Published: February 22nd 2012February 19th 2012
On paper it was an innocuous, routine inter island flight but somehow I finished up one step away from the amplified snap of the rubber glove and being requested to, "walk this way sir".
You can't blame the good ol U.S of goddamned A for being gun shy, particularly in and around airports, but a general warning readers:
"don't wear pants with brass buttons on the pockets when attempting to board a plane ANYWHERE in this land".
Kauai had better be worth it.
Last time around Kauai was worth it, that being 32 years adrift, but I needed to be prudent to bathe in the nostalgia of Memory Lane and not drift down Melancholy Lane. Melancholy Lane? Back in those heady days Kauai was my favourite but the possibility of my version of "a paradise lost" during the interim wasn't going to be aided by brandishing the walking stick:
"32 years ago it was so much more" ......... Etc etc etc.
No need for concern, fears were unfounded. Sure Kauai is more hectic these days but the ancillary development has been kept relatively covert by strict local regulations.
Up on the North Shore, Princeville
has certainly burgeoned. There are hundreds of contemporary condos and single level homes in one sprawling enclave whose raison d'être is a life support system for golf courses. Below Princeville, however, is where the real action lies in Hanalei Bay.
When the "Man Upstairs" was on the lookout for somewhere to put up Adam and Eve for the night, Hanalei Bay must surely have been on his short list. I won't bore you with waxing poetic but of all the places I've had the privilege to bare witness over the years, this bay is a diva in terms of in your face natural splendour. Took plenty of willpower not to slip off the threads and commence strutting my stuff in a vine leaf, ignoring the fact our travel insurance policy doesn't cover legal costs accrued for being arrested for public nudity.
Naturally the landscapes haven't altered a single iota in 32 years but the town of Hanalei has received a nip and tuck. 79/80 and the village barely registered a heartbeat. 2012 and she's a bustling hamlet thriving on liberal tourism handouts. The architecture is unobtrusive low level timber with a lick of paint in just the right
spots, typical of many of the Hawaiin country towns we've stumbled across the past few weeks, "taking the harm out of charm". The surrounding residential areas are in similar vein and ooze affluence. I'm gathering Hanalei has weathered the GFC quite nicely.
As the crow flies, Waimea Canyon is just over the hill, albeit a daunting hill, from the north shore. Not being crows, we were forced into the longish drive via the south shore. Mark Twain once described Waimea Canyon as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Mr Twain was drawing a long bow with that one as history shows he never actually made it to Kauai. He must have been fed the line by someone I suppose and I, for one, like the simile.
That initial glimpse from the first viewpoint does tweak the senses and evoke autopilot comparisons with Waimea's big brother across the ditch in Arizona, even for this charlatan who has never seen the Grand Canyon in real life. Maybe I should "pull a Twainy" and label the Grand Canyon as the "Waimea Canyon of North America". You're right Penny, it's not working.
Where was I again? Right, the canyon. Marvellous day
Fruit stall and the sweetest smoothies
hiking around that rift, getting lost, getting found, a hint of vertigo staring over vertical cliff faces, the works. It was one of those days that makes you forget yesterday and look forward to tomorrow.
The tomorrow was back at Hanalei for some fun surf. Smack in the middle of the session, out paddles a ten year oldish boy, rosy cheeked, smiling, a sparkle in the eye, arms flailing 10 to the second and his mind ticking over at the same rate if the ensuing conversation was any indication:
Yeatesy: (after translating sup) Not much, just catching a few waves.
Grommet: Where ya from?
Grommet: Where's dat?
Grommet: Ever been to Snapper Rocks?
Grommet: What's it like?
Yeatesy: Awfully crowded.
And so on it went, one excitable but inane question after the other for a couple of minutes until he became bored and paddled away to chew the ear off someone else in the lineup.
What's the point of this anecdote? If anyone in Cronulla sees Dippy Depina, can you tell him I've found his long lost love child.
From the Na Pali hike
Kauai. Yep, it was my favourite Hawaiin island 1/3 of a century back and in 2012 the status quo has been maintained. Oahu, you've got a tough act to follow.
Initially I thought I would be exploring Kauai solo after looking behind me in the line when getting our bags scanned and Gary had been redirected to the body scanning X-ray whereby they had another issue with that result. Suffice to say we made our flight off Maui (just) but still can't work out why the shorts he had been wearing on all the flights so far created such an issue this time.
Kauai has also been my favourite island, green, lush and with a nice easy pace. We were on Kauai for Valentines Day, a day that generally holds no significance (Gary wanted me to mention that being married to him means every day is like Valentines Day - urghhh). Gone are the days when mum would post me a card to work in somewhat disguised handwriting in the hope that I might think someone out there was thinking of me.
Well, local radio stations were relentless leading up to the "big
day". One or two romantic songs followed by a swathe of grating ads. One particular ad involved a smooth macho voice warning fellow males that if they can get V-Day right it will set them up for the year. So how do you get it right? On comes one particularly grating female voice screaching: "I want LOBSTER, LOBSTER!" and where does she want it? "BY THE OCEAN! I WANT LOBSTER BY THE OCEAN"! It's grating in my head just writing it now.
As annoying as it was, it must have worked. Thanks Safeway. With the club discount (I think we are now members of most of the supermarket chains in the islands) we acquired our LOBSTER for $7. Plus, thanks to our friends the Krellers and their condo, we ate our LOBSTER - BY THE OCEAN!
Who said advertising was money illspent? Safeway Honolulu here we come.
There are more photos below