Hanalei & Poipu [POY-poo]

Coconut Tree

Since the Royal Coconut Coast (the East side of Kauai) is midway between the lush North Shore area and the drier South Shore, it is easy to take day trips in either direction.

The Hanalei Bay area boasts a beach with a famous pier and the community of Princeville; the mountain backdrop with long white waterfalls is magnificent. The North receives more rain than either the East or South sides and is extremely lush!

Poipu Beach, voted America’s Best Beach by The Travel Channel, is situated on the drier South Shore. If you want to splurge, stay at the Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa in Poipu, where the lobby looks straight out onto the ocean. A great place for a honeymoon! Room prices range from around $500 to $1000 a night with the Presidential Suites ranging from $2500 to $5000 a night.

On route to the South Shore, we drove on a section of highway with large trees on either side that curved over the top to form an arch and a tunnel. Kauai’s natural surroundings can be awe inspiring! Poipu Beach is next to Old Koala, which is “a charming town rooted in its plantation past.”

Below are some photos from the Hanalei Bay area and Poipu Beach. Mahalo nui loa!




Royal Coconut Coast — Kauai, Hawaii

In mid-September, I took my parents on a Hawaiian vacation. Last December, we went to Oahu and stayed a block from Waikiki, so we decided on a less touristic Hawaiian experience and chose Kauai, the Garden Isle. We booked a resort condo on the Royal Coconut Coast for eight days; however, due to Tropical Storm Olivia heading directly for Maui at the very hour we were set to land and connect to Kauai, we postponed our flight for two days until the storm had passed. It was a wise decision. Hawaiian Airlines was very helpful and accommodating in changing our flights.

We were greeted at the airport with a Lei placed around our necks and kisses on our cheeks (although I paid for that, it’s a lei greeting service), and thus started the beginning of a week of relaxation and enjoyment in paradise.

We stayed at the Waipouli Resort, booked through Kauai Calls, where we had an ocean front, two bedroom condo. The unit had a gorgeous, large kitchen; three bathrooms, two showers, and a very large jacuzzi bathtub and another regular size one as well. Waipouli is just next to the interesting, old town of Kapaa.

The resort has its own beach with a resident endangered Hawaiian monk seal. It also has an elaborate, winding, river-like, swimming pool with water-slides, grotto, and three sand-bottomed hot tubs. Next to the pool area is a good restaurant and bar called the Oasis on the Beach. The weather was always around 85 degrees during the day and just under 80 at night. I loved sleeping with my lanai window open and listening to the soothing sound of the waves.

Below are photos from beautiful Kauai, “the Garden Isle.” I also have a lot of video footage of this trip that I might post later. We visited Hanalei Bay in the North and Poipu Beach in the South, which I will cover in my next post. After my Hawaii posts, I will begin telling you about my 5 week European adventure. Kauai was definitely the most relaxing part of my six week travel. Yes, the island chain is the 50th U.S. state, but it has its own unique culture and way of life and that special Aloha spirit. I would like to return. Mahalo to all the nice and welcoming people that we met!

New Travel Posts Coming Soon

I just returned from a little over six weeks of travel which included Kauai, Hawaii; the UK; France; Belgium; and the Netherlands. Over the next week or so, I will be sharing some of my experiences through photos and writing.

Kauai was absolutely stunning. The five week European portion of my travels produced a lot of interesting and real content and reflection, and I look forward to sharing it with you soon!

I am happy to be back in beautiful and peaceful Oregon!


Family Trip to Waikiki

A week ago, I took my parents on a Hawaiian vacation. We stayed in a Honolulu apartment, a block from Waikiki beach. My father is rehabilitating from successful neck surgery.

A few of the highlights from our trip were the visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center and the awesome show “Ha, the Breath of Life,” drinking a delicious non-alcoholic Hakka at Yauatcha, almond-pineapple-coconut croissants at the b. patisserie Waikiki International Market Place, and crepes with fresh local fruit at Arrancio di Mare.

I also enjoyed getting up early and taking my boogie board in the warm ocean water. On Saturday night, I went to the oceanfront Rumfire nightclub at the Sheraton-Waikiki, where the atmosphere was friendly and full of energy.

Here are some photos from our trip:

Life in Hilo- Drivers

As I have already written this week, my experience at the University of Hawaii at Hilo was a unique one– from an isolation standpoint. My one semester contract brought me a couple of things– good teaching evaluations, a recommendation from my chair, and five months listening to Coqui frogs at night. They sound more like birds than frogs. My best friend on the island was probably the Gecko that visited me in my apartment from time to time. Oddly enough, he never once reminded me that I could save “15 percent or more on car insurance.”

I was almost hit by cars at least three times crossing the street on a green light in the crosswalk. People will swing around on a left hand turn, sometimes on a right hand turn, and try to beat you to the spot or past the spot. I wanted to know where in the world they thought they were going so fast– there’s nowhere to go, it’s an island, you’re going to hit the water in a few minutes, slow down. So I’m in Subway Sandwiches and I ask a police officer, “Officer, what’s the deal here? Why are the drivers so bad?” He tells me, ” We are trying to educate people on driving.” Isn’t that the job of the DMV, before they issue a license? One driver almost hit me crossing near 7-11, which happened to be my nighttime Hilo delicacy, and so I asked the guy where he learned to drive and pointed him in the direction of the DMV. He got all excited and started jumping up and down yelling at me on the 7-11 grass. I told him a few things, questioning his capacity to operate a motor vehicle, and then we went in separate directions. But it was after that incident that I realized, hey, maybe they are so bored on the island that there is a significant drug problem, which leads to really crazy drivers. Not every driver in Hilo is like that, but there were definitely enough insane ones to never take for granted safe passage in a crosswalk on a green light. I’m sure there is a lot information on the web about this topic. A quick google search revealed several reports indicating Hawaii as having the worst drivers in the U.S. I definitely saw it first hand. I was one of the few pedestrians. Everyone, except some students, drives– and there are a lot of large vehicles too– SUVs and trucks. One would think– with climate change and rising sea levels and the threat to islands– that they would be a little more environmental there! They don’t have curbside recycling. Let’s put it this way, there is a professor there that teaches environmentalism that drives some big gas guzzling machine– SUV or Jeep of the larger variety–  not too much consistency between word and deed.

I was getting food at Café 100 and the cashier told me her colleague got hit crossing the street and suffered a broken leg. The cashier at Longs told me that they don’t use the crosswalk because it is safer to cross in the middle of the street. So it wasn’t just me. Speaking of Café 100, which is a much lauded outdoor restaurant in town, it has okay Hawaiian food– chicken or beef on rice soaked in a heavy sauce (so you may require Alka-Seltzer after it)– but their hamburgers are like no hamburger that I’ve eaten before. Let’s put it this way, if you take a regular semi-dry hamburger patty and put it on a table with a plain bun and bottles of ketchup and mustard, and tell a four year old to assemble it– that’s what a Café 100 hamburger will be– burger, bun, mustard– smashed. I took a bite and looked at it and thought what is that. That is not taking pride in your work. Whether you are assembling an architectural wonder of the world or a hamburger, take pride in your work– put some lettuce and tomatoes and onions in it. Don’t smash it. It wasn’t the value menu, it was a full priced hamburger. I said to myself, “wow, that’s something.”  But I digress.  Anyway, for all the countries and U.S. states I have visited, I give Hilo, Hawaii the Worst Drivers in the World Award (according to my experiences) and Café 100 the Worst Hamburger Award.

More on Hawaii later….to be continued.