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Our trip to the Hawaiian Island of Kaua’i
April 03-12, 2009

The spectacular view from the lanai (terrace) 20 yards from the ocean:

When our next-door neighbors, Debi Landorf and Kevin Podwika, invited us to join them at their 2-bedroom timeshare in Kaua’i, Hawaii we jumped at the chance! KC had never been to the islands, it had been years since I’d been there, and I’d never been to the island of Kaua’i.

Called The Garden Island, it is the oldest of the seven large islands and has been featured in more than 70 Hollywood movies and television shows. Scenes from SOUTH PACIFIC were filmed in the vicinity of Hanalei. Waimea Canyon was used in the filming of the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK. Parts of the island were also used for the opening scenes of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Other movies filmed here include SIX DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS, the remake of KING KONG and John Ford's 1963 film DONOVAN’S REEF. Excluding the island of Ni’ihau, which is privately owned and closed to foreigners, Kaua’i is the westernmost and least developed of the inhabited islands. Eighty-five percent of the island is not reachable by car and there are many places to explore so we planned to pack our hiking boots.

The resort where we would be staying was the Waiohai Marriott on Poipu beach on the southeastern side.

Press here for link to Waiohai Mariott site (a new window will open).

Debi and Kevin are multiple-week owners at this property and are entitled to stay in its premium units just steps from the beach, the pool, and the bar. Not only were the accommodations first class but Debi, Kevin, and their two kids, Owen and Peyton, are so easy to be around that it was a totally stress-free vacation. Well, it wasn’t TOTALLY stress free but that wasn’t their fault, it was mine, and, of course, there will be more on that later.

Our hosts, Debi, Kevin, Owen and Peyton, DKOP:

THANK YOU Debi and Kevin!
KC and I would like to publically thank Kevin and Debi for making this vacation possible.

Even if we had been willing to spring for a room at a resort we would never have had access to the suite they “own” and that made such a difference. Being so close to everything, especially the ocean, was wonderful. I know they thought the weather was less than ideal but, for us, it was perfect. Hiking, shopping, and sitting at the bar is no fun when it’s hot and those are the things we enjoy most.
Thanks, again, for being so generous with such a treasure.


We came home with 49 pages of notes – a record for me -- and 530 pictures of which 140 made it into the travelogue. Debi and Kevin’s pictures increased the number to almost 200. MY FAVORITE PIX ARE AT THE VERY END so if you’re going to skip anything skip the beginning and look at the ones from Saturday, April 11 of KC in the pool with the kids.

I’m SURE there are grammatical and spelling errors all over the place! I will correct them as I find them. If YOU find any, please let me know – I hate reading anything that has errors in it!

I have received many notes from strangers who have read our logs and used them to plan their own trips. If you are one of these people, please know that we really love hearing from you and are gratified that you enjoy these as much as we do. But, remember, this was OUR experience – yours may be different – and you should not treat this log as a ‘review’ of any sort. Thank you! Please keep your comments and suggestions coming!

Travel to Kaua’i
Friday, April 3

We booked our flights in October of 2008 and knew we would be changing planes twice, once in Dallas and once in Honolulu, so we planned to travel with carry-on baggage only (I am jinxed – if we change planes, they loose my checked baggage).. Since there are still some things you cannot carry on board – like large tubes of sunscreen, scissors, and the agave syrup I prefer in my tea -- I shipped a box with those banned substances. I added a jar of pequillo peppers in the hope that I would be able to prepare something with them for dinner.

Debi and Peyton had flown over two weeks before we arrived and spent a week on the island alone. Kevin and Owen joined them a week later with two of their other friends, Mike and Todd. (Owen is in school and could not miss more than one week.) The day Mike and Todd left, we arrived.

DKOP with Mike and Todd on the day we arrived:

We left Naperville on Friday April 3rd at 7:55 a.m. KC dropped me and our bags off at the terminal, parked the car in the remote lot, and then met me at the check-in counter. We used the self-check-in, breezed through security, and went right to the gate as the flight was about to board. We settled in, shared a mimosa, and were on our way! The breakfast choices on this short flight were simple – sweet roll or biscuit. We both opted for the biscuit

The flight left and arrived on time and we easily made our connection in Dallas. That plane left late, though, and with only an hour to connect in Honolulu we were afraid we’d miss our flight to Kaua’i. When I asked the flight attendants about this they assured me we didn’t need to worry.

The plane, a 767, was the new configuration with lay-flat seats and we had the two in the middle. The flight itself was uneventful but the amenities on this mostly-vacationers route were not what they are on the mostly-business-travelers route to Dublin. The food was mediocre – salmon with a teriyaki glaze (which might have had MSG in it) and lasagna which was so bland I was digging in my bag for cayenne after the first bite -- and there was no personal entertainment system which really irritated KC. It was an 8-hour flight so they showed two movies but we didn’t watch either of them. We’d been up late the night before, I’d only had 2 hours sleep and KC a whopping 45 minutes, so both of us took advantage of the lay-flat seats and managed to snooze for about 3 hours.

When we arrived in Honolulu we knew we needed to hurry, we had only 40 minutes to make our connection, but we had no idea where we needed to go so I asked the woman at the information booth who pointed to a map on her desk and told me to ‘go left, all the way to the end of the hall’. KC kept asking me what we should be looking for but I didn’t know…all I knew was that we needed to keep going. Much of the way was outdoors, it was warm and muggy, we were moving fast, and I was sweaty and uncomfortable but I didn’t dare stop.

We did eventually find the ‘inter-island flight terminal’ and attempted to check in but there were no gate agents even though the flight was due to depart in 30 minutes! When we asked at a different gate they told us to use the self-check in but, when we tried, it didn’t work. We finally found someone willing to help us and discovered that we were actually booked on the NEXT flight, the one that departed half an hour later, so we left messages for Debi and Kevin that we’d be late and went to the new gate. While we were calling Kevin another agent came over to tag our bags for us. The limit for carry-ons is 25 pounds each and she guessed that KC’s was over the limit but when he offered to gate check it, she let it pass.

Once we’d found a place to sit, KC looked at our boarding passes and noticed there were no seat assignments, so I took them to the gate agent to ask whether this was normal. She offered to put us on our original flight, in the exit row seats no less, if we were willing to take the chance that our bags might not make it. Well, we had our bags with us, so we accepted her offer and ran back to the first gate. We were the last to board, they closed the doors, and 19 minutes later we were landing in Kaua’i!

The island of Kaua’i taken through the window of the plane:

The airport is in Lihue, just north of where we would be staying, so Poipu is not visible in the shot above.

It was almost 7:00 p.m. by the time we had deplaned, the sun was on its way down, and it was fairly cool with a stiff breeze; I was glad I was wearing leggings and had a jacket with me. While we waited for Kevin to come get us, I mentioned to KC that I had hoped to be given an orchid lei when we deplaned, both at the Honolulu airport and again at Kaua’i, but not only had that NOT happened, I also hadn’t see them anywhere. Were real flower leis no longer made? KC, of course, didn’t know….

Kevin arrived with Mike and Todd who were on their way back to Naperville so we said hello and good-bye and then piled in the minivan, a white Ford that would seat 7. We stopped at Costco and the grocery on our way to stock up on beer, bagels and cream cheese. We also bought two bottles of wine – a Camus Conundrum and a bottle of macadamia-nut-honey wine.

At the airport, texting Kevin to let him know we were in, while we waited to be picked up:

The drive from Lihue to Poipu:

When we got to the room Debi was making dinner for the kids so Kevin gave us a tour of the unit and the property. It was too dark to really see anything outside but it was obvious the unit was in a prime location, close to all the important things. At 1200 sq. ft. it was nice and big and the layout was perfect: the (full) kitchen-dining-living area was in the center with sliding glass doors leading to a cement lanai (terrace) overlooking the beach. On the terrace were a table and some chairs. Between the lanai and the beach was a small private lawn bordered with a low hedge, another public lawn with a row of beach chairs, and a path to the pool and bar. The bedrooms were on either side of the living area and both had a king-sized bed. Both bedrooms faced the ocean and had full-size sliding glass windows. Ours, the ‘second’ bedroom, also had a sleeper sofa and a table. The second bathroom was connected to our bedroom, thank goodness, and also had a door to the living area. In this bathroom were a small washer and dryer. We could see why Kevin and Deb come back here year after year.

