Used: 2011

I had about 5 hours to kill in between my snorkeling trips, so I ventured into the town of Kona, since I would be spending the rest of my time on the Hilo side. I was a bit tired since I got up so early and was also not yet used to the humid weather. I spent part of the day napping in my car until I couldn’t stand it and had to find a place with a breeze or air conditioning.

I drove in search of Kona Commons but first came across the Kona International Market and pulled off the main road to see what kind of Hawaiian crap people were selling. I am a total sucker for stuff like that. I am good about not buying (for the most part) but I do love looking at it all. Most stalls were selling the same things over and over again, as what tends to happen in really touristy places.

I came across Trudy’s Island Arts which actually had some good stuff and not your typical cheap Hawaiian junk. All the stock is made by local Hawaiian artists and what seems like good quality merchandise. Trudy was very welcoming and while a bit of a sales person, didn’t breathe down my neck as I wondered around. The jewelry was beautiful and was actually temped to buy some of the pieces but I actually ended up buying a wine stopper with a decorative sea glass top instead.

I wondered around the market a bit more and got sucked into one of the random shops full of crap by the owner who teased me with the tasting of local jams. While I enjoyed the tasting and conversation with the owner, I am not really a jam person so I didn’t buy any. I did end up buying a packet of coffee as I was meaning to buy a packet anyway for some friends. I could have gotten probably a better deal somewhere else and I wasn’t pressured to buy anything during the tasting, but whatever. It’s not like I do this all the time.

Moral: Most tourist places sell the same things over and over again and they all are super kitsch. Even though I hate shopping and most places like this annoy me, Hawaii is on the few places that the same stuff doesn’t annoy me and I will still walk into every store and look at the same things over and over again and still find it interesting. But toss in something slightly different, like upscale local art, minus all the crap, and I feel rejuvenated and can then restart looking at all the crap again. How about you, can you look at the same things over and over again when you are a tourist? Or does it eventually annoy you?

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