Kauai, part 1

It’s been over a month since we returned from our vacation to Kauai for Kari’s wedding and I’m finally getting to blogging about it. I do most of my blogging while at work and it’s been insanely busy lately, so no blogging. We have a lot going on right now and I’ll get to writing about it when it’s most appropriate. In the mean time, here is our trip to Kauai in three parts:


Chillin’ before our flight.

We headed out to OAK this morning for our Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767 to Honolulu. We didn’t feel like spending an extra $25 per person to get bulkhead seats, but the HA rep was able to give us a row of three seats in the back of the plane. So Tommy could essentially have his own seat and we could let him stand up and play on the middle seat. It was especially wonderful when Tommy took a two-hour nap.

Bill often brings a treat for the in-flight crew of long flights, so we brought a box of See’s candies on this trip. It was our way of apologizing in advance if Tommy was a pain and it’s a nice way to thank the crew who are often under-appreciated. The crew was very grateful and hooked us up with the personal TVs for free. While Tommy napped, I watched Disney’s newest animated flick, Tangled. I really liked the story and the animation, I even got teary-eyed in a couple of spots, but I thought the music was a disappointment. I didn’t come away with any melodies stuck in my head or any desire to purchase the soundtrack, which I have often done for previous films.

While we were descending into Honolulu, Tommy was really getting antsy and tired of being confined, especially since the winds were gusting upwards of 40 miles per hour, so I had to hold him on my lap. He got to run around in HLA for the three hours before our flight to Lihue. Bill and I took turns eating a plate lunch we picked up from the Lahaina Chicken Company.


The roasted pork was delicious and tender. The fried chicken was tasty, but not very easy to eat. Overall, not too bad for airport food.

  Waving to the airplanes.

It was eventually nap time again and Tommy really was fighting sleep. So I strapped him into our baby carrier and walked up and down the inter-island terminal until he finally fell asleep. Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate that much walking, so I wasn’t really wearing appropriate shoes. Since it got him to sleep, I really didn’t care if my feet were hurting.


A quick snooze and then awake just before boarding… with a lovely imprint of his blanket on his face.

He slept for about an hour and we boarded our Boeing 717 to Lihue. We sat in the row right behind First Class and we joked that we had more legroom than them! Tommy had a ton of room to play. Too bad it was only a twenty-five minute flight. As we were taking off, Bill and I discussed what kind of service the crew would do on such a short flight. I just assumed they wouldn’t do anything. I was wrong, they walked down the aisle handing out packaged cups of water or POG. Yum!

Once we got to Lihue, we picked up our rental car and headed to town. We joined Mom and Dad at the condo after stops at Costco, Kmart and a grocery store to stock up on the essentials for our trip: one case of bottled water, one bag of Maui onion potato chips, some chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, one Maui pineapple and two gallons of POG.

  Chickens at Costco.

Knowing that almost all businesses close pretty early in Kauai. Bill and Dad set out to pick up some take-out for dinner. They picked up some delicious food from Sueoka’s Snack Shop in Koloa. We had a beef dish with an onion gravy that reminded me of Salisbury Steak, but better, but it wasn’t quite Moco Loco either. There was kalua pig and teriyaki beef and a truly amazing deep fried mahi mahi. It was a wonderful meal after a full and exhausting day of flying. Bill and I are both learning that travel with a toddler is simply exhausting.


When Tommy woke up at 4:30am, I thought my worst fears for him adjusting to the time change were coming true. I nursed him, brought him to bed with us and, to my relief, he fell back asleep. Although, he did manage to kick me a few times and he eventually kicked Bill out of bed around 6am. He finally woke up at 7am, ready to play. After breakfast and a brief walk outside with Grandpa (it started raining) Tommy fought his morning nap harder than he’s ever fought before. After over an hour of coaxing, rocking, singing and a variety of distraction and persuasion methods, we decided to let the car lull him to sleep. And it did within about five minutes. :-/ We drove west toward Waimea Canyon and stopped for a few plate lunches at Da Imu Hut Cafe on a recommendation from our friend Trish, who is from Kauai. I stayed in the car with a snoozing Tommy while Bill and Dad ordered our lunch and Mom checked out the Kauai Kookie Company that was next door.