But, I digress. It was after 8:00 now and the adults were hungry so we all went to Keoki’s for dinner. We weren’t able to get a table inside so we sat in the bar area, outside, and had simple fare (hamburgers, fish-and-chips, and ribs). KC ordered a Blue Hawaii which was DELICIOUS – a vodka, blue curacau, pineapple and coconut concoction that was much better than my Plantation Lemonade.

Owen, Peyton, Debi and Kevin:

Blue Hawaii and Plantation Lemonade

Keoki’s Cocktail Menu

Keoki’s Bar Menu:

While we were waiting for the food to arrive Debi started playing UNO with the kids and the waitress asked her to stop! Apparently, ANY card game can be construed as ‘gambling’ and the restaurant might loose its license, so they switched to tic-tac-toe. After dinner, Kevin and Peyton split her favorite dessert – Hula Pie – a HUGE slice of macadamia nut ice cream on an Oreo base with whipped cream and hot fudge. Peyton, who has this adorable kewpie voice, calls it ‘whoop’ cream. For guests of the Waiohai, this dessert is free!

Press here for link to Keoki’s Paradise website (a new window will open).

The weather forecast for the week was for highs in the mid 70’s and lows in the 60’s. It was pretty chilly at the restaurant and, again, I was glad I had my fleece jacket. I was pretty sure it would be too cold for me to go in the water (it needs to be unbearably hot for me to even consider it) which was a relief – not only do I not like hot weather but I also had no desire to bare this overweight bod in a bathing suit! I’ve gained a LOT of weight since we moved to Naperville and prefer to keep my cellulite hidden.

The best thing about this island, so far, had been the fact that there are NO BUGS! None! Oh there is a fly every now and then, but there are NO MOTHS, no mosquitoes, no spiders, nothing. I suspect that the strong winds have blown them away which makes this another perfect vacation spot for me. Where else on earth are there no moths????? And, if anyone knows, why is this?

It had been a loooong day for us so when we got back to the room I unpacked and then we both went to bed. It was 10:30pm local time and we fell asleep listening to the surf through the open sliding-glass doors, THAT’S how close we were to the ocean!

Owen and Peyton, who went to bed right before we did, snug in their bed:

Day Two, Saturday, April 4th
Blue Hawaii Class at the Pool Bar

At 7:00 am we were both wide awake but everyone else was still sound asleep so we showered, dressed and went in search of coffee. It had been dark when Kevin gave us our tour and neither of us remembered how to get to the reception building so we chose the path to the right and followed it all the way to the end of the property. We didn’t find the reception building but we did see how beautifully the area was landscaped.

We made our way back and realized that reception was directly across from the pool! Once inside, we found The Marketplace where we each got a cup of coffee, Starbucks Kona, and KC got some Mambo Bando which looked like chicken wings and rice. My latte was delicious , and KC liked the liquid cane sugar they offered as a sweetener, but the Mambo Bando was a disaster. First of all, it was no longer hot, and the wings were not boneless so KC just picked at them.

Press here for link to my search for Kona coffee on our return (a new window will open).

After breakfast we tossed our ‘dishes’ and went for a walk on the beach towards a tiny island to the west. You can walk to this island when the tide is low and right by the crossover point is a sign which informs you that “Kauai has the highest drowning rate per capita in the nation…most drownings occurred RIGHT HERE!!” It was easy to see why – there was a fierce undercurrent. Debi and Kevin told us that they had been on this little island but, having seen it, I had no intention of attempting the trip.

To the left of this sign was a huge monk seal sleeping on the beach! The area around it was cordoned off with rope, and multiple signs advised you “DO NOT APPROACH MONK SEALS!” The signs went on to say that the seals, endemic to the islands, frequently came up on the beach to sleep during the day. As innocent as they look, they are solitary animals, could be dangerous and might bite. They are also endangered and protected. So, as adorable as it looked, we kept our distance.

Seal sleeping on the beach:

These seals are actually among the most endangered species on earth. They are often referred to as “living fossils” as they have remained relatively unchanged for over 15 million years. The vast majority of them live on and around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. There is a Monk Seal Watch Group which patrols the beaches and places the barriers around the sleepers to protect them from beachgoers.

Press here for link to Monk Seal website (a new window will open).

Here is a shot of the resort we were staying at taken, in 2004, from the little island across from the dire-warning-sign. The landscaping is not as lush but it’s a good shot of the unit we were in and shows its proximity to the beach, the pool and the bar. I added the red arrows and labels:

Close-up of pool bar (the three empty seats in the center were “ours”):

When we got back to the room, everyone else was up. Kevin walked with us to the concierge and added us, and our credit card, to the room so that we could separate our charges, we signed up for the Blue Hawaii class at 10:45 that day, and picked up some brochures for things to do on the island. Back at the room we had some breakfast (oatmeal for me, bagels and cream cheese for everyone else) and then Kevin, KC and I sauntered over to the bar for our ‘class’.

Our bartender, Jack, moved to the island 18 years ago. He’s an expert in all types of tropical concoctions, he’s a deep sea fisherman, and he’s a great guy to talk to. He’s Debi and Kevin’s favorite bartender (at this bar):

Jack was our ‘instructor’. First, we learned how to cut a pineapple to use as a garnish, and then how to mix a Blue Hawaii. Huh? This one didn’t have coconut in it and, IMO, it wasn’t as good. KC, who doesn’t really care for coconut, liked it better. Believe it or not, after our ‘class’ we sat there at the bar for FIVE HOURS! Between the two us we consumed 10 frou-frou drinks: 3 Blue Hawaiians, a Waiohai Colada (Kahlua, macadamia nut liqueur, and coconut), 2 Guava Jellys (my favorite drink made with Grey Goose Citroen, cassis, sweet-sour mix, and guava puree), one Ultimate Mai Tai (too strong for me), a Banana Mudslide, a Holy Water, and a Guava Colada. Kevin was drinking Chi-Chi’s and Deb had a few as well but I didn’t keep track of theirs….

The three of us at the bar:

From left to right Chi-Chi, Guava Jelly, Waiohai Colada, Blue Hawaii:

The Ultimate Mai Tai:

Honu Bar Beverage Menu

Recipe for Blue Hawaii from the class we took:

We had lunch at the bar as well. I had a mahi-mahi sandwich but I didn’t eat the bread because the fish was SO good! KC had a hot dog. Deb and Peyton came over periodically – they were playing in the pool – and I made frequent trips to the room to use the facilities (thank goodness it was so close) and to grab my jacket. It was partly cloudy and windy again and my sweater wasn’t enough. There was a basketball game playing on the TV (the final 4) which Kevin was very interested in and KC became interested in. It started at noon Kaua’i time and I watched it as well because I was too ‘relaxed’ to care. I have NEVER had so much to drink in my life! But, because the drinks, with only one shot apiece, are so low in alcohol (at least mine were, I didn’t have the Mai Tai) I was pleasantly looped and could have spent the rest of the day there.

But, I didn’t. Once the game was over, we went back to the room where Kevin made some delicious chicken tacos. After dinner Kevin joined Deb and Peyton at the tranquility pool (one of the three pools on the property, this one has no splashing allowed) and KC and I read on the lanai. Owen spent the entire day inside playing Pokémon on his Nintendo DS. Right before the sun started to set, KC and I walked down the beach, to the east this time. We passed three other resorts none of which were as nice as the Waiohai. It was not as windy on that side, though, because the beach was steeper. We also passed two seals sleeping and one of them winked at us.

About 6pm it got really cold out (low 70’s) so we went inside. Dinner was a joint effort – grilled chicken, rice and salad – and then KC played with the kids while I wrote in my journal. We opened the bottle of Caymus with dinner but didn’t finish it. We watched two movies, Porky’s and National Treasure, and went to bed around 11:00 pm.

KC swinging Peyton on his foot/leg – she really loved this game!

