Once I get the pictures off of my camera (probably in 2 or 3 months, I'm lazy like that when it comes to photos) I'll try to remember to post them. For now I just want to journal real quick our trip to Kauai for my own memory.
On the trip was me and Ira, my parents who had come up to Seattle the day before so we could all fly together and our friends the McNiel family (Andrew, his sister Jennifer and their parents Ben and Cathy).
We arrived Wednesday afternoon at 12:45PM. My initial thought at the semi-outdoor baggage claim area was "Oh my. This place is HOT and no one has AC. I'm gonna roast." It actually turned out fine but it was a bit of a shock coming from Seattle.
We got the rental car, I drove us down to Poipu and we had lunch at Brenneke's Beach Broiler looking at the ocean and having our first drinks. I stuck with water and iced tea most of the time and had a few beers here and there. I absolutely did not want to suffer any sort of hangover while there and the heat was already pretty intoxicating.
We dropped our stuff off at the cottage and checked out our residence. Ira and I had the bedroom and bath upstairs while my parents occupied the bed and bath downstairs. The lanai was the best part. I think we might have taken a quick dip in the pool. Later we drove back to Lihue to stock up at Costco and Big Save for the week. Had awesome grilled fish and salads for dinner on the lanai. I was in bed not too long after dark.
Thursday we woke early. We woke early every day around 5:30AM, just naturally staying on West Coast time. The downside to this was I'd be struggling to stay away every night around 8PM. After breakfast we went to the beach. For an early lunch (and it was raining pretty hard) we went to Puka Dogs and checked out that shopping area. We met the McNeils there and after a stop at Snorkel Bob's for snorkel gear for the week we went back to Poipu Beach for snorkeling and swimming. I ran into a bit of trouble with some lava rock and lost a good chunk of skin from my right knee. We stayed for as long as we could and then grilled some fish for dinner. The McNiels came by to see our condo and we had some fruit and beer with them. I was the first one to pass out. The sun really drained me and my leg was in sorry shape. I thought I was being good about sunblock but boy was I wrong. I was burned to a crisp. It was awfully painful. There was only one shirt I could stand on my skin (no bra) and I just wore it over and over. We had a washing machine at the cottage which helped.
Friday we woke too early. Watched the sunrise again while drinking coffee. We wanted to head Westward and do the coffee plantation tour. We actually had to kill a little time driving around Hanapepe and Salt Pond park before the first tour of the day started. That was a fun adventure. We had an early lunch at the Kauai Brewery. I had a poke wrap with sushi rice that was out of this world. Mom and Dave got some red dirt shirts from the big shop next door. Then we drove up towards Waimea Canyon. It felt good to be in AC. My skin felt like it was melting off. I was in loads of pain, even with the constant reapplication of aloe. We stopped at every lookout but at one point Ira tried taking our picture and I just started sobbing in pain. I couldn't concentrate on anything else. The canyon was beautiful and at the top I was happy it was raining to cool my screaming skin. We drove back towards Koloa to get some fish for dinner. It was close to 4PM and the Hanapepe Art Walk didn't start until 6PM. I really wanted to go but was just sundrained and exhausted from the pain. The McNiels went and it sounded like a lot of fun. We got some fish from the Koloa Fish Market (which actually ended up getting tossed later) and some chicken and veg from Sueoka Store. Ira surprised me with a can of Lidocane spray. What a sweetie peas! He mostly wanted me to stop crying so I could get back to enjoying myself. When we got back to the cottage Mom did the cooking while I sat in the living room in as little clothing as possible while the aloe and cold beer made me feel better. We had chicken for dinner that night. Inspired by all of the wild chickens running all over the island.
Saturday my parents wanted to take the car up and around to Ke'e Beach. The other side of the island where the road ends. We knew that the McNiels were staying with family somewhere near Kapaa so Ira and I asked to be dropped off there at the Coconut Marketplace while they went on their adventure. Ira and I had breakfast at Eggbert's. I got the french toast with coconut syrup and a pina colada. After breakfast I found Ira the most lovely Koa wood and tungsten ring and bought it for him. It looks so good on him! Well turns out Jennifer McNiel was staying RIGHT THERE at the Aston hotel and we met up with them not too long after breakfast. Us girls had a short break by the pool while the boys went off on an adventure. After we got lovely pedicures we picked the boys up, got some poke and went back to the pool area at the Aston. Then it was about time for my parents to pick us up and head back down to Poipu. It was our date night so Ira and I got cleaned up and went back to Kauai Pasta in Kapaa where one of the cousins of the McNiels worked as a sous chef. We had a marvelous dinner! So full on truffle fries, ravioli sampler, snapper pizza and chocolate coconut creme brulee. After dinner we went back to the beach at the Aston to watch the moonlight on the water. Andrew was just coming up from a moonlight swim with a big smile on his face. Out at the pool area some musicians were softly playing guitar and ukulele and singing Hawaiian ballads. Torches were lit everywhere. It was so romantic.
