Days Nine and Ten: Home Sweet Home; Lizards, Chickens, a Place Called Hanalei and “Conversations”…

Lone seal basking on the edge of the surf near Hanalei, Kauai - Photo © Carl Amoth

Lone seal basking in the sun on the edge of the surf near Hanalei, Kauai - Photo © Carl Amoth

Well, after a 4-hour nap and a very long, very hot shower this morning, I feel like I am amongst the living again. First class or not, red-eye flights are just plain brutal. One would think with as much as I travel that I would be used to all types of travel and time changes, but these ALWAYS kick my behind.

The bags are unpacked and the 8 loads of laundry are started. It is now time to wrap up the travel blog with final experiences and thoughts (for this adventure at least).

The night before our last day we had a tasty dinner at Bar Acuda in Hanalei, Kauai that was highly recommended by Eddi.  It was a very cool restaurant, but definitely felt like an LA vibe, rather than an island restaurant. Apparently Pierce Brosnan lives full time on Kauai and this is his favorite place. No, we didn’t see him, but their tapas style menu was very good, although oddly enough, the beef tasted gamey and yet we’ve seen the cattle grazing in beautiful lush fields. I’ve wondered if we are just too accustomed to grain-fed beef…. There has been quite an infusion of Californians to the island and I’m not sure how that will bode for the locals. Many locals shared with us that it is virtually impossible to make enough money to buy a home on Kauai, unless your family has land. Even with two jobs (which is quite common) it is financially out of their reach.

A "zipper" spider - resident bug catcher at The Palmwood Inn - Photo © Carl Amoth

A "zipper" spider - resident bug catcher at The Palmwood Inn - Photo © Carl Amoth

About the chickens, one of the first things we noticed when we arrived on Kauai was all of these wild chickens everywhere. There are roosters and chickens just walking down every street, sidewalk and field. Everywhere you look – there are chickens. But the awful thing is that the roosters have no sense of time. They crow at ALL hours of the day and night. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they crow plenty in the very early morning (starting about 5:00 a.m. there is a chorus of crowing that can be heard for at least an hour all across the valley). The story goes that when Hurricane Iniki hit the islands, most of the chicken farms and cages were destroyed. Many on the island raised chickens for feed, but many others raised them for cock fighting. This event triggered a feral chicken population in the thousands AND created this ALL-DAY crowing. If the chickens are in your yard, you can shoot them, otherwise, you have to leave them alone. I guess there is always something to crow about…

We spent our final day in Kauai exploring the entire north portion of the coastline as far as the road would take us. Just as we set out on our journey I felt something on my arm and looked down to see a lizard on me. I did the natural thing and screamed and brushed all in one fell swoop. That of course freaked Carl out and he is trying to figure out what is going on and I yelled “lizard, lizard!!!” The lizard is now on my purse and Carl, good macho man that he is, grabbed the lizard, while trying to keep the car on the road, and tossed it out the window. Well, he tried to toss it out the window, but missed and I think it is still somewhere in that jeep…

Driving up the coast was gorgeous and then Carl camped me on the beach for a while as he went off to take photographs. Our Bed & Breakfast hostess, Eddi, supplies everything you would need for a day at the beach. Beach chairs, mats, cooler, snorkel gear, etc. I settled into my chair with my Kindle (loving the new Dan Brown book) listening to the ocean, watching locals fish from the shore and kids playing in the sand. It was so peaceful and relaxing. We ate lunch at Kalypso in Hanalei where I thoroughly enjoyed an excellent Grilled Cajun Mahi Mahi tostada salad and Carl ate an Ono and Crab wrap, which was equally delicious.