Day Three, Sunday, April 5th
Hiking in Waimea Canyon

Once again, KC and I were up early, at 7:30 this time, so he went for coffee while I got dressed. We sat on the lanai this morning, reading, until around 9:00 when Deb and Kevin got up. At one point, it rained lightly for about 3 minutes. KC and I discussed what we wanted to do while we were there and, using Frommer’s guide, I booked 2 seats on a helicopter for Tuesday at 8:15 am. We wanted to go ziplining, too, but didn’t make a reservation because Kevin had indicated a desire to join us. Ziplining is where you slide – in a harness -- on a rope strung between two trees, similar to swinging on a vine. Many zipline tours also offer the option to swing on a vine and/or walk across a rope bridge. The one we were considering offered all three, for $125 per person, and left from Princeville (on the northeastern coast of the island).

The places we wanted to visit:

There are a lot of chickens on the island – introduced many years ago and thriving because they have no natural predators – but they are inoffensive. Today we saw the rooster that had been waking us up every morning and one of his harem, a speckled hen with 8 chicks. They were not afraid of us and came right up onto the lanai. At one point, the mother hen ‘rested’ and all 8 chicks huddled under her wings. They stayed like that for so long we thought she’d fallen asleep!

Mr. Rooster

Mother hen:

Mother hen with chicks under her wings:

Exploring, about 5 inches from KC’s feet:

The “grass” at this resort was some sort of very coarse low-growing ground cover that did not need to be mowed – I’m going to try and find out what it was and will replace all our grass if it will grow in the Midwest. How wonderful not to ever have to mow the lawn again! It looked to me like synthetic turf but it was definitely alive.

Although we don’t have any close-up pictures, many of the plants we use in the Midwest as “house plants” were growing in abundance here outdoors: philodendrons were used as ground cover in some of the flower beds and there were hibiscus, ginger, ficus and birds of paradise everywhere!

The chickens pecking at Peyton’s impressive collection of stones on the lanai:

According to the site below, “the Hawaiian Moa (Ornamental Red Jungle Fowl), now considered a protected state bird, was introduced to the island centuries ago by the Polynesians on their travels across the pacific. They are the same birds you will see on Tahiti and would have meet on the other Hawaiian islands before mongoose were introduced to keep the numbers of chickens and rabbits down. Of course the mongoose also eliminated almost all other bird species in the processes, not to mention quite a few outdoor pets. Kauai is the only Hawaiian Island that doesn't have a mongoose population. It is said that a disgruntled harbor worker after having received Kauai's shipment of Mongoose, set for distribution all over the island, had been bit by one of those unfriendly creatures and in return rejected the entire shipment, dumping the mongoose into Nawiliwili Bay.”
Press here for link to info on Kaua’i wildlife (a new window will open).

The pictures above were taken with the small camera I carry in my purse. When I nipped inside to get the big camera, we realized that Deb and Kevin were up so we went back in and chatted until almost 1:00pm! They had bagels for breakfast again (I had cheese and pears) and Kevin is the only person I know who eats a bagel like a sandwich:

Kevin’s unique way of eating a bagle:

We had originally planned to drive up the north coast today because, being Sunday, there would be less traffic but it was so late now (the north coast is 1.5 hours away) that we decided to drive to Koke’e State Park and hike to Waipoo Falls. Deb packed us an ice bag with some water and G2, we loaded up on sunscreen and insect repellant, put on our hiking boots, and hit the road!

Waimea Canyon:

Press here for link to Waimea Canyon site (a new window will open).

In the car, KC asked me how I would feel about living there (he does this everywhere we go!) and we were deep in discussion when we passed the turnoff for 550. KC was wondering if we’d missed it when saw a sign for 552/Waimea Canyon so we turned off. Rt.552 was a deserted rolling 2-lane road that KC enjoyed driving in spite of the sluggish minivan. It reminded us a bit of Ireland.

Along the way we could see glimpses of the canyon through the vegetation lining the road. We stopped the car at the lookout point and walked to the edge. WOW! Mark Twain called it the Grand Canyon of the Pacific but, IMO, it’s more impressive than the one in Arizona. From the lookout we could see Waipoo Falls the destination of our first hike.

Waimea Canyon overlook:

Looking to the right:

Looking to the left – Waipoo Falls (if you look closely, there is a helicopter in this shot):

We drove on, looking for the beginning of the trail and found it between mile markers 14 and 15. It started out as a fairly boring dirt road and was steeply downhill which meant that the return trip, when we’d be tired, would be uphill. Ugh. After a few minutes we came upon a clearing where a man with a pickup truck was clearing away a fallen tree. He told us it was a Koa tree that had come down in last week’s storm and that it was legal for him to harvest the wood as long as he didn’t sell it. He said he intended to use it for firewood. At the far end of the clearing was the beginning of the trail that would take us to the falls.

The beginning of the trail to Waipoo Falls:

Fallen Koa tree:

Although the trail was very well ‘made’ using the tree’s roots as ‘steps’ it was mostly downhill, very steep, and there was nothing to hold onto to steady myself. I wished I’d remembered to bring my walking sticks. At one point, KC found a large branch that I was able to use as long as I didn’t put too much weight on it.

The path:

The weather was nice and cool – perfect for this type of activity – and there were no bugs. I was afraid of slipping, though, and spent most of the hike looking at my feet but I did look up whenever KC said ‘wow’ and ask him to take a picture. Anything wow-worthy was picture-worthy! Most of the time, though, we were surrounded by vegetation on both sides and could not see our destination. We passed about 6 groups of people and all of them told us that it was ‘not much farther’ and that, yes, it was ‘worth it’.

All of a sudden, we came out of the trees at the base of a promontory with a sheer drop-off to the right!. From here, you could look back and see the NASA satellite tower where we had started out and the canyon up ahead. We could hear goats bleating but couldn’t see them. Were there goats on the island? What about wild pigs?!?!?

When I did an internet search on feral goats I discovered that the day before, April 4th, 2009, the local government had announced an opportunity for interested individuals to participate in the control of feral goats on Kaua‘i in an area known as Hunting Unit F in Waimea Canyon. Hunting was only allowed on weekends and state holidays and TODAY WAS SUNDAY!
Press here for link to Feral Goat Control press release (a new window will open).

Barb at the top of the promontory:

We walked to the top of the promontory with KC favoring the left side (he has a fear of heights). At the top it leveled off and you could see most of the canyon. You could also hear the waterfall but could not see it. The trail got very rocky at this point which made it easier for me as I now had something to hold onto.

The rocky path – am I jumping??:

The other edge of the promontory, before the turn to the falls:

KC conquering his fear of heights:

The canyon (and a helicopter) as seen from this side:

Another 100 yards or so beyond this point we rounded a corner and saw them. But…but…but…THIS was it? It was puny! It was beautiful but was certainly not the 800-foot-long wonder we had been looking forward to.

These are the famous 800-foot-long falls???

The rocks at the base of the falls were huge and I was sure I would not be able to jump them so I took the camera and KC went on alone.

KC jumping the rocks to get to the base of the falls:

Proof that he made it:

Some of the people we’d passed on the way down told us that the path continued on and that there was a second fall further down. We saw the path but decided against following it. It was after 3:00pm now and it had taken us an hour to get to this point. We knew the way back would be longer and harder as it was all uphill and we were afraid it would take us too long to return if we went any further. In retrospect, we should have gone on as the second fall WAS the one we’d seen from the lookout point.

Debi, Mike and Todd did this same hike the week before and this is what we would have seen if we’d pressed on:

Here again is the shot from the lookout point
where you can see the promontory we were on:

The way back actually took less time than we thought it would. Along the way we stopped to investigate a small brook that someone had dammed with a concrete wall (they got concrete all the way up here?!?) and a HUGE evergreen tree growing by the side of the dirt road. As expected, the trek back up that dirt road was tortuous!

The small brook:

The concrete dam:

The base of the huge evergreen tree:

My fanny pack, full of kleenix, bandaids, alcohol swabs, food (breakfast bars and cayenne), cell phone, money, etc…, was becoming heavy so I turned it to my back. In retrospect, I should have had it at the back for the trip down and in front for the trip up, which I will do next time. Or, maybe I’ll ask KC to wear it. I didn’t want to leave it in the car because I might need what was in it, AND because one of the tourist websites I visited warned against leaving anything valuable in your rental car -- break-in’s are the only real crime on the island.

When we got back to the where the car was parked there was a dog running around which, we were told, was a hunting dog. They are trained to come to the road so that their owners can collect them. On the website below I read that both feral deer and feral pigs ARE present on the island and that there are approximately 2000 registered hunters out to get them. The boar weigh anywhere from 180 to 400 pounds! Hunting dogs are used to track and hold down a pig while the hunter dispatches it with just his knife.

