From The Beginning Now:

March 19

You know how it is, when you know you have an early flight and should get up at 5:30am you wake up at 3:00am and you might as well get up. That's what happens to me anyway.

We were delayed about 40 minutes taking off because of the inaugural arrival of the World's Largest Airplane, the Airbus A380 that was due right when we were to leave. The folks on the other side of the plane got to see it land.
I had to make a connection in Honolulu. That's the city down the middle and Diamond Head in the far right corner.
Heading towards the Kauai airport in Lihue we pass by the cruise ship terminal in Nawiliwili. Gorgeous already.
And here we have Team Kauai! Nancy is leaving in a couple days. Sharon and Betty are staying through the month. They made me a welcome party with Lancer's wine and pupus. Oh YEA.
There's a shop of Hawaiiana nearby where it's always fun to get reminded of the kitch of the olden days.

See that tree with the yellow fower in front... she is. We called her a pot of gold.
For dinner we went to Scotty's in Kapa'a, a place we had enjoyed so much last year and enjoyed again equally today.
Betty, our Mai Tai Mama.
Back in the splendidness of this house that is so perfect you just need gasp, again and again.
March 20

We got out bright and early like around 10:30, after breakfast, and lounging, crossword puzzles, showers and chatting. Here are the cousins Sharon and Nancy at the Waimea Canyon viewpoint.
The Viewing Station.
The pano from the rail. Notice the waterfall just a little in from the edge of the upper far left corner. It's very teeny here.
Now check out how the wind was pulling the bottom of the waterfall. It's a mighty big waterfall so that wind must have been ferocious.

Usually there are several helicopters buzzing around in here doing tours but the day before I arrived there had been two crashes(!) each with tragic fatalities.

The crashes were both with the same company and both near the airport. What might be surprising is that there were some helicopters still flying despite this. Maybe it was the half-price deals that did it.
Further up the road in Koke'e State Park is this wonderful view of the Na Pali coast. This is not the best picture one could have though and the reason is that big bushes interfere with the best angles. They need to get somebody down here with a saw!
We enjoyed a lovely lunch at the cafe in the state park and then did a 400 step nature walk. I've got the step meter going again and despite the (oh so very easy) nature walk, today and yesterday Together didn't add up to 10,000 steps. But there's always tomorrow.
Some decorations inside the cafe...
...and outside too.

We learned that these are not just chickens and roosters. Oh no. These are 'the splendid Red Jungle Fowl of Koke'e State Park' and are 'descendants of birds carried to Hawaii by early Polynesian voyagers' and originally are from Southeast Asia. They are a protected species here.
Back at the house, this baby is growing wild.
I copied this from last year's visit!

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.
Nancy taught us The Salute to the Sun and then we did a little hula. Tonight we ordered pizza and watched Jurassic Park on dvd.
March 21

Here is Nancy demonstrating our daily joy of the outside shower. Wow.
The back garden with the shower also includes a tiki hut with netting so you can sleep out there (but to me it looks like a meditation pavilion) and a Japanese sand garden and is lush with tropical plants.

Sometimes it doesn't even look real but rather like some movie of a tropical hide-away.
We're up and off! This is the blow-hole mostly visited for the shopping opportunity near-by.
We are at some side stairs of The Fabulous Grand Hyatt in Poipu, gateway to a great walk, near the easiest beach to enjoy a nice swim, and, as you will soon see, big on birds.
There are separate ponds of black and white swans...
...and parrots in the lobby.
Sleep tight, sweet dreams.
Oh man.
Then we marched off for a 4000 step walk along the sea and then we (Nancy and I) punked out on further activity to spend the rest of the day and evening lolling around the house.
March 22

Two very very cool things happened this morning both before the coffee was hardly done dripping.

First, the river got quiet. It has usually got a good flow going and there are boats of various description doing their thing. That's 'our' dock down there looking across to the Smith's Tropical Paradise.
A rare and silent morning.
At the same time peering through the palms looking towards the bridge.
Then, moments later, kaBoom with a drenching downpour and literally moments later, this.
Sharon had one big chore, to replace the clothes dryer that quit this morning. We're in the tropics, metal rusts.

