Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kauai, Hawaii August/September 2014

I promise, upon arrival in paradise, I will not post a picture of my perfectly polished toenails in the sand, in the surf, in the pool, in the bubble bath or hanging over the balcony. You're welcome.
I *do* promise to post food and cocktail porn.  There will be plenty of that on the agenda!

Thursday, August 28, 2014
Just a quickie to get this documentation of our adventure started.  I need to pack my laptop and then I’ll be packed!  Well, I still need to make a couple of sammys for the flight so we can have lunch on the plane instead of buying a snack box (typically containing things I would prefer not to eat).  There’s a three hour time change so even though we arrive at 2:30 p.m. it will be 5:30 in Phoenix so by the time we get the car and make our way to the resort it will be time for dinner. 
We are off to Princeville, Kauai this time and staying at the Cliffs Resort.  Our last visit to Hawaii was the Big Island three years ago and prior to that was Maui three years before.  It seems we unintentionally go to Hawaii every three years.  We like Kauai.  It’s not as busy as Maui (although Maui is still my favorite).  Paul’s favorite is the Big Island but I thought it was, well, too big.  We spent most of our days driving to the various sites we wanted to see.
Anyhow, I better skedaddle. 
~ Aloha!
Friday August 29, 2014
Yesterday we had some time to kill at the airport so Paul had breakfast at Wildflower.  I had already eaten at home.  When we got to the gate it was really crowded and very limited seating.  I told Paul if he found a single set to go ahead and take it.  I was going to be sitting for 6½ hours so I wanted to stand.  He found an end set so I was standing in the aisle way and a man started talking to me.  He started off with “you’re going to be sitting long enough on the flight, huh?” ‘That’s for sure’. He was headed to Kauai for the marathon Sunday.  We starting talking about that.  He was meeting a couple of friends, he works at Boeing and about six other co-workers were going, his dad passed away recently so he was hoping this trip would get him out of his funk, yada, yada, yada. We talked for about 10-15 minutes until his friends arrived.  When he walked away Paul said “who was that?” ‘I don’t know.’ “No, seriously, who was that.”  ‘I don’t know, some random stranger.’  “So you’re picking up men right in front me now?”  Well, technically *HE* started talking to me.  HaHaHa.  Anyhow the flight was good and right on time.  Paul and I sit across the aisle from each other because neither one of us want to sit in the center seat for that many hours.  I sat next to a nice couple from Illinois.  This was their first time to Hawaii.  They are celebrating their 40th anniversary on Sunday.  August 31st, popular day to get married.  Our anniversary is also Sunday.  Anyhow, it took a while to get our luggage and we had the slowest agent ever at the rental car place. It’s aloha time, hang loose wahine. Here's the welcoming committee.  There is a pecking order you know.
It was quite a schlep from the airport to Princeville but it was a beautiful drive.  It was about 45 minutes north of Lihue but it felt like hours.  We found our way to the resort which is a couple of miles off the main highway. 
This is the fountain as you enter Princeville 
Such a beautiful property and the condo is amazing.  Nice big bedroom and living room. Good size kitchen with dining table.  Two bathrooms! Two Patios!  This is the first time we’ve had two bathrooms in a one bedroom unit. No wait, we had a loft unit one time that had a 1/2 bath upstairs and full bath downstairs. Definitely the first time with two patios, even when we’ve a two bedroom  unit.   


View from the front patio

View from the back patio
We unloaded the car and headed out to the grocery store.  Holy Papaya Prices Batman. 

Who needs a chain sub shop when you can get one
of these beauties at the deli in the local market
(no I didn't buy, just observing)
We put the groceries away, unpacked and went to the concierge for our “welcome gift” (peanut butter cookies) and checked out some menus.  Back to the Princeville Shopping Center for dinner at CJ’s Steak & Seafood.  The Catch of the Day was Ahi and Ono. They were plucked out of the ocean that morning. Ono is my favorite Hawaiian fish.  I had mine sautéed in white wine with garlic butter and mushrooms.  Paul had his grilled.  Dinner included their very nice salad bar.

Mai Tai (fresh fruit Hawaiian style) :wink::wink: 
Delicious Ono
The food and service were both good, we thought it was a little overpriced for the casual atmosphere.  Looked kind of like one notch above Denny's.
All in all it was a good first day.
I’m not sure where the roads will lead us today but right now I’m going to head off for a morning walk in this little slice of paradise. 
~Its Aloha Friday

Saturday, August 30, 2014
This is one of my favorite vacation activities.  Sitting on the patio, enjoying my coffee, recapping yesterday while the sun is deciding to wake up.  No other sounds but the roosters cock-a-doodle-do’ing in the background and the birds singing a morning tune.  ~Bliss.
Yesterday morning I had a lovely walk.  I usually like to walk on the beach when we are near the ocean but this resort is on a cliff with no beach access.  I walked around the property which has beautiful tropical landscaping. 

