Sunday, July 31, 2022

Last Two Days in Kauai...

 Saturday, July 30

While Jane, Martha and Larry did go out to brave the weekend crowds for some more beach time, I sheltered in place at the villa.

Even so, they were ready to be away from the heat and crowds after lunch and we enjoyed movies the rest of the day.  I believe we're all ready to leave.

Here's a pic taken by Larry as the three one them sought a nice sunrise picture while I slept in:

Photo courtesy of Larry H.

Sunday, July 31

Once packed up, we left the resort for breakfast and to while away the day as we waited to return the rental minivan and check in for our respective flights in the evening.

We visited Wailua Falls (another narrow road access, parking limited, crowded tourist spot).  They were made famous as the waterfalls in the TV show: Fantasy Island.

After we escaped the chaos at the waterfall overlook, we burned away time checking out other Marriott vacation properties in Lihue.  

More time burned at Starbucks and BK for a late lunch.  Finally it was time to return the car, check bags and get through security....all quite painless including the Agricultural products inspection points.

As they're on a different airline and later flight, we said our goodbyes and thanks to Larry and Jane.  They're going back to Virginia and we of course back to the Stoner State.

A trip filled more with happy highlights than unpleasant interludes.... probably won't be returning to the Islands anytime in the foreseeable future though.

Here's our ride:


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Visiting Lilo & Stich's Home and it's time to go home.

 Friday, July 29

As you may have surmised from the previous Hawaii postings, there's lot of birds here.  Today, we had a visit from what I'll call a "Gru Bird":

Note: I found the actual character "Gru" in the Despicable Me movies, which I was introduced to here, admirable in his interactions with others.

Candidate for Spirit Animal

Only a pair of the Gru birds spotted so far, but lots of these herons:

After breakfast, the four of us drove over to the small town of Hanapepe, west of Popui Beach on the south side of Kauai.

Quaint little town, and it's historic area is easily accessible from HI Hwy 50 and yet not too heavily trafficked by cars.  Several arts shops, souvenir shops of course.  

Learned also that KOA here in the islands doesn't mean the campground company one finds on the mainland but a type of wood used in furniture and art carvings.  

After the "mandatory" perusal of 2-3 art/souvenir shops, here's some stuff that caught my eye while perusing:

Decorative tile, Thing One requested it
as a souvenir

Zen Cat...

Right behind one of the souvenir shops, is Hanapepe's Historic Swinging Bridge.  This time, Martha and I walked the whole length of it, crossing over to the other side.

photo courtesy of Martha

It's quite the narrow bridge so when people can't seem to wait for you to be clear before also getting on it, you get some interesting sideways motions to "enjoy".  There's a 15 person limit on the bridge but we didn't come close to testing that limit when there were 8 of us trying to make it past each other.

Martha showing off her abs....

It's been decades since I'd seen the movie, will
take their word for it.

Martha led us down the street so we could check out the offerings of the "Westernmost Bookstore in the US":

Book Bag Decoration

As we walked along, I spied more of those "Then" historical photos with associated facts.  It was time to add the "Now" bit:

It doesn't really take long to peruse this small town, and we left for lunch in Poipu Beach at the local Bubba Burgers franchise.  Affected by the lack of help, as is most of the US, service was a bit slow but bearable.  It was mainly the non-english speaking tourist who tried to claim my food that was less bearable. 

Still, the burger was pretty tasty, so a thumbs up at least if you're ever near one.

The rest of the day was spent either napping or sheltering in place away from the burgeoning stupidity of weekend crowds.  

Examples being reported:  People using decorative stones as paths across water instead of using sidewalks.  Dimwit flying a drone among the buildings and over the swimming pools.  

Swine using the palm trees everyone else hoped to use to frame their sunset shots as their mounting points for their hammock.  

photo courtesy of Martha

Then, some idiot claiming like 8 poolside lounge chairs with beach towels, but no one using them for hours, then exclaiming: "But I've got four suites here, I reserved these chairs, I need them!" when he found them occupied by actual users.

Note.  It wasn't just my own admittedly negative outlook on other people's lack of courtesy reporting this, all the above are from others.  Everyone in my group has said: "it's time to go".  

Friday, July 29, 2022

Another Visit to Shipwreck Beach, A Seal and a Sunset

 I went over to Shipwreck Beach again, this time by myself, in search of my "chi" again.

This time, I walked farther along the shoreline past the points reached on previous trips; reaching a point where I could see a golf course in the distance.

Some attempts to capture the power of the waves, as they smashed themselves against the rocks:

I sat at the above spot for about an hour, just enjoying the solitude and the sound of the waves bashing themselves against the rocks.  There were people around of course, but not many, and the spot's isolation precluded people joining me there.

As I sat there, a passing young woman caught my eye.  She kept looking down the edge of the rocks; to the point where I started wondering what was so interesting.

So I walked closer to the edge of my spot and saw this:

So I fetched the Sony A6000 with the telephoto lens and got these:

Hawaii Monk Seal

It was quite enjoyable, sitting in the spot, though not that comfortable as you can imagine.  A folding camp chair would be nice, but alas, didn't pack one.

After dinner, we all went out to check out what looked like a promising sunset.