Press here for link to Hunting on Kauai (a new window will open).

For the drive back we took Rt. 550 which was even steeper and twistier than 552! I heard something rattling around in the back and when I turned to see what it was, I noticed that the camera on the seat behind KC was about to fall off! He couldn’t reach it so I undid my seatbelt, knelt on my seat and stretch back to see if I could grab the strap. Suddenly the car swerved and I was thrown into KC’s lap! I looked at his face and saw him trying to hide a smirk -- the road had turned sharply, he said, what was he supposed to do? Um…slow down?

Route 550:

Here are some pictures that Debi and Kevin took while we were gone of the surf and their kids playing in it:

Peyton splashing Owen in the pool:

We got back to the resort around 5:00pm, dropped our stuff in the room, and headed to the bar. We saw Kevin and Deb by the pool so I stayed with them and KC got everyone drinks. I was freezing (it was in the low 70’s again) and huddled under 2 jackets and 2 towels. From then on, I decided to wear leggings every day. It had been a nice day and there weren’t many clouds so we walked to the edge of the resort to watch the sun go down over Ni’ihau. It was beautiful – I love that time of day, right after the sun sets – so we took a few pics of the resort, the tiki flames that are everywhere, and of course the sunset.


Kevin’s pictures of the same sunset (he had a very powerful telephoto lens):

Waiohai Resort at dusk. The pictures below were taken AFTER the sunset pictures so you can see how the camera darkens the whole shot when you’re taking a photo into the sun. It was not as dark as the pictures above lead you to believe:

Tiki flames:

We had dinner reservations that night at Keoki’s, the bar we’d eaten at on Friday, but tonight we would be in the restaurant so we cleaned up and drove over there. We started out with fried calamari and mu-shu pork, both of which were delicious. I had a Blue Hawaiian and discovered that the coconut flavor is provided by coconut syrup which I know I can get from Monin. KC started out with a Wrong Island Ice Tea and had trouble finishing it – he said it was pure alcohol and tasted nothing like ice tea. For round two, everyone ordered Blue Hawaii’s!

For dinner we all had opah in a herb-panko-macadamia-parmesan crust with a lemon-caper-butter sauce which was out of this world. We’d hoped to have opakapaka or monchong but they were out. All the fish served on the island is fresh, whatever the local fisherman bring in, so the selection changes daily. For dessert, we split a Hula Pie and I even had a bite.

Keoki’s Dinner Menu:

Back at the room I changed into my PJs and tried to update my journal but I was so tired I went to bed. KC watched Spiderman 3 with Kevin and Deb and came to bed around 12:30.

Day Four, Monday, April 6th
Farmer’s Market and cooking Class

I had woken up several times during the night and noticed that it was really pouring outside, but the sun was shining when we got out of bed. KC went for coffee while I got dressed and then we sat on the lanai and read. Today KC tried the Spam Sushi – he’s trying to sample all the unusual stuff they offer – but he didn’t like that any more than the Mambo Bando. The spam was ok, fried and wrapped in rice, but he didn’t care for the seaweed wrapper.

Kevin was up early today and asked if we’d like a coffee refill since he was going to the Marketplace. I was good on the coffee front but asked for a USA Today which he told me would cost $2.50!! Shortly after he left, it started POURING! We moved our chairs as far back as possible so we could enjoy the rain without getting wet, something I’ve always wished we could do at home. I thought it rained for an hour but KC says it was only 15 minutes or so. In either case, it was really throwing it down! And then the sun came out and it was warm for the rest of the day. Kevin, fortunately, had made it back before the rain started.

After the rain, the view from the lanai:

At 10:00am KC went off to the main building to take a conference call. None of our cell phones/Blackberries worked in the room and he didn’t want to take the call on the beach so he found a desk near the concierge and hooked up his laptop. Two minutes later the cleaning crew came by with a floor sweeper which they left, beeping, right in front of his table! So, he packed up and moved to a secluded corner off to one side and was basking in his solitude when the cupcake decorating class started…We all laughed when he recounted his experience. The rest of the call went well, he said, but he was gone almost 1.5 hours.

While KC was gone, I sat on the lanai and read, wrote in my journal, and soaked in the scenery. I took some pictures of this red-beaked bird that was there EVERY day, trying desperately to get into Kevin and Debi’s bedroom. He would fly at their window repeatedly – WHAT was he trying to get at? A few days later I saw him do a ‘mating dance’ for a female: he would beat one of his wings rapidly against his side for a few seconds, then turn and beat the other one. I was mesmerized but wasn’t able to get a picture.

The funny bird with the red beak:

When KC got back, we worked out the plan for the rest of the day: we would watch the kids while Debi and Kevin met with their sales rep, then Deb and I would go to the Farmer’s Market. For dinner Deb and I had signed up for a mahi-mahi cooking class so the guys and the kids would be on their own.

For the next hour and a half KC and I sat on the lanai drinking frou-frou drinks; he read, and I updated my journal. When Kevin and Deb got back we ordered lunch from the bar (mahi-mahi sandwich for me, and burgers for everyone else). At 2:30 Deb and I left for the Farmer’s Market, knowing that it was probably over, and sure enough there was only one truck left when we got there. The vendor was giving stuff away so we got about 15 pounds of fruit for $12 most of which we’d never heard of: apple bananas, sour sops, two kinds of ?apples?, papayas, and some limes for the guy’s beer.

Press here for link to Farmers Markets in Kauai (a new window will open).

On our way home we noticed that there was a fish store in town so we went in to see what they offered. They had opakapaka! We couldn’t pre-order it for tomorrow’s dinner (KC and I had offered to cook) but we could call in the morning and reserve it. We also stopped in a sporting goods store to see if they carried walking sticks. They didn’t but told me I could get them at Wal-Mart. Deb and I both bought a pair of flip-flops and returned ‘home’.

The guys were watching a game (NCAA championship) when we got back so we checked in with them and went off to our cooking class. We learned to make mahi-mahi in a macadamia-nut crust with a Kahlua-lime cream sauce. There were 8 people in the class. The chef was a bit hard to understand at times so we were glad when they gave us a written recipe but it didn’t seem to match what he was telling us! The end result was less than stellar because he crowded all eight pieces of fish into a 10” frying pan to sauté it – and we all KNOW you should never crowd frying food – and then finished it in the oven which pretty much dried it out. It was served over planked potatoes, which were delicious, as was the sauce.

Learning to make the sauce:

Plating the dish:

We paid $20 for the class; here is most of what they served us:

Throughout the meal the guys were sending over drinks from the bar so that when Deb didn’t eat her fish, Kevin was right there to help her! I gave him most of my potatoes and brought KC, who was still sitting at the bar, my dessert. The game was over now and he was ordering dinner. While KC ate his dinner, I made reservations for him and me to go ziplining on Thursday at 2:15 (Kevin had decided not to come with us). We assured them that neither of us had weak knees, a bad back, or a fear of heights. They told us that the tour would depart rain or shine and that we should wear shoes that could withstand walking in red-dirt mud (the soil on this island is all red). I didn’t want to ruin my hiking boots so we decided to get a cheap pair of sneakers at Wal-Mart.

Kevin’s pictures of today’s sunset (we didn’t take any):

After dinner, KC hooked up his laptop and I checked our accounts while he played with the kids – first Pokémon, which Owen was trying to teach him, and then some games with quarters. Deb made chocolate chip cookies and served them with ice cream (KC announced he was hoping they would adopt him) and then we watched Ratatouille. As much as I love that movie, I went to bed at 10:30 because I knew I had to be up early for the helicopter ride.

Day Five, Tuesday, April 7th
Helicopter Ride, Lighthouse, Hiking Kalalau Trail

We got up at 7:00 am this morning, I dressed while KC went for coffee (are you seeing a pattern here?) and then we gathered what we thought we’d need for the day and left the room at 7:30. After the helicopter ride, we planned to drive to the Na Pali coast and hike the Kalalau Trail, the trail we had originally planned to hike last Sunday. The helicopter ride left from Lihue, which was on the way.