We ventured to Hanalei, the home of Puff the Magic Dragon. 
Or a descendant thereof.
Cutie Patootie sunbathing at the Dolphin
We walked around the stores.
What is it about these things that makes
you want to stick your head in the hole?
I bought some patio lights and I collected some cocktail umbrellas. 
Looks like I might have to have a Luau when we get home. 
We drove by this beautiful church while heading to the wet cave.
Along the way we stopped for a while and lounged on the beach.  It was like our own little private location. 

Then we drove to the wet cave.  Previous trips to Kauai it has been ‘wet’ inside (standing water) but this time it was only damp so were able to walk in. Paul thinks it’s a lava tunnel.  It’s hard to get pictures because it’s so dark inside so you’ll just have to trust me when I say it is pretty cool.   We went back to the center of town and ate at the Dolphin Restaurant.  It was one of the places on my “Top 10 Hit List”.  Reviews said “Best Fish Tacos Ever”.  They were fabulous!  The Catch of the Day was none other than my favorite Ono, beer battered crispy deliciousness.  M-M-Good. 
On the way back to the condo we decided to check the restaurant menus for Sunday at the two resorts on the cliff.  We went to the Westin.  Meh.  Nothing really tripped my trigger.  We went to the pool side bar for my daily dose of fresh fruit (in the form of a cocktail).  Then we were going to go to the St. Regis to check their menu but they only have valet parking and the line was pretty long so we decided to check the menu online instead of waiting.  They have several restaurants and the menus look de-lish so now we just need to pick one. 
We got back to the condo and went to the pool.  It was really nice with a lava rock waterfall.  Paul got in the Jacuzzi and I went in the pool.  The water was perfect.  A little sting of chill upon taking the plunge but then it was just right.  Not too cold, not to warm.  There were only two other couples there and about 30 minutes later a teenager with a toddler showed up.  The teen was mostly just taking pictures of the wee one in the waterfall.  After I got out of the pool I walked around the back side of the waterfall and there is an ‘adults only’ pool and Jacuzzi.  Good to know for next time if there are more children around splashing and having too much fun.  We lounged around for about an hour and then we went to check out the fitness center. There is a nice variety of machines.  We went back to the condo and I took a nap on the sofa while Paul enjoyed his cigar on the patio.  Then he went in a took a nap.  Around 7 p.m. I asked him if he wanted to go out. Neither one of us were hungry after the big lunch we had so we ended up skipping dinner.  I had thrown a few “Jiff-to-Go” peanut butter pods in my travel bag so I had one of those and a half of a muffin around 9-ish. 
Agenda de jour – breakfast somewhere on the way to the Kilauea Lighthouse.  BTW it's a good thing I brought my 'itch stick' because the mosquitos love me.  StingEze, Insect Bite Relief, available at your local Walmart* sporting goods department.  Highly recommended. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014  HAPPY ANNIVERSARY
Wow, 29 years of wedded bliss, well, not really, but we’ve made through the ups and downs of this thing called marriage...somehow!  Where has the time gone? 
Yesterday morning we went to the Westin and had their breakfast buffet at the poolside patio.  It was okay but we won’t be going back. 
Saving grace was the chocolate chip cookie!  
Breakfast Hitchhiker 
 Such a beautiful pool area though
Then we headed to the Kilauea Lighthouse.  There is just something about a lighthouse, don’tchathink? 

From here ^
(lookout ridge before entering the Wildlife Refuge)
you can see this v
The area is a Wildlife Refuge.  A visitor asked the ranger what kind of wildlife they have on the island besides birds and he said only wild pigs and wild rats. What, no bunnies?  {ETA: Found out later they also have wild goats high in the mountains.} Check out this little guy.  It’s a three week old Wedgetail Shearwater.  Little fluffmeister.  Ranger said the Momma has been back to roost in that same spot for three years now.
At the Visitor's Center
Then we ventured into Kapa’a and mowsied around the Coconut Marketplace. Back in the day it was a really hoppin’ shopping area with restaurants.  Now it’s rundown and there are only a few stores scattered around and one restaurant.  The restaurant had a big sign at the entrance that said "cash only".  Sign of the times?
We went back to the downtown area and I was pretty thirsty so we went to the Olympic Café.  Funny how water arrives with a cocktail on this island! 
Back to the car and up the road to the Kailua Falls.  The picture isn’t out of focus, it was raining. 
And no vacation would be complete without a picture of Paul reading historical markers on the highways. 
We stopped a couple of places along the road back to the condo. 
Paul made some new friends on the patio.  Nene, aka Hawaiian Geese.

