Sunday, October 30, 2011

Aloha Kauai

The long awaited travel log from Kauai is finally here!  My family went to Kauai last October for a family vacation.  I had so many pictures that I wanted to share that it has taken me awhile to get it ready.  Grab a nice warm drink, hurry and go to the restroom, and then sit and enjoy!
My parents and I flew to Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii.  We had an hour and a half layover in Los Angeles, CA.  We spent the layover in Delta’s Sky Room.   While we were there, Joan and Melissa Rivers came in.  She gave me the stare down, and, being the professional celebrity I am, I just ignored her.  Just before we left the Sky Room, Mom and I went to the restroom.  We ended up in the restroom with Joan and her assistant.  When we were leaving, Mom was holding the door open for me but Joan thought she was holding it for her and told Mom, “You go on. I’m not ready to leave yet.”  After we left the restroom, Mom said, “I wasn’t holding the door open for her!  I was holding it for you!”
My brother Chris and Allen picked us up at the airport.  (They flew in a few hours before us.)  We drove to the Banyon Harbor Resort where we had a two bedroom condo.  I highly recommend this place if you are planning a vacation to Kauai.  It is close to the beach, inexpensive, and has a full kitchen.  Dad went to the Marriott across the street from our condo so he could attend a work convention.  (The work convention was the reason we chose Kauai.)  Chris, Allen, and I went grocery shopping for breakfast, lunch, and snack items.  We stopped at Taco Bell for dinner.  We knew how to eat right on vacation!  We picked up Dad from his convention.  We all went to bed early since we were exhausted from traveling.  Who knew that sitting on a plane could take so much out of a person?!  I was the lucky one who got the couch in the living room.  Oh the joys of the single life never end!  Don't be jealous!  Our condo had a missionary map on one wall.  Chris and I thought we were back in the MTC!
The next day, Dad went to his convention during the morning.  Mom, Chris, Allen, and I took the opportunity to take in some sights.  Our first stop was Spouting Horn.  It was a place where lava had grown out in the bay so when the waves would come in, it would spray through the holes in the lava.  It was fun to watch.   
Then we went to Poipu Beach.  Mom, Chris, and Allen snorkeled.  (I don’t like snorkeling.)  I sat in the sun while I watched and read.  I watched some sea turtles as they lazily swam close to shore.  As Chris was standing in the shallow water, one of the sea turtles brushed by him.
On our way back to the condo, we stopped at the Menehunes Ponds and passed a lot of sugar cane fields.
Dad got done with his classes early so he hung out with us the rest of the day.  We drove to Wailua River.  We rode the boat to the Fern Grotto.  Once we got off the boat, we had to walk a short distance to the Fern Grotto.  The Fern Grotto didn’t have a lot of ferns on it because of a recent hurricane.  We listened to a short program of stories and songs.  On our boat ride back to where we started, we learned a hula.
We went to the Smith Family Luau that evening.  We rode a tram that took us through a botanical garden to the site of the luau.  We watched the imu ceremony which is where they unearthed the pig that had been roasting for our eating pleasure.  We ate from the buffet.  My favorite was the sweet pulled pork!  (I ate more pork on this trip than I had in my whole life prior to it!)  We watched the luau.  They had great performers.  My favorites were the fire dancers!
The next day, Dad went off to his meetings while Mom, Chris, Allen, and I did some more sightseeing.  We drove to Wailua Falls.  They were amazing!  
Then we drove to Opaekaa Falls.  They were amazing but were a little further away from us so they looked smaller but they probably weren't.  It was an optical illusion. 
When Dad got done with his meetings, we drove to the airport because we were going on a 70 minute chartered airplane ride around the island of Kauai.  (It was my Christmas present to my family.  Don't you wish you were part of my family?!)  The company we flew on was called Wings Over Kauai.  They gave us a great aerial tour of the island.  I highly recommend them if you plan to do an aerial tour of Kauai.  The office staff and pilot were very friendly.  The pilot was very knowledgeable about the island.  Mom got the co-pilot seat in the front, Chris sat directly behind her, Allen was behind him, I was behind Allen, and Dad sat next to me.
From the air, we saw the condo we were staying at, Poipu Beach, the Cathedrals, Waimea Canyon, Hanalei, the highest point on the island which was the wettest place on the Earth, and then back to the airport in Lihue.  

After our airplane ride, we drove to the end of the road at Hanalei Beach.  We saw exotic birds, a lighthouse, and explored a cave just off the road.   

The next day, some of us attended church.  At church, they gave all the visitors leis.   Only in Hawaii can you get lei'ed at church.
Allen is rockin' the lei!
All of us went to Waimea Canyon after church.  We drove through Waimea Canyon and stopped and got out at a few look out points.  The weather was a little cloudy and cold in the canyon.  At the last stop, we were totally in the clouds.  Only Mom and I got out there.  We walked to the look out place and just saw white clouds everywhere.  Who knows what was beneath all the clouds?
We heard the restaurant next to the museum in the canyon had excellent cornbread.  We stopped to get a piece on our way down the canyon.  The restaurant had just closed but they were willing to give Mom a piece of cornbread.  It was delicious!
The next day, Dad went to his convention.  Mom, Chris, Allen, and I ate breakfast at Ono Restaurant in Kapa’a.  The strawberry French toast I ordered tasted delicious!  Mom and I took Chris and Allen to the airport and they flew home.  I promptly moved into their bedroom.  No more couch sleeping for me!  I walked the area around our condo.  There were shops, the beach, and the Marriott hotel across the street.  Mom and I laid out at the condo complex’s pool all afternoon.  We were the only people there for a little while.  Mom and Dad ditched me to have dinner at the convention so I had the condo all to myself!  Woo hoo!
The following days were filled with morning trips to the beach so Mom could snorkel and I laid out while Dad was at meetings.  Afternoons were filled with lazy lounging at the pool.  I was invited to the convention’s luau at the Marriott hotel.  The luau was on the beach in a secluded cove.  It was a beautiful, starry night.  I ate delicious food and once again indulged in the Kalua pork!  The luau was great!  Again, my favorite performer was the fire dancer.  (I think you would have to be somewhat crazy to dance with fire!)
Sadly, the time came for us to leave.  We flew the red-eye flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, CA.  I think I got a little sleep but not nearly enough to function properly.  I had the middle seat which was the worst seat a person can have on the red-eye flight because I had nothing to lean against.  So not fun!  We had a short layover in Los Angeles again.  We got upgraded to first class from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City.  We all laid back our seats and slept the entire flight!  Too bad we weren’t upgraded from Hawaii to LA!  I honestly don't remember the flight from LA to Salt Lake.  When I got home, I went right to bed and slept for five and a half hours.  I felt a little better but went back to sleep a few hours later!  Aloha!  Mahalo, Kauai!  See you soon!