Sunday, March 15, 2009


Vacation's over, and
we have only pictures, memories, and several boxes of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts to remind us of our travels. David has a little bit of a tan too. Here's a day-to-day break-down of the trip:

Friday: met my brother at the Seattle airport and flew to Honolulu, where we met up with my parents. Flew on separate flights to Kauai. There was a woman waiting at the airport with lei's for my mom and me in honor of our birthdays; we finally figured out after a day or so that my aunt and uncle bought them for us. Got the rental car and made it to the resort
. Hit the bar almost immediately and went to the nearby Italian restaurant for dinner.

Saturday: Carl and David took a surfing lesson while my parents and I bought food for the week. I think we hit the pool or the hot tub when we came back. Dad lit up the grill and we had steak (or mushroom) and margaritas for dinner.

Sunday: Mom got me a massage for my birthday, which was really nice. It was in a tent on the beach, so I got to relax to the sound of waves and birds; probably the best massage I've ever had. My folks also gave me a watch and a cookbook, and my brother gave me a hand-held blender. The sun was out after my massage, so I got some tanning in while David hung out the the hotel room. We had dinner reservations at 7:30 at a vegetarian/seafood restaurant I found online in a town about 20 miles north, so we hopped in the car mid-afternoon to tour the island. We went to a waterfall an
d drove around for a bit, but still made it to the town about 2 hours early. We did some shopping and killed time in a bar; I got a snack at a nearby health-food store and the menfolk got some nachos. We all partook in their Happy Hour, me just in hopes that the waitress would card me and give me a free drink after noticing it was my birthday. She did not check my ID though. David and I walked to the beach while the rest of the family sat in the bar. When we got to the restaurant, it turns out they didn't have record of our reservation, but my mom had an email trail that straightened it all out. The food was really good- I'm going to try to replicate the coconut rice they served with my burrito.

Monday: Snorkeling! Mom stayed in the hotel, but the rest of us were picked up at 7:45 in the morning. Our guide was a twitchy Hawaiian guy who knew a lot about the area and had all of the gear we needed. I couldn't believe the variety of colorful ocean life that is just a few feet off of the shore. It was like stepping into an aquarium: we saw fish of all shapes, colors and sizes, an eel, urchins, sea cucumbers, and an octopus. The guide even picked up the octopus and let us touch it. My brother got to hold it, but I didn't really care to. We took pictures with a disposable underwater camera which I'll post once my dad sends them to me. Snorkeling was insanely fun but also insanely cold, so when we got out of the water to go to a different beach I decided to stay on the shore. I missed out on seeing sea turtles, but saw a whale out in the water. There was a monk seal on the beach, which is supposedly a really rare species. People kept bugging it though. After snorkeling (and warming up in the jacuzzi for a bit) David and I drove up to the west side of the island to see an old Russian fort and to watch the sun set. We picked up hotdogs for dinner and drank margarita's with my parents.

Tuesday: We drove to the next town over for coffee and breakfast (and I did a bit of shopping), then drove back. David and Carl rented boogie boards while I read my book in the sun and went on a quest for macadamia nuts that turned into browsing every store in the area for souvenirs (I was in a shopping mood- all I bought were the macadamias though). In the evening, we went to a luau at a local plantation. It was a really fun cultur
al adventure. It was also open bar, which might be why it was so fun; my mom was the DD and she wasn't too thrilled. They put on a hula show telling the story of how the Hawaiians came to Hawaii. I think. Like I said, it was open bar. One guy danced with fire. The food was amazing too: more coconuty stuff that I am going to try to make at home. I just really like coconut. Carl, David and I went to a local bar after that and played a round of pool before heading back.

Wednesday: David, Carl and I drove around looking for a place to mountain bike. We did not find one. We stopped at the town we went to on Sunday for lunch so that David and Carl could get nachos and I could get another muffin from the natural foods store (coconut papaya: best muffin of my life). We went to a beach way up at the top of the island, but it started to get chilly so we headed back to the car. It was a good call: it started to pour as soon as we got in. We drove south and over to the Western side of the island, where we saw Spouting Horn:
a place where the ocean pushes through a hole in the rock and looks like a geyser, but did not see any places to rent mountain bikes. We drove home, dejected, and made margaritas while watching Dog the Bounty Hunter. We went to the Mexican restaurant across the street for dinner.

Thursday: It was our last full day, so we decided to make it count by going kayaking on the Wailua river. We rented two kayaks: David and I in one, my dad and brother in the other. A couple of miles down the river is a place where you can hike to a waterfall, but with all the rain it's been really muddy (a woman slipped and died there a couple of days before) and all we had on were flip-flops. Dad and Carl decided to brave it, but David and I checked out a recreated Hawaiian village instead.

The native Hawaiians had a different house for everything: eating, sleeping, building boats, even menstruating (kinda gross, but true). It took us about an hour to canoe to the town, find a bathroom (the actual point of the visit), tour it, and canoe back, but Dad and Carl still weren't back from the waterfall yet. As it turns out, the trail was so muddy that even though it was only a mile in each direction it took them almost 2 hours. We waited patiently in the meantime. Finally, they showed up, grumpy and grubby, and we canoed back. We stopped at a burger shack for lunch. We then showered, napped, and got back into the car because Dad really wanted to see the Waimea Canyon before dinner. The canyon was cool, though it was so foggy that it was hard to really see anything. We did get a sense of how big it was though despite the haze. We had dinner at Roy's, a restaurant my aunt and uncle gave my mom a gift certificate to for her birthday. The food was really good there, which I guess is fitting since it's a really nice restaurant. We went home and finished off the rest of the Margarita mix.

Friday: I had breakfast with my mom and dad, then we finished up our packing and headed out. Our flights were both good; we said goodbye to my parents in Honolulu but Carl was on our flight to Seattle, though we didn't sit together. We finally got home around 12:30 in the morning.

I'm glad to be home, but overall it was really fun. I mean, there were some frustrating parts too, but there always are on family vacations. I think my brother said it best: "nothing tears this family apart like an automobile," meaning that we squabble the most when we are in the car. My dad left his driver's license at home and I don't have one, so my mom, David and Carl had to drive. My mom hates driving at night, and my brother just gets really stressed out behind the wheel, so it's never a fun experience. Plus, everyone is a backseat driver, and my mom has "Nuvi," her talking GPS device which usually causes more harm than good. And none of us likes to make decisions.
I felt bad for my mom because since she fractured her foot we pushed her around in a wheelchair we borrowed from the hotel most of the time, and she couldn't do a lot of things with us because she couldn't get around. She just likes to sit on the beach and read anyhow, so it wasn't that big of a deal, but I think she felt a little handicapped. She took it pretty well though.

Now we're back
and it's time to get back to the grind. I'm going to buckle down and look for a job, hardcore. I found out while on vacation that I might be able to start classes as early as the end of the month, which would be pretty sweet: I'm eager to start the program.

No comments: