Where's the Colonel When You Need Him??
Trip Start Jun 17, 2008
50Trip End Aug 31, 2009
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Let's start off with chickens (since we haven't blogged about them since Alaska - Do you remember the town that wanted to be named after the state bird, but it was judged that the 17 citizens of this enclave were too dim-witted to spell Ptarmigan, so it was named Chicken?).
The island of Kauai has literally tens of thousands of wild chickens (and in case you are wondering, zero ptarmigans)
Besides their chickens, Kauai also has a few other noteworthy credits to its name:
· Wailua Waterfalls...it's no Niagara Falls, but this scenic little waterfall was the one shown in the introduction to the popular 1970's TV show Fantasy Island (right before the dwarf, no scratch that, right before the little person started yelling "Damn Plane! Damn Plane!");
· The mountain in the center of the island, Mount Waialeale, is the "wettest place on earth", averaging more than 1.2 inches of rain every day...as tropical trade winds flow up and over Waialeale's slopes, the air is cooled, moisture condenses into a cloud cap, and before you can say, "Don Ho never met a tiny bubble he didn't like", it rains again on the mountain;
· Kilauea Lighthouse and Bird Sanctuary...more great views of the ocean;
· Kauai has been the set for more than 60 movies including Raiders of the Lost Ark, all 3 Jurassic Park movies (yes, there were 3 of them...bonus points if you can name the last two), and the two classics from 1958, South Pacific, and The She Gods of Shark Reef (...in this fantasy adventure, an escaped convict and his brother find themselves shipwrecked on a paradisiacal island filled with luscious native women who spend their days enacting bizarre rituals and diving for pearls...www.blockbuster.com)
· Waimea Canyon... known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific". It is quite impressive - 10 miles long, a mile across, and 3,500 feet deep. Because of the clouds on our first visit, which were actually below us, we had to go back the next day to see it. Incidentally, in our travels we have also seen "Jordan's Grand Canyon" (Wadi Mujib) and "Peru's Grand Canyon" (Colca Canyon); none have come close to the real deal;
Kauai not only had its beautiful beaches, but with the canyon, the waterfalls, the mountain, and the lush green foliage everywhere, it had a bit of everything. And, all without the crowds that are found on some of the other Hawaiian Islands. In fact, on our last day there, we were the only humans on a stretch of beach that was at least a kilometer long...I was finally able to exhale and let my stomach go back to its natural state of overhanging bliss...I didn't care what the clucking chickens had to say about it.
The other memories we will have of Hawaii include:
· Learning the proper etiquette for crossing the numerous single-lane bridges so that local drivers don't give you the "stink eye"...there's nothing finer than doing it right, and having someone give you the shaka sign (a fist with your thumb and pinkie finger extended...dude!);
· Watching our kids play for hours in the big waves on one of the non swimming beaches
· Going to the northern part of the island for a hike, and seeing Kee Beach, and its large and multiple warning signs as to why the beach was closed (i.e. strong current, slippery rocks, high surf, etc). Seeing the wild waves was good, but what was more interesting to me was that even with all these well-marked warnings, there was still an emergency rescue team parked there on standby. In my mind, if someone is dumb enough to ignore all the warning signs, do we really want to save them and risk having them reproduce? You would think that the Kauai residents would have learned a lesson with the chickens;
· Sharing Poipu'u Beach (our beach of choice) with the endangered monk seals;
· Chocolate Milk Canyon...the soil on much of the island was a dark reddish brown colour. In a "Willy Wonkian" moment, we came upon a fascinating area that was devoid of vegetation, but had all kinds of reddish brown mounds resembling chocolate, and a river of what looked like chocolate milk flowing through it...more, not so tasty fun for the kids;
· Having a kitchen and being able to cook our own meals...it sounds weird but after two months of eating out in the Middle East, it was nice to prepare our own meals. Of course this comes with the added bonus of there being no question as to what meat we were actually eating
· Regretting telling the kids that when someone falls from their surf board they should say with gusto, "Wipe Out!!"...we now have a good appreciation of how often surfers fall in Hawaii;
· Watching the Polynesian Dancers (and watching Laura and Sarah up on stage learning how to hula);
And to close off this blog I'm going to address an e-mail I received from a friend. He was dismayed with the current Canadian political situation and asked that we bring back a dictator (from one of the third world countries we were visiting) to whip a little order into the Canadian government. When he found out we were in Hawaii, and not, in his words, "in Kazakhstan, where the despots are on every corner", he further wrote, "Hawaii? What kind of candy ass world tour are you on anyways?" In our defense, the sand in Hawaii can get quite hot on our toes, so it's not so easy travelling. Back to work...