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Hawai'i - Chapter 1

Hawai'i June 2016

~ Chapter 1

How this trip came about is a bit of a fluke. Pete’s niece invited us to a graduation party she was planning for her son Ryan, who graduated from high school. Pete’s sister Phyllis always said that we should get together for happy family events, not wait until somebody expires. You can’t argue with that. My thought was that to fly from Buenos Aires to California for only a one day party in Brentwood was a bit of a stretch, so I said to Pete, why don’t we go to Hawaii after the party? It’s June, and our 34th anniversary, and we always like to celebrate June 16th in some exotic place. He didn’t even blink, so I started making all the arrangements. We would be spending two weeks at the Ka’Eo Kai resort in Princeville on the garden island of Kauai, and we’d followed that with 3 nights on Oahu at the Hale Koa, so we could also visit my cousin, Suelyn Tune. The last time we were in Kauai was in December of 1987. Our resort at that time was also in Princeville.

A slight glitch complicated things a bit. We left Buenos Aires on 1 June, and that’s in the height of our flu season. Pete started feeling really sick just before we left, and it only got worse as the days passed. By the time we arrived in Kauai, I had gotten the flu from him, and apparently it was also passed to my daughter Cynthia, and her daughter’s boyfriend Victor. It’s not even flu season in California. Who’d a thunk it. We arrived at SFO on the morning of 2 June and dropped our bags off at the Travelodge (not being able to check in until 3:00 PM. Pete’s mom and Al picked us up and took us to her place for a wonderful lunch of her delicious home made chile. She had made reservations that evening at her favorite Thai restaurant, and we all congregated there.

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The next day we went to visit Paul Gettner at his work, and dropped off a bottle of Legui. I was also supposed to pick up some important papers Paul was keeping for me in a fire safe, but since Paul was suffering from an acute case of CRS, he forgot. It turned out all for the best though, because he scanned them the next day and sent them to me electronically, and the documents went back into safe keeping. Sometimes CRS can be a positive thing. ;o)

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When we left Paul, we went to visit David and Terry Pirogowicz. We’ve been in email contact with them over the years, via my travelogues, but we have not seen them since before we moved to Argentina 16 years ago. I don’t know why, but for some reason neither Pete or I thought to take any photos during that visit, and Terry had made such a wonderful lunch for us. I’m really glad that she sent us photos from their trip to Italy earlier this year. They went to Italy for a cooking school. How we’d love to do that sometime.

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I’m not sure what David was making here, but he certainly seemed to be enjoying the art of cooking.

After we left David and Terry, we met with my daughter Sally and went shopping at her favorite mall. There is an Apple store there, and I wanted to look at the new iPad PRO, because they don’t have it yet at the Apple store in Buenos Aires. Pete bought some clothes at Sears. We then had dinner at a brewpub just outside the mall. It was great. I love brewpub food, and their beer.

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The next day, June 4th, we drove to Brentwood to attend Ryan’s party. It was held in the huge back yard of one of Nina’s friends. It was a perfect day for an outdoor party, and a perfect venue.

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There was a great pool in the back yard, which was used constantly, mostly by the younger folks.

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Nina was the perfect hostess, serving Lumpia, and other goodies. I had one of the chocolate covered lolly pops, but I can’t remember what was inside. I think it was ice cream. This isn’t an age related thing. There was just so much going on. ;o)

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Ryan’s party went from NOON until 4:00 PM. At 4:00 Pete and I left to go visit with my daughter Cindy and her family. They lived just 5 minutes away in Brentwood.

Josh and Ashley had returned from Korea a few days earlier. We hadn’t seen Josh for a couple of years, and this was our first meeting with Ashley. They both taught English in Korea. Ashley is Canadian. I had asked my daughter Cindy to make a reservation at one of their favorite restaurants. She made it for 7:30, so that gave us some time to visit beforehand. Josh and Ashley made guacamole, which we all enjoyed. Before going to dinner, Scott took a group photo, which I was glad of, because I had failed to make much use of my camera until we got to the restaurant. Thanks Scott!

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The restaurant Cindy picked was CAP’S Oak Street Bar & Grill. It looked like it had been around for years, and was a wonderful place for a family dinner.

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               Ashley & my grandson Josh                My granddaughter Chelsea and her boyfriend Victor

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              My grandson Jason and my daughter Cindy

We had a most enjoyable dinner together. And all the while, visions of Kauai were dancing around in my head. ;o)

The party was on Saturday, and we had an early morning flight on Sunday, to Kauai via LAX. We left SFO at 7:00 AM and landed at Lihue just before 1:00 PM. We drove to the Ka’Eo Kai in Princeville and as we drove into the resort area we were greeted by this monstrous fountain that looked like it was ripped off from the Tivoli Fountain in Rome.

