Reporting… Um, Live-ish from Kaua’i (part 2)

We’re back but that doesn’t mean we’re completely back physically or mentally. I don’t know how I managed it but I wrote a stupid amount since I last posted. In Word it’s about 8.5 pages. Yea. There’s a bunch. If you’re brave enough to click More… below you’ll see many words organized into semi-sentences trying to piece together my thoughts from the latter half of the trip. Mahalo.

Oh! Ali posted some new thoughts to her site after we got back to 11o1. Check em: http://emmapoeta.com

For the full on robot chubby the word ‘more’ is waiting for you… 06/15/06
18:20 local time

American Vs. American. We’ve felt it and today we heard first hard that it actively happens. Native Hawaiians, many, do not like mainland Americans for a variety of reasons. My bet is on money and qualified skills.

Here are two specific examples to think on… A woman that is now part owner of a jeweler store told us that if someone has sellable skills they would have no trouble finding a job. On the other side of the coin she said there are more jobs than there are qualified people. This type of position, in her opinion, is for entry level positions for immigrants or non-English (fluent) speaking natives.

Having no empirical data to back anything I just wrote I found it interesting to hear her opinions. My thoughts on the subject were: It’s difficult to find work, it is expensive to live in Hawaii due to annual wage and due to limited resources. She disagreed saying that it is as expensive here as it is in San Fran or Los Angeles. Her points of discussion were rent and general expenses (car fuel, etc.)

Again, I have nothing contradicting or backing her opinions. She had nothing to say on the people in general other than the diet is no altogether healthy. “You’ve probably noticed that Hawaiians are a wide people.” More or less… I have to agree with her statement. Memory is quirky though so who knows how accurate this general agreement truly is.

Today I drank from a coconut. It didn’t suck. It wasn’t great but happily it didn’t suck. NOTE – I dislike (excessive) coconut on desserts or other foods. The drink was mild and could have used some refrigeration but on the whole it was pretty good. We got to a point where our tummies were full of drink and so the coconut was chopped in half spilling the remaining liquid back into the earth. There are approximately 16 oz of coconut water in a coconut. Neat.

With the coconut sliced the coconut meat, it’s funny saying coconut meat, was scooped out and put into one half. emma began eating it and we were on our way home. I tried a bit and found the texture, soft and rubbery, nice. The taste was nothing like coconut you’ll find on a dessert. Yet another pleasant surprise.

Ah, it’s time for dinner – Tidepool at the Hyatt. Reservation is at 18:45 and it’s 18:37.

20:46
Fully filled with yum are we both. I was able to have a fruit smoothy with chocolate and peanut butter! My reaction: ?!?!? The verdict… It was surprisingly great. Luckily we got to sit next to the water for our meal which added a great feeling to the dinner. emma wore her white pants and her new top (purchased yesterday at Honolua Surf Company) during our walk about. I was quite the fortunate gent. Rock! to the white pants.

Moving back to the earlier topic…
The gent that sold us the coconut said he’d been doing this (selling fresh fruit and coconuts) for about 8 years. On the table was a business license showing that this wasn’t a random setup trying to cash in on the local tourists. He sells coconut water by the gallon to businesses and runs his ‘stand’ during the day at hot spots for select lengths of time. At this particular location, AROARAONR Waterfall, he’s setup shop for the past six months.

Sounds like a smart guy right? A thriving business plan based on local fruits, businesses, and tourists. Sure there is a good amount of work that goes into it but there is a market for it. He knows the in’s and out’s about coconuts. I asked if there was an off-season and he told us that coconuts are in season year round but during the winter months the picking isn’t as good. That’s a question I had been wondering since I arrived. It’s off the to be asked board now. = )

So how does this tie into the topic American Vs. American? He said that locals will yell things out the car when they pass the fruit stand. Why? we inquired. ‘Ah I dunno. Jealousy maybe.’ It doesn’t sound like he’s hearing kind words from the passing local peeps which is sad. If he’s found a way to make a living off the land and puts the effort forth to make it work why should he be ridiculed?

The concept of native Hawaiian fits into my mind somehow but not in the day to day sense. I don’t think of Hawaiians as the run of the mill American which means their blood lines can be from any and everywhere. Instead when I think Hawaiian there is a specific image that comes to mind. I wonder if I’m alone. I don’t think I am.

So the ‘native’ Hawaiian looks different… Not so anymore. Mainlanders from, typically, California have made their way to HI and have made it their new home. Lengths of stay have ranged from 4 years to 19 years to 30+ years. Anyone living somewhere for more than 5 years isn’t a visitor anymore. They’ve made a life for themselves.

