Sunday, January 2, 2011

Road trip: Enter Minivan (with apologies to Metallica although there are definitely some similarities…)

Kauai isn’t a huge island. You can drive from the southern tip to the northern point in under 2 hours. and as there is really only 1 road, it makes it pretty easy to get from stunning location to stunning location. As there is 7 of us, we decided we couldn’t do without some sort of vehicle. Enter the minivan. Not really the hang-loose mobile we were thinking of, but beggars can’t be choosers and we ended up as beggars due to a small misunderstanding in which the vehicle we thought we had rented was actually on a different island. whoops. Anyway, Mel and Pepi saved the day and found another van and picked us up at the airport and all was well.

For its first job, the van took us to Costco for a shopping trip to end all shopping trips. Let me just say here that Costco is exactly the same in Kauai as it is in Victoria which is to say it nauseates me just as much the only difference being that here in Kauai you can purchase a 20 pound vat of Spam and I don’t think I have seen that in Victoria. This is in addition to all the other useless items that can be purchased at any Costco such as the 24 pack of spatulas or the 98-piece ratchet set that has been dipped in molten plastic and good luck getting at anything without slitting your wrists in the process.

Anyway, I digress. Costco served its purpose and hopefully we don’t have to go back anytime soon.

Yesterday, we all piled in again, kids in the back, boys in the middle, girls up front, and headed west to check out some great little Hawaiian towns on our way to the Waimea Canyon.

First stop was Hanapepe, known as the home of Lilo and Stitch (who irritate the hell out of me FYI. Somebody shut that thing up!) but more interestingly for its old west feel. All the buildings have false fronts including the boarded up old theatre. The dusty streets have a deserted feel but if you pay attention you’ll see great little art galleries and sleepy cafes. It was smoking hot the day we drove through, however, so we didn’t stick around long.

Next up was Waimea. Apparently it has some sort of cowboy (known as paniolos in Hawaii) history which I didn’t really pay attention to so I can’t tell you much except to say that it is also home to the best shave ice around. What is shave ice, you say? Well it’s a snow cone drizzled with high-fructose corn syrup mixed with red dye # 6, 12, and 14 with Blue Lake #2 on the side. But it’s pretty delicious on a hot day. Jo Jo’s is the place to get it on Kauai as they have no less than 60 flavours. We all lined up, got our shave ices from the dude with the sweater vest and black horn-rims, and hung out listening to the Beatles. It was great.





We all squished back in to the van and headed up the 10 miles to Waimea Canyon. The first time I saw this canyon it blew my mind. Where, exactly, had it been hiding? It’s huge, first of all, and absolutely spectacular. You climb to about 3000ft, park the car, walk up a short trail, and then suddenly there is this huge, unexpected, beautiful canyon. It wasn’t any different the second time. I think 3yr old Silas summed it up nicely when, upon seeing the canyon, asked “who painted that"?


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I lasted fairly well watching the kids run around with what looked to me like only a few wires separating them from their death, but soon I began having visions of Jacob’s 6ft frame toppling over the flimsy rail, sliding down the red dirt, and disappearing off the edge and into the canyon followed closely by Zoe and Silas, who both do whatever Jacob does. Those of you who know me, will recall that I’m not that great with any heights over about 6 inches so while this is technically not a height, per se, it wasn’t working for me so I wandered off back down the trail and feigned interest in watching a Lesser Spotted Hawaiian Red-Nosed Booby or whatever it was as it puttered around in the dirt.

We bought some fresh fruit and then headed back down the road to Poipu. A brief stop for coffee/tea along the way revealed a dried up, flattened frog at the side of the road. Boys will be boys, it seems, even when they are 40yrs old, as the ex-frog was soon resting comfortably between the hood and windshield of the van where it stayed for some time until we realized that it was blocking the fresh-air intake. Yuck.


The rest of the day was spent at Poipu beach snorkelling and swimming. Or rather, I should clarify, I spent some time either holding a leaky mask to my face, attempting to put on my flippers while the surf knocked me about, trying fruitlessly to adjust Zoe’s mask so that her nose was not sitting in water, or trying desperately not to lose my patience while she repeatedly pulled off her flippers or snorkel complaining that a grain of sand was rubbing the wrong way. I did see some awesome fish, though, including the native Hawaiian Humuhumunukunukuapua’a which is a lovely little fish with purple lips and what appears to be a Zulu flag on its side. So cute!


Jacob made friends with a couple of local fishermen and before I knew it he was helping them set-up their lines.

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Another amazing day for which I am grateful :)


More tomorrow…

1 comment:

  1. On behalf of all those among us who are NOT in Kauai this week, I’d like to make a few points.
    1.It’s pouring with rain in Victoria and slush is promised overnight.
    2.It poured with rain yesterday.
    3.I saw a wet dog and two rats on Dallas Road beach this morning. Oh yes, and half a seagull.
    4.I too encountered a bore yesterday: an old colleague from the University who mistakenly assumed that I was interested in what he’d been doing since he died.
    5.One thing you may not be aware of: there is a school of Humuhumunukunukuapua’a’s in one of the rock pools near the Ogden Point sewage outlet.
    6.I’ve been to Hanelei about a dozen times and you’re right: it is paradise. We should move there permanently next week.