March 2

ALOHA! I get to spend a couple of weeks in Kauai and how lucky am I?! Click for a good detailed map of Kauai, in case you wonder about these places.
March 3

Nancy and I arrived at different times and here we are at Sharon's son's house on the Wailua River in Kauai. It's gaspingly gorgeous. That's me in the mirror at the end of the dining room.
From the dining room looking into the living room and the expanse of koa wood floor. I lust after this floor.
This medallion centers in the hall between the bedrooms and leads to the upstairs. Yummy don't you think.
In the front yard, hanging over the river. When the coconuts are young they take them down from the trees that hang over the lawn. Those babies fall on your head they will knock you stupid.
From the 'Aloha Welcome!' booklet Sharon's son left for his guests: 'To the west of the house you may have noticed a spirit house from Thailand. DO NOT TAUNT THE SPIRIT HOUSE. Periodically give offerings of flowers, leis, and trinkets, and you will be rewarded with good luck.' And the mutant house plants that flourish here.
March 4

Today was the 'go North' get acquainted drive down the main road in Kauai. Plantation style buildings with their wide verandas and simple direct appeal - I like it.
One of the state parks is most prized for its bird sanctuary and wow oh wow there were some amazing birds soaring and diving and skimming across the waves. I clicked and clicked and eventually gave up of catching one. Then, tonight in the computer, I came to some fondness for this one.
The old lighthouse in Kilauea built in 1913 with the largest clamshell-shaped lens in the world (it's Good to learn something new every day...) now replaced by a technical goo-gaw that sits in front of it, charmless and effective.
Not surprised are you, that I'm taking pictures of palm trees?
The pier in Hanalei Bay looking out to Bali Hai featured in the movie South Pacific. And this is the beach where she washed that man right outta her hair.

The movie biz has really taken Kauai as The paradise island. Buses run regularly to the various sites for the benefit of the tourists. Click for a partial list of movies made in Kauai.
The girls. Cute as a paper of pins.

Ke'e Beach and the last stop on the road. From here you can begin to hike the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali coast. Dug in against the towering cliffs it is a treacherous and frightening proposition which we all declined.

At this flat place 'Hawaii's greatest hula masters once taught here. According to legend, the volcano goddess Pele departed Kauai from here, settling on the Big Island, where she still lives.'
This is the Hanalei Valley Lookout with ranks of tourists lined up along the rail to catch their shot. (Me too me too quite obviously.) The guidebook reports that broad-leafed taro has been cultivated here for over 1,200 years.
March 5

Here is a quick situating of Sharon's son's house:

This shot is from a viewpoint looking down to the Wailua River with the sea in the distance, about 10 minutes up the road from the house. You can find the house right around the last bend in the river.
Standing on scared ground at Lydgate Park looking to where the river joins the Pacific. Note the bridge on the far left, the river is flowing towards you. Now walk yourself a couple of football fields under the bridge and there you are, at the house.
(Different day, different light, same spot, stuck here for contrast.)
From the bridge in the above picture, standing back to the sea and looking up river towards the house. You can see the little green dock in the middle distance right and across the river is Smith's Tropical Paradise and Fern Grotto in the Wailua Marina State Park.
Lovin' those palms.
The old Japanese cemetery up the hill from the house.
A view from the cemetery road.

This Palm Forest was planted in the 1800s and later surrounded the Coco Palms resort where they filmed Blue Hawaii among many other Hollywood productions. Listen for Elvis as you pass by... The resort was abandoned after Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and stands now ghostlike itself. Political debates rage as to the next incarnation of this stunning site.

Click on the link for a slightly larger view of the Palm Forest.
The neighbors a few doors down were having a birthday party for a friend of theirs and invited all of us to join in.

The girls at the party included (left to right) me, Other-Sharon, Nancy, Cousin Sharon, Kathy, and Camas. Other-Sharon is visiting from Idaho where they own and operate a guest ranch. We were at Kathy's house three doors down from Cousin Sharon.

