Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pod Person

That's what my cousin Donnna (who is coming to visit tomorrow!) said about my husband agreeing to puppies. He's been taken over by a pod person, that's not him talking. (I think it's the puppy pheremones.)

C&H Sugar (probably the most recognized national brand in the US, I don't know about the rest of the world) stands for California and Hawaii Sugar. The Hawaiian part takes place on Maui, where you see A LOT of sugar cane in the fields. Sugar cane takes two years to mature, and it produces 22,000 pounds of refined sugar per acre (which is why there are still sugar cane fields on Maui instead of being nothing but endless vacation condos.) There is still one active sugar mill on the island.

Sugar FactoryThat sugar mill doesn't smell too good. There are no multi-million dollar resorts in its immediate vicinity (though it is near the Home Depot.) When the sugar cane is ready to harvest, they set it on fire with flame throwers. That doesn't smell too great, either. According to Missy's husband Buzz (who was born on the island and works for the Division Of Conservation And resources Enforcement for the state of Hawaii) Maui is the only place in the world that they allow the burning of the sugar cane fields. Here's a picture of that taken on our way down from Haleakala Crater:

burning sugar fieldsMaui produces raw sugar, which is exactly what you see when you use those little brown packets at Starbucks. It gets shipped to California in freight containers to be refined into white sugar. I thought it was interesting. More interesting is the way that the sugar plantations played a role in the colonization of the islands and it's eventual US statehood. There is a native Hawaiian faction working with the UN to try to get independent sovereignty restored.


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