The Latest Songdoc Kauai Trip Report

Old Feb 4th, 2014, 10:00 PM
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Congratulations Songdoc, may you have many more years of joy together.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 10:11 PM
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Thanks so much for all the kind congratulations!!! You will be glad to know that I am officially no longer stressed.

I’ve been much too busy having a FABULOUS time to be writing this report. But if you insist …

I couldn’t resist; I went back to the Humane Society and rented another dog—Clifford, an Airedale mix. Ohh, he was a sweetie. Our first stop was the Kauai Coffee Company Plantation. It’s such a beautiful place, and Clifford and I enjoyed our walk on the service road next to it, lined with bougainvillea, with the mountains in the distance.

Being a coffee lover, I LOVED tasting all the coffees. Clifford stuck to water, and was going to have a hard time keeping with me after all that caffeine. I stocked up on the decaf Coconut Caramel Crunch that you can only buy at the plantation—or online. (I buy the caffeinated version at Costco.)

There are a limited number of beaches and parks where you are permitted to take dogs (although locals ignore this). I chose Kalapaki Beach—at the Marriott in Lihue. The first impression at Nawiliwili Park was not good--to say the least. It was full of locals who were smoking pot and drinking. I'm talking homeless, slurred speech, dead drunk before noon. Very sad--although one group that played with the dog did offer me a joint. ;-) (In case you're curious as to what I did--I haven't used sugar, drugs, or alcohol in 32 years. Yes, life is still worth living!)

I’ve always said this is the least attractive part of the island, and while it can’t compare with the North Shore beaches, it had its charms. The cruise ship was in port, and since this is walking distance from where it docks, the beach was full of people from the boat who—not knowing anything else about Kauai—thought it was a beautiful beach.

It was a bright, sunny day, and the water was calm. Lots of people were swimming. Clifford wasn’t interested in getting more than his paws wet, so I only went in up to my calves. We walked the length of the beach (in the surf) several times. With his “Adopt Me” vest, adorable face, and willingness to lick any stranger, he was quite the conversation starter, and I had some lovely chats while people fussed over him.

We sat for a while and I ate the lunch I’d picked up at Subway in Lihue. Someone mentioned that I should walk around the hotel’s courtyard that is like a botanic garden. Very pretty! It wouldn't be my choice of a place to stay, but it's a pretty resort--right on a beach--and it's mid-way between the North Shore and Waive Canyon, so I can almost see the appeal.

When it was time to leave, I was having a hard time juggling everything while holding the leash--folding up my beach chair, packing away my camera, putting on my T-shirt, packing away my water bottle, book, beach towel, and sunblock--and in the midst of it, my flip-flop broke, and I was left hobbling, and trying to fix it when it suddenly occurred to me ... OMG, THE DOG IS GONE!!! How could he possibly have gotten away? I'd have sworn I'd had the leash wrapped around my wrist.

I looked up and down the beach--FRANTIC. No Clifford anywhere in sight. Maybe he ran to the parking lot; or into the courtyard; or out into traffic on the street. OMG!!! What do I do? I'm frantically asking, "Has anybody seen a dog attached to a leash, and wearing a vest that says, "Adopt Me?"

They all looked at me like I was crazy (which I was rapidly becoming!!!) I simply cannot return to the shelter--without a dog! And the shelter is closing in fifteen minutes!!! I was searching for security when someone came up to me and asked, "Did you lose a dog?" Her friend was holding the little devil, and he looked throughly pleased with himself. I think I lost several years of my life, but who could blame him for not wanting to return to a kennel?

After returning Clifford to the shelter ☹ I rewarded myself with dinner at Hamura’s Saimin. But those familiar with the place won’t believe this. It was EMPTY! I’m used to waiting in line—and I was the only person in there. The waitress still managed to forget my BBQ chicken sticks! But that’s OK, they were still wonderful—after my saimin. (They're typically served first.) I’m addicted to that place. FYI, it was 5 PM on a weekday, and it was beginning to get customers by the time I left.

What a day!!! To be continued …
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Old Feb 7th, 2014, 11:01 AM
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Don't want to forget to mention that I enjoyed "Art Night" in Kilauea. It's held the last Saturday of each month in the little shopping center across the road from the Kong Lung shopping center (where the Lighthouse Bistro & Kilauea Bakery are--and by the way, they both get "thumbs up" from me). The shops were open late and there were booths set up for artisans to display and sell their crafts. Good food and live entertainment, too. Enjoyed some really nice conversations with local artists.

The weather has taken a bad turn. Lots of rain and clouds. I'd been lucky for a couple of weeks, but we've had four or five rainy/cloudy days since then. Yesterday started with a torrential downpour, but cleared up to bright--but cloudy--skies. I spent my afternoon at Anini Beach. The water was calm as a swimming pool, and lots of people were snorkeling and swimming. The water was clear and the snorkeling was good. Someone reported seeing several parrot fish, a small eel, and several other varieties of fish.

