Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I thought I'd talk a bit about Kailua. It's a cute little town. The photo above does actually show you the bulk of the buisiness area of town. There are more condos and such to the right of this picture, but not much in the way of shops and such. The photo helps you get an idea of the town. Much of the business is within a few hundred feet of the water and along the highway. The largest hotel right in town is the Royal Kona, which is the angular structure on the water right about center in this photo. Kona is not a land of skyscraper resorts.
We get a lot of people asking for various big city type of recommendations - all night restaurants, coffee shops and such... well, we have Dennys, and that's about it. Along the same lines, virtually every customer I talk with asks which highway to take to get from the airport to town, or from their hotel to the harbor... There's pretty much only one (and it's still just a standard 2 way street for now in most spots) - this concept is foreign to many people used to numerous highways.
We have one north/south highway which actually goes 2/3rds of the way around the island, one north/south 5 mile road along the water front, two even shorter connecter roads in town calling themselves highways and maybe 3 or 4 other east/west connector roads. It's a very easy town to navigate the streets. Finding an actual street address is another thing though - Kona does not use traditional block addresses, they use property tax lot numbers. You can live here for years and still not grasp this system. Much of the direction giving here goes along the lines of... turn at the stop sign, then go 'til you see a big mango tree on the mauka (uphill, away from the sea) side and turn in the second driveway makai (seaward). It gets easy once you've gotten used to it.
We do have a growing business sector, in recent years many of the chains have moved in- Walmart, Costco, Borders, Home Depot and Lowes, Starbucks and such, so we have most of the mainland comforts. When/if you visit you will find that the infrastructure though has not necessarily kept up with the recent growth. Having only 1 two lane major north/south road, with few mauka/makai connectors servicing the entire west side has lead to a bit of a traffic problem during the morning drive time and post school afternoon/early eving hours. Just be forewarned that when someone says they are "X" miles from town, it literally can take 3 to 4 times that long to make the drive during busy drive hours.
It's still paradise though!!!!! I wouldn't trade being here for living on any of the other islands.