The Downside to Living in Paradise on the Island of Hawaii

downside to living in paradise

Ala Wai Harbor in Honolulu, by Hella Rothwell.

Before we bought a house in Hawaii, I carefully studied the downside to living in paradise. Although we typically enjoy azure skies, brilliant sunsets and warm breezes year-round, there are other weather related phenomena that can strike the islands. Aside from a tsunami, and being on the wrong side of town, there is also vog. Vog is air pollution coming from the Kilauea volcano. Kona winds blow the vog southwest, as opposed to Tradewinds which blow from the northeast.

So for about 12 to 23 days every year, we get vog at intermittent times on Hawaii Island. Health experts advise sensitive people to stay indoors. The small particles and gases in the vog can irritate your lungs and cause headaches.

But that’s a small thing. People say it is expensive to live on Hawaii island, but I haven’t noticed a big difference except for electricity rates. We pay about 4 times more than we do in Sacramento.

downside to living in paradise

Gold Dust Day Gecko on Big Island, Hawaii

The bigger downside to living in paradise are the bugs. At home in Sacramento, we might find a house fly zipping about the house, turning our cats into Mexican jumping beans. On the Big Island, so far since November 30th, I have smacked dead 8 baby geckos in the house, and broom-hockeypucked out two adult Gold Dust Day geckos.

They creep along the ceiling, watching you, muttering to themselves, uh, oh, she’s gonna get us. I murdered a gecko in the garage by accident. Sometimes I find them dead from starvation. My housekeeper plucked a dead baby gecko yesterday from behind the toilet in the guest bathroom.

downside to living in paradise

Dead cockroach on Big Island lanai.

Also, after Kona Pest Control sprays, I always find dead cockroaches and centipedes. Sometimes they crawl under the bed to die. Other times they litter the lanai. Always on their backs, the cockroaches. I hadn’t had a problem with them in the house until last night. A friend down the street told me to always keep a can of Raid. So I bought a can of Raid last month and didn’t get a chance to use it until last night at bedtime.

downside to living in paradise

Centipede outside bedroom door on Big Island, Hawaii

Sleepy eyed, as I closed the sliding door to the side yard, I suddenly noticed a black object scooting across the floor. My instincts took over. I grabbed my weapon. Wow, shooting the cockroach with a can of Raid was really easy. I thought it would blast a big spray but it’s a dedicated poison stream. Which allows you to stay far enough way while continually spraying your target with extreme precision. Never thought I’d say this, but thank you, Raid.

downside to living in paradise

Termite droppings by a kitchen sink in Hawaii.

Yet, that was not the highlight of my day yesterday, oh, no. The highlight occurred when my housekeeper stepped on a crunchy pile near the kitchen sink. Like I told my husband later, being like Mr. Magoo has its advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages are not being able to see, and the advantages, in some cases, is also not being able to see. Things aren’t always in sharp focus without my contact lenses in my eyes.

downside to living in paradise

Termite droppings on a hand.

The housekeeper called the stuff ant droppings, but I sent both of the photos I shot to Kona Pest. They said it was probably termites. I will find out tomorrow when they come out to spot spray.

I have also been on a mission to rid the garden of white flies. Noble mission. Almost fanatical. Because those suckers are really hard to dispose of. Yet everyday I turn on the hose and spray the crap out of the underside of my leaves. Then I spray the top with soapy fungicide. Nothing compares to holding a branch with my left hand while spraying with the right hand and feeling that icky stream of white-fly water falling from gravity into my armpit.

So, the next time you think everybody is living the life of luxury, the stuff dreams are made from in Hawaii, realize there is a downside to living in paradise. Not for the squeamish. I have only 3 weeks left on this trip, and then it’s back to Sacramento. Of course, I work on Sacramento real estate whenever I’m not chasing a gecko with the broom. Because like I love to say, I could work on real estate from my home office in Sacramento over the winter or I could work from Hawaii. Easy choice.

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