Sunday, August 21, 2005

11 Years

Last night, we helped Brian and Elisa celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary by eating a bunch of food and having a few drinks. It was a nice little gathering in their backyard and was just fun to get to see a couple people and integrate ourselves back into our "normal" lives. Elisa's cousin Fernando was there, who we travelled with in Portugal, and he's always a good laugh to be around.

And of course Elisa's father, Alberto, who we have a special fondness for, particularly because he complements us on our tea (which happens to be the exact same tea Brian serves at home without half the praise.)

We were, however, a little concerned that Alberto's extra tight socks might be cutting off the circulation to his feet so I (with a little help from some Portuguese Aquavit) saved him from possible amputation by pulling down his socks. Rob and I were well impressed with the indentation it left behind.

By the way, Brian, they say that women marry people who remind them of their father. Show us your socks!!

Congratulations you two and here's to many more happy years together!


Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Honeymoon's Over

We've been home a week now and I still feel like I only want to write about the honeymoon. But I realized last night, when I was leaving work at 7:45 PM, the honeymoon really IS over.
So, we'll move into the present and maybe revisit a couple of events from the past week.
Like Rob losing his wallet. Or maybe my promotion at work. Perhaps Rob picking his car up from the garage where it's been since July 21, only to go two miles before smoke came pouring out of the rear brakes, just not the rear brake he initially went to get repaired. Maybe we'll share the most juvenile video you've ever seen that Rob, Gretchen and I made on Wedensday night as we laughed ourselves into delirium. See, so many things!
But, before I go, I'll tell you one story from our helicopter tour.
You remember Chuck, right? Our helicopter pilot. Kind of a funny man--like funny in the way that he's so NOT funny, he becomes funny. During the helicopter tour, somewhere between the Top Gun music and the woman in the back seat asking him "who's your favorite celebrity you've taken on a tour?" and "do you ever get hired to work on movies?", Chuck says, in a very dry, deadpan way,
"One of the things that is interesting about Hawaii is there are no predators. No snakes. No mountain lions." (long, silent pause) "Only Man."
So I pick up the microphone and say: "Well......dinosaurs."
Chuck, not catching on to my hilarious sense of humor, replies, again in his flattest, most deadpan voice: "No. No dinosaurs. Only in the movies."

Clearly, we proved him wrong.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Going Bananas

Thanks Hartmut and Jennifer for making us bananas.



Banana Joes is one of the "better places on the island to get fresh fruit" and boy, were they right about that. We bought a load of it and made the most juicy and delicious fruit salad. I realized though, as I was putting the salad together, all the fruit was the same color. Mango, pineapple, star fruit--all yellow/orange color. Bruce would have liked it.
I also tried a fresh passion fruit and it was a pretty weird fruit to eat--sort of like a pomegrate with all the seeds in it but all held together with a clear gel. Very strange and what a burst of flavor! I'm still not sure whether or not I enjoyed it. But I sure enjoyed Banana Joe's.


Queen's Bath

Rob, being a Royalist and all, insisted we visit "Queen's Bath" in Kaua'i. Described by, you guessed it, The Ultimate Kaua'i Guidebook as "a large pool the size of several swimming pools carved by nature into a lava shelf, Queen's Bath is a marvelous pool to swim in." We went once before but there was no parking left. Today we went back in the afternoon and just about found a spot. When we walked down the trail, we could see a large pool below and to the right and knew this had to be the spot, but when we arrived, there was so much surf coming in there was no chance of swimming in it. The beauty was that there were several sea turtles really enjoying the surf so we sat, completely mesmerized, watching them for 30 minutes or more.



From there, we walked along the waters' edge and admired the scenery.


The afternoon rain left us with a big rainbow and my pot of gold at the end of it.

As we were just about to go, it occurred to me that the guidebook mentioned that during the summer, when the surf is lower, the water often doesn't get refresed as much as it should be. The amount of surf coming into the pool we were at seemed like way too much to be this place they were describing so we continued further along the shoreline and, sure enough, we had been at the wrong spot the whole time. The beauty of it, at this point, is that most everyone had left and we were two of only four people remaining. Rob and I dove in the pool and it was lovely and warm and there were lots of fish in there but most interesting were these small crabs with florescent streaks on them. The other two people left and Rob and I were the last people there as the sun was setting. It was magic.