  This is actually their factory/bakery. They have a small shop inside where you can buy their baked goods and some other things including a yummy salad dressing. The woman working there was happy to give us free samples to try including a simple mac nut shortbread that she heated in a toaster oven. Yum! Many of the cookies the make are available at local grocery stores. It would be very easy to spend way too much money here. Mom chatted with the locals who were shopping there to find out what their favorites were.

Once we had our lunch and a bag full of cookies, we hit the road again toward Waimea Canyon. It took about thirty minutes to get to the outlook. Once we arrived, we all sat in the car munching on some of the most delicious local food we’ve ever had.

  My apologies for lacking on photos here. We were famished and eager to eat… THEN we remembered to take a photo.

There was kalua pig, Kauai fried chicken, pork lau lau, fried saimin, mac salad, and lomi salmon. All four of us were moaning while we ate. Tommy liked the saimin and the kalua pig.

The weather was cloudy with occasional rain showers, so we weren’t sure we’d have the spectacular view we’d heard about. (by the way, this is Bill and my first visit to Kauai. Both Mom and Dad have been before). 

Our view of the Waimea Canyon was a little misty, but still gorgeous! There is really no way to capture the splendor of this canyon with a camera. Even so, both Bill and I were kicking ourselves for not remembering to rent a wide-angle lens for this trip.

Tommy loved the opportunity to run around a bit and climb some stairs.

It was a little breezy.

After a bit we continued on the extremely bumpy road toward an overlook of the Napali Coast. Once we got there the mist was thicker and it was raining, so Dad hopped out real quick to see if there was anything to see. There wasn’t so we headed back down the mountain.

We did stop briefly to snap some photos of a waterfall that was rushing down a beautiful red hillside.


Playing with shutter speeds.

We also made sure to stop at Jo Jo’s Shave Ice in Waimea. If the line out the door doesn’t convince you, tourists, travel books and locals all agree that JoJo’s has the best shave ice on Kauai. The shack (it literally looks like a shack) is dark and shabby and the customer service isn’t great. But the shave ice is really delicious.

  Menu Board. The ones with ice cream on the bottom kind of weirded me out. I will have to give it a try on another visit.

Sitting on the car with Grandpa putting his shoes on.

And the Obama bobble heads for sale made me laugh.

  Tommy’s first shave ice!

Once we got back to our condo, we tried to coerce Tommy into taking a nap (to no avail) and got ready for the lu’au. Instead of having a traditional rehearsal dinner, Kari and Nathan opted to invite everyone to join them at Lu’au Kalamaku. Tommy slept for about thirty minutes in the car on the way over and he woke up as soon as we stepped into the windy evening air. We took some photos with the random girls working for the luau, found our table and then promptly left to find a place where Tommy could run around. Adjacent to the covered dining area was a large field that led to the plantation house. He had plenty of room to run.

A quick photo with Daddy before chasing some chickens.

  This hibiscus was simply gorgeous and huge. The blossom was probably eight inches in diameter! I have never seen a color combination like this.

At one end of the field was a tree that, from a distance, looked like it grew pineapples. Bill and I both knew from our thorough pineapple education while on Maui a few years ago, that these were not pineapples. As you saw the fruit closely it was obviously not pineapple, but it was still a tree we’d never seen before.

Moments later an employee walked by to turn on some landscape lights and took a moment to explain that the Hala tree is a native tree to Kauai. The leaves are often used in woven hats, baskets, mats, canoe sails and bags because, unlike banana leaves, the leaves of the Hala tree don’t have a thick seam down the middle. The fruit of the Hala tree isn’t edible, but it was often smashed down on the end and used as a paintbrush of sort. Neato!

We made our way back to our table for dinner. The food was good, better than I expected. My only disappointment was they didn’t serve any haupia for dessert. The show got started and Tommy was starting to fade, but he really liked watching the dancers. Lu’au Kalamaku prides itself on giving a performance that actually has a plot line.

It was fun to watch, but Tommy was fading and we had to duck out a little early. Unfortunately it was right as the guys with the torches and fire knives got started. Oh well. Tommy only got a twenty minute nap that afternoon, so it was time to go. He fell asleep within a few minutes once we were in the car.


About wobetxela

Artist, mom, traveler, hiker, babywearer (for as long as they'll let me) and hobbyist photographer.
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One Response to Kauai, part 1

  1. jackietebow says:

    I wish I was there….=( Looked like you guys had a blast!

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