On our trip earlier this month to Kaua’i, we visited the small town of Hanapepe. The town sits on the southern side of the island between Lihue and Waimea and is easily missed if you aren’t looking for it.
It’s a small one street type of town that could easily fit into some Western style movie. The old dilapidated buildings are great for us photographers and I enjoyed walking around taking shots. However that dilapidation although interesting is surely not healthy(?)
They obviously have a fairly steady tourist pass-through as there are some things to be seen by the casual tourist such as a pottery and the fun Swinging Bridge; a pedestrian suspension bridge of wooden construction. I do hope that they get the most from the passing tourist trade but tourism brings it’s own issues and the town could lose it’s quant character if tourism becomes the only source of income.
Walking around it is a confused little place with an odd mix of empty and derelict looking buildings interspersed with mid to high end tourist shops. I imagine that it’s a difficult balance to maintain for the locals; somewhere to live and be part of their community versus somewhere to make a living and maintain the (some very) old structures. I think it was lacking a good place to eat. There is a couple of small eateries there but if there were a good restaurant serving good local food, that would encourage tourists to spend more money and provide local employment; as well as being a place for the community to meetup.
There was some evidence of rejuvenation a restoration work having gone on I’m not sure whether that had persisted. The town movie theatre was in a poor state and I think the roof had collapsed meaning it is probably condemned, a shame considering it still showed decoration proclaiming the town as the original location for Disney’s Lilo and Stitch.
I hope I haven’t misrepresented this lovely town, some businesses do appear to be thriving there including this wonderful bookshop which was an unexpected gem.
Here are some more pictures taken with my Voigtländer Vitomatic II using Kodak Porta