The drive to Lihue was uneventful and we had no trouble finding the helicopter place but when we checked in they couldn’t find our reservation. When I gave them the confirmation number, they discovered that it had been made for two weeks later! There was room on today’s flight, though, so they weighed us (the load must be balanced so they seat you based on your weight) and I begged her to put us in the front seats.

While we waited, we watched a safety video and strapped on our flotation devices; then we all piled into their van for the drive to the airport. In the van we were given our seating assignments and KC and I were relieved to discover that we were numbers 1 and 2!

The flotation device:

KC’s flotation device:

Barb getting on:

Our pilot, Kurt (I wanted to call him Captain Kirk!):

The only way a helicopter can move forward – by tilting its nose down.
From INSIDE the helicopter, it felt like we were vertical!

The airstrip we left from:


Nawilliwilli Bay, and close-up of the Kaua’i Marriott where we would stay our last night
(brown area under construction is the new Ritz Carleton development at Kauai Lagoons.):

Waipoo Falls and, along the ridge above it, the road we took to get there:

The US Navy and NASA installation on the western side:

Miscellaneous pix of the unusual terrain:

The coastline :

The Na Pali coast, on the northwestern side,
a 15 mile long state park, accessible only by air, boat or by hiking,
which includes Ke’e beach and the area we would be hiking later today:

Press here for link to Na Pali State Park (a new window will open).

Fantasy Island falls:

The most impressive part of the tour was when he took us inside the caldera of the volcano that formed the island. It’s the wettest spot on earth, with over 400 inches of rain a year, and there is always the possibility that the helicopter can’t make it in due to weather but we were lucky, it was only drizzling. The caldera is U-shaped as one side was blown out when it erupted, so we could fly really close to the edges and got some good shots of the lush vegetation and dozens of waterfalls. It was hard to get a good picture because, being the wettest spot on earth, it was raining.

Close-ups of the lush vegetation and some of the waterfalls:

A small section of the caldera with about a dozen waterfalls (and the reflection of our legs):

The hour we were in the air passed really quickly and we were sorry to see it end. Back at the office I tried to buy the video of our flight but the recorder was broken and there wasn’t one available. I thought they should have given us a partial refund but all they offered was a free copy of their promotional video. Disappointed, we bought a couple of t-shirts instead.

Press here for link to Blue Hawaiian Helicopter website (a new window will open).

When we left, we drove to Wal-Mart to buy some walking sticks and some cheap sneakers for ziplining. We also picked up a bag of chips to tide us over till we could find a place to eat. We drove past the turn-off for Fantasy Island falls, which we had seen from the helicopter, but we gave it a miss as KC thought we had enough planned for one day. We drove through Lihue looking for a “local” place to eat but didn’t find one so we continued through Kapa’a, Kilauea, Princeville, and Hanalei.

At Kilauea we stopped at an old lighthouse that Kevin had told us about. The northernmost point of the main Hawaiian Islands, the lighthouse was built in 1913 with the largest lens of its kind and guided ships heading to and from the Orient. In the 1970's its light was turned off and this landmark was replaced by a low-maintenance light beacon.

It’s now a wildlife sanctuary and we saw some interesting birds flying BACKWARDS! There is a gift shop next door that was selling some great maps of the island. We came home with three!

The lighthouse from the lookout point:

Bird (red footed boobie?) flying backwards:

The old lighthouse and the new beacon:

Close-up of the unusual (square?) lens:

Press here for link to Kilauea Lighthouse site (a new window will open).

North of the lighthouse the road became overgrown with trees and there were several old one-lane bridges. Again, we were reminded of Ireland:

Tree tunnel:

One-lane bridge:

Kevin gave us this picture of the taro fields outside Princeville. I was wondering whether taro was grown on the island – I really wanted to taste it – and I guess we drove right by the fields without knowing what they were!

Just before Hanalei, we stopped at a roadside stand labeled, “Last Chance” and offering food to go but it turned out to be reheated burritos so we pressed on. When I made it clear that I would need a bathroom before embarking on a long trek KC pulled into place in Hanalei that turned out to have won several awards, The Mediterranean Gourmet at the Hanalei Colony Resort. They gave us a seat by the window and KC had a lamb burger stuffed with feta that he raved about. I had a whitefish salad that was good but it wasn’t the ahi salad I thought I was getting. My cucumber mohito was really delicious, though.

Cucumber Mohito and lime Coke at The Mediterranean Gourmet:

Press here for link to Hanalei Colony Resort (a new window will open).

I had worn leggings until now but knew I wouldn’t need them on the hike so I nipped into the bathroom and took them off. We drove on and, when the road ended, we knew we were at Ke’e Beach. Unfortunately, the parking area is very small and, this late in the day, it was full! On our way up to Ke’e we passed several grottoes (Kevin says they call these “wet caves”) and, when we couldn’t find parking at the beach, we went back to check them out. During the few minutes we spent at the grotto a parking spot opened up at the beach and we grabbed it. We pulled out the hiking sticks, strapped on my fanny pack, and off we went. We checked out the beach first and there were chickens everywhere. We’d seen them all over the island but this was the first time we’d seen them on the beach!

This is where we were:


Chickens on Ke’e Beach:

When we rounded the corner to the beginning of the trail, my heart sank! The trail was nearly vertical, it was nothing but ROCKS, and the rocks were covered with wet mud. I knew that if I managed to make it up, I would never make it down.

The Kalalau “trail”:

The vegetation was gorgeous, though, and worth the risk if this was just the beginning, so we pressed on. Here is a photo of a philodendron leaf – like the 2-inch ones in our powder room but these were almost a foot across!

Philodendron leaf:

I was really struggling. We’d started out sharing the walking sticks but KC quickly gave me his. Two sticks were better than one but not being on this trail would have been best. And the worst part was that as beautiful as the scenery was, it never changed, so after about 50 yards, you’d seen it all. Why was I still here?!?!?! In addition to the perilous trail, I was also negotiating the hundreds of other climbers that flocked to this ‘day hiker’s paradise’. Unlike the trail to Waipoo Falls, where we passed someone every 10 minutes or so, we were stepping aside every other minute on this trail. What had I been thinking when I suggested we attempt it?

It was relatively cool so I was wearing my jacket and KC, walking behind me and seeing the wind playing with my very loose dress was expecting it to be blown over my head any minute and kept asking whether I was wearing panties. He knows I hate them and don’t always wear them but today, I was, he just couldn’t see them; but, at the first ‘clearing’ I stopped and tied my jacket around my waist to allay both our fears – there were too many people on this trail to risk flashing someone. It didn’t make the climbing any easier, though.


After what seemed like an hour we saw a waterfall ahead and I had hope that the scenery would change so I asked a woman on her way down whether the path ahead offered anything better than what we’d already seen. She told me that the only difference was that you got to see the sea. Was it worth it? “Well,” she said, “you have to do it so you can say you did…” Not me! *I* don’t have to do it so I can say I did! I climbed as far as the waterfall and told KC to go on without me. He refused so we started back. As I suspected, the way down was worse than the way up. At KC’s suggestion, I TRIED to keep my body upright and my feet pointing downward but the rocks kept getting in my way and I kept twisting and bending. It was a nightmare and after what seemed like an eternity, we were finally at the bottom

Does it get any better?

The waterfall:

Barb is smiling – the ordeal is almost over:

KC says we were on the trail for about an hour but it sure seemed like three to me. Once we were safely at the bottom of the trail KC admitted that he didn’t understand why *I*, the cream puff, had chosen a trail that the Sierra Club had rated as ‘strenuous’. In retrospect, neither did I. I guess I was drawn by the description of the “wonders that lay ahead” and ignored the “difficult” part. KC, however, managed it effortlessly! His ballet lessons gave him the strength, flexibility, and balance to ‘dance’ fearlessly both up and down that treacherous trail. I was impressed.

Press here for Hiking the Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail (a new window will open).

We piled back in the van and started the long 1.5 hour drive back. On the way up, we had seen many houses built on stilts so I pulled out the camera hoping to get a shot or two. It was a long drive so KC was loathe to stop the car and the ones I got are less than ideal but they still give you the idea.

Houses on stilts:

Koa tree forest:

Koa tree:

We stopped at Costco for water, cheese, beer and bagels, filled the car with gas, and arrived back at 6:00pm.

