Paradise on my left and right |

Paradise on my left and right

For those who were worried, never fear, for I have found where all the liberals have gone.I’m not referring to that handful or so who write to the Daily with the repetitive conviction of an Al Franken punch line, but to the hundreds, perhaps even thousands, that infest the tropical tourist trap known as Maui.Sitting on a porch, sipping Hawaiian coffee while watching and listening as the waves crash like so many Kerry campaign speeches, each morning I read the The Maui News in order to keep up with what’s going on in the real world.Sure they have TV, but while CNN comes in crystal clear, FOX has all the murkiness of the Democratic National Convention game plan. I can’t see it any better than I could the first 10 feet down of yesterday’s dive just off Ka’anapali beach.I suppose that by mentioning a few particulars, such as the end of the previous sentence, I take the risk of offending a few of you through jealousy, envy, arrogance, stupidity – take your pick. But hey, “Hakuna Matata,” or whatever it is they say around here.The Carnes clan is on a completely undeserved vacation, and these island folks are nice enough to allow me to be myself (some of you are so darned controlling) for a change.Speaking of redundant normalcy, it’s amazing to see the direct correlations between the beautiful Island of Maui and the bubble of happiness known as the Vail Valley. A quick flip through the daily paper pretty much says it all:– Air service to a nearby island is threatened unless businesses are willing to pony up financial guarantees.– An annual pest is infesting local plant life, causing many flowering trees to turn a rusty brown.– Water service has been temporarily shut down in selective areas to upgrade equipment.– A six-year drought is possibly coming to an end, but restrictions are still in place.– Letters to the editor complain about President Bush, bad drivers, immigration problems, the Bush administration, fund-raisers for local projects, Kobe’s guilt or innocence (I can’t get away from it!), Iraq, Visitors and Convention Bureau funding, Kerry’s ability to attract mosquitoes more than voters, Osama, and the high price of local real estate.Prices for single family homes are indeed in the 650K range, and space is definitely limited just like at home, but getting from A to B is much easier in the Rocky Mountains.While we have massive road systems funded and maintained with tax dollars, they have narrow little asphalt-covered dirt roads apparently funded from sales of snow-blowers.However, in the food category, at least locally grown consumables as opposed to the stuff flown in, these guys beat us palms down.Pull along the side of a highway, snatch a piece of sugar cane from a field, and the family can spend over an hour satisfying a collective sweet tooth. Try that in Vail and you not only stand the chance of being arrested but you’ll get giardia.Pineapples, papaya, mangos, coconuts are as plentiful as the societal rejects from the mainland who end up settling here so they can bitch about the mainland conservatives from a safe distance.The golf courses are nice, too, but I can’t decide what I like hitting off to the side of a fairway more, pine cones or palm fronds.Getting back to the liberals, though, I mean to tell you they are everywhere. However, these liberals are different from your garden variety found in independent republics like Boulder. These are the scary kind: liberals with money.While scarce at home, they seem to breed like Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon clones around here.But you know what, enough about politics. I’m on vacation, deserved or not, and I am not about to allow political nonsense to get in the way of a good time. After all, I am the proverbial fence sitter in any event anyway, right?So what’s the best part of Maui for me, so far? There is an area mid-island, near the Lao Valley, and although you can’t find it described as such on a map, it is affectionately called “Happy Valley.” They have the Happy Valley Apartments, the Happy Valley Market, and even a Happy Valley Maui Wowee Coffee Emporium. Happy, happy, happy. With all the construction and tourists, and in spite of the liberals, it makes me feel right at home.Aloha.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at

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