Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kaua'i: Part 1 - Turbulence, Roosters, and a Luau

Watching the Sunrise Over a Sea of Clouds
Waaay too Early to be Awake
Our Kaua'i adventure began around 3am on Sunday. Our plane left from LAX at 6am. We arrived at 5:21am - literally one minute too late to check our bags. The United Airlines customer service lady said we'd have to catch a later flight. I was about to freak out. She sent us down to her manager and he told us we'd have to take the next flight out tomorrow. I almost cried. Then he said "Just kidding!" and checked our bags and sent us on our way. Ha ha ha... From LAX we stopped in San Francisco for a layover, then we were off to Lihue, Kaua'i Airport on the most turbulent flight either of us has ever been on. At one point the pilot got on the intercom and told everyone to get in their seats and buckle up. AND (this is the scary part) if anyone wasn't able to make it to their seats, they should sit on the ground and hold on to the seat next to them. That has to make the top 3 list of things you never want to hear your pilot say, right after: "Brace for Impact!" or "Text your loved ones your will" (Joe was convinced these would be our next instructions). Despite the turbulence, we arrived in Kaua'i safely and forty minutes ahead of schedule.

Our hotel, the Aston Aloha Beach Resort, was located right on the beach, just a few miles north of the airport. The lobby was completely open and there were roosters and stray cats wandering around (which turned out to be pretty commonplace for Kaua'i):
Rooster in Hotel Lobby
We had an ocean view room on the first floor, which opened right onto the lawn with a pathway down to the beach.

Me Outside Our Room, Surrounded by Chickens
Just Another Lovely Kaua'i Day
 After settling in, we picked up some supplies and explored the neighboring town of Kapa'a.

A Week's Worth of Snacks

Kapa'a Art Gallery

Wyland Sketch on the Wall of a Kapa'a Restaurant
Nothing in Kauai is open past 9pm, so we decided to take a little drive around the island. There is only one two-lane highway that follows about 75% of Kauai's coast. The other 25% of the coast is only accessible by boat. 90% of the island is inaccessible due to the mountains and rainforest. We followed the highway all the way til it ended in the north, and passed through some small villages, as well as several scary, one-lane bridges, where you basically play chicken with an oncoming car:
One-Lane Bridge
Day 1: The Beach, The South Shore, & a Luau

Our first full day on the island began with a morning orientation and breakfast from Pleasant Holidays. There were about half a dozen couples there, and they raffled off a day cruise. I never, ever win at raffles/lotteries/etc., so I wasn't even really paying attention to my ticket number until nobody else chimed in to claim the prize. That's when I checked my ticket and realized we'd won! Yay!
The Winning Ticket!
When the Pleasant Holidays coordinator came over to give me more details, she asked if we had any health problems or if I was pregnant. Um, yeah, there's no hiding this bump anymore. So we were disqualified and our cruise was taken away. As consolation, we booked ourselves a luau for that night, and then went off to explore the island a bit.

First stop: Lydgate Beach (right outside our hotel room), where, coincidentally, a man had drowned a day before we got there. We didn't go in the water, but we did get a ton of pictures of the amazing views. Also, while we were walking around, a young hippie-ish chick brought me half a coconut as a blessing for Ezzy. Awww! So we used it as a photo prop in our series of Ezzy beach pictures:

At one point, Joe placed one of Ezzy's shoes on a rock right over the water. The wind blew it into the ocean, and as I'm scrambling around to retrieve it, Joe thoughtfully captured the whole thing on camera. Eventually he put the camera down long enough to get the shoe back, and that's me wringing it out the recovered shoe in the last photo.

A few of my favorite shots:
27 Weeks Pregnant

Aw, Joemance!
Second Stop: South Shore
For lunch we headed down to Po'ipu on the south shore. To get there, we drove through a gorgeous tree tunnel:
After lunch we headed over to the Spouting Horn and the National Tropical Botanical Gardens:
You Can See the Spouting Horn in the Bottom, Left Photo
Me at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens
Mama Hen and Her Chicks Crossing the Road
On our way back to the hotel to get ready for the luau, we decided we needed a little coffee pick-me-up and stopped at a tiny coffee shop in Koloa. Our iced coffees were served in lid-less solo cups, so we wandered around the tiny town while sipping our beverages and stumbled across a plantation-era museum:
On the road again, we passed by the Kaua'i Community College, and decided to do a quick tour of their campus and book store, where Joe bought a University of Hawaii tshirt:

End of Day 1: The Luau!
The luau we went to was right across the street from our hotel, at Smith's Tropical Paradise botanical gardens. The luau was the perfect welcome to Kaua'i. We had about an hour to explore the grounds before a buffet style dinner, followed by an hour long show.


There Were Peacocks All Over the Place!

Mmm...Pig Carcass...
Jk - We Stuck with Fish, Veggies, Fruit, & (of course) Coconut Cake

Congrats if you made it to the end of this post! I know it's long, there's just so many great pictures to choose from, I'm having a hard time narrowing it down. And there's plenty more to come: the North Shore, our snorkeling adventure, kayaking, Waimea Canyon, and the Fern Grotto, to name a few. And if you remember my Kaua'i wish list, we managed to cross a few items off the list on the first day. (Namely the beach and the coconut cake, yum!)

1 comment:

  1. Wost flight comment intercom message ever!
    And roosters! Who knew =)
    Yum pig carcass.
    Sweet about the coconut blessing.
    And so mean you had your cruise stolen!!