Hawaii. The esteemed destination vacation. Until recently there has always been something to prevent going: budget, weather, budget (that did deter us a couple of times), timing. YET–the hubs turned 70, the 35th anniversary arrived, and I turned 60. No excuses allowed with this triple celebration.
After some research we went with a very reasonable Costco package (seriously, check out their travel options. They offer more than a good deal on Baby Bells.)
Since we were limited to date blocks we grabbed the June package, which meant I barely submitted my grades before we hopped aboard the six-hour flight to the Garden Island: Kauai. The best part? We flew out on my birthday. Cool, huh?
Here are some revelations:
- Previously a Southwest devotee, I might be switching over to Alaska. Free charging stations, reasonably priced food menu, free Mai Tais (the leis weren’t available?) , $10 movie tablets (which was an unexpected birthday perk) efficient crew. Very nice.
- Kauai is truly the garden island. Lush verdant plants with flowers so brightly hued they practically glow. Everywhere there are bizarrely beautiful plants that seem primordial. Giant fragrant blossoms. The air is tinged with briny sweetness–ocean and blossoms.
- Being 20 steps from the ocean is pinch worthy. I would wake up, open the sliding door and in a moment I was on the beach. This is not your pretty calendar white sand beach, this is an almost frantic roller wave beach that has buckskin-colored sand full of riptide branches. It’s not a posted swimming beach due to the coral reef and undertow. This meant it was fairly desolate. Quite peaceful, almost like having a private beach. The locals were the main visitors. They would come down in the morning to fish. We watched a twenty-something dude spear dive and bring up an octopus. I liked how our resort’s frontage was not a swimming beach but one the locals come and enjoy. This made the dxperience even better.
- Humidity is a way of life. Hair does odd things in this weather. A person is either sticky from the misty rain or the moist, clingy heat. Any clothing that is 100% cotton remains 100% damp. I should have gone with the polyester shirts.
- In June there are peekaboo sunny days mixed with muggy grey skies. But you know what? It’s Hawaii. I will take grey skies in Hawaii any day–even grey days are amazing.
- Casual. Shorts, t-shirts, and bathing suits are the mainstay of dress. I felt overdressed with the one dress I brought. Forget capris–too hot. Shorts. Next time more shorts and tank tops. But not cotton.
- Time is irrelevant. We gained three hours flying to the island and they were a bonus. Everyone lives in a relaxed attitude, even the K-Mart clerk. No hurry. No worry. Island time.
- I always check out libraries wherever I vacation, and Princeville’s was jaw-dropping gorgeous with its amenities of open layout, pristine equipment. I grabbed a mystery off of the free rack. Gotta have a beach read when at the beach.
- While the island itself is mesmerizing in beauty, the architecture is bland. Most buildings are block-shaped and are tan . No noted embellishments of design. Some houses sit on 12 foot high (or higher) stilts of concrete block (flooding?).
- There are so many places to see and so many things to do. Those days of hanging out by the pool working on the tan as I orignally planned got ditched once we saw how much there was to see. I sat out one day and I felt silly.
- Yet the one day I sat out I scorched. Not evenly, mind you. In blotches–because I sat under the shade tree. Whereever the sun peeked through I scorched. Yes, I was wearing sun block.
- No one has perfect bodies. There were a couple of people under thirty who qualified, but most people at the resort were over forty and were far from svelte. This encouraged me to ditch the tankini and drag out the bikini. I scorched. There is a lesson in this.
Discoveries not in the guide book:
- There are feral chickens all over the place. Apparently the 1992 hurricane released chicken coops and their contents. The island has not been the same since. There are flocks of these wiry little cluckers all over the hotel compound. They have no shame. They will flap right up on the table if not watched with diligence. They wander into the open air restaurant. The sparrows are even cheekier. A trio of them perched on the opposite chair and didn’t flinch even with hand shooing and water flicking. Sheesh. Chickens are, in fact, all over the island. We traveled up to the top of the mountain for the canyon view (fabulous!) and chickens were wandering in the parking lot. Did they hitchhike a ride up?!?
- The snails are fantastic. Not to eat, mind you. Although these guys might serve up well as escargot they are so huge! Their shells are colorful spirals, the type a beachcomber yipes up and down in delighted discovery. As a gardener I abhor snails, yet I’ve grown fond of these guys. Every morning there is a commute of about a dozen roaming all over the hedge and ground outside on our miniscule patio. There is a huge cache of empty shells under the hedge to the point it looks like a used parking lot.
- One of my favorite beaches was actually an industrisl dump way back when. Located in Port Allen, Glass Beach is the site where empty bottles were dumped. Over time the ocean wore down the glass into bits and pieces. The beach is now a mix of glass pebbles and black volcanic sand.
While there are many islands to visit, it would be difficult to explore beyond Kauai. We are already saving to go back.
I’ve only been to Hawaii once. It was several years ago on my 15th wedding anniversary. It was such a restful vacation. I’d love to go back.
I enjoyed reading your take on it. And I agree, Nature is where the beauty is, not so much the architecture.
It is a different world indeed.
Love “peekaboo sunny days”…that made me smile!
Sounds like you had an amazing time. Haven’t been to Hawaii since high school when I performed with the drill team and the band. Funny thing…we were a Scottish themed school with full on bagpipes and kilts. Our pipers almost passed out in that humidity and the Hawaiian kids we performed for thought we were crazy jumping around doing the Highland fling.
In other words, I’d like to go back and have a do-over as an adult.
Lose the kilt and get that bikini going. Humidity is an issue. No tartan was seen on the island for a reason!
This sounds intriguing (and your pics are beautiful) but I’m not sure how I feel about visiting an island overrun with cheeky feral chickens.
The chickens were a highlight of the trip. Ubiquitous chickens in paradise. I feel a song or poem in the making. Or did Jimmy Buffett already do this?
Jimmy Buffett wrote The Chicken Dance?!
This is what happens after spending time in Margaritaville…