Monday, July 2, 2007

2-July 07

Eat, sleep, smile, coo. Repeat. That was apparently Scarlett's mantra during the 5-hour plane ride from San Francisco to Lihue. (It's confirmed: she's perfect.) Like a wheelchair, a stroller gets you to the front of the security line. It does not, however, get the rest of your party to the front of the security line. Hardly convenient. Lucky for us, Sawyer's animated voice is hard to miss, even in a crowd.


The kids loved their first flight and proved to be easy-going travelers. United Airlines conducts a "Halfway to Hawaii" contest, where all the passengers on the Boeing 767 are invited to venture a guess as to what exact time (in Hawaii--three hours behind Pacific Time) the plane will cross the halfway point between SFO and LIH. Mike jotted down some figures and made a few computations about speed, distance, and headwind to come to his engineering-minded conclusion. I ventured a quick but nonetheless educated guess, as did the kids. The actual time was 9:13:24. I had entered 9:13:12. Yes, folks, I was off by a mere 12 seconds! (And yes, I took great pleasure in beating the brainiac.) My name and seat number were announced over the loudspeaker, and I am the proud recipient of a lovely gift box of Hawaiian macadamia nuts.

We were greeted with high humidity and fresh orchid leis as we retrieved our checked baggage, and then we headed to the car rental counter. Sawyer and Sadie are incredibly enamored with our minivan for the next 10 days--a white Dodge Caravan equipped with power doors and a DVD player.

First stop: Wal-Mart. You know, it's important to take in the flavor of the island right off the bat. (Actually we were there to pick up inexpensive island essentials like snorkeling gear, beach mats, water, diapers, and fireworks for the Fourth of July--but we did manage to get a taste of the island even at Wal-Mart, where they offer an extensive Hawaiiana selection and have wild chickens running around the parking lot!).

Then we hit Hamura's Siamin for siamin (we got the "special"--the hardboiled egg and wontons were exceptionally yummy) and the much-lauded lilikoi pie (somewhat like a lemon-meringue pie, but lighter and "spongier" and made from passionfruit--we liked!). The place was teeny, run down, hot, set way back from the main drag, and jam-packed with locals and just a few in-the-know tourists (there were about twenty people waiting for stools when we vacated our spots at the counter).

(Four thumbs up for Hamura's!)

The pace is definitely laid back on the island, and Scarlett has internalized it already.

The drive from Lihue to Princeville was so colorful and stunning--fleeting rainbows over the deep-blue ocean with crisp white swells, trees bursting with yellow-accented plumeria, red dirt hills, and lush green rainforests. It was incredible to pass by all the mountains, fruit stands, beaches, restaurants, and surf shops I've been obsessively reading about (everything is smaller and closer than I anticipated!).

We arrived at our privately-owned condo at Hanalei Bay Resort just in time for a breathtaking sunset. Even on the ground floor, our view is positively gorgeous. The condo is spacious and decorated in Hawaiian kitsch (love it!), and we have roosters and hens of all sizes and colors running about on our lanai. We were just settling in when the kids begged to hit the pool. So into our suits and flip-flops we went, and we were off to night swim! The pool is complete with waterfalls and a hot tub, sand areas, tiki torches, bouganvillea, and live Hawaiian music wafting from the terrace above. (The pool is saltwater--so soft on the skin! It's the perfect temperature, as is the air outside--you don't catch a chill, even exiting the hot tub, and yet you are never too warm.) We walked back home under a canopy of stars and a slight drizzle. It was the perfect way to end the day and begin our stay in paradise.

Only in Hawaii:
Woody Expedition

How to speak Hawaiian:
--lanai = porch or balcony

Sign of the day:

("Please do not stick gum under counter. Thank you.")


At July 5, 2007 12:52 AM , Kim O said...

Walmart... I did not think that was your style at all! Walmart, yes! And if the chocolates, macadamias, etc, are cheaper there, go for it! I bet Walmart has all those cheap rice balls with terriyaki chicken that I like.

Glad you're liking your accommodations at Hanalei Bay Resort; I'm almost certain that's one of the places where Aaron and I stayed, too.

Looking forward to hearing more about your travels.


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