Anini is really beautiful, and I walked the full length of it. But unlike Hanalei Bay and most of the other Kauai beaches, there are lots of shards of coral (from the reef) and broken shells. So I think water shoes are necessary for swimming in most spots--and flip-flops were needed for most of my walk. It was a relaxing afternoon--and a nice break from the rain!
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Old Feb 7th, 2014, 11:51 AM
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Songdoc, congratulations to you & DP! August 16 is a great date...my parents anniversary and this year it will be 34 years!

Loving the report...it is getting me through until it is my turn! 5 months and 3 weeks...can't wait until the Kauai red dirt is beneath my feet!

How soon will you arrive before the wedding?
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 12:06 AM
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It's been POURING the entire day!!!

Thanks, louistraveler5. That's great about your parents sharing that date--and staying together for 34 years. I think it's too late for us to make it 34 years after the wedding -- unless we count the 20 we've already been together ;-).

Hang in there. 5 months and 3 weeks will pass before you know it. What's the date that you arrive?

I'll arrive July 27th for the Kauai Music Festival. Will move to the condo Aug. 3rd and stay until Sept. 2nd. We'll have family and friends staying with us until a week after the wedding--then we'll kick everybody out and call it a "honeymoon" for 9 days.
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Old Feb 8th, 2014, 03:39 AM
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Songdoc - a belated hearty congrads. Kept seeing this thread and thought it was more about the pics and not about the big news.

And weddings - stressful? To a degree yes, - but not if somebody else is doing the planning.

My wife and mother in law handled all of that for moi - while I took care of the Honeymoon - two days in Molokai, a week on Big Island and the last week at Princeville.

We had it at their beautiful home in Los Altos in the bay area - and my wife's cousin and husband - who were in the process of starting a very good/small restaurant back in Providence, RI - came out to cater and the future in-laws lent them their Mercedes to tour around the West for a couple of weeks.

There have been some other wedding threads in here - and the message I have gleaned is don't get too caught up in favors and all of that stuff. Plan a good time for all the guests - with good food and drink (yes, Champagne for those who imbibe such as moi) and IMO - let it flow Hawaiian style, maybe with a local group performing at the post reception?
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Old Feb 9th, 2014, 11:08 AM
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Congrats and Best wishes to you and yours. My sweetie and I are thinking about getting married next month while we are in Kauai. Yes, we could get married here in Seattle, but I think it would become complicated and stressful with family and friends wanting to be involved.

Would you mind sharing the info about the woman you found to officiate at your wedding? We have found a website, but haven't talked with anyone yet. We will have three and a half weeks on Kauai, so I'm not (yet) feeling any pressure to get it planned.
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Old Feb 9th, 2014, 01:52 PM
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For you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8cYJpKabWA
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Old Feb 9th, 2014, 03:05 PM
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Kathie: the officiant we chose is Dale Rosenfeld at:

http://jewishjoyfulceremoniesandweddings.com

When we "googled,"there were a couple of others who looked good, as well. Dale has been FANTASTIC to work with, and can help in a lot of areas (i.e., permits, licenses, leis, locations ...).

We went over the ceremony and the vows she typically uses--and were sobbing, they were so beautiful! We did a bit of customizing, but loved what she had started with.

Tom: Thanks for sharing. Letting it flow "Hawaiian Style" sounds good to me!

I had such a nice day yesterday on the South side. Will write about it soon. Having to deal with some work stuff at the moment .

For those who are interested in following me beyond Kauai, in less than 2 weeks I'll be in Ireland--and then Italy. A normal person would be excited, but the truth is .... I'd rather stay on Kauai!
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Old Feb 9th, 2014, 04:14 PM
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Thanks so much, Songdoc.
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Old Feb 9th, 2014, 04:34 PM
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Is it OK if we "normal people" are excited for you? ;-)

Congrats on your pending nuptials! A wedding in Hanalei would be "no ka oi" big-time.

The guy who makes me my chili-peppah flakes and chili water, Bobby, is now a cook at Beachwalk. I'll pass along your comments. I think the people who now own it used to run Al and Don's
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 08:05 AM
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Songdoc:

We arrive July 26 and we leave Aug 2. DH & I will be going with my brother and K again. July 31 is my brother's 30th bday!! It will be the tale of two siblings part II...look for my report upon my return.

The Sealodge 2bdr has a queen bed and two twins in all of its units except for the D7 we stayed in last year. The D7 is no longer available...it was sold and not being rented. For the first time, I will not be at our beloved Sealodge. We will be at the Ali'i Kai. How was your stay at Ali'i Kai?
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Old Feb 10th, 2014, 05:09 PM
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First ... after a week of cooler, mostly cloudy or rainy days ... yesterday's rain turned to sunshine by noon, and today is UNBELIEVABLE--bright blue skies and 85 degrees! I'm heading to Ke'e Beach and Tunnels!!! I like to walk between them.

louistraveler: I liked Ali'i Kai. Very few of the units are oceanfront. I got one of them, but it wasn't the amazing Sealodge view. Still, very nice--and gorgeous sunsets from the bluff. The only negative was that I got NO cell phone reception in--or near--the condo. Apparently, it depends on your provider. I'm sure you'll have an amazing trip.