We drove back to Hanalei (10 minute drive from Princeville) and had dinner at the Postcards Café.  This restaurant serves local, seasonal and organic when possible*.  Seafood and veggie dishes only, no beef or poultry, no sugar.  We split the Baked Portabella Mushroom appetizer.  It was good but next time I’d try the Caesar Salad.  I had the Fennel Encrusted Lobster Tail and Paul had the Monchong (Catch of the Day), Blackened.  He was a little skeptical to try something new because he's a picky fish eater.  The server said it is a light and flakey white fish, a little more flavorful than the Ono and not as dense.  He translates ‘flavorful’ to ‘fishy’.  She said “not when it was just caught this morning and brought straight to the kitchen.  When fish spends time on a boat and a plane and a truck to get to a restaurant, that’s when it can start to taste fishy”.  He decided to give it a try.  Both entrees were really good. 
White Wine Sangria (they only have beer and wine)
I had a bite of the Monchong and told Paul “it tastes just like chicken”  He tried the lobster and decided we need to go back to Cape Cod.  Pacific lobster is good but not as good as Atlantic.  We split a dessert of Pineapple Upside Cake.  It comes with a little scoop of sorbet.  The cake was okay, the sorbet was de-lish. 
*Note to Jenn ~ I think you will love this place.  Ask for Erica.  The service was amazing. 
The Nene are back this morning and literally eating out of my hand.  Sorry Paul, your cinnamon roll is now bird food! 
We haven’t really decided where the roads will lead us today but we do have dinner reservations at the St. Regis at 6:15.  We had picked the Kauai Grill but when I called for reservations the concierge said The Kauai Grill is closed on Sundays. She said Makana Terrace is open.  We were going to wait and have our anniversary dinner another night but after comparing the menus the Makana Terrace seemed equal to the Kauai Grill except it’s on the Terrace, which I think is nicer.  When I called back to make the reservation she asked if we were celebrating a special occasion.  'Anniversary'.  She asked how many years. '29' “OH MY! Congratulations, that’s a long time.”  [tell*me*about*it] She said she would request a table at the edge overlooking the ocean but no guarantees. She asked if we had any food allergies.  I said yes, I'm allergic to coconut.  She said that was horrible, being in Hawaii. 
Monday, September 1, 2014 HAPPY LABOR DAY
Same routine, different day.  Morning coffee on the patio with the birds serenading. This morning the chickens are pecking around too.  ~So peaceful. 
Yesterday we went into Hanalei for kind of a late breakfast/early lunch at Kalypso Island Bar and Grill.  I had a BLT and Paul had a Chicken Pesto Sandwich.  The guy at the table next to us had their Peach Stuffed French Toast which looked amazing.  Maybe we’ll have breakfast there another day.  As we finished eating a boat pulled up and handed an employee the Catch of the Day over the side of the boat. 

I didn't have my camera out to capture the moment so I zipped out the side door to snap a picture.  It doesn’t get any fresher than that. 
CotD FotB
After we ate we went back to the condo and I went to see the concierge to book the Historic Rice Mill & Taro Farm Tour.  They are only open to the public on Wednesdays so they advise to book in advance.  We figured it would also be a good idea to figure out what we want to do the rest of the week in case other things are only open on limited days. 
Today we might go to the Fern Grotto.  We’ve taken the tour before but I still enjoy it.
Every evening at the Princeville Makai Golf Club (right across the way) there is a Sunset Golf Cart Tour at 5 p.m.  It’s self-guided and has views of “Golf’s Top 5 Most Spectacular Settings” so-they-say.  We might do that Tuesday evening although we have no plans during the day. {ETA: we didn't do that.}
Wednesday is the Taro Farm Tour.  Nothing planned for the evening. 
Thursday we check out at 10 a.m. and our flight is at 10 p.m.  We’re going to go to the other side of the island and maybe do the Kauai Coffee Plantation Walking-Tour.  Princeville is 45 minutes north of the Lihue Airport.  The plantation is about 20 minutes the other side of the airport.  Hilo Hattie’s is in Lihue so I think I’ll have time to go there for old times sake.  We are going to have an early dinner at Duke’s before heading to the airport to return the car about 8.
Now that the week was semi-planned, all things are subject to change (except the Taro Farm).  We spent the afternoon at the pool and relaxed.  The weather was perfect. 
Dinner at the Makana Terrace at the St. Regis…
Bottom line the food was excellent and the view was amazing.  The service started out good and then moved to average. 
When we arrived the hostess said Happy Anniversary and then asked if we wanted to sit inside or outside. Hmmmm. I told her the concierge said she would request a table on the edge/ledge.  She looked at the computer and then found us a great table on the rail with an incredible view. 

The server came over and said Happy Anniversary and asked if we would like a complimentary glass of champagne for our anniversary.  Yes please. 

 So pretty
Then the server’s assistant brought fresh bread with regular butter and coconut-lime butter.  For appetizers we ordered an Eel and Avocado Roll and a Spring Greens Salad.  Very good. 
For dinner I had already planned on the Lobster and Filet.  The lobster is served two ways: tail is baked, claw is poached.  Paul had a Filet.  It was excellent.  The lobster practically melted in my mouth and the filet was so tender and flavorful; the demi-glaze was perfect. 

After we ate we 'waited' ~and waited~ *and waited* for them to clear away the dishes. Our server went by twice and her assistant went by at least twice.  tick tock, Tick Tock, TICK TOCK. I was getting annoyed looking at my lobster carcass!  FINALLY our server came by and asked if we were finished.  Really?  She took the dishes and asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu.  Yes please.  She brought the menu and said “the macadamia tart, the white chocolate cheesecake and the crème brulee are my favorites”.  Okey dokey.  Paul asked me what she said and I told him she was expressing her favorites but I don’t know why they do that unless you ask for a recommendation. Yes, I was a little cranky.  We decided to split the white chocolate cheesecake and we each ordered an espresso.  The cheesecake was very good and had a little scoop of raspberry sorbet.  The sorbet was really refreshing.  The espresso was good but not Italy good, although I'm sure nothing ever will measure up to Bar Gianicolo (right Jay?).  When our server brought our check she brought a little plate of mini-cookies.  One chocolate and two coconut. :shaking head: She looked at me like :what?: I said “I don’t know why they ask if you have food allergies when you make a reservation.”  :deer-in-the-headlights-blinky-eye-look:  “They asked if we had food allergies and I told her I was allergic to coconut.  First we received coconut butter and now coconut cookies.”  She said she was sorry.  I said "That's okay.  The food was excellent and we had a great table with an amazing view".  When she brought our receipt back she apologized again and said it was a lack of communication but it would be addressed. 
Some people have severe food allergies which could lead to a serious situation.  I’m used to dealing with the coconut thing and can taste it immediately if it’s snuck into my food so it’s okay, I was just already annoyed. Besides, they did identify the items as they put them on the table.  I give the Makana Terrace an 8 on a scale of 1-10 for a fancy schmancy upscale restaurant.  I would have given it a 9 if they would been on the ball about removing the dishes.
On the way to the valet I encountered four gay guys who were pretty funny.  Three of them were standing next to us and one came around the corner with a bottle of water.  He opened it and took a sip and looked at me and said “would you like a water?” (was I swooning over the water bottle?) “I’d love a water”.  He went over to the cooler and got me a bottle of water.  He said “they are there all the time, they just don’t offer them so I get my own”.  Thank you very much.  Then there was a bridal party taking pictures.  The bride was about 45 and was wearing a white beaded corset that laced up the back and a shear skirt (like *I can see your thong* shear).  The three bridesmaids were all about 20-ish and wearing coral dresses.  They all had traditional white wedding leis.  As they walked by one of the guys said “was that a bride?” His friend said “I think that might have been a bride”.  He looked at me and said “do you think that was a bride?”  I said “I’m pretty sure that was a bride”.  He said “a very unusual bride indeed, don’t you think?” I said “indeed”.  I got the feeling the bridesmaids were the daughters of the bride or groom.  Dunno.  I don’t know where the four guys were going but I kind of wanted to go with them! ;-)
~Be back manana...
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
In my happy place.  Coffee on mi’patio with only the sounds of my feathered friends. ~Serenity
Yesterday we skipped breakfast and headed to the Fern Grotto.  We made it just in time to get on the boat.  It’s a pretty ride from the dock to the grotto and the captain points out all the sites and history and runs down a list of all the movies that have been filmed there.

 These are type of ginger ^.
When they turn red, they squeeze the leaves
and use the nectar as hair conditioner
The foliage is beautiful;
ginormous leaves about 3-4 feet tall
You are guided thru the path to a DECK?  What?  A deck?  You used to go to a large cave-like amphitheater to see the Hawaiian Family (Ohana) Show. 
Now you go to a deck.  The deck is the only non-shady spot in the grotto so everyone was hovered around the four umbrellas in the corners.  As you can imagine it’s also very humid in the grotto.  

