I arrived on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, during a week-long trip in the islands, just in time for a three-hour-long torrential rainstorm that had everyone talking and splashing through deep puddles. But today the sun was back, the Seattle-like gloom gone and the island sparkling again from its thickly forested 4,000-foot ridges to the sweeping, arid grazing land that undulates down to the ocean.
Molokai is one of the least developed of the Hawaiian islands, a place with no big resorts and not even a stoplight on the island of 7,500 residents. The locals guard their Hawaiian heritage and lifestyle passionately, and hand-lettered signs in front of houses and along roads protest everything from proposed luxury housing at a remote point of land to a big wind-farm power development. Sometimes it feels like another country, which indeed Hawaii was before the U.S. annexed it in 1898.
Molokai isn’t the island for everyone. There are no resorts, no fancy hotels or trendy bars or gourmet restaurants. But you get a taste of what Hawaiian life used to be.