Last week, that week of utter craziness in Boston and Waco and unbelievable disappointment in our government, I was in Hawaii. Kauai to be exact. We heard the news about the bombings because a friend who came with us on our trip happened to be watching the news as she ran on the treadmill. We were six hours behind the East coast and, it felt, a million miles away from all the bad things that were happening. Kauai was actually a great place to be in a time of fear and uncertainty. We didn’t have to shield our kids from the news because they were in the water from morning until evening. And truthfully, whenever the tv was on, it was tuned to the Disney channel or Cartoon Network. I relied on Facebook and the New York Times on my phone for updates and I felt utterly sick at times that I was sitting by the pool with a Mai Tai and watching my kids splash around while people were recuperating from unimaginable injuries in hospitals and others were imprisoned in their homes while a manhunt went on. But what can I do? I was on vacation, on an island in the middle of the Pacific, while some really bad shit went down in our country. Does that mean I shouldn’t tell you about our trip? I don’t think so. So here we go.
This was our family’s fourth trip to Kauai. Our first time Spencer had just turned a year and Graham was three. I remember, viscerally, the stress of traveling that far with children that young. My kids actually did great, I was the one who was a mess. In general, I am not a high stress worrying kind of person. But traveling across time zones on long flights with my children when they were young was hard for me. It is so different now, at ages eight and six. They pretty much entertained themselves, with the help of a combination of iPad, Leap Pad, and DVD players, and all the snacks that I don’t usually let them eat (think those white crackers with spreadable cheese), for the duration of the five hour flight. We left Oakland early in the morning and arrived, thanks to a three hour time difference, around 9:30 in the morning. That left us with a bonus day of sun and swimming. Above is where I parked myself for the first three days of the trip.
If you have been to Kauai, you know the weather is not a sure bet. Our first time there, we had six hours of sun in seven days. (You should click on that link if for no other reason than to see my kids at ages two and four – impossibly cute if I do say so myself.) After that trip, we decided it would be a good idea to tack on a couple of days in Poipu at the beginning of the trip. Poipu (which the boys thought was the funniest word ever) is on the sunny side of the island and it is nice to know that, if nothing else, we will get a few days of sun. The Sheraton has a terrific pool and the beach is just steps away.
The view from our room in Poipu, setting up for the luau. We contemplated going but realized that there was almost nothing for the boys and me to eat (the vegetarians in the family), so we opted to just watch from our balcony.
The boys liked the pretty girls “shaking their booties”. All righty then.
Several examples of island style. My dress is from that cool boutique in Oakland.
It wasn’t all sun and swimming and fruity beverages. After three days in Poipu, we headed north and west to Princeville. We stopped on the way for lunch in Kapa’a at a restaurant where we have eaten before. Randy ordered fish tacos as he usually does when he has the opportunity. About five minutes after finishing his lunch, he got a really bad headache. Then his face turned bright red. I suggested we turn around and head for the hospital near the airport. He told me that he wanted to press on and we’d see how he felt. This is something that Randy sometimes does, he won’t admit that something is wrong until it is dire. Is this a guy thing? Not only would he not turn around but he insisted on driving. As we got on the road, I saw a sign for an urgent care just out of Kapa’a and made him make the turn. It turns out they have an ER, thankfully. In just a few minutes after checking in, his whole body turned bright red. In order not to scare the boys or have them tear up the waiting room, we went back into town to get shave ice, more on that treat later, and waited for the call to come get him. It turns out that Randy got scromboid poisoning, something that can affect certain kinds of fish if they are not refrigerated properly. The redness was basically one huge hive that covered him in a histamine response. It is amazing what the body can do when faced with an invader. After some IV benadryl, his color was back to normal and away we went. Needless to say, I drove the rest of the way. Later in the trip, Randy got a bad cold and was hit by a car while riding his bike. Again we were lucky and he was all right.
Princeville. The only downside to our time share is that is not on the beach, although the pool is terrific. We are just a few miles from Hanalei Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and we are up the hill from a lovely St. Regis, where we have beach privileges.
Not too shabby. We have to bring our own towels so we are recognized as the riff raff and we are NOT allowed in their pool. We are allowed to order $15 cocktails however.
I’ve lived most of my life on the West Coast and right near the water. The water has mostly been a Sound and is most recently a Bay. Being in Hawaii and looking out on the Pacific Ocean is awe-inspiring.
I read three books. Two are not really worth mentioning (all right, I read The Night Circus after hearing great things about it and all I thought was meh). This one though. Wow. I’m kind of a fiction snob and was prepared not to like it or just to think of it as a beach read. It was a beach read in that is has a great plot, but I also found it moving and very well written. I half expected it to fall apart at the end as so many books that start well do (helllloooo Gone Girl), but the end was just as great as the rest. Pick it up!
Every single day we had shave ice. That is not a misprint. In Hawaii it is shave (no “d”) ice and it is nothing like a sno-cone. The ice truly is shaved from a huge block so it melts on the tongue like ice cream, and there is no crunching or pool of syrup left in your cup when you are done. At first we got one for the boys to share (they are large) but Randy and kept dipping our spoons into it. Then we got each of the boys their own but Randy and I kept dipping our spoons into it. Finally, the boys each got their own and Randy and I got one to share. Such good stuff.
Those rainy days I was telling you about. It was still in the 70′s so it did not stop the boys from swimming.
Or me from drinking.
The annual boys in Aloha shirts in Randy’s arms photo. (Here is the one from last time.) I warned him that after poisoning, a bad cold, and a collision between his bike and a car that he did not need a hernia on top of everything. Maybe next time the boys will pick him up.