Then we drove out to The Menehuni Pond...
...and followed the road out to a place we'd never seen or heard of before. It was actually surprising to find so much open land. Oh goodie. (ps I didn't make up that green.)
On the way back we did our favorite 3800 step walk along the sea at Lydgate Park.
Hello lovely ladies.
Who cares if I have a thousand photos just like this? Not me.
At the end of Lydgate park there's a children's playground with fabulous ceramics decorating all the structures. This is Sharon's favorite.
Then we had lunch, went shopping for food, came home and did crossword puzzles, and then we watched Word Play and ate shrimp cocktail! Just another day in paradise.
March 23

In our campaign to walk 10,000 steps per day in as many places as possible, today Sharon and Betty took me to a place they had walked on previously along Wailua Beach.

There are many modern hotels in this stretch but this one looks like a classic from the olden days. Turn directly around from this shot and...'re here.
Probably the most well known historic property in Kauai, The Coco Palms, has been abandoned since hurricane Iniki in 1992. The buildings are all uninhabitable and new uses for the land have been through so many planning stages everyone's lost count.

Now, you guessed it, we've got Condo Land. At a cool million plus for a one bedroom it's going to be pretty darn nice. They are keeping some part for a hotel too.

Also part of the contract with the island is that they will imporve the road which, in the end, will be a good thing for Our-House since we are so nearby.
Driftwood demanding its photo be taken.
Who is that out there? Whose head bobs in the river? Why, that would be ME!

Sharon's photo.
March 24

We decide to enjoy the Marriott today in the little port town of Nawiliwili. Here's the welcoming lighthouse - not the more famous Kilauea Lighthouse but a landmark nonetheless.
And more tropical wonderland.

Their specialty was great arrangements of heliconia, the family of the bird of paradise and all those other amazing plants that look like wax sculptures but are really real.
Also the Marriott puts on a koi feeding frenzy at 9am each day that is a tourist attraction in itself.

This guy was hanging out on the steps... waiting...
The shrieking show-off cockatoo. Was he ever l.o.u.d.
The entrance to the Marriott is so modest and then you walk and walk through acres of buildings and gardens.
Below the hotel are a few restaurants including a branch of the renowned Duke's. This cat moved among the tables knowing exactly when the server brought the food and approaching that group with plaintive and demanding cries.
The recently reopened tourist viewing opportunity at Wailua Falls.
I'm just glad her mother isn't going to see this picture.
I suppose at some point the splendid Red Jungle Fowl might become a nuisance, and since they are protected I don't see why that hasn't happened already, but we just think they are cute as can be and create entertainment for all our walks.

Enjoy sweet little keiki.
March 25

It's a good morning and we're off to drive on the road that takes us to the Jurassic Park sites. We don't want to take the new truck off 4-wheeling and it's rather steep and far to walk... we find the perfect trail right near by. It's called the Kuilau Ridge Trail and we looved it.
On a clear day you can easily see the top of Mt Wai'ale'ale, the World's Wettest Spot. But it's not the World's Wettest Spot for nothing, and it is very rarely a clear day.
This reminded me of a pattern for a line of Calvin Klein linen.
Cool sights from the walk.

Also the birds were gathered for choir practice I think. The songs were so profuse and diverse and so lovely it made me want to buy a birdsong cd for my car!
This evening we had a little neighborhood pupu soiree and a grand time was had by all. Kenny even said he'd take us up to Fern Grotto tomorrow and the next day we'll visit the neat-o park out where Bob and Sharon are staying.

Kenny and Cathy here.
Another dinner guest. Geckos are a great source of entertainment around here. He's a pretty big one hanging upside down on the patio ceiling. Mostly they are green because they are hanging around on green things. I think they can change color mighty darn fast.
March 26

Our outing today took us to the far north end of the island, as far as you can drive up to the north-west end of the Na Pali Coast.

You must cross many one-lane bridges on the way and from every single one in both directions you'll see wonderful views.
When we got to the end, to Kee Beach in Haena, not only was it raining but also there was no place to park this being a local holiday, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole day, (you can look him up as Prince Kuhio-it's an interesting story) and all the local families were out enjoying the sites.

We too visited the sites on the drive back. We pulled into the Wet and Dry Caves for a photo-op and these cutie-pie cheer-leader tourist girls were just the ticket.
This is your basic view of Hanalei Bay in the rain from the front seat of a truck that's parked on the sand. We did wait a while but the rain didn't stop.

This is also the area where they filmed South Pacific and where she washed that man right out of her hair.
Attention! Attention! The essential crossword puzzle bird, the Hawaiian Nene. Hi kids.
This is the setting for the Kilauea Lighthouse in Kilauea, also known as Kilauea Point. It's a bird sanctuary and on the grassy space in the upper middle is an albatross nesting ground.

