Sunday, July 8, 2018

A Dream Realized (Part Two)

I cannot explain the foreignness of the island of Kauai. We are staying in a condo on a resort property but  those who do not come from the mainland and are native, who can trace their Hawaiian heritage back speak English fluently but with a heavy accent. Besides the official Hawaiian Polynesian language, there is the widely spoken Pidgin, a  patois mixing the Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese of laborers brought in to work the sugar plantations.  On tours we were always given the Hawaiian names but  I couldn’t spell them and you probably could not pronounce them!     The clouds and rain and jungle surroundings are certainly a far cry from the arid climate of New Mexico.  Kauai’s average yearly rainfall is 400 inches while in Santa Fe it is just over 14 inches!  Then there are sights that I would say were uncommon anywhere: where else would you see two men chasing a pig down a main road and then leaping after it into the jungle? That was what we saw on one of our car journeys around the island.

This is definitely an outdoor paradise. The beaches are the main attraction but they are still not crowded. The resorts, of course, have multiple pools. In the water there is no end to the sports you can do. Kayaking seems to be at the top of most peoples’ list after swimming. Of course, there is great hiking through the rain forest, though it can get rather muddy. The ground is so fertile that golf courses abound, and they do not appear to be crowded either.

Being more the passive sort and not participating in the hiking, the kayaking and zip lining that our son and his fiancĂ©e, and even Penelope did, I was looking forward to the helicopter tour around the island.  I have been in a private helicopter before going from Manhattan to the estate of a client on Long Island … this was slightly different!  We had opted for the helicopter with no doors since the four of us would not have to share our adventure with anyone else.  We were given life preservers because part of the flight was over water and earphones, so we could hear the pilot’s tour over the gale force winds that occur when you are flying with no doors or windows.  We were securely buckled into our seats, but I still felt I was slipping off the seat which had no give to it.  I thought it might just be me but we all felt the need to hold on sometimes with both hands!  Our pilot also enjoyed heading directly for the mountain and then going up at a precipitous angle to give us an extra thrill, which was totally unnecessary!  The big plus to this adventure was the incredible views we had.  I have never seen a rainbow beneath me.  Clouds yes, in the alps, but not a rainbow over the water and beach.  We saw the mountains literally inside and out as we flew into the the canyons and volcano crater and out again.  We were not surprised to learn that a James Bond movie was filmed in Hawaii but on another Island.  However, Pierce Brosnan, a former James Bond, has a home here.  Lots of major films have been done on the island such as Jurassic World, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and South Pacific.  In fact, if you want you can take a tour of the Kauai movie sites.

Another highlight for me was a short river cruise on the Wailua river with the goal of seeing the famous Fern Grotto It is a naturally-formed lava cave at the base of Mauna Kapu, (forbidden mountain), named for the ferns that grow down from the the grotto walls. It has become known as a wedding location and thousands of couples have decided to get married here.

Returning down river the captain gave us some history of where we were while outbound we had entertainment of song and dance by a talented native family.  Here are three snippets of song and dance.

No visit to Hawaii would be complete without a rum tasting since Mai Tai’s and Pina Coladas are l Hawaii’s signature drinks and are served everywhere.  I used to love rum but now my palate has become more atuned to  tequila! Before lunch at Gaylords, a former sugar cane plantation, we went to their rum tasting. The Koloa rum that that is actually made right there, we all agreed was the best on the Island. We learned about the sweet and drier rums and why the former should just float on top of the latter for a proper Mai Tai.  It  The tasting ended with a coffee rum which would be fabulous over ice cream as a desert for company!

All good things must come to an end and so it did for us with a red-eye flight back to reality.

Hunter Saying Goodbye to the Sea

The Sunset

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