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We were both still feeling so miserable from the flu, and it was steadily getting worse, so we checked in, and took a shower and went to bed. I think we slept through the night, and most of the next day. By dinner time the next day we were feeling rested enough to make it out for dinner, and that evening we went to a very cool restaurant, the Tiki Iniki. They served their Mai taus in these very cool tiki glasses, and were they ever DELICIOUS! I think they are even nutritious. ;o) As for medicinal properties, they did take our minds off of how measurable we were both still feeling.

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The next morning we had an appointment for a continental breakfast in the lobby, where they stuck name tags on us, and we were given the lowdown on things to do during our stay at the Ka’Eo Kai. Various folks would give a presentation of their special activity. There was the snorkeling boat ride along the Na Pali coast, the helicopter flight over the island, zooming into the Waimea Canyon and over the cliffs of the Na Pali coast. Also a Live Theater and Dinner where you’ll see South Pacific.

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We could go fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, rafting, etc., etc. However, none of these sounded very enticing to us at the time. All we wanted to do was rest.

On Wednesday Pete enjoyed sunbathing pool side, reading Game of Thrones, Book 4. The weather couldn’t have been nicer.

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When we first arrive on Kauai, people were complaining about how rainy it had been, but it seemed to have changed, and on most days we had beautiful sunshine. It is typical in the islands for a cloud to blow overhead and dump a little rain for ten or fifteen minutes, and then blow past and let the sun shine again.

On Friday evening we went back to the Tiki Iniki for dinner. I had the Ono (or Wahoo), and Pete had the Ahi (or Tuna).

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Ono is a Hawaiian word meaning “good to eat.” Of course the Big Eye Ahi is the favorite of sushi lovers like Pete and I.

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On Friday we decided to check out what became of Charo’s Restaurant. On our last visit to Kauai that was the one evening that stands out most clearly in our minds. The ambiance of the restaurant was very Hawaiian. A young Hawaiian girl roamed slowly throughout as she played real Hawaiian songs on her ukulele and sang in the most beautiful voice you can imagine, in Hawaiian. It was romantic beyond belief. And, the meal was unforgettable. The restaurant is now called the Mediterranean Gourmet, and there is not a trace of it’s former grandeur. We were there for lunch, and the place was practically empty.

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The food was pretty good, but nothing like what we remember of Charo’s. It had real class back then.

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Something happened on Sunday, and we were both feeling much better, and the flu symptoms all seemed to vanish. We still had a week to go on Kauai, so it was now time to start enjoying it. We attended the morning meeting in the lobby where all he activities were being presented to a new batch of vacationers. We signed up for three of the activities. That night we went to The Dolphin for dinner, and discovered that they had the best Mai Tai cocktails we’ve had so far, and the meal was great as well.

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On Tuesday we decided to drive around the island, to view the fantastic LOOKOUT spots which gave amazing views of Waimea Canyon. On the way we stopped for lunch at a taco stand. We had no idea what to expect, so based on our past experience at other taco stands, we each ordered two tacos. BIG mistake, as you can see.

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We could barely make it through one taco each. We asked for a box and took two of them home for lunch the next day. By the way, they were excellent tacos.

We drove on and arrive at the road which takes us to several amazing lookout points along the rim of the Waimea Canyon. The views were definitely breathtaking. I can’t imagine anyone actually hiking or mountain climbing here. Everything is so vertical.

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We had signed up for the Na Pali Coast Adventure, so we knew that in a couple of days we would be down there on the water looking up at the Pali.

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There were several lookouts, and each one offered breathtaking views of the canyon.

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We head back to our rental car to drive on to the next lookout. That golf ball is an early warning and missile defense radar dome.

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The guy had a small coat on the dog which read “Adopt Me”. I hope he found a good home for him. It looked like a nice dog.

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It was really hard to get the full perspective. Pete said that you lose your sense of depth perception after 20 feet. It must have been maybe 3,000 feet to the bottom of the canyon from where we stood on the rim.

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We kept seeing helicopters flying down into the canyon, and we knew that would be us on Friday.

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The wind got pretty strong at times and I had to hold onto my hat string or it would have been history.

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That’s about it for this chapter. In the next chapter we will be going to the Bali Hai Lobby at Princeville on Wednesday to catch a motor coach that will take us to the Kauai Beach Resort in Lihue for the Live Theatre and Dinner Show of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific. Oh boy, I can hardly wait!