Camas lives next door to Kathy and I've put a couple of her oil paintings in with the places they evoke. You can click here to see her shutterfly album.
Kenny is with Kathy and they operate a kayak shop and watersking business, Bob is with Other-Sharon, Big Bad Birthday Bob I should say, and Conrad, the son of Kathy who is back in Kauai after a stint stateside.
March 6

We get up, we drink coffee, admire the sun glistening off the waking river, make a big ol' honkin' breakfast and then hit the road for another Day Of Adventure.

Today we took the Southern Route first stopping off in Hanapepe which offered an extended shopping exercise for Nancy and Sharon. Nancy wanted Old Stuff, for Real stuff and this town had a few shops specializing in vintage Hawaiiana. Oh yeah, she bought stuff.
We needed to do the pp stop so went in here for a beverage and to use the facilities. Mighty dang cute don't you think.
Across the counter we have here Mr Local Color man.
They're shopping and I'm snapping self-portraits for fun.

We ate a yummy lunch at a local stop called Barefoot Burgers 'On the way to Waimea Canyon' with the best Hawaiian mac salad ever. Even the Loco Moco was tops.
Sugar plantations and sugar mills were once the island's primary economic base but these days forget it, tourists are much more lucrative. Now the cane fields are gone to wild and the mills run tours for tourists.
Then we're off to Waimea Canyon. The guidebooks call Waimea Canyon The Grand Canyon of the Pacific and it is a grand canyon indeed. Look at the left edge towards the top and you'll see a towering waterfall.

Click on the link for a slightly larger view of Waimea Canyon.
On arrival at the Na Pali coast viewpoint in Koke'e State Park you could see Jack Squat Nothing NADAVille as the whole place was socked in with fog. And then 'wait! I think I see something!' 'Wait, I think I see something too!' And after about 3 minutes the fog had dissolved to reveal this stunning vision. What a treat.
I AM The Dude.
March 7

Another day, more glory. A morning walk along the beach... and more vintage Hawaiiana.
This is not a pineapple. It's called hala fruit or screw pine or pandanus and was originally the dominant tree in the islands. The fruit breaks into 'keys' and according to the tree book the inner portions of the keys are edible, sweet, and annoyingly stringy.
The local play station and art project along the beach of Lydgate Park.
These ceramic cuties and many others both larger and smaller are embedded all around the art project above. It is very charming.
There are dozens of kinds of palm trees and we love then all. Sharon treated us to lunch at Gaylords, a restaurant created in an old plantation house. This is the backdrop to our table. Many rooms in the house were turned over to art galleries and shops and the grounds are maintained to arboretum standards.
Sharon at ease in the living room. Note all the wonderful wood and the decorative Wheel of Fortune.
From the living room looking out to the patio and the river beyond...
...and from the dining room where I sit and count my blessings.
March 8

The Sprouting Horn blow-hole near Poipu. Sun on water = washed out highlights. Bummer! The absolute coolest thing about this place was the sound you'd hear just before the sprouting. It sounded like a huge elephant at the roar, or like you were underwater and heard a family of whales chatting, or like your stomach was growling during a silent moment at the theater.
Looking the other way. The volcanic stone you see here and in the previous picture is the primary building material for walls, bbq pits, fascias, and is broken up into chunks for pathways and garden decor. Can be a little tough on the bare feet and you don't want to knock up against any corners for sure.
We swung by the Hyatt to admire the birds...
...and an orchid collection so abundant and varied I am sure they have many specialists on staff to manage their care.
A view in the pool, for my mother who is crazy for turtles.

She developed her passion for turtles around her eightieth birthday and by her eighty-fifth birthday she had to call a halt to gifts of turtles since her apartment was overflowing with turtles in every variety, made of every material, sized from teeny to humongous. Even she, of infinite capacity for 'stuff' couldn't take any more. So here's a picture and it doesn't take up any room at all.
While Nancy was shopping Sharon and I wondered into a jewelry shop and the clerk sprung on my interest in this lovely $9,200 palm tree necklace. Try it! Try it!

