In Kauai -- Towns of Hanalei and Lihue; beaches; waterfalls; lookouts.
M wasn't kidding about the roosters not understanding the concept of time, where they just start crowing whenever they feel like it. In this case it's like 3am. Then 4am, 4:30am, 5:15am, and so forth until I finally roll out of bed at 6am. The irony is that they will keep crowing like, all day, stupid birds. The fridge has plenty of fresh fruit to munch on, and I find myself stuffing my mouth full of pineapple .. which tastes infinitely better than any other pineapple I have ever eaten in my entire life. So juicy so good! I end up having some toasted raisin bread and some freshly made kauai coffee. I swear it's like the best breakfast I've ever had. Going out onto the balcony (the linai) I can't help but love the view as my brain starts to follow my body in its waking process.
Grabbing a quick shower I throw on my swimsuit and some loose clothing, and sandals. I pack up my purse with some essentials (lipgloss, sunscreen, nail file, wallet, camera, hat) and we head off to Hanalei market in order to get me some water shoes. The beaches here have rocks and coral under the water that you can easily step on and injury yourself (M having done so himself a few days earlier). Right outside the resort there is a lookout for the Hanalei river. This is my first experience with the scenery here and I am already awestruck. The valleys are so green, and in this location you can see areas that are farms for agriculture. The views are just .. amazing. I'll never be able to say this enough. We enjoy it for a few minutes, then continue on to the market for said water shoes. Apparently my feet are too .. petite for water shoes at the Hanalei market. On the plus side I scored a gorgeous sarong and a lei for Lantlig (it matches his beak). The thing that amazed me the most about the mall was the food court there .. totally outdoors! These cute little tables with grass umbrellas. This place is totally different from back home in so many ways.
View from the Hanalei lookout.
We continue west, heading for Ke'e beach. I read that it was one of the best beaches for snorkelling, which is something I wanted to do on this trip. We arrive and the coast is, well, crazy. The waves are huge and intimidating. Off to the left of the beach is trails that you can go hiking. The one that caught my eye was a four mile hike that would take you up into the Na Pali hills. Unfortunately we're not really dressed for such a hike (nor does anyone really care to embark on it with me). So no hike for me today.
We start walking along the shore and I am amazed at how gorgeous the view is there. Along the brush there are these amazing trees in which the roots are .. uprooted. You can sit or wander underneath them .. it's just very surreal. Along this path I come across a lonesome coconut which I can't resist snapping a picture of it. Kicking off my shoes I find myself wandering through the sand, which is so soft that your feet sink into it immediately. We wander down a ways and then put all our things down, heading down to the water. As the waves come in higher my shorts start to soak so I strip them off then run back into the water. The waves comes in sets getting higher and higher. I miscalculate and find myself soaked. The view from this point on the beach is just breathtaking -- you can see see the Na Pali coastline from there and it is, well, breathtaking. After spending some time here we end up piling back into the car and driving down the coast to explore some waterfalls.
Along the way we pass by some caves in the mountains. We stop at the one and I see these vines dangling down, and one of the trees above has branches that curve in this way that almost makes it look like a snake is coiled and dangling down. The cave itself is deep and filled with water. I find it hard to believe that all these things are just .. natural, but here they are. As we drive along I notice the houses are all built rather high, like on stilts. M's mother explains to me that this is because of the flooding and is most commonly seen along the shoreline. I imagine the owners of the houses must have great glutes. We drive past Lumahei beach where I witness the most horrific waves I have ever seen. They are massive! I cannot fathom anyone trying to swim in the water when it's like this. Apparently the north shore is notorious for being very choppy. Ke'e was supposedly one of the best beaches for snorkelling, but not during this season (their summer) since the waters are so rough. Nonetheless, the view of this beach terrifies me into not wanting to enter north shore waters at any point for the rest of my vacation.