The MC started off by telling us that in 2006 there was what they called a Biblical Flood.  It rained for 40 days and 40 nights.  He said “we were expecting Noah to show up”.  Anyhow the rains did so much damage that they had to close the grotto for a year to do clean up and repairs.  Now they can’t go into the former amphitheater because the rock slides made it an unsafe environment.  They played songs while two of the girls did the hula.  They ended with the Hawaiian Wedding Song (lots of people get married in the grotto).  Then we took another pathway back to the boat.  The Ohana went back on the boat with us and performed the entire way back.  They were very good and entertaining.
Since we were at the far end of Kapa’a we deiced to go past Lihue and head to Poipu Beach and have lunch at Brennecke’s Beach Broiler.  On the way you drive through the tunnel of trees.
 Compliments of Mother Nature
The restaurant is upstairs overlooking the beach. 
From up here ^ you can see this v
View from our table at the window
Mango Mojito ~ fabulous
Paul and I decided to split an order of Fish and Chips.  The Catch of the Day was *say it with me* Ono!  That was incredible.  Good thing we split an order because it was huge.
We left there and decided to hit Hilo Hattie’s on the way back.  Meh.  That place has really gone downhill. The A/C was broken so it was pretty hot and humid inside.  The clothing is expensive and the quality of the fabric isn't light and silky like it used to be, it's heavy and stiff and feels cheap.  The assortment of souvenirs was not as abundant as it used to be either.  I bought a couple of calendars and Paul found a shirt that was 100% cotton amongst the poly-blend.  When we checked out I told the checkout lady that I forgot my ‘free mug with purchase coupon’ at the condo and did she have an extra one.  Seems like I have a free Hilo Hattie mug from most of our visits.  She said she didn’t and they were really cracking down on them.  They aren’t giving them out as freely and she has to staple the coupon to the receipt so she couldn’t give me a mug.  She said “I don’t know what’s going on.  They are getting stingy and won’t even fix the air conditioner.  I tell them people won’t come back”.  She’s probably right.  I certainly won’t go out of my way to shop there on future island visits. The ABC Stores have plenty of souvenirs and there is better quality clothing to be found elsewhere.    
We stopped at another store along the way where I bought some Hawaiian Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts, Coffee Flavored Hard Candies, a tube of Hawaiian Alaea Salt and a tube of Hawaiian Spice.  The spice blend has “rock and alaea salts, garlic, ginger, pepper, onion, spices”.  Spices aye?  I guess they can’t reveal too much of their secret blend.  I’m looking forward to trying that one on a pork roast on the BBQ rotisserie! 
Back to the condo for R&R.  We researched a few restaurant options for dinner and ended up going to the Tavern at Princeville.  It’s at the Prince Golf Course Clubhouse and it’s a Roy Yamaguchi Restaurant. When we arrived the place was packed and very noisy. The hostess said she could seat us in the bar.  The bar only has a few tables and it was much quieter so that was perfect. Seriously, it was better than Roy’s.  We split a Caesar Salad which was really good.  Fresh crisp lettuce and a very flavorful dressing.  I ordered the Glazed Pork Ribs and Paul ordered the Garlic Ribeye.  They were both good but mine was better!  The service was great.

We brought back leftovers.  Paul said "don't be surprised if you get up and your ribs are already gone".  I usually wake up about an hour or two before he does so there was no danger of THAT happening!   
We don’t really have a plan for today.  One thing for sure is I need to zoom through the grocery store for water and bananas.  I might do that after I SF&P (shower, fluff and puff) while Paul is dilly-dallying.  BTW, he named our Nene Fred & Ethel. 
You know you will find me right back here tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
This morning my happy place is filled with the sounds of tropical rain.  Just a few birds chattering from the shelter of the trees.  ~Tranquil. 
Yesterday morning I went up to the market as planned.
Paul was on the patio with his own morning routine.  Coffee, cigar, magazine, laptop, Fred & Ethel. 
We had decided to go to the Mediterranean Gourmet for dinner.  We pulled up their website so I could call for reservations and discovered that on Tuesdays they close the kitchen at 3 p.m. to get ready for the Luau.  We checked the details of the Luau and decided what-the-heck.  So as I said previously, all things subject to change, I made reservations for the Luau.  By the time we left for breakfast it was almost lunchtime so we went to Tiki Iniki and had to wait about 15 minutes until they opened (11:30). 
I ended up getting the Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp.  I was really tempted to get the fish and chips again because I love *Deep*Fried*Ono* but decided against fried and fried.  Now that I’m thinking it was probably my last chance to get *Deep*Fried*Ono* so maybe I should have.  Oh well, no regrets.  The salad was good and the shrimp had a nice spice on them.