We headed to Mo’oloa Bay to go snorkeling, and finally use our new equipment. Mo’oloa Bay is only about a mile away from the B&B where we are staying, and we were told by many people (including Eddi) that this is the best snorkeling on the island. Now, we knew when booking our trip that Kauai is the rainiest of islands (home to the rainiest spot on earth as mentioned previously), but other than an occasional 5-minute sprinkle, we never experienced any storms. Although it would often be very wet in the mornings. Well, just as we get to the bay, it starts absolutely pouring. Huge storm that clearly wasn’t going to be one of the 5-minute types. So, we did see the bay, but never did go snorkeling. We have brand new snorkeling gear ready for our next adventure however… 😉

A little nap in the room listening to the soothing sound of the rain was perfect, yet all the while knowing it was our last night on Kauai. We had booked Carl an Ultralight aircraft flying excursion the next morning,  and he needed to leave by 6:30 a.m. We had driven past a restaurant in Kapaa several times that was always busy and just looked like a great spot to dine and we made The Eastside our last dinner Friday night. It was a good choice even though we only shared a couple of pupu’s since we had such a late lunch. Their Coconut Thai soup was fantastic (another one I need to reconstruct), it had rice, ginger, cilantro and I don’t know what else, but it was delicious. We also shared scallop and shrimp egg rolls with spicy chili sauce. I don’t think I’ve eaten so much good fish in a 10-day stretch of time as we did this trip (oh, and lot’s of Kalua Pork…). The Mahi Mahi and Ono were often exceptional and the light creation made for very good eating without walking away from the table absolutely stuffed.

Carl after his ultralight aircraft flight. Photo by Gene Monnier.

Carl after his ultralight aircraft flight. Photo by Gene Monnier.

Carl has wanted to experience an Ultra Light Flight for a very long time. While we were out on our Napali Coast Sunset tour we saw a couple of them cruising over the coast and decided that it was a perfect opportunity for him to “check this off the list.”  We were able to secure a time for him to fly on the morning we were flying to Honolulu to catch our red-eye home. I stayed back to work on the packing, but from all accounts, this was indeed a memorable adventure for Carl. He flew at speeds upwards of 100 miles per hour along the Napali Coast and over Waimea Canyon. It was incredibly safe and the weather was perfect. I was so delighted that Carl was able to reach the skies and attain this goal!

As soon as he returned, we loaded the jeep and set off for the airport. Carl dropped me at the airport with the bags so he could return the car. I knew our bags were going to be heavy (we even decided that we would have to check three bags instead of the two). Carl’s bag weighed in at 76 pounds! They won’t even put it on the airplane unless it’s 70 pounds or less, and there are of course charges for the heavy bag (this is Hawaiian Air, not US Airways). So, not only will we be paying extra, I now have to move at least 6 pounds out of Carl’s bag. Mine still weighed in at 55 pounds (good grief! Did we learn our lesson on packing or what?!?!?) but the porter was kind enough NOT to charge another $25 for that one.  The good news is that we were able to check them all the way to PHX and would not have to figure out what to do with them for the day on Oahu.

About the packing: we realized our biggest mistake was packing clothing and gear for EVERY possible activity we might do. Hiking, running, going out, etc. There were two pair of shoes I never wore, three belts that were never unrolled (why did I think I needed three BELTS in Hawaii?), I brought home at least 3 pounds of our snack/nut mix (I guess we forgot we can buy almonds and cashews in Hawaii, but then proceeded to eat mainly Macadamias the ENTIRE time we were on the islands). You see, it is important for me to recount these errors in judgment, particularly in writing, so that they are recorded, not just for posterity, but for remembrance AND avoidance in future trips.

I have now firmly convinced myself that I can get by with two dresses, one pair of shorts, one pair of pants, about 5 tee shirts/shirts, one bathing suit and 4 pair of shoes (come on now, that is down from 9, I need at least one pair of sandals, one pair of workout shoes/tennis shoes/hiking shoes, one pair of fancy shoes and a pair of flip flops). I could probably eliminate or combine several hair products and the nail polish probably wasn’t really necessary (none of the three bottles…).  Now about the photo equipment: probably not as much we can do on that front, but I am still not sure we need 5 cameras. But, there are many more areas to trim and that is really not it.

Our sunset dinner at the Hula Grill. Waikiki, Oahu.

Mai Tai's and a fine cabernet at the Hula Grill. Waikiki, Oahu.

