The Sunshine Market shows up in the backs of station wagons and temporary tents every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in a little park in the heart of Hanapepe, "The biggest little town on Kaua'i". Locally grown fruits and vegetables appear for an hour or so, sold by islanders for a fraction of grocery store prices. When fresh, exotic fruit calls, my wife pulls me out the door and we make the short drive from Poipu toward the windward side of the island. The Sunshine Market is not old Hawaii, but it does possess its spirit. In its laid-back approach and in the smiles of the natives who greet us, we can sense something not found in most parts of the isles.
Minutes after a light shower, so common in the tropics, a sugar cane stalk, a bunch of apple bananas, and a bag of impossible-to-crack macadamia nuts have found their way into our bag and my pocketbook. My wife is in search of papayas but we are told we are minutes too late. The Hanapepe Sunshine Market is sold out. So now she tugs at my hand and says, "Collectibles. I want collectibles."
We've spent two days along the Loire river in a small chateau owned by Mssr and Madame de Gelis, the Chateau Colliers. The chateau has been in Christian's family for twelve generations, since the mid-seventeen hundreds. The de Gelis family is the third family to own this Chateau.
There are 150 smaller chateaus in the north and west of France that have beeen turned into Bed and Breakfasts. But these places, while wonderful to stay and spend time in, are only launching points. Throughout the Loire Valley region are massive castles that have dominated this region since the 1400s. These massive complexes are surreal in their appearance and grandeur for a native mid-western boy. The quality of their craftsmanship, the intricacy of design, and the completeness of their grounds bely their age. Moats and gardens, drawing rooms with ceilings two stories tall, spiral staircases that allow two people to traverse them opposite each other (thank you Leonardo Da Vinci!): these mamouth structures seem to be quietly waiting their rediscovery by the modern world that is in desparate need of its own renaissance (at least in the U.S.).