Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kauai...Day 1 Airport to the North Shore to the Grand Hyatt.

KAUAI, the most beautiful of the Hawaiian islands in my opinion. Steve and I flew (no Lauren, there are no bridges..still laughing my ass off about that one) the 19 minutesover to the Garden Isle for a little getaway. Steve's mom is here in town and she was nice enough to watch the kids for us, so we got to go by ourselves! The best part is we decided when to eat, sleep, wake up, and got to go anywhere we wanted without any whining! Epic WINNING!!!
We rode to the airport with our good friends the Bakers, as they were on their way to Maui. (Seriously poor planning on our part, not taking a vacation together). Weall enjoyed a wonderful airport breakfastof Starbucks and Burger King, and then went to our respective gates. Our flight left at 8:06 am with and arrival time in Lihue of 8:26....yep. A whopping 20 minute flight gate to gate. That is my kind of travel! I didn't even have time to read a magazine :)
We picked up our one bag...had to check it because of sunscreen, (which we didn't end up using) Oh well. We headed to the rental car counter. We ended up paying the extra $10 and upgrading to a Jeep with a hard top that we could remove. It was so much fun. Iam glad we waited to upgrade till we got to the counter. Online it was an extra $50 a day for the Jeep. We took to top off and headed out on our adventure, and this was all before 9:20 in the morning. This is amazing seeing that we have a hard time getting out of the house before 10 to do anything.
We were well on our way to getting this vacation done right!First stop, after one wrong turn was Wailua Falls. The weather was breezy and drizzy, but not enough to sway us to put the roof back on the Jeep, or to miss anything. We got out and walked around for a bit. You view the waterfall form an outlook and it was glorious! Not really sure how else to describe it. It looks like 2 waterfalls, but only when the water is low, otherwise it flows as one giant torrent of water. The book says the falls are 173 feet. I trust them...I have no reason not to! There were a bunch of people there because the cruise ship was in, and they were bused up there. This was the only place that we saw people from a cruise.
Which we found weird, because we stopped at every place the tour book said to!
Next after another wrong turn was 'Opaeka'a Falls. These are viewed from a platform quite far away from the actual falls. I guess they were impressive.

From here we continued up the road looking for the Kauai Hindu Monastery. After fording a stream (very Oregon Trail) and then fording it again when we realized we had passed it and had to turn around (notice a theme?) we finally found the Monastery, and we of course were unprepared. To keep with cultural custom
no shorts or tank tops are allowed. Well of course S had shorts on, and I was in capris. Thankfully the nice people supply you with sarongs to wrap around yourselves. S didn't bat an eye when I handed the sarong to him. What a trooper! The grounds were exquisite. So lush and green. You can pay (make a donation) for a tour if you call in advance and make a reservation. They only offer the tour once a week and the day varies depending on the Hindu calendar. Lucky for us, you are allowed to just wander around the grounds. So that is what we did. Not that we had any idea what we were looking at, other for what I could get out of the tour book. Which included this interesting tidbit:
"This temple is built entirely of hand-carved stones from India. Some stones take as long as 7 years to carve, and there are 4,000 of them."
We left the monastary pretty impressed with ourselves with how much we had done and our time. We decided to keep it going! We headed back on the road and up towards the North Shore. We stopped in Kilauea to view the lighthouse. This spot is the norther most point in the Hawaiian islands. Pretty cool I think. We have now been to the most southern point in the US (on the Big Island) and now the northern most
point of the islands! Go us. The lighthouse is also a bird sanctuary. S couldn't get enough of all the red footed boobies flying around...bwahahhahaha. I jest...but really. We paid the $5 a person
and walked down to the actual light house. The wind was whipping around and the waves hitting the cliffs were crazy. We left there and continued to drive north. We passed over many one lane bridges, properly following local etiquette (and traffic laws).

While driving we passed through the Hanalei Valley where much of the taro of the islands is grown. If you don't know...taro is a root that poi ismade out of, yep the stuff that tastes like wallpaper paste and is served at every luau. I personally like taro flavored frozen yogurt (had some tonight), but poi is nasty. But I digress. The valley is beautiful, you will have to trust me as I didn't get a picture. Along the way, S decided to pull over to a turn out because there were a ton of other cars pulled over and he wanted to see what all the hubbub was about. Turns out there is path down to a beach, so we took it. Plus we wanted to see this crazy old fool walking down with a boogie board try and go into the waves that were rocking the coast. Gotta love tourists! We goofed off down there for a while, S climbing rocks that huge waves crashing over them and hiding from the waves, me staying firmly on the sand enjoying the show my husband was
putting on. The guy with the boogie board got in the water and wiped out oh just about every time. Seriously the waves were insane. I have no idea what he thought he was doing. We left before he killed about a vacation ruin-er. (note: when we left he was fine and we didn't see anything on the news about a drowning). I would love to tell you to visit this beach, because it was great...but I am not sure what it is called. Looking at the map in the book, I think it is Kahalahala, but don't take my word for it!

Next was the Mani-ni-holo Dry Cave. It sits right across from a beach park and was pretty cool. It was a cave that was dry. Go figure. Next up, and just a bit farther up the road was Waikanaloa Wet Cave. This cave, and the one that was a bit of a hike that we didn't visit, were sea caves. Meaning the ocean cut them, and now they are cut off from the sea. Interesting eh. Well not really. They kinda smelled.

Now I bet you are wondering J, what did you eat while on this epic roadtrip? The answer...nothing. Both S and I were starving, it was 2:30 and we had a drive all the way back to the south shore. We stopped in the little town of Princeville and got some really good Mexican food. Go figure. We also had ice cream from a local Hawaiian creamery. I say local because it is throughout the islands. Then hopped into the Jeep, with its top on because by this time it had decided to pour, and started to the resort. We found it with ease, as it is a giant Hyatt resort and headed to check in. We are told at the counter "we took the pleasure of upgrading your room to a ocean view". Why thank you nice Grand Hyatt people, thank you very much. From here on out there is nothing to talk about. Settled into the room, took a quick nap, found the jacuzzi, ate some dinner....blah blah blah. :)

Stay tuned for the next installment where we make a few wrong turns, try to force our way onto a military base, go off roading in a rental, hunt for glass on a glass beach, see a big hole in the ground and a donkey!

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