As a tourist I can see where positions have ben filled by non-Hawaiian looking Hawaiians. Are they Hawaiian or temporary employees? I honestly cannot tell. We were checked in at the Hyatt by someone that came from CA and said she couldn’t leave. I recall her saying that this was 8 years ago.

American Vs. American… It’s an interesting topic to have been exposed to in such a short time. Someone may be researching this on the islands now. I couldn’t imagine what the larger islands are like compared to the tiny island of Kaua’i.

Last night Yesterday, I think, it actually rained. It was yesterday. Yes. I’ve mentioned gone on about how it sounds like the rain is dropping like buckets because of the palm trees in the wind. Well, yesterday, during the actual rain, the sound of rain was nonexistent. )insert blank stare) A chuckle might be more effective in all earnestness.

To recap: When it’s raining, outside room 2030 at the Hyatt, it doesn’t sound like there is rain falling. When the palm trees are being blown in the wind and the sound of rain can be heard… There is no rain.

The wrap up for the day… Shopping the small businesses of Kapa’a. Nothing was purchased except for a small meal for emma and a trail mix cookie for me at the small version of Blossoming Lotus about 80 yards down the road from Blossoming Lotus.

A funny little ditty we heard about was tourists getting shot. Yes. This is funny. In a small jeweler store, a husband and wife, talked to us about waterfalls. At one point the husband warned us about hiking too far into the woods at one waterfall because people have been shot. His wife was exasperated by the audacity of such a statement.

Obviously it was a situation where someone that owned the land near the waterfall and was fed up with people trespassing on their land. Some warning shots were probably fired to scare away the unwanted tourists. Voila! Shot at (by a local).

The thought of being shot by someone in Hawaii truly makes me laugh. I feel as safe here as I did many, many years ago in Japan. Leave your bag somewhere and the neatest thing happens when you return to that spot — the bag is still there! The population is so small nearly everyone smiles and/or acknowledges you verbally when passing. People have stopped at traffic lights, green lights, to let us cross the road! This is a unique world all to it’s own. It’s refreshing to know this kind of thing is possible in the US.

Would I want it where I live? Not really. To this day the best location in the US where people are happy with the opportunity to remain anonymous within a town where people greet each other is Stockbridge, MA.

It’s 21:35, emma is asleep already and has been for nearly the entire time I’ve been writing since we got back. The food appears to have won. I’m sitting outside with sounds of rain every now and then along with constant crashes of the tide. I think it’s time for bed. Tomorrow, pending the weather, we’re off to Ke’e beach to hike and snorkel. Dinner will be at Roy’s. Saturday the US plays Italy and we’ll be in a helicopter taking in the sites of the isle from a few feet above. 11 days and 10 nights. What a great length of time for a honeymoon. Ahhh. Oyasumi.

06/16/06
18:10 local time

Kitty cats! On the islands of Greece they are all over the place. When a ship pulls into the harbor BANG a pack of cats are prowling around (for food from the visitors). They know what they’re doing.

Around here cats appear to be rare or are all domestic. Thinking through the week I do not recall having seen one cat. )Asking emma if she recalls seeing any…( “No.” None? “Not even… Not at people’s homes” Huh. Peculiar. What will be seen are large numbers of chickens!

Roosters crowing and hens leading the way with their chicks close by. But there is a difference. The roosters are made up of a variety of beautifully colored and different textured feathers. The hens have the same type of look as well. It’s as though an artist saw the birds and thought “Hmm, let’s add something here, and here, and, oh yes, here! Voila! A masterpiece.”

They’re everywhere! Take a walk and you’re likely to see at least one or two. Drive around, HA!, dozens. Sometimes they’re on the beach, sometimes they’re where the tourists frequent. Greece has their cats and Hawaii has their chickens. Hawaii’s chickens are much prettier than Greece’s island cats. I guess chickens don’t fight each other as much.

We’re getting ready for (a 7PM) dinner at Roy’s (a 3 minute drive from the Hyatt). The day was spent out at Ke’e beach and the surrounding beaches. We had planned to hike the 2 mile path but the weather and our clothes, after snorkeling, led us on an earlier return that we anticipated.

For those planning to visit Ke’e Beach bring snorkeling equipment with you or plan to stop at the “Last Chance” store for gear. We didn’t bring gear so we rented for $6/set ($12 bucks total). A $100 deposit is held against a credit card (they don’t take AMEX) until the goggles and flippers are returned.

On our way back we stopped at a random beach that had very few people, maybe 6 of 7 total, to snap a few pix and run around Baywatch style. Yes we took pix and maybe I’ll post one, or two. T’was fun, silly, and refreshing to jog a bit.