March 10

This is it for today. Two pictures. It rained. 'It rained.' Interesting grammar... We did some chores and some shopping and then relaxed through the day and into the night. We did puzzles, read, played dominoes, ate of course. It was lovely.

Here is early morning with the river flooded and the dock sunk on its moorings.
Kenny, who hosted the party on our second day here, uses the dock next door. He runs a water-skiing and kayak business and here's a funny story because it wasn't me...

He had a group of tourists out in the kayaks yesterday and they all got stuck way up river. Their guide had to come down to get Kenny and the boat, to effect a rescue. It took a very long time and included a lot of hysterical screaming on the part of the stranded tourists. All was well in the end but a bit of a drama I hear while it was happening.

There are great kayaks right here whispering my name and I have been looking forward to an outing on the river but not to worry, I'll be waiting until it's all clear ahead.
March 9

We woke up to rain and went to sleep to rain. Very occasionally the rain would slow to a heavy mist. Nancy goes home tonight and we did a shopping outing looking for last bits of fabulous. This is a shop that specializes in vintage collectibles.
Some of what they've got...
Me, amusing myself while ladies go shopping. We then went to a bookstore for puzzle books and things to read and came back for a snuggly quiet afternoon and a Bon Voyage to Nancy.
March 11

More off and on rain. The river didn't clog up with debris down by the bridge, which is good and it looks like it isn't going to get worse, which is also good. Here is the house from across the river at Smith's landing. Lookin' Mighty good!
We took another several hours outing stopping first at the nearby Opaeka'a Falls. This feeds directly into the Wailua River that flows by the house. Notice how brown/red the water appears. This is from the red dirt picked up by the storm. Even the surf was exactly this color.

Everywhere around here you can buy Red Dirt Shirts and Kauai certainly came to Red Dirt life these last few days.
This place in Wailua River State Park is where everyone kicks into four-wheel-drive and heads up to enjoy the location made famous by Jurassic Park. The gate is even still there. But the river was so heavily flooded and running so fast we didn't see anyone give it a go.
Sharon was telling me this story as we drove into the Park: In this area there are frequent wild boar hunts with dogs specially trained for the job. The dogs are also trained to return to 'home base' should they get separated from the group. It turns out 'home base' must be the parking lot because this guy surely does look like a hunter and he was clearly just hanging around waiting for someone to come and get him.

Is he not the Red Dirt Dog?
Drizzle. Drizzle. Then... downpour.
Camas's house that reminds me of what houses would look like nestled in these jungle clearings. If you could get yourself some serious sun of course.
We had lunch at a nice spot on the beach in Kapa'a. This is one of their wall decorations. The restaurant is called Scotty's and it was well priced and delicious, with delightful staff and a great view. Wow. A winner!
Then we walked over to the beach to admire the kite surfers. These guys were Hot and F*ast. So far I haven't seen any surfers with those sails on their boards. I'm going to have to ask around about this.
March 12

Here is the soundtrack to my stay here. We've got this guy on a loop in the car stereo and he is 100% amazing. You will be amazed. Listen to him (Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole) and you will go GaGa and you will spend your month's budget on getting to know this amazing musician.
We walked from the house to get the Sunday paper. At the corner we came upon a Sunday tradition: the Pu'u Wai Canoe Club Huli Huli Chicken. I asked the cook, 'what makes it Huli Huli?' 'Huli means turn' he said. 'Huli Huli means turn twice. You know that dance, don't you?' I did a little boogie-woogie and got a bemused nod and a grin and an 'I knew you knew.'