FYI, if it interests you (or anyone else!) the Kauai Music Festival will have its concert featuring "Hawaiian Artists" on August 1st. I don't know who the headliners will be--but I've seen some of the most incredible performances ever at these shows (including Jake S. and Raietea Helm). On August 2nd the concert will be performers from the mainland.
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Old Feb 16th, 2014, 06:25 PM
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I’ve sadly returned, and have to finish this report quickly because I’m busy getting ready to leave again! (Ireland and Italy, as previously mentioned.)

I spent a wonderful day on the south side. It started with a 90-minute training session at the Humane Society—required so I can continue to rent dogs. I figured since was already that close, I’d continue on to Poipu. But first … saimin and chicken BBQ sticks at Hamura’s. I’m addicted.

Parked at Shipwreck Beach, walked along the surf then walked on the path that goes past the Grand Hyatt. It was a gorgeous day I saw turtles and lots of whales. Sat for a while on a swinging chair, thoroughly enjoying the day and the views.

Continued on to Spouting Horn which wasn’t spouting very much that day—but there were some whales in the distance. I stopped at several beaches along the way, including the one at the Beach House. Poipu has never been my cup of tea. I’ve always said it seems like a generic beach resort. But this time it hit me that it felt more like California. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not what I go to Hawaii for.

I had dinner at Roy’s. It was fantastic (roasted beet salad, followed by perfect scallops). The only problem is that the tip I left was more than I’d spent for an entire lunch at Hamura’s—and I left hungry! The fried quinoa and Chinese black beans were about 2 tablespoons of a puree that the scallops sat atop. I wish it had also been served with steamed rice and an actual serving of vegetables. For $61 (no drinks, appetizers, or dessert) I don’t expect to leave hungry. Still, the flavors were amazing.

I left the restaurant at dusk and the parrots were roosting in the trees. I’d never seen parrots on Kauai and it was great. There were hundreds of them squawking and swooping, and I felt like I was in Australia!

Other highlights:

Countless walks along the surf at Hanalei Bay
Great whale watching from my balcony—and the walking path past Kealia Beach
The views as I walked from Haena to Tunnels
Taking photos at Lumahai Beach
Sitting on a bluff and playing guitar for the whales and seabirds
Chatting with serious birders and photographers at the Lighthouse (loved the frigates)
Walks to the St. Regis for those Bali Hai views
Watching the albatrosses swoop by my balcony—sooo beautiful
Watching the amazing surfers at “Middle Beach” and Kealia

It was a WONDERFUL trip. I felt peaceful and centered in a way I never feel anywhere else.

I’m guessing that out of a month, I had a total of six days that were complete washouts. Quite a few days were cloudy and cool (meaning 70 and windy)—or rainy part of the day. Sometimes there would be a few hours of sunshine -- or a few hours of rain -- out of the entire day. Other days were like perfect summer days. Similarly, there were times when the ocean was calm as a pool--and other times when the North Shore beaches were closed for swimming.

If I were looking to lie on a beach, swim, and soak in the rays, Kauai wouldn’t be my choice in the winter—and certainly not the North Shore. But for relaxing, writing, going for walks, and enjoying the part-time warmth and sunshine … it was bliss!

Now I can’t wait to return!
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Old Feb 21st, 2014, 12:30 PM
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Love reading your reports and all the things you do and do not do while on Kauai. As many times as you have been there, you always seem to find great things to do. Got some good ideas from you like the hike on Mahaulepa heritage trail. It is On our list of things to do during our next visit coming up real soon. Kauai is my favorite place to relax and breathe in the Hawaiian air. Wouldn't want to live there permanently but every 12 or 18 months satisfies my spirit. thanks for sharing so much of your life with us. I feel like I know you thru your posts. Hope the nuptial plans are coming together. Aloha
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 07:45 PM
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Great report, thank you!

Congrats on your upcoming wedding! Side note: you should totally count those 20 years you've already been together.

I love that you are renting dogs. I wanted to do that so badly when we were there, but I knew I'd be one of the people that would take one home with me!

Safe travels in Europe.
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Old Feb 24th, 2014, 06:54 PM
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Songdoc, the only reason I opened this thread was because of the author. I am so happy that now the devastatingly handsome couple can legally be married and I wish you two the best of everything in the years to come. You are the reason I voted YES in my state of Minnesota. Congratulations.
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Old Feb 26th, 2014, 09:12 PM
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What a beautiful story Songdoc, congratulations!
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Old Mar 5th, 2014, 10:50 PM
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Thanks for all the comments & congratulations. I'm in glorious Venice at the moment after a wonderful time in Ireland. So I haven't checked this thread for a while.

ziggypop: I'm utterly blown away by your beautiful comment!

pijeta: <I'd be one of the people that would take one home with me!> HAHA! Believe me, I would if I could.

Shar: You're going to LOVE Mahaulepu. But that road is HORRIBLE.

When I get back I'll post pix (including the doggies). I'll also post a link to the Ireland and Italy shots.
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