Aloha Ohana! (Hello family) I arrived in Hawaii after a long flight from Philadelphia to Denver, and then Denver to Lihue, Kaua’i, a total of 12 hours of traveling with two of layover. It’s now 9:51 in hawaii, but 2:51 in Philly; we’ll see how coherent I be.

There are a couple of fun environmental quirks on Hawaii that you notice here. There are chickens that just hang out everywhere, a lot of palm trees and hibiscus bushes. Apparently the invasive plant species outnumber the native ones 2:1, a consequence of the many ships bringing different plants and crops for cultivation, as well as accidentally bringing them from Asia, America, and Europe.

Tonight was the first meeting of the class and our first “lesson”. The instructors introduced themselves as Mike Huddleston, a Biology Professor at North Lake College in Dallas, TX, and Bryan (forget his last name) who is a botany professor at a local coommunity college here. He studies ethnobotany in particular, a subject that we got our first lesson in tonight. We were presented with pineapple, tangerines, and oranges to eat. Why? To make the point: Pineapples, like oranges and tangerines, are not originally from Hawaii. They were imported from South America, most likely Brazil, in the 19th century and became a favorite fruit of the noble class. Remember that next time you get the “Hawaiian Pizza”.

Tomorrow we go to a coffee plantation, the crop that followed sugar and became (at least) one of the dominant crops on the island, and then we go collecting invertebrates on a reef. And hopefully I will have something better for dinner than tonight’s undercooked beans and over cooked rice.

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