globe.

Too often we bloggers get caught up in a quest of statistics – the more ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ the better. This post and its responses reminded me why blogging should be a richer experience than that. For that, I thank you! (Click here to access it and the comments.)

As a result of that post, one of our blogger buddies, currently residing in Fiji, shared a link to a post written by Jose Alejandro Amores, a professor at Grand Valley State University who wrote an insightful piece with a headline that begins, “We are all Columbus. . .”   I’d encourage you to take a moment to read it.

Hope to see you back again next week ~ until then, Happy Travels!

Linking Up this week at:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Travel Photo Monday – Travel Photo Discovery
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Celebrating Christopher Columbus on His Day!

If you live in the Americas, will you be celebrating or condemning Columbus Day?  It seems there are two ways of looking at that voyager who back in 1492 crossed the ocean blue!
In the United States, October 12th (and now the second Monday of October) is known as Columbus Day, a federal holiday since 1937. It was celebrated unofficially by a number of cities and states far earlier than that – some dating back to the 18th century.
I would like to think that all travelers will be giving a nod of thanks to the courage of that daring 15th century explorer who has been credited throughout history with discovering the New World.

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Christopher Columbus statue - Lisbon, Portugal
However, despite his voyage and discovery – or maybe as result of it – there are those who won’t be celebrating his arrival in the present-day Bahamas on Oct. 12, 1492 for reasons best explained by

“There are three main sources of controversy involving Columbus’s interactions with the indigenous people he labeled “Indians”: the use of violence and slavery, the forced conversion of native peoples to Christianity, and the introduction of a host of new diseases that would have dramatic long-term effects on native people in the Americas.”

(Those indigenous people did introduce Columbus – and thus, the Old World -- to tobacco. In fact they gave him some of the dried leaves as a welcome, and he later learned from them how to smoke it, so in some ways maybe they got some revenge early on.)

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Columbus arrived in the Caribbean in 1492
So now, more than 500 years later, controversy surrounds the celebration of Columbus Day in some places on the globe. . .prompted by a focus is on the treatment of the indigenous people – not the voyage of discovery.

In reality, it would be difficult to find a ‘hero’  in history who didn’t have some character or behavioral flaws shadowing their lauded contributions, wouldn’t it?  We can name several and I suspect you can as well. People aren’t perfect, plain and simple!

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Replica of one of Columbus's ships - Funchal, Madeira
The fact remains that the Italian-born Christopher Columbus had the guts to believe in himself and was able to get the Spanish king and queen to back the expedition of the trio of tiny ships (not much larger than present-day cruise ship life boats) in his attempt to find a western route to China – in 1492!

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Navigation in 1492 on left; present-day cruise ship bridge

We probably took Columbus and his courage for granted until the first time we took a repositioning cruise across that wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean a few years ago. We followed  a route similar to that of the early day sailor.

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Crossing the Atlantic - only sea and sky and our ship

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the earth’s four oceans.
Its surface area is about 31,660 sq. miles (82 million sq. kilometers).
It has an an average depth of 12,881 feet (3926 meters). Its deepest point is the 
Puerto Rico Trench with a depth of 28,681 feet (8742 meters).

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Leaving Fort Lauderdale to cross the Atlantic
We’ve now crossed the Atlantic Ocean four times –  each time in large, modern cruise ships with the latest medical facilities, on-board communication and navigation equipment.  As we’ve sailed from Florida’s Fort Lauderdale, the logical side of our brains ‘know’ we will be safe.

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On the Atlantic Ocean 
Yet . .we pause as we pass that last  tip of land knowing we will see nothing but water and sky  – no birds, no ships for at least six days . . . I can’t imagine being in those tiny wooden ships that took two months to cross the Atlantic and not knowing when I would see land again.

Celebrating the Explorers

Unlike on this side of the Atlantic, we’ve seen tributes – towering statues and monuments -- to Columbus and his fellow early day explorers throughout Europe;  Lisbon, Madeira, Cadiz, Seville, Barcelona, just to name a few. The enormous tribute below, the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrao dos Descobrimentos) on the approach to Lisbon, Portugal honors Henry the Navigator.

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Monument to the Discoveries - Lisbon, Portugal

Post Script:
If you’ve stayed with me this long, and you hadn’t noticed, I’ve got a bee in my bonnet, and here’s why:

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Seattle Space Needle
The Seattle City Council took action this week declaring the second Monday in October (aka Columbus Day), Indigenous People’s Day. In taking the action, Seattle has joined a few other city’s who’ve shifted the day’s focus.

A Seattle council member was quoted as saying, (Columbus) “played such a pivotal role in the worst genocide humankind has ever known.”

What put the bee in my bonnet was the singular focus; the condemnation of a portion of his actions without recognition of the exploration, the discovery – not even by the media who covered the council's deliberations.

I believe all historic events are most accurately told by more than one story -  if we don’t tell them all, our true history will be lost.

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Native American Totem Pole - Seattle
The Seattle council’s action brought cheers from local Native Americans while Italian Americans were insulted by it.

In reality, Washington State doesn’t recognize Columbus Day (meaning it isn’t a day off work for most).

Indigenous People’s Day is much the same; no time off, just a holiday in name only. 

Without a day off work, the day -- by either name -- will likely go unnoticed by most living  in the “New World”.

I suspect that if my maternal grandparents, who at the turn of the 20th century escaped to the “New World” from the Russian hell-hole in which they lived, were still alive, they’d be celebrating the day set aside to honor the guy credited with discovering it.

Perhaps in that sense, we all should be celebrating those early discoverers.

Linking today:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Travelers Sandbox
Weekend Travel Inspiration - Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Travel Photo Monday - Travel Photo Discovery


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