Sunday I was determined to get back in the water. We got to the beach really early after a breakfast of papaya, granola and yogurt. I had to wear a cut off t-shirt under my bathing suit just to allow the straps on my shoulders. Even with breaks every 45 minutes out of the sun, reapplying sunblock every time I got out of the water and wearing another tshirt on top of my suit while snorkeling, I still managed to get a burn on top of my previous burn. OUCH. Also kicked a lava rock with my left foot ripping my cuticle and ruining my pedicure on a couple of toes. That really hurt. Jennifer had lost her wedding right at the beach earlier that day when they came down to snorkel with us. Her and Andrew came back convinced that it was lost forever but somehow with very careful raking the life guard found it. He said he had a knack and man it was amazing. Sunday night the McNiels were having a movie night in their cousins' back yard but I was too sun drained for anything. My parents went on their date night while Ira and I enjoyed the cool breezes and quiet at our cottage.
Monday I was too sun sick to do anything. Ira went for a long walk in Koloa. He had thought someone was going to pick him up but we didn't know that and poor snorkel buddy had to walk all the way back in the mid-day heat since I was laying on the tile floor of the cottage trying to cool off and my parents had taken the car to the beach. They came back a little later than hoped so we missed the boat trip up the Wailua River to Fern Grotto. Next time! We did get a little gussied up for the luau. What a lot of fun!! After touring the gardens and feeding the peacocks there was the imu ceremony. Then the cocktails with live music and the feasting began. I think I was the only one at our table that really enjoyed the poi. I though it went perfect with the super salty lomi lomi salmon. It did hit my tummy kind of hard though. After dinner was the show. Wow! Kind of cheesy but I thought it was a really cool production. It even rained on the dancers but they kept on going! Then it was time to return to Poipu and off to sleep in the cool tradewinds.
Tuesday Ira and I wanted to go thrift store shopping and drive up to Ke'e Beach. It rained more often than not so it was good that we were spending most of the day in the car. The thrift store he wanted to go to had been robbed the night before!! Who robs a thrift store? This was just a little ramshackle place near the abandoned hotel. We did find another thrift store later where I bought a small Japanese bud vase for $2.25. We drove through Hanalei, stopped and took pictures at the bay, drove up to Ke'e where the rain was coming down in sheets. There was no place to park and we were hungry so we went back to Hanalei and ate at Bubba's Burgers. Did a little shopping and headed back south. It was our last night so we wanted to do something special. We got back to the cottage, had a dip in the pool, picked my parents up from the beach and went back to the cottage to get dressed. We went to Kukui'ula shopping center and picked up some takeout from Savage Shrimp. Then we made it just in time to the Kukui'ula Boat Dock to eat our dinner before sunset. We watched the sun go down and water spraying from Spouting Horn. Then the moon came up over the water. It was so beautiful. We went back to Koloa for some shopping and ice cream at Koloa Mill. I had coconut pudding and macadamia ice cream. Wow. We also had a coconut turnover that was really rich. A few more last minute gifts at Big Save then back to the cottage. We drank some beer and stayed up as late as we could on the lanai (I think it wasn't quite 10PM when I started to fall asleep on the couch).
Our last morning we cleaned up and packed. Returned our gear to Snorkel Bob's. Grabbed one last Puka Dog before heading to the airport. We had some issues checking in. Our bag was too heavy, the girl insisted she handed us our boarding passes when she hadn't and my parents had to toss their jam since they packed it in their carry on. It was kind of funny that the TSA agent made me take off my puka shells before going through the body scanner. She held them out and draped them over my head and said "Aloha" before letting me go on my way. Our bags still got completely rifled through by agents but that part made it a little nicer. It was an easy flight home. My wonderful brother picked us up and took us back to our kitties. He did an outstanding job looking after our boys. They were in really good hands :)
Even with the bumps and bruises and bug bites and skin scrapes and wretched sun burns it was a magnificent trip and a marvelous place to be. I really enjoyed myself but looked forward to returning to the cool climate that I'm more accustomed to. Maybe our next trip won't be to a tropical paradise but another place just as beautiful and magical. Chile? Iceland? Korea? Who knows??