Here are the pictures Debi took of Kevin and the kids playing in the water while we were gone:

DKOP were planning to get pizza for dinner, and KC was fine with that, but I really had a taste for those mahi-mahi sandwiches from the bar so I walked over to get one. Surprise! The bar menu changes for dinner and all they had was an ahi tuna sandwich. I decided to try it but it wasn’t a fillet, it was tuna salad, so I only ate half. Kevin and KC picked up a large pizza from Brick Oven Pizza, half sausage and half pineapple, and some garlic bread with cheese. It cost $36 but everyone said it was really good. We opened the bottle of macadamia-nut honey wine but it was very unusual and didn’t really go with the pizza so we finished the Caymus.

Honu Bar Dinner Menu:

Tonight’s sunset:

I was REALLY tired after the day’s ordeal and fell into bed at 10:30. I slept soundly until KC woke me up the next morning.

Day Six, Wednesday, April 8th
Palm Pruning, Shopping in Hanapepe, Ukulele store, Poipu Mall

Our normal routine again this morning – up at 7:30 and I get dressed while KC goes for coffee except that today it took him an eternity to come back with the brew. He said he’d been behind a family of 8 and they all ordered some mocca-frappa-latte-chino-type drink which took the barista forever! KC woke Deb up, she had asked him to the night before, and then we sat on the lanai, as usual, but today (another first) a ground crew came by to prune the palm tree in front of the unit. A guy with crampons or some other spikey shoe, shimmied up the trunk, sliced the yellowing fronds away and then shimmied back down. At the bottom, a small cart collected the fronds and they drove away. I suppose they can’t risk having a dead frond fall and conk a guest on the head….

Climbing the palm tree:

Cutting the branch:

The falling branch:

We had plans to go ziplining today and the tour operator was all the way up on the north shore. Neither of us wanted to drive all the way up there again, and the 2:15 start-time meant we had to leave Poipu at 12:45, but they had a 48-hour cancellation policy and we didn’t want to burn the $250 so we planned around it. Deb offered to drive me to Hanapepe to do some shopping and assured us that we would be back by noon.

After breakfast, Deb and I left. She wanted to return to the bookstore there and I wanted to look for a mask to take home as a souvenir. There wasn’t much open when we arrived so we looked in the windows and then walked down to the bookstore at the end of the road. That was open so we went in and, right in the front, there was a table with “local stuff”! I found several CDs and, when I asked if there were any others, was shown to the back where I was given free reign with all they were selling AND their CD player so that I could listen to them before buying. I came away with 4 CDs – 2 by local artists and two that were recorded there but were not local music.

On our way out, I noticed some spices on the ‘local table’ and was told they were grown and packed locally. They smelled WONDERFUL and were very reasonably priced so I bought 6 jars and had them shipped home. Yes, I had them shipped, they were very large jars!

We started talking to the owner about what it was like to live on a small island like this, if you aren’t born there, and were regaled with stories about the wealth of the islanders, the attitude of the Caucasians towards them, and how easy it was to make a living there if you catered to everyone, not just the tourists. This woman could talk! Although she was really interesting, we started to worry that we would run out of time (we had to be back by noon and it was now close to 11:30) so I explained that we needed to get back for our ziplining and we hurried away.

Shopping in Hanapepe, the street we were on:

Press here for link to Shopping in Hanapepe website (a new window will open).
Press here for link to Talk Story website (a new window will open).

I went back to a store where I had seen some masks and bought one carved from a coconut by a retired Finn. It doesn’t look ‘local’ but it’s interesting and unlike anything else we have so I was happy.

On our way home we saw a ukulele store and decided to nip in and see what they cost. We weren’t going to buy anything, we were just curious. The native girl who greeted us was telling us about their ukuleles when the owner came out from the back and took over. In addition to info on the ukes we had asked about, he also told us how he had acquired his stock, how he was able to sell it at such a discount, and on and on and on…Thankfully, KC called, and when I told him that the one I liked was $245 he pitched a fit. His call gave me the opportunity to interrupt the sales pitch and explain that we really had to go or we would miss our ziplining date.

Back at the ranch…and facing three hours worth of driving and 2.5 hours worth of slogging through mud and wet leaves, we decided that since neither of us was really looking forward to the tour (we were both going only because we thought it was important to the other), we agreed to eat the cost and give it a miss.

Once we made the decision not to go ziplining, a cloud was lifted from the day! KC went back to reading his book by the beach and Deb and I decided to go shopping at the Poipu Mall just down the road. What a wonderful mall! I bought 2 tops, a summer purse, several pair of shell earrings, a t-shirt dyed in the local red dirt for KC, two pounds of local coffee, and a few other small things. I looked at some charms (for my charm bracelet) and found a few that I liked but couldn’t decide which one to get.

At one store the saleslady asked us if we were coming to the hula show the next day. What hula show? Apparently, the merchants in the mall sponsor a hula show every Thursday at 5pm. Well! I had been trying to convince KC to take me to a luau so that I could see some hula dancing and here they were offering it for free. Yes! We’d be there! Deb wanted to take Peyton to see it as well so we made it a date.

Press here for link to Poipu Shopping Village website (a new window will open).

KC reading in the public area in front of the lanai:

I don’t know what KC did while I was gone but these are the pictures he took.

Giant turtle (I can’t believe I missed this!):

Dire warnings at the little island:

Another seal on the beach:

I first thought these were whales but they’re two more giant turtles. The whale season is from October to April so you can see them only sporadically after the end of March. KC and Kevin saw two from the bar but they were too far away to photograph.

Here are Kevin’s pictures of the whale they saw, blown up greatly as the whale was pretty far out to sea. The first two are of the fin, the second of the blow.

Peyton hoping for another ride on KC’s foot:

When we got back, KC was in the pool so I watched him play with the kids. It was getting cold so when Peyton was done swimming – she really is a fish – we all went in and Kevin fixed us nachos for dinner again: chips, cheese, salsa and chicken. We tried to finish the macadamia-hut-honey wine we’d opened yesterday but it was too unusual so we switched to Baileys.

KC and Owen in the pool (and Peyton in the hot tub behind them):

After dinner we watched Forgetting Sara Marshall – what a funny movie and it takes place on Hawaii – and then retired to our respective rooms. KC watched the second half of a WWII movie and did some work on his laptop while I updated my journal. It was almost 2:30 when we finally went to sleep and we had an 8:30am appointment the next morning. Tomorrow would not be a good day.

Day Seven, Thursday, April 9th
Seals, Hula Show, opah for dinner

We dragged ourselves out of bed at 7:30 and spent about 20 minutes on the lanai before leaving for our meeting with Cynthia, the sales rep for the resort. We had requested the meeting because, on the way here, KC had determined that we were at a point where we could afford a timeshare like this and that it might facilitate our yearly trips to either Vail or Ireland, or both. We spent over 2.5 hours with her and were very impressed with what they had to offer but left wondering what we should do. As nice as THIS place was, we didn’t see ourselves returning every year and while we could trade it for weeks at other properties, none of the properties were in either Vail or Dingle and there were very few in the other places we were hoping to visit like New Zealand, Iceland, and Tasmania. After agonizing over it for almost 2 hours, while we dined at the bar, KC finally decided that he didn’t want to take on more debt until this recession was over. He also realized that the price for one week was the same as the price of a new kitchen and we needed the kitchen more.

While we were waiting for them to serve our lunch, I called the fish store and reserved 2 pounds of fish. They didn’t have opakapaka today so I ordered opah, the same fish we’d had at Keoki’s on Sunday.

On our way back to our room we noticed a seal trying to get up on the beach near that little island. We watched for a few minutes and then walked over there. Was I glad we did! It wasn’t a seal trying to beach itself, it was 2 male seals posturing over a female that was already beached a few yards away! We watched them bark, dance, and otherwise ‘negotiate’ who would get her. Then, when one of them finally left, we watched the ‘winner’ try to coax the sleeping female back into the water. At first, she wanted nothing of it; but he pestered her until she capitulated and, several hours later, I saw them cavorting by the little island. Here are the pix we took:

The males negotiating:

The winner approaches the female:

Getting closer:

He nudges her a bit:

She ignores him:

He forces her to wake up:

And she pushes him away:

She tries to put some distance between them:

But he won’t let her so she checks him out – is he affectionate? :

Can he support her?

