Kauai – Final

January 13, 2007 at 8:06 am | Posted in Travel, Travelogues | Leave a comment

Our last day here brings the best weather of course.  It was sunny in Poipu almost all day today.  And there was a pretty strong breeze so the temperature was perfect.  The pool was back to feeling like bath water like the first evening we were here (the rain and overcast cool the pool down quite a bit.)  We spent most all of the day hanging out at the pool.  Too bad there is no view of the ocean from the pool.

For dinner we drove in to the Kauai Marriott and ate dinner at Dukes.  The Kauai Marriott is quite impressive.  It is very close to the airport so we heard loud jet engines flying over quite a bit in the short time we were there.  The food at Dukes was good and the bill was almost half what the Beach House was.  Better yet, the ambiance is probably the best of any Dukes I’ve been too.  It’s an open air restaurant with waterfalls and fish ponds in the middle.  The view of the bay was excellent.  I’d say the ambiance and view is as good as the Beach House.  This place is a great value.

We couldn’t end the trip without a little drama.  When we ate dinner at the Tokyo Lobby I mentioned to Lisa I thought something was wrong as there was what appeared to be an employee, a Japanese women, pacing around the restaurant with a frown on her face the entire time we were there.  We come to find out today at the pool that later that evening the owner of the restaurant and his girlfriend were both stabbed by the owner’s wife.  They are currently in critical condition. I’m guessing, the girl with the frown and the worried look was the girlfriend, but possibly also the wife, but I think she would have looked angry instead of worried.

The second bit of news came while we were shopping in the Marriott after dinner where we learned there was a large earthquake off the coast of Russia and that a Tsunami may be headed our way.  Security just called our unit and asked for my cell phone number in case they need to evacuate everyone.  Judging from the news on the Internet, it doesn’t look to be much of a concern, especially for our part of the island.

We also visited Spouting Horn today just a couple miles away.  A pretty good blow hole, worth the 5-minute drive.  The kids were happy to see there were lots of roosters hanging out in the parking lot.  (Nolan had taken up the hobby of chasing them around at the beach a few days ago and all the mother hens with their chicks were pretty mad at him.)

This was a good trip.  A little more sunshine would have been perfect but you take what you can get.  I don’t think this weather was typical, even for the winter. We are lucky to be here in the first place. I had several destinations I wanted to see but didn’t including the Queen’s Bath in Princeville (a fresh water lava pool – but this time of year the surf is too high), the Kiluea Lighthouse and the Botanical Gardens here in Poipu.  All three places would have probably not been that exciting for the kids anyway.

This island is really an outdoor recreation enthusiasts dream.  It would be even more fun to visit in another six years when the boys are old enough to do the hikes, more snorkeling, kayaking, etc. etc.  I also find it interesting when reading reviews that as I had noted six years  ago, it appears there is a large number of visitors from Washington and Oregon that prefer this island.  Probably mostly due to the laid back atmosphere and the fact we have web feet so the rain doesn’t bother us that much. 

A side note.  It is easy to spot a local driving in Kauai.  If they are driving a truck, it is a local, and it usually is raised and has oversized tires.  If the car has dark tinted windows it is a local.  If the car is a piece of junk with the paint peeling, it is a local.  And what is interesting is that apparently “Island Time” doesn’t apply to driving here, at least with most of the locals.  They are either seemingly in a hurry, or slower than a snail, not inbetween (most of them seem to be in a hurry.)

Another thing I took away from this trip is the reminder family vacations are hard work.  The planning, the traveling, the driving, the decision making, etc. don’t come easy.  I also realized staying in to eat doesn’t save as much money as you would like unless you are eating hamburgers, hot dogs, Kraft mac & cheese and sandwiches on paper plates (which isn’t bad, but it would get old quick.)  The shopping, cooking, and cleaning are time consuming and time is money too.  Unfortunately Poipu doesn’t have much of a selection of cheap restaurants (there ain’t no In-N-Out down the street.)  One big money saver is that you actually don’t need a whole lot of groceries as I found myself eating leftovers from dinner for breakfast and lunch.  Also using paper plates some of the itme was a good call.  But as usual, probably at least a fifth of our groceries will not be consumed (a bit better than Phoenix, but still some significant waste.)

Having been to all four major islands at least twice now, it is interesting to compare and contrast them.  I don’t know if I can pick a favorite yet.  It really depends what you are in the mood for.

If Oahu didn’t have the Marriott Ko Olina resort, I wouldn’t think much of that island.  If you want big city, you go to Oahu.  But with the Marriott, Oahu has the best of both worlds – the laid back Hawaii resort atmosphere away from it all with the big city 35-40 minutes away.  It is a great combo.

The Big Island, is, well, BIG.  It is so diverse.  Geographically I think I like the Big Island the best because it changes so much depending on where you are.  The problem is because it is so big, you have to spend a lot of time in the car to drive from place to place.  But the Kohala Coast is always sunny.  Kailua-Kona is a nice little town.  And Hilo has that quintessential old Hawaii charm.  Four different colors of sand at various beaches.  An active volcano.  A 13,000 ft mountain you can drive to the top of and even ski at in the winter.  It is a truly amazing island.  But most (not all) of the hotels and resorts don’t have nice large beaches like Maui.

Maui is sort of a mixed plate.  Maui seems to try to be everything to everyone.  Maui is the beach lover’s dream.  It isn’t as laid back as Kauai, but there is no big city.   It’s sort of all the other three islands combined.  But in my opinion this sort of dilutes any kind of unique island character it may have.  Maui seems the most overun with tourists due to its immense popularity.  I really like Maui, especially the Kapalua area, but I am equally as happy on any of the other three islands.

Kauai is special.  It feels like none of the other islands except the Hilo side of the Big Island.  It is the most beautiful of the four islands in my opinion.  It doesn’t have the feel of being overrun with tourists.  The traffic isn’t bad (as I mentioned earlier).  There is a variety of recreation activities within a very short drive.  It has as good of beaches as Maui, unfortunately a lot of them aren’t right in front of a resort. The only problem is the rain.  If you don’t mind the ocassional rain shower and you want the feeling of getting away from it all, Kauai is a no brainer.  The author of those blue guide books chose to live in Kauai which to me says something. 

The bottom line is I can’t pick a favorite.  They are all great.  We are extremely fortunate to be only a 5-6 hour flight away from such a neat place (and it is an American state.)

Another note about Kauai.  For us it is a somewhat emotional place.  Lisa has memories of when we were here staying with her parents while her Mom was still alive and Jordan about to turn one year old with my sister getting married.  These memories have been tough on her.  I look in the mirror six years later and even though my hair is really short, the grey now shows all the time.  Jordan is almost seven now not almost one.  How quickly time goes by.  It has given us an uneasy feeling thinking how fast our children are growing up.

The kids are always the highlight of any of our trips.  They don’t care if we stay in a 4-star or 2-star resort.  They don’t care if we eat at McDonalds or at Dukes.  They just enjoy being together and having a pool to swim in.  But when I asked them what was there favorite thing about the trip, they both answered…..  SHOPPING.  Good God, what have we created?  Nolan as usual proposed a toast. At our last dinner tonight he said, “I am thinking that we all love each other, Cheers!” 

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