After a lifetime dreaming of visiting the Hawaiian Islands, that dream finally came true recently or so I thought.
Unfortunately, skepticism arose soon after leaving the airport in Kahului. On Maui, we found speeding is the norm, and you instantly become the target of road rage if you don't join in.
Once in Kihei, we couldn't help but also notice that scooters ride on bike paths with impunity while cyclists and skateboarders take to the dimly lit sidewalks. Pedestrians be damned.
According to an online trip advisor, one dining establishment in Kihei is supposedly quite famous--not for its food, but its brawls.
By now growing quite disillusioned, I spoke to a local shop owner who told me that there's a lot of violent crime here. Trouble is, no one wants to talk about it because it's "bad for business." She is right. Who in their right mind would want to vacation on an expensive Hawaiian island known for its apathetic view on crime? So let's keep that a secret.
If there is law enforcement in this town, or this island, for that matter, there is little evidence. Oddly enough though, situated directly behind the "way too busy" Kihei Police Station, I couldn't help but notice a lot constantly full of parked patrol cars. It begs the question, are we in Maui or a third-world country? It must be Kihei, because most resort towns around the globe actually have streetlights.
Kihei is a place where you don't feel your safety is being jeopardized every time you step out for an evening walk. After being hit a number of times by skateboarders on the sidewalk, I phoned the Kihei Police Station. The woman dispatcher said they don't charge skateboarders unless someone files a complaint--presumeadly after one is run over.
Crime prevention is obviously not taken too serious in Kihei.
Then again, why should visitors think differently? Residents here tend to ignore the "booze parties" and dogs defecating on the beach, but ironically, never forget to neatly trim their hedges. Folks also have a high tolerance for noise pollution, as still another Harley running straight pipes roars by.
Well, you can save your overpriced hotels and restaurants, along with your phony alohas. My wife and I will never return to Hawai'i, much less Kihei.