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Friday, December 16, 2016

MY GOD Day 6: Kauai

My magical nostalgic journey is reaching a peak on my favorite island.  My father was born in Kilauea, and his father is buried on the hill above that town.

Kauai is the 21st largest island in the USA, and #4 in Hawaii.  Rhode Island is not an island, but is a little more twice the size of Kauai, pronounced Kuh--WUH-ee.  The Garden Isle is 105 miles northwest of Oahu, and has a population of around 65,000.  At just under a mile, Mount Waialeale is the second highest point, and also wettest, averaging around 450 inches/year, with up to 683 inches in 1982.  However, Mawsynram in India is slightly ahead of Mt Waialeale at 467 inches/year over the past 38 years.

Being the northernmost major island, you wonder why the first Polynesians (who came from the South), first settled here, around 500 AD.  The rest of the islands began to be be occupied from around 1000.  My father's father stopped by here in 1900 to help build the first hydroelectric facility at Wainiha, near Kilauea.  I'm here at  the power plant (taken a few years ago, and I'm not that fat...it's the contour of the shirt), is still working more than a century after dedication.  I once worked at the Kilauea Sugar Company, where I began to learn about my roots.

The Pride of America docked in Nawiliwili Harbor, just outside of Lihue, the capital.  More people, however, live in Kapaa.  My father was born up north in Kilauea and lived his early life in Koloa at the southern tip.  I've been compaining about the third world nature of these cruise ship docks.  This is my room view to the left.

Another too-filling breakfast:


Apropos of my saying I'm not that fat, I noticed that there are far too many morbidly obese people on this ship.  Looking at the enormity of their breakfast, you know they eat too much.  I wonder how they take a shower, for I can barely fit into mine.

We were told that the current Marriott next to Nawiliwili Harbor, once Chris Hemmeter's Westin, is the highest building on the island, for no one can build any higher than the tallest coconut tree.

Here is the Sleeping Giant heading towards the former Coco Palms:


Way back when I worked for Kilauea Sugar Company in 1963, Coco Palms was the in spot for the nightlife of the island.  We danced to Hanohano Hanalei, featuring Bunny Brown and his Hilo Hawaiians.  Today:


However, demolition has begun and Coco Palms will hopefully be restored to its former splendor in two years.  Close by is a driftwood beach with, almost always, a rainbow in the background:


Opaekaa Falls:


These waters flow into the Wailua River, which reach the Pacific Ocean at Coco Palms.

Then, on the way to Poipu Beach, we passed a crater that erupted 800,000 years, the exact age of the Big Island of Hawaii.  The group had lunch at Poipu Beach, but after sampling my tuna sandwich with a bottle of water, I saw across the street Brennecke's Beach Broiler, so I decided to go there, where I ordered a Bloody Mary and large bowl on New England Clam Chowder, which I had with the Doritos from the lunch package:


Waimea Canyon is ten miles long and 3000 feet deep:


That light color tree just behind the sign?  That's a koa, the hardwood used for furniture and very expensive.  All the way up to the summit, most of the trees are koa.  The Kauai version is sprawling.  On the other islands, a koa grows up like a eucalyptus.  The canyon:


Note those three goats.  There are also a lot of fighting chickens, escapees from the the monster Hurricane Iniki of almost a quarter century ago.  They are all over the island now.  I noticed, though, a definite evolution, as I've never seen these colors before.

In addition, I was disappointed that the bus was too large to get to the top, Kalalau Lookout:


We then stopped by the Kauai Coffee Company.  Learned that on Kauai, most of the coffee beans are yellow, not red.  But this not the season.  Coffee is now grown on a dozen or so locations on most of the major islands.  As Hawaii is the only state that grows this bean, the best in Hawaii is the best in the USA.  The best?  They're all good.

We then headed off to Luau Kalamaku.  Frankly, I was surprised, for the food was good and everything was efficiently handled for 650 guests:


Kalua pig, teriyaki chicken, mahimai, salad, lomi salmon, rice, chow mein and a large thimbleful of poi, with beer, water and mai tai.  The entertainment went on and on from 5 till 8:30PM.

Outstanding, but I think I saw this show before, Ha at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  Frankly, I was bored the first time and more so this second go around.  I can't imagine tourists enjoying this Hawaiian Experience.  The pre-show was more traditional and there were tunes that resonated.  Not so for the formal show.


A very long day and night, from 10AM to 9PM.  Tomorrow, a tour of where movies were filmed on Kauai.

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