He does, eventually, coax her into the water but it takes him almost 2 hours to do it! In some of the pictures you can see the crowd of people watching this courtship and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the male having so many witnesses to his initial rejection. When we got back home I did some research on monk seals and learned that they are very solitary animals who don’t like to be around people. I was ashamed to be one of the people crowding around and promise I won’t do it again. However, after watching this display, I decided which charm I wanted for my bracelet – without a doubt it had to be the seal charm!

This morning, when we came out of the meeting with Cynthia, KC was complaining about his back but said that all he needed was something to eat and to sit in a different chair. After watching the seals do their mating dance he asked me to put a plaster on his back. He stayed on the bed to rest it while I updated my journal.

Around 3pm we drove to the fish market to pick up the fish I’d ordered that morning. We also picked up something for KC’s back. When the pharmacist saw us looking at back pain meds she recommended a new product that her husband, a carpenter, uses, and gave us a few sample packets to take on the plane. That medication (Biofreeze) coupled with a few Tylenol did the trick and KC was able to manage the pain. On our way back we stopped at the Poipu Mall and bought my charm. It’s made of brushed white gold and has the cutest face – just like a seal!

KC wasn’t interested in the Hula Show so Deb, Kevin, Peyton and I went alone. Owen opted to stay behind with KC and play Pokémon. The stage for the show was three tiers of cement that were each about 2 feet high so everyone had a great view. We grabbed the seats in the center of the third tier to avoid being asked to participate. The show didn’t start until 5:15 but it was very good. The dancers were very young but several of them had won competitions and they were a pleasure to watch. There were a total of 5 dancers who took turns in groups of 1, 2, 3, or 4. They did both the Tahitian hula and the slow hula and I must say that this is the only time I’ve ever enjoyed watching a slow hula – that gal was good!

Here are some of the pictures I took of the show:

Tahitian hula:

Slow hula:

Peyton and Deb:

Another Tahitian hula:

When the show was over they brought out a box of real flower leis and told us that they were free but that donations would be appreciated. I ‘bought’ two for $20 each, and gave one to Peyton. They were made from plumeria flowers and smelled beautiful. Finally, I had a real lei! It wasn’t orchids but beggars can’t be choosers. Plumeria are everywhere on the island. The website below says they are most fragrant at night to attract the sphinx moth which pollinates them. Again, I wonder why we NEVER saw any moths…

Press here for link to Poipu Shopping Village website (a new window will open).
Press here for link to Plumeria website (a new window will open).

Deb wanted to show Kevin the dresses she’d tried on earlier that day so we went back to Sand People and I bought a painting of a rooster while I waited. It was the only island-based art that I thought would ‘work’ in our house!

Back at the room Deb fed the kids and then we started our dinner. I cleaned the fish, rubbed it with canola oil and then sprinkled it with salt pepper and garlic powder. I entrusted it to KC and Kevin to grill. While they were away, I prepared a roasted red pepper cream sauce with the pequillo peppers I’d sent over via UPS and a salad using the leftovers from two days ago. Deb reheated the rice from Sunday’s dinner and I grabbed some of the kid’s leftover pasta. The guys returned with the fish grilled, they said, by committee with KC determining the placement on the grill (widest part over the highest heat) and Kevin determined the timing. Boy was that fish good! We’re going to try and get some when we get back and hope we’re able to duplicate it. It was so good we were sorry we hadn’t prepared it every night – we’d have saved a ton of money by not going to restaurants!

After dinner we started packing. Tomorrow, we were transferring from this resort to the Kauai Marriott in Lihue (by the airport) and needed to be out by 10:00am. Deb and Kevin went over to the market place and left KC in charge of the kids which, of course, turned into a game with him chasing them with a camera and them trying to avoid being photographed. When they ran into our ‘suite’ and closed both doors, KC hid behind the door so that when they peeked out, they couldn’t see him. He then held the camera above their heads and took the picture. Here are some of the shots he got:



Owen (and a glimpse of the living area’s sofa, chair, and dining table):

KC watched TV until midnight while I finished packing and then updated my journal. We went to bed at 12:30.

Day Eight, Friday, April 10th
Move from Waiohai to Kaua’i Marriott

I woke up with a migraine this morning! Was it the 3 pieces of Ritter marzipan I’d had the night before? The flower lei (I suspect this was the culprit), the salad dressing (I had a LOT of salad last night), the pasta, or the cream? I hadn’t checked the ingredients on any of them. KC went for coffee but I drank mine in bed while I waited for the meds to work. At 8:30 I dragged myself out of bed and finished packing while I got dressed.

At 9:45 housekeeping was knocking on the door reminding us that checkout was at 10:00a.m. It would be a half an hour before we were ready to leave and they were back twice during that time. They were nice about it – take your time they said – but they did keep coming back!

There wasn’t room for all six of us plus all our bags in the van so we ‘moved’ in shifts. First, KC and Kevin took the large bags to the holding area at Waiohai. Then, while KC took another business call, Kevin drove me, Deb, the kids and the carry-ons to the other resort. On the way there, we stopped at Costco, Wal-Mart, and Kmart to return some things we’d bought but didn’t use, and to pick up some things we wanted to take home, like macadamias and salad dressing. While Deb and the kids were having a bite to eat at Costco, Kevin and I went to the UPS store to send a package of things I didn’t (couldn’t) carry back with me. It had been overcast all day and poured intermittently.

We got to the resort at about 12:30, too early to check in, so we left all the carry-ons with the bellman and Deb, the kids, and I hung out at the pool while Kevin drove back to the Waiohai and picked up KC and the big bags. When the guys got back to the Kaua’i our rooms were ready so they checked in, took all the bags upstairs, and then joined us for about 20 minutes before leaving again to return the van to the airport. KC told us that when he got to the room he’d opened the door to the bathroom all the way both to check it out and because he needed to use it. Looking around, he couldn’t see a commode so he checked the other door in the hallway thinking it might be in a separate room (it wasn’t, he’d opened the closet). Irritated, but unable to believe there wasn’t a commode in the bathroom, he went all the way in and closed the door behind him. Low and behold, the door had obscured the opening in the wall that ‘hid’ the toilet.

The room :

The toilet-less bathroom:

Press here for link to Kaua’i Marriott site (a new window will open).

By now it was after 2:00. Deb and I had eaten at the bar (mahi-mahi burrito for me, turkey Panini for Deb) and were sitting on lounge chairs by the beach watching the kids play. It looked like it was about to rain again and the lounge wasn’t comfortable for writing so I went back to the room and sat on the balcony which had a wonderful view of the island, the beach and the pool. The sun came out briefly but it was overcast and drizzly most of the day.

The beach :

The island :

The resort swimming pool (the largest pool on the Hawaiian Islands) :

By the way, the Kaua’i Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (dating from 1972) rules that no building can be taller than a mature coconut palm tree (50 feet) but this resort was originally built in the early 1960’s (as the Westin Kaua’i) and was grandfathered in. The resort was closed for 1.5 years after Hurricane Iniki hit, in September of 1992, and was reopened as a Marriott property. The hurricane was a category 5 just before it hit and devastated the whole island. Some places were never rebuilt – the Tropical Tantrum store in the hotel mall told me they moved their production facilities to Bali after the storm – and some took many, many years. The property next to the Waiohai, The Ko’a Kea Hotel and Resort, reopened 17 YEARS after it was destroyed!

Press here for link to write-up on Hurricane Iniki (a new window will open).
Press here for link to write-up in Seattle Times (a new window will open).
Press here for link to write-up on property next to the Waiohai (a new window will open).
Press here for link to Tropical Tantrum (a new window will open).
(Sorry, no link to the ordinance because it is a 30 page long PDF and very hard to parse)

I hadn’t been in the room 20 minutes when KC called to ask where I was and told me that he was down by the beach and wanted to go for a walk. Half an hour later he showed up drenched but he hadn’t been in the water – a wave had hit him!

