Friday, June 03, 2011


Honolulu Chinatown rat-check: no rodents, but plenty of rat bait

by Larry Geller

Shedding my identity as mild-mannered blogger to become Ratman, I visited Chinatown last night in search of tall buildings to leap.

Finding none, I had to settle for looking for rats back at the Kekaulike Market. (sigh)

It was my second visit this year. I’m pleased to report that I found none. Not one rat. Here’s a report of my escapade, such as it was.

With the aid of my trusty rat-stick, I thrust my rat-camera up in the air, above the painted-over windows designed to keep Ratman at bay. Turning the camera this way and that, I gathered evidence. Heh, heh, heh.

Evidently there was nothing to see.

The food inside the market is not all covered over, but there were no little leaping diners enjoying a late-night dinner.

Hoping to escape the drizzle coming down the Nuuanu Valley, Ratman headed back home. On the way, though, he snapped a few shots of the rat-bait that will one day return his nemesis to the streets of Honolulu’s Chinatown. There could be more work for Ratman soon, because the City is allowing vendors and storekeepers to lay out a tempting feast for the critters.

Click any of these pics for a disgusting larger view.

Rat bait 1

Although garbage is supposed to be bagged, it’s not on Hotel Street near the markets, and it seems no one is enforcing the laws. There is plenty of edible, if not perfect, food in some of these boxes. I don’t have lights that can take a great photo of the contents.

Feast for man or beast 1

This huge heap is directly behind kekaulike Market. Nothing is in bags. The contents include yummy, if wilted, leaves, past-their-prime papayas, and other luscious rodent meals. Heck, humans could eat that stuff if they needed to. No doubt the heap has already been picked over.

Good Eats 1

Here is a box of leaves. Bok choi? I don’t know. While not saleable, they didn’t smell bad either. No, this is not a restaurant review, but someone down on their luck could easily compete with the rodents for a meal.

Good Eats 2

This is a picture of the same greens, except that Ratman has remembered to set the White Balance in his high-tech rat video camera. Sorry about that.

One block away, at the Oahu Market, there is no paint on the windows (and no vermin visible either). There is no garbage exposed on the street.

What gives? Ratman wants to study the leaping tall buildings angle more than the chasing rodents underfoot thing. It sounds far more dignified. If Oahu market can clean up their act, why not the Hotel Street area as well? What would it take for the city or the state to take their responsibility for keeping our city clean and safe?

Would Mayor Carlisle be happy if these garbage heaps were left outside his City Hall? Of course not. So why is it ok that they be left in Chinatown?

Safely returned to his nearby condo and with the rain pounding outside, Ratman curled up with his Tablet PC, searching the web for a more waterproof cape and boots. Hate having a soggy rat-cape and squishy rat-boots. Somehow it never rains in the comic books, but it does in Hawaii.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.


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