Trouble in Paradise (Waimanalo, part two)

Taking Off the Rose-Colored Glasses

Waimanalo Beach, on the island of O’ahu, seemed to be frequented by locals more so than tourists and we had to take a long ride on a local bus to get there.

The local buses featured, at the time of our trip, a very visual campaign against drug abuse and, in particular, against meth. There were ads with graphic pictures, showing how the drug deteriorated your health, quickly. The pictures of rotting teeth were gross and hard to forget. We’d already seen groups of drug addicts hanging out near Waikiki Beach, getting into loud fights.

According to TV and those ads, meth seemed to be a serious problem for this particular slice of paradise. As a random person just stopping by, you wonder what drives people to use drugs when they live on a beautiful, tropical island that so many people in the cold parts of the world dream of visiting even once in a lifetime.

Waimanalo beach in 2010

On the chilly, air-conditioned bus ride back, the bus driver stopped in the middle of a long, empty road to wait for the police to arrive. Why? Because a teenager insisted on buying a child’s ticket and the bus driver was sure that she was over the age limit and needed an adult ticket. The teenager didn’t have enough money so it was like a Mexican stand-off. We waited for over half an hour for the police to arrive and sort it out.

Work stress seems to exist everywhere, inescapably. Didn’t seem absurd at all.

As I wrote in an earlier post, Waimanalo beach was absolutely gorgeous. But in the beach park’s public toilets, there was an empty drug needle.

Something for a kindergarden/elementary school to be proud of?

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14 responses to “Trouble in Paradise (Waimanalo, part two)

  1. Sad! Unfortunately, meth and even heroin are huge problems here. But I believe prescription painkillers are abused more and often lead to the abuse and addiction of street drugs. The court system in the US is more focused on punishment than rehabilitation. There also is a lack of easily accessible resources to get and stay clean. If you don’t get help with long term support and a job paying a living wage I imagine life would look bleak and hopeless, even in paradise.

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  2. I think the problem apeaks about society and the public lack of self control. Everyone chases the illusion of happiness and life is so unpredictable it can never give us that in full measure all the time. So many seek an escape or use drugs as a coping mechanism. However it appears society accepts drugs as the normal fixer for one’s problems and issues and many young people seek a sense of belonging and may take drugs to fit in if lots of elders and peers also do them.
    We have coastal paradises less than an hour from the city and there seems to be more drug problems there than in the city!!

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    • All good points. I remember visiting Byron Bay (gorgeous place)… I guess I’m not that patient with drug and alcohol abuse because they are (sometimes) first world problems… I mean, problems that priviledged people have created for themselves. Not always, of course I know you can’t generalize – there are as many reasons as there are abusers. It reminds me of all those celebrity deaths due to too many painkillers or sleeping pills mixed with drugs or something similar. Seems so pointless. Well, nobody’s perfect… I know I’m not! 🙂

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      • You are right on both counts, Snow. We can’t generalise as we have not walked in someone else’s shoes, and it is a first world issue for many! I guess many are still chasing the illusive nature of happiness or at least trying to forget the unhappiness. We are indeed imperfect but I, for one, try not to get dragged down by the failings of myself/others/ or this world so much that it becomes impossible to enjoy the nature around us. I do find aweseome nature can be restorative, which is why I am drawn to Scandinavia!!

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        • It’s about staying positive. Whatever works: Scandinavian nature or tropical beaches, blogging, cooking, art or any other things to cheer you up… And yes, creating your own happiness out of what you have

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