We decided to get a rental car on Oahu so we could spend a day in the city since we had an 8-hour layover. We made it just in time to Pearl Harbor for the last boat over to the Arizona Memorial. I have been there before, but Carl never has and I am so glad we were able to fit it in. I don’t know what it is about that memorial, but every time I have been there I feel very emotional. We then tooled around Waikiki ending up at Hula Grill for a brilliant sunset and lovely meal. We lingered over dinner, taking in every last minute and then headed to our car and promptly got turned around and a bit lost and now all of the sudden, we are running a bit short on time. We find the car and then Google directions to the airport and by time we turned in the car, checked in, changed clothes and got to the gate, it was time to board for the icky pooh long journey home.

The USS Arizona proudly cruised the seas for a quarter century. She has rested in her war grave for 68 years...

The USS Arizona proudly cruised the seas for a quarter century. She has rested in her war grave in Pearl Harbor for 68 years...

The submerged deck of the USS Arizona, which was destroyed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 1,177 men lost their lives...  - Photo © Carl Amoth

The submerged deck of the USS Arizona, which was destroyed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 1,177 men lost their lives... - Photo © Carl Amoth

The submerge deck of the USS Arizona. Note the oil still oozing from the ship in the lower middle of the photo. Photo © Carl Amoth

The submerged deck of the USS Arizona. Note the oil still oozing from the ship in the lower middle of the photo. Photo © Carl Amoth

The last piece of our journal that I wanted to share has to do with “conversations.” Let me shed a little light on what I like to term our “conversations.” This is our code for those oh-so-rare times, when we are not agreeing, or that one or the other of us has reached our bugging quotient. For those of you that followed us through Patagonia, I am sure you will remember several entries about our “conversations” (i.e. leaving me alone at dinner for 45 minutes to take pictures…). I wanted to write about this earlier in the blog, but let’s just say I met some resistance (censorship) and needed to have a “conversation.” Carl has now encouraged me to share this encounter.

So, a little back-story… On our plane ride over to Honolulu from Phoenix Carl told me that he would like to do some of the writing on our blog. (insert picture of Bev with a stunned look on her face). I was surprised by this and was a little petulant when I asked WHY do you want to write? See, I kind of thought the writing was my thing, whereas Carl has his photographs, which everyone loves. Plus, since Carl knows that my dream job (post software sales) is to be a writer, I guess I felt a bit territorial about the whole thing. The conversations continued for some time and then I told him I understand, but just TELL ME what he wants included, like he has done before, and I will be sure and include his input. I did remind Carl that his pictures are on the blog, and then asked him if any of the pictures I take are going on the blog, since they haven’t before. Yes, he assured me, my pictures would also go on the blog.  He understood why the blog was important to me and I understood why he wanted to participate. (it still felt like a stalemate to me….)

Fast-forward a couple days while we are in Lahaina. We are driving from our B&B (Ho’oilo House) into town for dinner and the sun was dazzling off the ocean with just amazing light reflection. We both simultaneously said, oh, we have to get a picture of that! We didn’t have Carl’s big Kahuna camera (we were just going to dinner), but we did have the back up to the back up small digital camera. I took it out and began preparing to take a picture (Carl was driving, but had stopped the car) and then it began. Carl: be sure and turn the camera vertical, turn off the fill flash, raise the camera above the jeep, put it in the middle, and then lastly; “here, I will take the picture”. Oh REAALLLLY? Now, this wasn’t said by Carl with any angst or frustration at all, he is just very comfortable taking pictures and is EXTREMELY skilled at composition. Just. Like. I. Am. With. Writing. But I do like to take pictures of Carl taking pictures….

I let Carl take the picture, and then with a smile on my face, I raised my eyebrows and said “well I guess you won’t be writing on the blog?”………. ahhh, we both got it.

So friends and family, I leave you with this: Together we are better and stronger, but independently we have unique skills, talents and gifts. One of them is realizing how we can compliment each other so distinctly while embracing the ideal that although we both have a need to control, often the lack of control is what provides the most astonishing opportunity for a “Great Adventure.”

Until next time…

The sunset view from our table at the Hula Grill, Waikiki, Oahu.  Photo © Carl Amoth

The sunset view from our table at the Hula Grill, Waikiki Beach, Oahu. Photo © Carl Amoth

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