We were going to go exploring but decided to go to the pool instead.  We walked out to the cliff at the edge of the resort to check it out.  Beautiful.
Come on, I saved you a seat!
The pool was very quiet; we had the adult side practically to ourselves. 
It was so relaxing with a nice tropical breeze.  We stayed out for quite a while before heading back to the condo to get ready for the Luau. 
The Luau was…different…to say the least.  First it was a *little* misleading.  The ad said “Ocean Front Luau”  Join us in beautiful Ha’ena, on the island’s lush north shore, for an unforgettable luau at the ocean’s edge”.  Kind of sounds like it’s on the beach, no?  No.  It’s inside the restaurant.  Technically the restaurant *IS* on the ocean front.  I’ve never been to an indoor Luau before.  When in Rome (or in this case, when in Kauai).  As typical of most places on the island there was no A/C and as typical of that time of day it was very warm inside.  The MC told us that this show was more traditional of the Hawaiian people and they had "taken Hollywood" out of the Luau. One beverage of choice was included in the price: Mai Tai, Beer or Wine?  Mai Tai, well duh?
They started off playing music and singing until they were ready for us to hit the buffet line.  The food was okay.  Luau food is always average in my opinion anyhow so I wasn’t expecting fabulous. Two desserts, both coconut, just sayin'.  There was an nice assortment of fresh fruit on the dessert table which was very good and obviously better for me.  Then more music and Hula dances followed by Tahitian dances and the grand finale, the fire dance which was smokin' hot (no pun intended). And dangerous, as my husband the Building and Fire Inspector pointed out! The show was very good with one exception.  The solo dancer was (we are pretty sure) the Greek owner’s Greek wife!  She wasn’t very good.  The three Hawaiian dancers were all excellent and their father, the Fire Dancer (and MC), was amazing.

I also took some video on my phone.  Now I have to figure out how to get it off my phone and onto my computer. 
So we had three complaints: not on the ocean as insinuated; hot indoors, the Greek not very good dancer pretending to be a Hawaiian dancer.  Overall it was a very good and entertaining show and we weren't sorry that we went.  If you are looking for the more touristy Luau, this is not the show for you.  No photographer to sell you pictures of you entering the venue, no ceremony of them taking the pig out of the imu, etc.  This was just nice entertainment, which was just fine with us. 
I drove back on the very dark, long and winding road.  Yikes.  I was happy when I parked the car in front of our condo. 
This morning (@ 9:45) is the Rice Mill and Taro Farm tour.  I’m sure it will stop raining by then.  In the last hour it was raining really hard, then slowed to a drizzle, then back to a steady rain and now its letting up again.  The birds are starting to peck around so I think that means it’s going to stop, but what do I know?  The forecast says “mostly clear”. 
And BTW and just for the record, my legs look like a map of the Hawaiian Islands.  Mosquitos love me.  I’m an itchy mess.  I’ve been using the itch stick liberally and very sparingly my limited supply of Magical Healing Salve.  Note to self: need to brew up another batch - soon! 
~Aloha until tomorrow.

Thursday, September 4, 2014
Last morning in my little slice of paradise and another beautiful morning with my fine feathered friends coo'ing and caw'ing.  I think they are singing the Aloha Goodbye Song.