Zooming a little zoom emma saw a waterfall. I couldn’t park near it or on the side of the road (RT 56) so we parked on a side street. Walking to the falls gravel got the better of emma’s left foot and brought her to her knee. Her right knee to be specific. Eventually we found a way to cross the extremely slippery rocks that kept us from getting nearer to the waterfall. On our way back though, silly lady, emma slipped into the small river with her right foot.

Nature was winning this war until we caught up to two people that were walking up the road ahead of us. Brian and Emily, both are from Los Angeles – Brian is struggling with the computer science world and Emily is studying cancer research at UCLA – (Hey, hey you two!) asked which way we were going. Since there is only one way to go on the road we told them our final destination. Though further than where they were going emma asked them if they’d like to ride with us. Oddly enough this was a thought I was thinking as we followed them up the road. I guess Kaua’i does that to you.

“That”? It gets you to relax and connect with other people. Even our non-hitchiked companions were weary of offers from locals at first. After a little time here they soon found that offers were genuine. This is the first place in the US that has done this to me. And it looks like it has done it to many, many others as well.

With 6 minutes before we leave I should mention a family we met, by chance, because of a pilate class. Leslie, and her family David, Madeline, Veronica, Peter, and “the youngin”, are on their second leg of their vacation. They’ve previously only visited the other islands before.

Leslie was in a pilate class, my (and emma’s) first ever. After class we somehow got to talking about room locations. emma mentioned our room number and Leslie knew exactly where it was… Because it was the next door – 2029.

Since then we’ve hung out with the 3 older kids in the hot tub and run into them numerous times at random. The hottub story will have to wait because it’s time to go.

Roy’s ahead aye!

06/17/06
14:26 local time

Last night meal was… Nah. A better way to describe it is by way of comparing the cleanliness of a dessert plate to an entree plate. No, not me. emma scraped her plate as clean as possible with the untensils available to her. Typically this is how a dessert plate is handled but last night the main course was devoured. It was probably the most flavorful mushroom plate she has ever had.

I had some beef plate. I say that because I don’t normally myself interested in this type of meal but when there isn’t much else you make due and give something else a try. I was happy with my decision. emma was, hoooweee, ecstatic about her decision. With a card in hand, detailing all of Roy’s locations in the US, we went home to hit the pool, read (first I was to and then I read book 1 of His Dark Materials), and then eventually fell asleep.

Skip forward to this AM. I woke up from a crazy odd dream where things made no sense. My favorite nonsense part was that my computer setup was in an aisle at Stop & Shop. And yes people were shopping while I installed something. The new 20” iMac I had bought (in my dream) resembled the older ‘neck’ iMac with a screen about 14 inches wide and, this is great, about 6 inches tall. Right.

We watched Gana play like a machine. It is funny to think today we routed for Gana and the US. Next Thursday we’ll be rooting for Italy (who played the US today) and the US. What is that saying about enemies of enemies? 0= )

Twelve minutes into the second half we zoomed to Safari Tours for our helicopter tour! The video was purchased. We can’t pick it up until tomorrow in the AM. I definitely recommend taking a helicopter tour at the end of your trip wherever you may go. Why? You’ll see things from the opposite point of view.

Today we saw exactly where we had already been on the island. The beaches at Ke’e to the scenic view stops along the Waimea Canyon. Nearly everything else was just plain old pretty. Pretty does not mean ‘oh look at that flower it’s so pretty.’ No. Pretty as in “Look at the size of that waterfall! It’s thousands of feel tall!” or “Check out the coastline. There are so many shades of blue within blue. HFCIT!”

The video is cheap at $30. Everything said during the tour is recorded for posterity. Yup, we asked lots and said lots. Hey, if nobody else wants to say anything t’aint our fault. Instead of describing everything that happened during the tour I’ll let the tour speak for itself… After I get the DVD.

With bellies full from a second visit to the Bamboo Grill emma feels sick and we both feel exhausted. Before I get some rest I need to make a note of some things so they are not forgotten and/or written about later.

Super speedy parking lot girl almost hit us
We saw 2 cats just after I wrote about not seeing any driving to and from Roy’s Bar and Grill (a 2.6 mile round trip drive).
It is impossible to make 2030 dark because there is no way to block out the light entirely.

Now, at 15:06 local time, I’m going to get me a nap.

06/18/06
11:46 local time

The jazz time skimp off on service – alcoholic tofu style.
Reading together in the early pm, the late pm, and early am.
Another walk, slower, and only a tad over 2 miles followed by a visit to the weight room.
We saw an ugly Korea goal that tied France.
Finally our am wrapped up with a $28 brunch at 11ish. NOTE – I normally eat 1st breakfast at 7ish. I was starving with many capital rumbles from my tum.

