Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4-July 07

Only when he tipped it toward his mouth to drink did Mike notice the gecko in his glass first thing this morning!

We started the day with a fresh fruit tasting, some POG (passion-orange-guava juice--more sugar than juice but quite good all the same, and probably very tasty in a cocktail) and a batch of "Hula Girl" Kona coffee-flavored chocolate-chip pancakes (twelve thumbs up) before Granddad and Sawyer headed off to a ukulele ("uke") lesson with John, a great musician and very cool guy whose mannerisms and style made us think of a Hawaiian Grampa Gary. Noby and Sawyer learned to tune, strum, and play "Hele on to Kauai" (which made me happy because it's one I had put on my "Hawaiian Holiday" iTunes playlist--it's a lovely song).

Next up was a lei-making class for Sawyer and the Ikeda ladies (Princess Scarlett supervised from a nearby lounge chair). We made three leis (Sadie and I teamed up) out of sweet-smelling plumeria using lei needles (they sell them at Ben Franklin in Lihue--I wonder whether they're as available on the mainland?) and dental floss. Very simple and really quite beautiful!

We then walked to the beach shared with the neighboring Princeville Hotel (though all beaches are public on Kauai). It's a rather steep hike down (and seems all the steeper coming back up afterward), and guests are welcome to call a bellhop to transport them by golf cart either direction, but we figured the exercise meant we could enjoy more Kona chips and Mai Tais. (A rather disturbing oddity along the way: countless flattened frogs--presumably made so by the aforementioned golf carts.) The Princeville Hotel is undeniably elegant, but the whole place felt overly opulent and Italianate for my liking--except for its location and the occasional palm-tree mural, the hotel doesn't feel like Kauai at all.

For sustenance, we hit the road and made our way toward Kilauea for smoothies at the very pink, very gaudy Mango Mama's (Banana Joe's was closed, perhaps for the holiday). We were pleased with our fruity sensations all around. We chased our smoothies with late-afternoon burgers at Duane's Ono Char-Burger, where we ate on the patio with a motley crew of cats, a duck, roosters, hens, and chicks underfoot. (Stick with the teriyaki bestseller--the others are good, but it's great!) Incidentally, Duane's recycles its cooking oil to fuel Na Pali Eco Adventures power catamaran tours.

(Hibiscus the size of Sadie's face!)

(If Mike's drinking-glass gecko had been this color, perhaps he'd have seen it sooner!)

We were told that the only Independence Day fireworks show in Kauai would be at the stadium in Lihue, and we preferred to stay closer to home base. Most folks recommended we just set off our own mini-display at Hanalei Bay with the locals (a treat all the same since fireworks are outlawed back home). Instead, I suggested we take our explosives (the boys went a little beyond your basic sparklers--what is it with the Y chromosome and fire, anyway?) to what looked to be a quieter, more family-focused beach--and that's where we lucked into one of Kauai's best-kept secrets: Kalihiwai Beach on the Fourth of July. Not only did we get a huge chunk of a most picturesque beach all to ourselves, but we got to celebrate the holiday with local families armed with as many or more fireworks as we were. By sunset, the entire beach was sparkly and festive. But even better than that was when a completely unexpected and very professional firework display lit up the cove just after 8:00 PM and went on for longer than any we've ever seen before! It was a Fourth we'll never forget.

Only in Hawaii:

(What can I get ya? Towels? Snorkeling gear? Chew toy?)

(We are unwittingly stalking the Woody Expedition--we've come upon it in 5 locations!)

How to speak Hawaiian:
--ono = delicious, tasty, good to eat
--pupus = appetizers

Sign of the day:

(There will be no family fun tonight, ya hear?!)


At July 6, 2007 1:00 PM , Kimbocita said...

Man - this trip just sounds like it's getting better and better! I'm glad to hear that you were able to shoot off and see some great fireworks. Those leis look amazing and I can't wait to hear you guys play the ukulele when you get back. XOXXO Auntie Muscles


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