Passions of Pele
Andrea Matus deMeng (Visions of Australia Pty Ltd)
October 6 – 13, 2019
Monday, September 30. 2019
The alarm went off at 3:30 a.m. (CST) in Milwaukee on this day as Denice and I are off to Hawaii for a vacation and a workshop with Andrea Matus deMeng. We are going to spend a week on Kauai just doing what ever we want to do. Then we are going over to Maui to be with my art buddies.
The airport shuttle was supposed to pick us up today at 4:55 a.m. but because the first couple that was going to be picked up decided to be late, we were not picked up until 5:20 a.m. No problems as we go to the airport on time.
Today was a foggy day and flights going to Chicago were being cancelled. Flights out of Milwaukee could take off and because we were heading to Denver, we thought we were fine. I am not sure how but we ended up a little late to Denver and then could not get a gate to de-plane.
That meant our flight to Kauai was boarding and we were still sitting on the tarmac. I have vowed never to run through an airport terminal and that still proved true on this day as I am now incapable of running at all.
We got to the gate just in time to be the last people on the flight. Denver to Kauai is a 7 & 1/2 hour flight and United decided not to feed us. Hmmm...
During the flight I did read No Time Like the Past by Jodi Taylor, book 5 in the Chronicles of St. Marys time travel series.
With many time changes we managed to get to Kauai by 1:00 p.m. After getting our luggage (which we had a running bet going would not have made the plane we had to run to catch), we got our rental from Budget.
Is there any need to mention that we had to ask how to turn a keyless car on? Or that we had to go back to the airport when we could not figure out the windshield whipers? Enough said.
While on Kauai we are staying in Kapaa at the Aston Islander on the Beach.
After checking in, we went out to eat at a beach venue fairly close to our hotel--the Bull Shead. I recommend it for the steaks.
It ended up being a fairly early night for us in Kauai (9:00 p.m.) but before you judge us that is 2:00 a.m. back home, meaning I have been up for 23 hours.
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
We did not get up until 7:00 a.m. so that mean we slept 10 hours to make up for yesterday. Our breakfast today was just down the road from our hotel at another hotel, the Oasis on the Beach. We met a great server named Art who told us what to look for on our journey today--plus gave us great service. This breakfast was so good we vowed to eat here every day--or it could just be the mimosa.
Today we set out for the central portion of the island of Kauai. From our hotel that meant we traveled south and west oh Hwy. 50 to Waimea where we swung north on Hwy 550, the Waimea Canyon Road.
The highway has many lookouts and I think we stopped at them all. The Waimea Canyon is like looking at a little green Grand Canyon.
Here perhaps is a good time to mention that the central portion of the island of Kauai is one of the wettest land areas in the world. This means it is constantly getting moisture and so did we. It is weird: it can be bright and sunny, then moist and spitting, then a torrential downpour, and then the cycle starts all over again.
It took most of the day but eventually we made it to the Pu'u O Kila Lookout, the farthest point on the Waimea Canyon Road. As we got there, it poured down rain so we backtracked to the Kokee Lodge Museum (to which Denice referred to as "a museum that was an excuse for a gift shop). Then after the rain stopped, we went back up to the top so that we could say we did the whole road and all the overlooks.
We ate dinner at a restaurant run by a chef named Roy Yamaguchi called Eating House 1849. Pretty fancy stuff with an open air atmosphere and an upscale choice. Denice and I both had the aha tuna special which I enjoyed more than she did.
The sun sets around 6:30 p.m. here so it was almost 8:00 p.m. before we got back to our hotel. Man, it is dark on this island as they appear to not believe in street lights.
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
True to our word, we were back at Oasis on the Beach this morning at 8:00 a.m. for another breakfast with Art the Waiter. This time he filled us in on what to see in the north. After another hearty breakfast, we were off and running again.
Evidently a few years ago in northern Kauai there was a flood and now the Haena State Park is restricted to 100 cars and a limited number of visitors each day. The sell passes on the Internet 24 hours in advance but knowing this (and not having a pass) we decided to drive to the end of Hwy. 56, which is the park entrance, and then turn around a start our day sightseeing.
We did make a look out stop or two on the drive up.