Sharon and Betty had a great albatross viewing experience a few weeks earlier but today we didn't see any. They also had a cavorting momma whale and her calf. And today, nada. So much of sightseeing is luck I'd say!
But we did get to see a lot of soaring sea birds. This is a Red-footed Booby ('a in Hawaiian).
They pick up the drafts from the cliffs and just hang there for your viewing pleasure. This is the Great Frigatebird ('iwa in Hawaiian).
Next along this road we stopped off to admire Hanalei Valley and the Lookout. Look out!
Then we did a new walk, so new the path isn't finished yet but the plan is to pave an off-street route for bicycles to travel back and forth from the residential areas up north to their work in the south. Great idea!
Birds birds birds. Can't resist 'em.
March 27

First thing this morning we went for a nice walk at Kukuiolono Park. It was beautiful and very different. The inset shows the 9" long needles on the tress that were carpeting the forest floor and pathway.
Also there was a little Japanese garden made mostly of lava rocks in a dozen formations with bonsai plants making up the garden's story. There were flowers too, and some tropical plantings.
And Betty!
Then we went to Historic Hanapepe, a one street town with a few art shops, a restaurant where we had a tasty lunch, and this swinging bridge for walking across.
And then we went to a place called The Russian Fort, built in 1816 and occupied through 1864.

It is rather a pile of lava rocks. Here's a guidebook quotation. 'Still, it's fun to stretch your imagination and try to picture the fort completed and in use, perhaps with the Russian representative, the colorful and deluded Georg Scheffer bustling around giving orders.'
Late in the day Kenny and Kathy from down the street took us on a boat to Fern Grotto. The Grotto has been an important tourist attraction, achievable by boat only, for years but the big storm last March destroyed it almost completely.

It is a state park and the government is refurbishing it to be much safer, include crowd control, improved facilities for handicap access, and new toilets. It'll be fine, but not like The Old Days, ask anyone.
Here's their dog, the boat-ridin' chicken-chasin' dog Coco(mo).
The Fern Grotto.
At one point it was supposed to be open this January but here it is the end of March and it doesn't look near done. It seems they're working on government time...
Then we rode under the highway bridge about 1/2 mile down river from Our-House...
...and up to the entrance to the sea. Kenny said if the tides are right he can power his small boats through this channel and up into the waves. Now that would have been an adventure!
And on the way back here we have Our-House, glowing in the setting sun. It is indeed just as magnificent as it looks.
March 28

It's just after sunrise now and clearly visible from the front lawn is Mt Wai'ale'ale, the wettest place on earth.

I never did see it last March and this is the first time this year. A few hours later clouds had begun to gather and that was it, no more Mt Wai'ale'ale for now.
We did our walk today across the river at Smith's Tropical Paradise. They do a lot of tours, kayaking, big full-service luaus with entertainment and the works, weddings, anything you want really.

You can stroll through the large landscaped grounds and it's good. You can also buy some bird food when you go in creating a Pied Piper effect for your entire walk. That was fun too.
I know, cheaters never prosper.
One of the sights...
There are sections to the gardens - the ginger section, the Philipino Village, bamboo - and since most of the plants are marked it is great fun. 'OH, so That's what that is!'
For example, this is the Koa tree. This is the tree from which was built a floor for which I have lust in my heart.
What's that? we asked each other. Awww, cutie little duck butts.
Our favorite splendid Red Jungle Fowl and cock-of-the-walk patrolling the exit.
Then we had another yummy lunch, this time at Olympic Cafe in the still little town of Kapa'a after which Betty and I got haircuts at Supercuts.

Then we needed to rest.
A crowd gathered towards evening as seems to so often happen here on the Wailua River, at Our-House.

You can pick out Sharon and Betty, then Kenny and Kathy from down the street, then Bob and Sharon who operate a ranch-resort in Idaho but always spend March in Kauai, and Nigel and Jackie.

It's a moderately long story. Nigel and Jackie are staying in Kenny and Kathy's guest house. Nigel is a Scotsman, Jackie is an American, they've been living in New Zealand and are looking to relocate to Kauai. So we talked about New Zealand much to my benefit.

Tomorrow is Mahalo. I can hardly imagine not being here!
HomeUSA Aloha! • Hawaii • '07 Mar: Kauai

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