With one camera loaded up on pix (mine) we are about to pounce on the beach and cliff just a few steps away from the Hyatt.

17:07 local time
We’re cleaned up after our biggest day of sun yet. A luau is on tap for the eve. Today was THE most laid back day yet. We’ve now found ourselves in vacation mode. Yes we leaving tomorrow. Is this a typical situation? It’s the end so it finally feels like it? Nah. We were so overtaxed that it’s fantastic that we found the peace we needed.

Happily the next week will be free for me to ease back even more. I know I need it. emma is going about the week differently because she’s so new to the job, and because her work week is only 3 days. Well, with the time clicking to 17:15 we’ve got to get down to the luau. Mmm, food and drink. Must needs. The buffet was super filling; I can only hope that tonight the meal goes over the same way.

06/20/06
13:44 EDT 14:35 EDT

En-route to JFK we tried watching the helicopter DVD but it got stuck twice so we jumped ship and tried the fourth episode of Rome. After watching it for a few minutes we realized that we had seen it before. Skimming through the episode for a refresher of what is happening we tried Samurai Jack. It appeared that nothing was going to work out but after a quit and restart of VLC the episode “Jack and the Demon House” played through without a hitch.

While watching it I remembered my first solid memory of Samurai Jack… “Jack and the Demon House”

The episode handles so well silence, tension, and mystery. Without having watched every episode I may be wrong but I do believe that it is the best as well as my favorite episode. With many more to watch I may change my mind but it will be an uphill climb for any episode that attempts the challenge.

The Hyatt luau was… okay. The food, surprisingly, was the worst food we had in Kaua’I; bland, tasteless, and just sort of thrown together. It was a disappointment. At $75/person I hoped for a bit more of the “Hyatt” experience. The dancers were entertaining to watch though I would have wished for a more intimate setting. If you’ve seen Stomp imagine two venues – a small black box theatre Vs. a concert hall.

Sure, you get to see the show but the feelings and intensity are lost due to the size of the venue. I would approximate there were (thinking/counting in my head…) At 12 people per table, 8 tables per row, 3 rows the number comes to 288. Let’s take away 38 and run with 250 people. It’s not possible to experience the true feeling of a luau in this way. I HIGHLY recommend, if you’re ever in Hawaii and are interested in a luau, to find a small, intimate setting. A decent size would probably be around 50 people. In one night the income was approximately $12,500 (I dropped the price to 50 in case kids were charged less.) Not bad since it’s done twice a week.

After the luau we picked our bellies off the ground and walked back to 2030 for our last night in Kaua’i. It was wonderful. emma used our free champagne coupon and then proceeded to drink about ½ of a full glass. Due to a less than positive experience at the Stevenson’s Library the night prior she wanted some remuneration. She got it; al three sips worth.

The grand total of kitty cats was… 5! Just as we pulled up to drop off the car/truck/suv thing we saw another trotting about. Five whole kitty cats in 11 days; while two (Cthulhu, and Magneto) are waiting for us at 21. Petco here we come.

With so many thoughts about Kaua’I I am certain of not one, two, three, or four things. We ran through a list of positive things and then stumbled as if our minds were chained to an anchor in the ocean. It’s hard to come up with negative things about Kaua’i. I am happy to only say this. Interest in the other islands was nonexistent which allowed us to leave with nothing but a few scattered blah moments. It was bound to happen; especially after 11 days of meals and planned events.

So we’re on our way back home; back to NY that is. Toward the end of our stay we started feeling as though 2030 was becoming our home. Where will we end up after NY is only as good a guess as knowing where a butterfly may land to rest. There are so many options and a plethora of reasons why each is the best and each is the worst.

It’s 15:19 EST which means we’ll be on the ground in two little hours. With no desire to sleep this flight feels a touch longer. With wide awake eyes and a readiness for my life to start back up again I feel a smile in my cheeks. But now, with 1minute left to the battery of my PB, I think it’s time emma and I finished Book 1 of His Dark Materials.

20:22 local time (EST)

With cold water coming out of the tap and a small meal for two emma and I are now relaxing looking forward to watching The 4400, vegging out with some PS2, and/or other relaxing brainless fun. The A/C’s were turned on the minute we walked in the door because we’re a touch tired from the 17 hours (about) of traveling.

Back to the Dark Material; we’ll be reading the other two books in the same style we read the first. It’s going to be bunches of fun.

PS – I’ll be re-reading this post for clarity, type-o’s, or to elaborate on topics I skipped over during our travels.

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