He told me that for dinner tonight, Kevin was hoping for a casual come-as-you-are meal, and he asked me what I wanted to do. I didn’t have a preference but I suspected that Deb and Kevin wanted a night alone as a family. KC asked them and they assured us they didn’t so we agreed to meet in front of Café Portofino, the Italian restaurant, at 7:15. There was no wait and they gave us a large table right by the water. KC ordered penne with sausage, Deb and I had the opah in a caper-butter sauce, and Kevin and Owen had the fettuccine alfredo. (Peyton never orders, she shares with Deb.) As a treat, KC and I sprung for a 2003 Summus, an Italian super tuscan that I’d been hoping to try. My meal was superb – maybe the best I’d had this trip – and the wine worked with everything. What I found interesting about the restaurant was that they had NO island drinks! They didn’t even have juice as an option for a cocktail so we started with Campari and soda!

Press here for link to Café Portofino (a new window will open).
Press here for link to write-up on Summus (a new window will open).

When we got back to the room we both collapsed on the sofa, we were so full! Deb and Kevin tried to get their kids to sleep but couldn’t so Kevin came over with a beer for KC and stayed long enough to drink it. I went to bed right after he left but it was too hot to sleep so KC tried to turn on the air. It didn’t appear to be working until he closed the balcony door at which point it sprung into action. I think I was asleep in 10 minutes.

Day Nine, Saturday, April 11th
Poolside fun and leave for home.

Up at 7:30 again – what is it about this island that has us bouncing out of bed at the crack of dawn – but hung out in the room until about 9:30 when we went down to Kukui’s, the hotel’s poolside restaurant, for breakfast. Debi and Kevin were still in bed so we ate alone. Passing up the $30 buffet, KC had the meat lover’s scramble and I had Molokai Sweet Potato Hash. The potatoes were BLUE! It was good, too, although it didn’t have baby chives in it as the menu had advertised. I wish I’d taken a picture, but I didn’t, so here is a link to a site that describes them:

Press here for link to Molokai sweet potato site (a new window will open).

When we woke up this morning it had been cloudy but it cleared up while we ate and it was bright and sunny the rest of the day. After breakfast we finished packing (I barely got my suitcase closed) and checked our flights. We discovered that we were on the same flight from LA to Chicago that DKOP were on and that we needed to leave the hotel at 5:00. DKOP were flying Lihue-LA direct (no stop in Honolulu) and would leave Kaua’i later.

We had requested an extended-late-checkout (Linger Longer, they call it, which allows you to stay in the room until 6pm for an additional $75) for one of our rooms, preferably DKOPs since they had more baggage, and we did get it so, at noon, KC and I transferred our bags to their room, checked out, and went down to the pool for the remainder of the day. KC spent much of it in the water playing with the kids.

KC had them standing on his hands, then his shoulders, and finally his head and balancing there before diving into the water. Both Owen and Peyton learned to swim when they were 6 months old (Deb taught them) and are practically fish so they had no problem falling and being thrown around. While Kevin coached his kids, Deb and I sat on the sidelines drinking mango-guava-pineapple-rum-smoothies, and Deb took pictures because our camera was packed.

When Kevin brought these pictures over I nearly died laughing and, even now, I still crack up every time I see them. I don’t know what is funnier, the kid’s contortions while they try to balance on slippery things, or the expression on the adult’s faces. It was so hard to choose which ones to display so here are about 40 of them:

First, a few pictures of Owen and Peyton in their goggles:

Now, here are my most favorite pix from the entire trip. KC came up with a new game called ‘the elevator’ where he asked the kids to stand on his hands, he would slowly lift them, standing, into the air and then throw them into the water. Owen went first and did a pretty decent job, considering that it was a new game. Peyton, whose balance isn’t as good, was unable to let go of KC’s head as he lifted her, and ended up wound around KC’s head like a hat. The higher he lifted her feet, the more compressed she became around his head, until they both finally fell into the water. When you look at the pix, keep in mind that KC’s hands are under her heels:

Owen, showing Peyton how to do it:

Peyton’s turn:

Since that obviously wasn’t working, KC suggested they try to balance on his shoulders, and then, on his head. Once again, Owen went first and was eventually able to balance on KC’s head, on one foot no less, for almost 5 seconds. Peyton managed about one second.

Owen, balancing on KC’s shoulders:

Peyton, trying to balance on KC’s head, but finding an ear instead:

Owen, balancing on KC’s head:

Peyton, balancing on KC’s head:

Owen on one foot:

Peyton, walking on water:

Both kids, trying to stand on KC’s shoulders simultaneously:

Balancing on a boogie board with Kevin:

Debi’s turn:

Around 2:00pm DKOP ordered lunch but KC and I were still full from our late breakfast so we passed. I was getting burned and was baking in the mid-day sun so I moved to the covered terrace overlooking the pool.

An hour later KC joined me and then went off to change back into his travel clothes. Although we didn’t have to leave until 5:00, I wanted another taste of those blue potatoes and the restaurant opened at 4:00.

My blue potato fries were delicious (I saved a few to show Elke and Heidi) and KC enjoyed his williwilli burger on a taro bun (the bun tasted like a potato roll). At 4:50 we went back to the room to change our shoes (we travelled in our hiking boots as they didn’t fit in our carry-ons) and collect our bags. We caught the shuttle at 5:10 and were at our gate at 6:00, over an hour before the flight was due to depart. The only snag we had was that we were forced to check our bags as they were now over 30 pounds and too heavy for the cabin. We only checked them as far as HNL as I was sure mine was about to pop open!

The flight was uneventful and when we went to collect our bags they were already on the carousel so we suspect they came on an earlier flight. The walk from baggage claim was long and even at 8pm it was warm and muggy so we were both hot and sweaty when we finally got there. KC went for something to drink and brought me back a bag of macadamia nuts which came in handy later as the food they served on the plane was, again, meager – it was soup! As Kevin said, who eats soup on a plane? KC fell asleep as soon s they took his tray away but I was wide awake for the entire 5.5-hour flight. This plane was a 757 and did not have fully reclining seats. It was also decrepit – the seat pockets were frayed to the foam and the bottom of the seats in front of us was hanging loose and making it hard to get our bags in and out. It left and arrived on time, though, and the gate for the flight to Chicago was right across the way.

Day Ten, Easter Sunday, April 12th
Easter Dinner with Family

We had plenty of time so when DKOP arrived we all went up to the Admiral’s Club to use the bathroom and grab a cup of coffee. It was now early Sunday morning and I WANTED one last Starbucks latte but the line was so long I would have missed the plane so I did without.

Half an hour later, we boarded. Once we were in our seats I called Herb and Elke to let them know that it looked like we’d be on time -- KC’s sister and her family were in town and KC’s mother and stepfather, Elke and Herb, had invited us for Easter Dinner. Our flight was due to land at 12:45 and dinner would be served at 2:30.

The flight was, again, uneventful although it left 15 minutes late and we didn’t get much sleep. We both took the train to the remote parking (brrrr, it was cold, when we stepped out of the terminal in our island garb) and were on the road at 1:15.

Elke is a wonderful cook and the meal was delicious – roast lamb, green beans with pancetta, and sautéed potatoes for dinner with trifle for dessert. We visited with KC’s family (KC and his BIL had a spirited discussion about buying knock-off merchandise), we looked at his sister’s new house plans (I could definitely live there!) and then we excused ourselves and drove home. I think I was in bed 2 hours later….

The weather in Naperville had been in the low 60’s for the week before we left and the garden was starting to come to life. While we were gone, it snowed and the temperature dropped, so the plants were struggling when we returned. The magnolia, which is usually in full bloom at this time of year, was dotted with a few flowers which fell off a few days later. The crab apple tree never blossomed at all.

THANK YOU Debi and Kevin!

In closing, KC and I would like to, again, thank Kevin and Debi for making this vacation possible. Even if we had been willing to spring for a room at a resort we would never have had access to the suite they “own” and that made such a difference. Being so close to everything, especially the ocean, was wonderful. I know they thought the weather was less than ideal but, for us, it was perfect. Hiking, shopping, and sitting at the bar is no fun when it’s hot and those are the things we enjoy most. Thanks, again, for being so generous with such a treasure.

Press here for Debi and Kevin’s other Kaua’i photos.

Press here to return to personal picture menu.

Note to self: bring the following next time: charger and larger SD card for Lumix.

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OOAKFolk, Inc., and artist Barbara Healy are not affiliated in any way with the original manufacturers of the dolls pictured in this site. No photograph, text or graphic on this site may be copied without written permission from Barbara Healy. Copyright © 2004 OOAKFolk, Inc.

Last Revised: May 21, 2009
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