My sister is a genius.  Yesterday morning text messages (sorry I can't do the screen shot thing so you miss out on the emoticons):
D: Buy a bottle of rubbing alcohol and pour over your legs sissy, don’t forget you can put clear nail polish on puncture sites.
P: I should have brought clear polish with me.  Yesterday morning I sprayed my Dove body spray on them when I got out of the shower and that helped.  It has a fair amount of alcohol in it.  Love you.
D: Love you most. You can always get baking soda and watta.
P: Ha. There is baking soda in the fridge!
D: See.
~A few minutes later:
P: Ahhhhhhh relief.
I hadn’t thought about baking soda and water for bites.  I put about a tablespoon of baking soda in the palm of my hand and added some water.  I rubbed it on my legs and the itch stopped immediately.  When it dries it leaves a white coat of powder but I didn’t care.  I love my sister beyond measure and have missed her very much this trip.
Oh, I talk about my sis and here comes a cat.  Black and white beauty. I've seen her on the property a couple of times but this is the first time she's been around the patio. 
Yesterday morning it rained off and on along the way to Hanalei to the Rice Mill and Taro Farm Tour.  When we pulled in the parking lot they gave us umbrellas.  We congregated under the awning by their food truck and were given a small taro smoothie. They use taro instead of dairy and add fruit. Yumm.  Lyndsey, our tour guide, is a fifth generation taro farmer and she really knows her business.  She started off giving us a little family history.  Her 92 year old grandfather tried to enlist in the military during WWII but when they asked his occupation and he said “rice and taro farmer”, they asked if he could farm other food. Why not? They wanted him to stay in Kauai and provide food for the islanders instead of going to war since getting shipments of food from the mainland would most likely be scarce.  Interesting.  Anyhow, she talked about the five endangered species of birds that roost on their property and she talked about how her family survives flash floods (approximately five per year), some with water levels that are 3’ to 5’ high.  Ey-yi-yi. 
Can you see the five waterfalls on the mountain? 
There were six but I didn't get the one on the right in the photo. 
She said when you can see 12,
you head for the high land because it's about to flood!
When you live in an environment like that your home is made to withstand flooding.  No carpet, furniture that won’t be ruined when soaked, electrical outlets are high so nothing is plugged in near the floor, etc.  She said after a storm the first thing they do is shovel the mud out of the house. Can you imagine?  As we were ready to hit the road for the field tour the rain magically stopped as if it was on a timer.  We got on their shuttle van and she took us on a short ride to a taro field.  She explained how they harvest and replant. 
Then she told us about the nasty little pest, apple snails.  A little pink pod of eggs can hatch 300-600 snails. 
See the pod right under the stem (center right)?  Looks like bubble gum
When she was a child they used to farm the taro fields barefoot.  They used their toes to locate where the roots split.  Now they have wear rubber boots because the snail shells are sharp and will cut their feet. She said it feels like you are walking in broken glass.  We had a ‘hands on activity’ or as Anna called it “tourist labor”!  We had a bucket and a scraper/scoop on a stick and you can reach into the taro field (careful, don't fall in) and scrape the snail egg pods right off the stems. 
You can almost see the pod at the edge of the scooper at the rim of the bucket
They are high in calcium so they try to repurpose by using them in compost but they are overwhelming.  One snail can lay a million eggs in its lifetime.  We left there and headed up to the rice mill.  It’s the only rice mill in Hawaii.  She showed us more pictures and explained the entire process of milling rice. There is no electricity so everything was done by hand and with a diesel. I’ll spare you the details.  Then they had a demonstration.  They had a boiled taro.  She said you cannot eat it raw; you have to boil it for about an hour.  Do not under any circumstances buy taro at the grocery store and put it in the microwave.  It will get hard as a rock.  The demonstrator peeled and mashed the taro and then he husked a coconut, cracked it open with a machete, drained the water, grated the coconut, mixed it with the mashed taro and rolled it into balls.  They passed around cups of coconut water and the poi balls.  Everyone seemed to enjoy them.  I obviously passed.  We got in the van and went back to the meeting place where lunch was ready.  Pulled pork and white rice.  Not bad.  I give the tour an excellent rating.  Lyndsey was great and presented the information in a very interesting and informative way so it wasn’t a snooze fest. 
We went back to Kalypso and had a beverage before heading back to the condo.  We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing.  Ahhhhh. 
Paul was debating about going out to dinner but I wanted the leftovers from the Tavern.  Earlier we thought that maybe after dinner we'd go out for ice cream but by the time it was time to eat we decided not to. After we ate Paul went out to the patio for a few puffs off his cigar but he ran out of matches.  He looked around and finally said “let’s go out for ice cream”.  Ulterior motive maybe?  He thought he would have to buy a disposable lighter but when we got to the market I went to the cigarette counter and asked if they had any matches.  Bingo!  Then we walked over to Lappert’s and got ice cream and sat out at a picnic table.  It was beautiful out. The weather has really been great.  Even the rain yesterday morning wasn't too bad.  Thank goodness we missed out of one of their flash floods! 

Today we check out at 10 a.m. and we’ll head to the south side of the island.  We’ll stop along the way for late breakfast or early lunch.  We haven’t decided where but probably someplace in Kapa’a.  We don’t have a definite plan yet.  Paul wants to go to a National Park (I don’t recall the name) and we’ll probably stop at the Coffee Plantation if we can’t find anything else to do.  I’m not really interested in going to Gaylord’s Plantation and Railroad Museum again.  That's located between the airport and the coffee plantation.  Our original plan was to go to Duke’s for dinner before heading to the airport.  Not to worry, I’ll take plenty of pictures and report back on how we occupied our time.
I should probably go SF&P and pack.  ~sigh
Friday, September 05, 2014
We checked out, skipped breakfast (again) and drove up to Anini Beach.  Very pretty and lots of people getting ready to go snorkeling. 
 Here's a snorkeler and a wind surfer
The little piece of land in the distance is the Kilauea Lighthouse
We ended up going back to Olympic Café and split an order of fish and chips.  I don’t recommend it.  It was not as good as the other fish we’ve had on the island (we don’t think it was fresh) and the breading had a funky spice.  Two thumbs down. 
Who put the lime in the coconut?
We drove back to Poipu and stopped in Old Koloa Town.  Paul walked over to read the historical monuments and I wondered though the stores.  As we were leaving there was a sign that said "Spouting Horn 2 miles".  Why not.  I really only wanted to go to Spouting Horn because they have a big line of venders selling their wares.  I bought a pair of pearl stud earings.