I'm reading a saga of a Hawaiian family now, Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport, and last night came to a part where they were talking about the need for 'revolution', for 'huli', so I guess as is so often the case, meaning comes from context.
Mostly today was all about this. Wind and rain. I was thinking, if I was younger and on my precious one week vacation I might get in a twitch but now, older, wiser, and most-to-the-point, Retired, I can happily enjoy whatever strikes the mood of the island gods.

We were going to have a nice walk in Poipu but ended up sitting here back at the Hyatt enjoying the Sunday paper and the view.
We visited a new place today, the little community of Koloa, a restored 'village' from sugar cane days made up, not surprisingly, of shops and restaurants and historical markers. It was fun.
Less than two weeks from the first photo and the foliage around the Spirit House seems to have grown about a foot.
March 13

Can you guess what it was like today? Right. Rain. And tomorrow? Rain. So I looked her up, Hinakuluiau, the goddess of rain. Ok, Ok Hinakuluiau, we get it.

We drove out to Princeville today for a look around and because from the Princeville Hotel you can get some killer views without going outside. The 'town' of Princeville is actually a private world of golf courses, time-shares, condominiums, and boutique hotels - 11,000 acres of primo real estate devoted to very high end, isolated tourism.

I suppose it could be worse for the local people - like if it was a stinking industrial pig farm or something.
This is a bit of the Princeville Hotel's beach with pools and all the usual luxury hotel accoutrements behind me.

The lobby however offers one of the most stunning views EVER. Even socked in by low clouds and rain I just stood there a-gape at the 290 degrees of surrounding mountains and sea, with Hanalei Bay and Bali Hai in the distance. It really is worth driving through condo-land to see. My pictures are useless to convey the feeling and I couldn't find anything on the internet either that came close so you'll just have to go.
Camas's painting that reminds me of this place if you walk down the beach a bit. And get yourself some sun.
We swung by a guava plantation on the way home with plenty of shopping opportunities. I almost bought this cream made out of the noni fruit as a salve for mosquito bites. Maybe I'll order it over the internet? They offer a nice walking tour too but we declined since it was raining and the route was a mud-slogged trek.
One small section of the side yard. You've got your ginger, Ti plant, ferns, and palms. The property manager is also the landscape designer and he has done an impressive job of making plantings that seem both natural and designed.
March 14

I'm writing this at 5am on the 15th. We've been up since 3:15. The police have been to the door and emergency trucks are patrolling the neighborhood. Some houses down the street have already been evacuated because of the storm. Yikes. We are 96% confident here that the river will not reach the yard, but then there is that 4%.

This afternoon there was an 8 minute break in the rain and I got this distort-o-pano from the dock.
Today we went to the cute-as-pie Kauai Museum in Lahui, I got my hair cut by a crazy woman, we did some shopping, and ate Mexican food for lunch. I'm standing in the parking lot at the K-Mart. Yup, Kauai, the Garden Island and this is K-Mart.
From the port in Nawiliwili where the cruise ships come in looking back to the Marriott. Duke's, where we ate one afternoon, is there to the left of the hotel. The storm created a river right through the restaurant and they've had to close until the rain stops and they can clean-up.
A flash of sun! Quick!! Take a picture!!! Looking back at the house from the dock on the river.

From/through/around the downstairs windows is the site for all the other house pictures. There are two bedrooms upstairs and I've got this massive and oh-so-very-very comfortable suite to myself.

You're right, what you're thinking, about that bedroom suite. It is bigger than my house.
Camas and Koa stopped by for a farewell visit.
C&K have two look-alike cats. Sharon used to let them in until they started tearing up the furniture. They still want to come IN. 'Let me IN or ELSE.'
March 15

The rain is now falling only intermittently, the river is down, all is well, and I'm off for home.

Mahalo to Sharon for inviting us, for driving me and Nancy on every road in Kauai, for tour-guiding and food and comfort, and for surrounding our time together with sweet affection.

Mahalo to Trey too, for encouraging his mother to entertain her friends so lavishly.

HomeUSA Aloha! • Hawaii • '06 Mar: Kauai

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