We stop at a church that is, honestly, beautiful. The stained glass windows are exquisite, and though it looks very tiny it is apparently very roomy. Here I locate some more random cocks (roosters), which are literally everywhere. The view of the mountains from outside the church is flabbergasting so I take some shots. Also are some amazing palm trees, which are slowly becoming my favorite plant I'm starting to think. We stop for lunch at the Hanalei Blue Dolphin, where M and I each get the salad with fresh ahi tuna. The salad is microgreens with bean sprouts, tomatoes, and seared tuna with a cajun rub. He gets it with blue cheese dressing, and I with the house vinaigrette. I also get a house bread that is a rye with honey and molasses in it that is to die for (as if the salad wasn't enough). We also indulge in some local ales, him getting the Keoki Gold and I the Keoki Sunset. His is a light ale where mine is more of a dark amber; I prefer his over mine, hands down. Already the food on the island has outdone my expectations.
We stop at a service station to get some gas and I run in to get myself something to drink. And what do I see? The most peculiar thing ever ... Diet Coke Plus. Diet Coke which has been enhanced with the addition of vitamins and minerals in order to make you 'healthier'. Forget the aspartame killing you slowly .. I digress. I end up buying a bottle because, like, how can you not buy something weird like that? I also end up picking up an Almond Joy because I've never had one tbh and I'm curious. I also notice that they are huge on snacks that are things like squid rings that have been smoked and seasoned. Ick.
A brief stop at the Coconut Mall so that I can try and find something to wear to the luau Friday night. As we walk in I see this girl looping a sarong up into a little dress .. immediately I know that's what I want. Unfortunately standard sarongs don't seem to accomodate a woman with a chest size above a B-cup. In the end I have to buy a plus-sized sarong. M helps me pick out the pattern, and a good choice imho. I also end up buying some necklaces for myself (a few kukui nut ones, some shell ones of various colors), some authentic coral necklaces for my mom and stepmom, some kukui bracelets for my sisters (along with some local soaps), some little tiki statues for the boys, and a beautiful jade bracelet for my friend's baby named Jade. Overall a very satisfying shopping experience, except for the overwhelming desire to buy more sarongs ...
Again we load back into the car and drive down to Opaekaa Falls. The lookout from the highway is pretty distant, but this does nothing to diminish the view itself. Around the corner from the lush green landscape is a set of waterfalls that are natural and amazing. Above the falls you could see a house nestled in high above. All I can think is that there has to be a road up there somewhere, otherwise that's one hell of a hike each day ... From there we travel on to see Wailua Falls, which is a short drive away. Again, the falls are amazing. This lookout is located right next to the falls so you can see them in great detail. Down at the bottom, in the pool, there is a cave that (to me) begs to be explored. If only the slope weren't so steep I would love to go for a swim and check it out. Not in the cards it seems.
Across the street is a lookout in Wailua River State Park that shows off a gorgeous view of the park. To the right of the river is the reminants of an old village. M's mother tells me about how in the center of the village there is this big slab of rock known as the birthing stone, and that every woman in the village would be taken to said stone to give birth to the child. Somehow the whole idea of this just seemed ... wrong. Not very sanitary, I mean I wouldn't want my ass to be stuck to said stone due to residual placenta goo from the last 20 women who gave birth before me. But I digress. An amazing view.
We pile back into the car and head into Lihue on the way back to do some errands -- namely to stop at Kmart and get me some water shoes. Upon entering the first thing I spot is a Little Caesar's and immediately think of my friend Christine. We get pizza there in the warmer months and tend to eat it in the park, so seeing it brought back happy memories and made me think of how much she would enjoy it. I snap a picture to show her later. I play around trying on straw hats, M seems mildly amused by my quirky pickiness. In the end I buy no hat. I do end up buying watershoes, some postcards (that I end up forgetting to mail), some painted kukui necklaces for my sisters, and a pair of sunglasses that apparently make me look 'rock star'. Haha. We stop at the market on the way home and I get some organic veggie burgers (worst things ever). We have a throw-together dinner, then M and I head down to the hot tub. Mmmmm, heaven.
View of the Na Pali coastline from Ke'e Beach.