Hanging Ten

Thanks to Rachel, Andres, Hartmut and Jennifer for making total shredders out of us. Holy mackeral, did we have fun! We had a 1-1/2 hour lesson during which we learned how to paddle and get up on the board and ride the wave into shore. It was amazing, actually, how quickly they were able to get us up on the surfboard and during the lesson, we got quite a few runs in. After the lesson, we rented the boards for another 1-1/2 hours and tried catching a few waves on our own and that was infinitely more challenging. For a start, you have to figure out what wave is even worth going for, and then you have to time the paddling just right and keep the board straight and hop on in exactly the right position before you can even think about standing up. Surprisingly, we were both able to get up a few times and make some pretty good rides into shore so we considered it a big success.
We’re paying the price today. As it happens, football doesn’t require a lot of upper body fitness the way surfing does and my arms are on fire today. Nevertheless, we’re hoping to rent a couple boards again tomorrow and have another go at it.
Neither of us wanted to get out of the water long enough to take action shots so all you get is this picture of us posing with our boards.


Reefer Madness

No, not that kind. (Although, Rob and I did eavesdrop on the Movie Tour today as the guide tried to get her tour group to stretch their imagination into seeing Puff the Magic Dragon in the mountains. “I think Peter, Paul and Mary puffed and then saw Puff, heh, heh, heh.”)
No, we mean Reefer Madness, as in the ocean reef and we’ve been snorkeling a few lately thanks to Phil and Helen! I’ve never snorkeled before but I think this place has got to be right up there with some of the best. The water is so clear and is just loaded with fish, as well as turtles. Rob came face to face with a big one the other day but he wasn’t that interested in Rob. We bought a cheap underwater camera so maybe we’ll have pictures to post later on, but for now, you can get an idea of how glamorous we look in our snorkel gear.



Monday, August 08, 2005

Bubba's Revenge


Bubba Burgers' slogan is “We cheat tourists, drunks and attorneys” but we can think of a new one. Clearly, a greasy hamburger joint, no matter how good the burgers might be, is never quite as good for a vegetarian. On the other hand, you would think a hamburger joint would be the kind of place to get a veggie burger just right.
When we checked Bubba's menu online before flying here, we saw they serve a teriyaki/ginger veggie burger and Hartmut and Jennifer kindly bought us each a burger for our honeymoon. Upon our arrival, we learned the only vegetarian option is the Taro burger, which the guy working described as “good.” With that enthusiastic recommendation, how could we not order one?
Rob thought it tasted nice but I, on the other hand, thought it was pretty horrible. It was slippery and squishy and even the slice of American cheese on it didn’t make it better, but I managed to get it down me. The next day, Rob and I planned on going into the town of Lihue for a Tahitian Dance Festival. On the way there, we stopped for coffee and pastries and that was when Rob realized Bubba was threatening a return visit at any minute. Even the fresh air overlooking the Kilauea Lighthouse didn’t take away the queasiness. Finally, we realized our day in Lihue was not going to happen so we went back to the condo and watched some movies.

Bubba never did come up again that day, if you know what I mean.



Sunday, August 07, 2005

Shave Ice Paradise?


Well, for once, our “Patrick Collin’s Ultimate Guide to Kauai” let us down. It’s true. After months of dreaming of Shave Ice and registering for a daily dose of it, we finally decided to take the Shave Ice plunge and are sorry to say, we were underwhelmed. I mean, it was refreshing and sweet, but on the whole, we found it to be merely a glorified snow cone. A small step above a slush puppy (the slush puppy gains extra points for being served in a miniature plastic baseball hardhat.) The shave ice gains points for flavor options—Kari can be seen here eating the Lango (Lime and Mango—do you think Napolean Dynamite named it?)

So, mom, thanks for the shave ice and forgive us for not going back for our second serving. Let’s just say, once was enough.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Helicopter Tour

"If ever there was a place made for helicopter exploration, it’s Kaua’i. Going to Kaua’i without taking a helicopter flight is like going to the Sistine Chapel and not looking up.” Ulitmate Kaua’i Guidebook

Thanks to mom (Barbara) and John, Denise, Toshi, Creston, Kristy and Kari’s friends at work for the helicopter trip. At just over $200 each it’s a bit of an extravagance we probably wouldn’t have done on our own--but boy are we glad we went.