Oh, and yes, some progress in regaining my "chi"....

Before you express surprise, my flanks were protected from "others"

Here's a couple of pics from Larry:

photo courtesy of Larry H.

photo courtesy of Larry H.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

A Recovery Day, followed by Near Death by Chocolate

Tuesday, July 26

We spent the day just resting and relaxing.

Larry H. and I did some exploring of the cliff area above Shipwreck Beach while the ladies did some light shopping at a crafts display nearby.

I used the day to re-center my "chi" and kind of, sort of,  succeeded.  Lunch was Hawaiian "comfort food" called Loco Moco: Basically, a bed of sticky rice, over which you usually get a burger patty covered with a fried egg.  The version we had substituted diced prime rib and sausage slices instead of burger...all served with a creamy sauce.  It was yummy.

photo courtesy of Martha

Giving the "shaka" in approval
of Hula Pie

The rest of the day we vegetated at the resort.  I did try using "sports" mode on the camera to try and capture surfers in action:

They were at most, just marginally better than the previous attempts.

Wednesday, July 27

Martha's birthday!  

To celebrate, she'd booked the Chocolate Tour at Kauai Chocolate near Kapa'a.  

I just have a few things to say about it.

Speaking not only for me, we were pretty much sick of dark chocolate by the end of the overlong and slow moving lectures. It was basically one hour of good information crammed into four and sold as a three hour tour.

There's no viewing of actual chocolate production, just a few examples of cacao seed grinding appliances.  Though you did get a close look at raw Cacao seeds; even sampling their outer pulp as one of the offerings during the fruit tasting portion of the tour.  (Kind of like swishing a sweet tasting "loogee" around your mouth)

Cacao See Pod

Exposed Cacao Pod

Even the ladies were fed up with the taste of the predominantly dark chocolate bits we were given to sample!  It wasn't a large amount of chocolate that we tried, but the result was uneasy stomachs and really only a vague idea of how chocolate is made.

Going to, thankfully, the last station
in the tour

The tour started late, ended late and we left hurriedly.

We drove back to the resort, stopping at a McDonald's to get some food to settle our stomachs.

The rest of the afternoon was spent poolside, and we finished the day watching a pretty good movie called "The Vault"...this we can recommend!  The chocolate tour?  Not so much 

Still, I believe Martha had a memorable birthday, who knew there could be such a thing as too much chocolate?!?

A couple of miscellaneous pics from days ago.

My "Chi" status?  Its pretty much shot to hell.  I'm starting to fixate on worst case scenarios for the flight back, which will be in Economy, as we couldn't get First Class on the return trip.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

A Crowded Visit to the North Shore's Hanalei Harbor

 Monday, July 25

A nice enough location to be sure, but the crowds involved in the nearby settlement of Hanalei, the combat parking conditions and just plain rude ass wipes ruined this outing for me.

On the way there, before my "chi" was completely disrupted, we stopped at a scenic overlook of the Hanalei Valley and its fields of Poi.  Poi being a starch crop grown by the Hawaiians from back in the day to the present.  A starch which apparently is an "acquired" taste according to most people.

Once Larry snagged a combat parking spot nearby, we got in a BBQ lunch in the midst of the crowds which clogged the Ching Young Village Shopping Center.  Then, some time was spent perusing the tourist/artsy wares of the shops.

Then it was Tiki Time...

A bit morbid for me but then again,
not my culture....

A Tahitian Fata - Offering Place

Though parking for the above pictures wasn't too bad, we shifted to a different spot to access Hanalei/Black Pot Beach and the pier which has been featured in several films.  The angry combat parking, crowds and ass wipe behavior at this spot was the tipping point for me and the rest of the outing was ruined.  Ironically, there was better parking just a bit further from the spot from hell, so a recce by google maps satellite view might have saved the day.  Oh well.

Still, while my pics were crap, Martha saved the day with this pic of the pier.

photo courtesy of Martha

Crowded conditions at water level on the beach precluded much of my picture efforts:

I soon gave up and headed back through the burning sands back to the car, Martha was smarter and returned via the frontage road.  We got in the car and left this overcrowded area, me having been reminded why I like boondocking so much.

The North Shore of Kauai is way more crowded in the resort/tourist areas than the South Shore.  Something to keep in mind if you plan a trip to this island.

On the way back to the resort, we stopped for a quick look at the Kilauea Lighthouse.  Though the venue was closed, you can get quite adequate views of the lighthouse from the small parking area near the gate.

This lighthouse, back in the day, used to be the first sign of land for the ships and later planes that sought the Hawaiian Islands.  Back when it was built, no access land routes of course, so ships had to bring the building materials and they were then hauled up the cliff by a crane erected on site.  Quite the travail I am sure.

Just a historic landmark now, I don't believe its a functional lighthouse anymore.  Can you imagine the stress levels experienced by the guys hauling this big lens up the side of the cliff?  All the way from Paris, France it came....fortunately without issues.

Here's a pic of the crew which was stuck with me while I entertained homicidal thoughts against the ass wipes we encountered.

Back in the villa, a few shots of Maker's Mark Bourbon later, all was well again.  North Shore is a never again for me.