When we got to the park we turned around as planned but stopped at a botanical garden that look potentially great only to discover that it technically in the park (although outside the gate) and we could not go in because we had driven into their parking lot without the required advanced pass for the park. That bummed us out but we understood.
Next stop was the Ha'ena Beach Park.
We got to explore the Maniniholo Dry Cave
No matter where I go...
The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse was our next stop.
The lighthouse tour proved to be a highlight of the day.
At the Christ Memorial Episcopal Church we found this cool stained glass window.
We ate dinner tonight at the Lemongrass which we spontaneously picked as we were driving down Hwy 50. We walked in--and Art the Waiter is sitting having a drink at the bar. I guess that Kauai is really a small island after all.
We were home by 7:00 p.m. tonight for a quiet domestic night in our hotel room.
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Today we drove for awhile before we stopped for breakfast at the Kalaheo Café in Kalaheo. This was a very popular local café and we had a hearty breakfast before heading out for our day.
The first stop of the day we went to the Captain James Cook statue in Waimea which celebrates the suppression of the local population, the reduction in native population size from 400,000 to 40,000 due to disease and other nasty practises and the loss of an entire culture. Other than that, we learned that Cook was slain on the Big Island a short number of years after finding Hawaii'i but it may not have been soon enough for the indigenous people.
Next up was Fort Elizabeth, the stones left from a Russian fort when they thought, briefly, that they could out do Captain Cook. Their efforts only lasted two years but the fort is still there as a reminder to how Europeans wanted to conquer everything.
We walked to the beach at the fort and hit a bonanza of beach glass, shells, wood and somebody's jaw bone I found. Not sure if we can even take this off the island but we might give it a try.
While after the fact we discovered the building was a local ReStore, we stopped because I saw this cool wall art.
At some point we stopped at a thrift shop where I got paper ephemera, photos while Denice got jewelry and lace. While the owner was sweet, she goes in our book under the definition "Too Much Marijuana Lady." She dropped one of our purchases on the floor while wrapping them and when I pointed that out to her she said, "Wow, good thing you got my back." Our total was $83 (cash only) and after handing her $85 if became evident that amongst all her stories we were not going to get our $2 change. However, just as we were leaving we saw some beach glass in her case and she gave Denice a piece for free (or $2, depending on how you qualify karma).
One of our best stops was The National Tropical Botanical garden. Denice and I spent a few hours walking around the beautiful McBryde and Allerton gardens.
We got back to our hotel around 7:00 p.m. and decided to do dinner at Omakasa Japanese Restaurant in the mall in front of the Ashton. We were in the room by 9:00 p.m. and died our usual computer stuff as we cannot find anything to watch on TV because of the time changes and lack of selections.
Friday, October 4, 2019
This morning we were up early and down the road to McDonald's for breakfast as we were on a fast turn around to make 9:00 a.m. reservations at the Lydgate Farm for its Kauai Chocolate Tour and Tasting.
This three hour tour started with a short walk where we had a discussion about, dissection of and tasting of the many fruits grown at the farm to enhance their chocolate. I was impressed with this and am actually considering finding an Asian market that would carry some of these when we get home.
Then we walked to the cocoa vineyard for more discussion, dissection and tasting of everything chocolate. I held back a little on the chocolate in fear of later retribution but what I tasted was tasty.
When the tour was over, we were off down the road to the Wailua River State Park and then the Opaekaa Falls.
We made a stop at a historic site called Kamokila that attempts to show what life was like for the Hawaiians before the arrival of the Europeans. Not sure who brought the cats but this place has more cats than guides.
In one of the small towns we found a thrift shop where I bought a cool metal jewelry box. If you move on to the blog about the art I made in Hawaii, you will hear more about this.
Our last stop was Wailua Falls.
A Hawaiian rainbow
Back at the hotel we cleaned up for our big evening event: the Luau Kalamaku and Buffet Dinner. This is a pretty big event (around 800 maximum) that has a very well organized and very good tasting buffet. After the food and drinks, it is time for a theatrical and musical production that tells the tale of the brave souls who decided one day to sail from the south seas and land in Kauai. We saw this show ten years ago on a different trip to Kauai but it still holds up well and is highly recommend.
We got back to the hotel around 9:30 p.m. to pack and prepare for our flight out tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is a new adventure--our art workshop on Maui with Andrea Matus deMeng.