The Ultiimate Kaua’i guidebook says that the best pilot on the island is Chuck from Air Kaua’I so we called them and were thrilled to hear that Chuck was going to be taking us. Well Kari was thrilled I was still counting down the hours until we landed safely. I hate flying and had never been in a helicopter before so I was a bit worried to say the least.



I’m so glad that I did it though, it was an incredible experience and the flying was no where near as terrifying as being in a plane. We were given the front seats right next to Chuck, that probably helped, as did the music in our headphones as we took off, the TopGun theme, cheese or what? The flight was an hour in all and we got to see some amazing stuff that you can only see from the sky including the waterfall in Jurassic Park and most of the landscape of the island.


My favourite part was flying into the crater of the volcano that created the island, wow!, we swooped over it (we swooped? Chuck swooped) then slowly he lowered us deeper and deeper into it, the walls seemed like they were at least 500 feet high, all this and a Kenny G soundtrack in your ears really gets the blood pumping. A few more canyons later and it was time to head back, I could have stayed out all day, maybe next time, I’ll ask Chuck if I can bring my own CD’s.



Friday, August 05, 2005

Pools of Mokolea

After getting a little sunburned on our first day out at the beach, we decided to try and find alternate adventures for when the sun is at it’s highest. Only trouble is, “alternate adventures” require motivation, which we are both lacking at the moment. The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook (the book everyone on the island is carrying around, including us, thanks to Patrick Collins) wrote this about the Pools of Mokolea:

For those looking for a beautiful, wild shoreline hike but don’t want something too long and strenuous, this may be the ticket.

They go on to say that it is a 1/4 mile hike, or 1/2 mile if you don’t have a 4WD vehicle, which we don’t. Although, as we neared the end of the 4WD road, we realized, it wasn’t as tough as the book made it out to be. And knowing I wouldn’t want to hike back up the hill after hiking and then swimming all afternoon, I decided to run up to the car and just drive it down the dirt road. (Agna, you would have been proud of me.) I’d like to point out too, that the hike/run was actually 3/4 mile.

After meeting Rob at the end of the road with the car, we walked around the shoreline checking out the lava and tide pools. Scattered around is a lot of old, rusty metal equipment, dumped by the sugar companies over the years, which has become “an intriguing part of the landscape.”


Finally, you come around to this Jacuzzi-sized hold in the lava where the ocean surges in and out. It was fantastic and mesmerizing to watch. The water would rise in the hole like a soufflé and then get sucked out with the tide right before a big wave would fill it up again. Swimming in the middle of the hole, was a sea turtle. Difficult to tell if he was enjoying himself or not but I would hope a sea turtle could figure out an escape route when he was ready. In a pure moment of luck, Rob took a video of the hole and happened to get the turtle rising up in the middle of it.


On the hike out, we saw some dead alien fish. Can you identify these?


Finally, before leaving, we got to body surf in some pretty amazing waves. Others were using surfboards but that will have to wait until later in the trip for us.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005


First of all, thank you to everyone who was able to join us in celebrating our wedding last week (has it really only been one week?!) Rob and I couldn’t have been happier with the way the day turned out for us and are dumbfounded to think that some people go through their wedding day without even enjoying it. We can’t wait to relive it through photographs and conversation when we get home—in the meantime we’re relaxing by the beach, completely forgetting all the chaos we left behind. My apologies to those of you who never took a honeymoon. All I can say is—IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

It’s amazing how quickly one can relax in Hawaii. It’s like being in another world—the air is wonderful and fresh, the temperature warm but the wind makes it comfortable and the beaches and water are without comparison.

Thanks to a very generous honeymoon gift from my coworkers—Rob and I have been able to splash out on a few things we never would have done otherwise. Beginning with the red Mustang convertible!


There’s nothing finer than driving around Hawaii with the top down—except driving around Hawaii with the top down and good music on the stereo—something that won’t happen if you tune in to local radio stations. This meant a trip to Wal-Mart (I know—but the locals don’t disapprove of Wal-Mart! I told you it was another world!) to buy some blank disks to burn our own music CD’s. Big style!

Here are some local sights from Hanalei, the town closest to our Condo in Princeville.




Rob scouts out some Velvet Fog FC training grounds