Life in Kailua-Kona
02.09.2011 31 °C
So, I have been hearing a lot about the 'vog' that plagues the Kona side of the Big Island. Vog is the smog/polluted air and volcanic dust that spews from the Kilauea volcano (the only currently active one in the Hawaiian islands), and causes health problems ranging from breathing difficulties to lowered immunity to chronic cough. Apparently, as it is told, the winds tend to blow this air over the mountains where it settles over Kailua-Kona and the coastal areas surrounding it.
I have been here now on the Kona coast for three days, and have been coming here yearly for vacation, and I don't feel a thing. The air looks perfectly clear to me, bright, sunny skies, no clouds, no eerie haze, no tightness in the chest. I am beginning to have suspicions that this is somewhat similar to Seattle being known as the rainiest city. Those of us who have lived or do live there know that this is not really true...it is a convenient misrepresentation that keeps many people from being interested in moving there. It keeps many away so that only those who really work for it, or who have lived there long enough to appreciate its beauty will know the truth. That on summer days, the clear days, it is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. (Sorry Seattleites!)
And it does not actually get that much rain. Yes, lots of clouds, yes, grey days, but the sunny days are treasured and enjoyed to the fullest. And we all know that when the rainy days get to be too much, Seattle people just have to get out. You just take a trip during those prolonged days of gloom, and when you get back, you feel fresher and the days are likely getting longer and brighter. It is part of the price of living in a place that cultured, that nice, that naturally beautiful. I have a feeling the same holds true for Kona. No one wants anyone else to know how perfect and lovely it is here, so they tell others about the 'vog' and it discourages them from wanting to live here. But those who decide to stay anyway are let in on the dirty little secret...that the vog days are fleeting, and the beauty and sunshine and ocean and plumeria...