So Beautiful
Then back to the car and we drove through Hanapepe.  
This is a "landmark" in Hanapepe (not my photo). 
The flowers were not as lush this time
although it looked like this on prior visits to Kauai
Hanapepe is the headquarters for Lappert’s Ice Cream (we didn’t stop).  We continued on and up to the Russian Fort. There isn't much left there except a sign with a little history and what's left of the ruins which is only the remains of a few lava rock walls (now dwindled to about two feet tall) and a flag pole.  Back to the car and to the Kauai Coffee Plantation. 

They have a very nice “coffee tasting bar” set up.  They have tables by category from the mildest to the boldest.  Each table has about eight thermal coffee carafes.  I didn’t buy any this time.  I told Paul I was about out of space in my carry-on bag, I can buy their coffee at home and I prefer Italian coffee!  We left there went to Kalapaki Beach and the Anchor Cove Shopping Center.  The Seahawks vs Packers game was on so Paul went to JJ’s Broiler for a beer and I walked thru the stores.  Then I joined him in the bar.  There were two guys, empty seat, Paul.  I sat down and a couple of minutes later the bar tender came over with a couple of plates for the appetizer platter the guy next to me had ordered.  He started to put a plate in front of me and then said “are you together”.  The guy looked at me, looked at the bar tender and said “not yet!”  I said that was pretty funny and the guy next to him said “great line, I’ll have to remember that”. 
We left there and went to Duke’s Canoe Club at the Marriot.  It’s a beautiful location. 
 Indoor waterfall
 View from the deck
They have a really nice salad bar.  I ordered Shrimp sautéed in Garlic Butter with Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Capers over Linguine.  It was okay but not something I would order again. I should have just ordered the salad bar because I didn't eat much of the entrée.  Paul had a Beef & Chicken Kabob which he really enjoyed.  I should have taken a picture because it was a beautiful presentation.  They had a skewer of veggies (mushroom, onion, tomato, zucchini and yellow squash) down the middle.  A wedge of chicken on one side and the teriyaki steak on the other side.  We didn’t get dessert. 
We left there and headed to the airport.  First stop, rental car return and hopped on the shuttle to the check-in.  First you have to have your check-in bags scanned thru Agricultural Check.  Then you go to the ticket counter, get your bags tagged and then take your bags to another spot and drop them off.  Then thru the TSA, then to the gate where your carry-on goes thru Agricultural Chec again.  Then the wait to board and then the long night flight, not my favorite part.  US Airways was right on time with both flights but they have the smallest seating ever.
Overall it was a great trip. 
The Cliff’s Resort was amazing.  The condo was huge and the pool area and landscaping of the property were beautiful. 
I give the "Best Award" to Brennecke’s Beach Broiler in Poipu because of the trifecta:
Best Fish & Chips = Brenneke’s.
Best Cocktail = Mango Mojito at Brenneke’s.
Best Service = Brenneke’s.
The window seat with the view of the beach was amazing too.
Three way tie for Second Best Food was the Tavern (Ribs), Postcards Café (Lobster), and Dolphin Restaurant (Fish Tacos). 
Worst Food goes to Olympic Café’s Fish Tacos.
Mahalo for visiting my Travel Blog. I'll try to make time to do a Smilebox with the rest of my photos.   
All photos are mine except the Flower Truck. 
Next stop = TBD. 
Paul really enjoyed Santa Fe, New Mexico and would like to go back (we were just there last year).  He'd also like to go back to Cape Cod (we haven't been there in a while so that would be nice).  He's interested in going to Gettysburg for more Civil War History. We still haven't been to Florida.  Decisions, decisions.
Hopefully 2015 will include one trip with the hubster and one trip with the sister.
I R-E-A-L-L-Y want to go on vacay with my sis.  Maybe Maui, maybe Europe.  Now that she got her passport renewed, the choices are endless! Just need her to take some much needed time off.  

~Sorry the spacing is wonky.  Sometimes Blogger has a mind of it's own.

1 comment:

Connie O said...

I finally read through the whole trip blog. Sounds like a great trip, and I loved the photos! I haven't been to HI yet, but I've had two acquaintances offer me deals for condo rentals on Maui. So maybe it's in the near future.