Part 2…Why would YOU want to visit Kauai?…Today, the flip side…Any reasons, “why not?”

Overcast days at the beach still present a pleasant experience.

Whenever we make suggestions or recommendations we consider that many people may not be candidates for our suggestions for any number of reasons. Under certain circumstances, travel may not be an option due to health issues or concerns, personal finances, or merely a distaste for the nuances of travel of which there are many.

We also understand that a certain faction of our readers have no interest in travel itself but enjoy following our day to day activities. Our vast number of readers are somehow inspired to follow our day to day posts for which we are very grateful for their interest. 

These downed trees not only provide shade but also a habitat for insects and small critters of which there are few in Kauai.

As a result, we feel it is only fair for us to disclose our perceptions on the flip side of any suggestion we may make. What are the drawbacks? Within that framework, if only one reader decides against following our recommendations and chooses an alternative path, then we’ve done our job by showing both the good and not so good.

Isn’t all of it about perception anyway?  If someone had told us, “Kauai is mostly for serious hikers with many dangerous trails and tide pools from which many tourists are killed each year,” we may have stayed away.

There’s always a chicken on the beach.

Instead, we came to Kauai, safely experiencing a few of the more difficult trails realizing that tough trails aren’t for us. However, Kauai offers so much more than tough hiking trails and dangerous tide pools as shown in our past  months of daily postings with hundreds of photos.

Please click these three links for disheartening news stories on injuries and deaths that incurred on the rough trails in Hawaii, not exclusively in Kauai:

News story #1
News story #2
News story #3

What are the drawbacks to visiting Kauai from our perspective which, please keep in mind, maybe very different from yours after staying here for this extended period of time? (However, we’ve yet to meet one person who doesn’t love Kauai).

These billowy white clouds are seen almost daily.  There’s rarely a time of solid blues skies in Kauai for longer than a few hours.

Let’s take each point, one by one:

1.  Price of vacation rentals: Renting a modest single-family house under $10,000 a month is difficult if not impossible to find.  However, if two couples shared in the cost of a multi-bedroom house for a few weeks it becomes more affordable, certainly no more costly than a hotel. For an average condo rental, small such as ours at 700 square feet, the rental rates vary from approximately $150 to $200 per night. Many offer special weekly and monthly rates.  In our case, due to our frequent mention of the condo here on our site, providing great exposure for the landlord in addition to our long-term stay enabled us to benefit from a significantly reduced rate which is often the case for our long-term rentals. You know…a bird in the hand. Having a condo with a full kitchen cuts down on the necessity of dining out for each meal.  More on that in a moment.
2.  Price of hotels: St. Regis in Princeville starts at about $550 per night, the Westin Princeville at $337 per night, and the Hanalei Bay Resort at $199 with numerous other options in between. Other areas such as Lihue, Kapaa, and Poipu Beach have prices beginning at $175  a night on up. Of course, staying in a hotel adds to the rate when including WiFi fees when not included, tips, taxes, resort fees, meals, and tempting purchases.

Zooming in on a tiny bud.


3.  Cost of meals in restaurants with tax and tips: Considering each time we’ve dined out, each at mid-range restaurants, we’ve spent an average of $72 per restaurant visit, keeping in mind I don’t drink alcohol and Tom never ordering more than one cocktail. Also, we don’t order appetizers or desserts.  That’s for one meal for two people. If one had two or three meals out per day at mid-range local restaurants the cost would be from $125 to $200 per day or more depending on alcohol, sides, and desserts. However, these costs may be typical for most resort type areas. Dining in the hotels is considerably more costly, as much at 100% higher.

4.  Cost of groceries for dining in: In reviewing our Excel spreadsheet with the cost of literally every expense for food including trips to Costco, farmer’s markets, health food stores, produce stands, and grocery stores, we’re currently averaging at $47 per day. Considering that I only eat one meal a day (intermittent fasting) and Tom has one main meal and two light low carb snacks/meals, the cost for three meals a day could reach the $80 per day range. The fact that we eat no processed or packaged foods, soda, fruits, or snacks also reduces costs.  In part, our costs may be slightly heightened by eating mostly organic locally grown foods which are approximately 10% higher than mass-produced foods. The grass-fed meat we’ve been purchasing at the gas station from Curly’s Princeville Ranch is no more expensive than the grain-fed meat at Foodland. These figures may not be considered high for some travelers but for many, they could be prohibitive.

These pods are less than one inch long.

5.  Cost of airfare: Let’s face it, Hawaii is not conveniently located. From most locations, it requires multiple layovers and high fares. The average cost for each of our 12 family members that visited at Christmas was $1300 per person, round trip. In the off-season, the fare is as much as 40% less. For senior travelers with medical concerns, multiple layovers and long flights may present a problem. Also, fees for checked baggage and overweight baggage is a factor to consider.6.  Recreational Activities: If we were to list the most popular tourist activities in Kauai, as much as 85% require some level of fitness, especially the treacherous and difficult hiking trails. Many resort areas throughout the world have museums, art galleries, historical buildings, and sites easy to navigate. Hawaii, especially Kauai, is mostly about nature, although there are a few small museums. Yes, there are many tours in vans and buses but, many of these include getting out of the vehicle to view the scenery. For some seniors, this may be an obstacle and result in frustration. Many of the boat tours include rough waters with considerable bouncing about which may be difficult for some.

It’s not unusual to see many downed trees still showing signs of life along the beaches.

7.  Medical care: Most residents of Kauai with whom we’ve spoken, young and old, fly to Oahu for medical care at a cost of around $150 or more, round trip per person, for a daytime flight. If one requires frequent doctor visits, this cost and inconvenience can add up. When adding the cost of taxis, tips, and meals when arriving in Oahu, for those on a fixed income, these only increase the expense. Of course, emergency medical care and medical clinics are available on the island but, from what we’ve determined one may be more inclined to head to Oahu, if possible. It isn’t unusual for a patient to be airlifted from Kauai to Oahu for medical care. This type of insurance is vital for average travelers. (Our insurance policy includes these fees).

These downed trees are perfect on sunny days for those seeking a respite from the bright sun.

8.  The weather: Kauai is the garden island. It rains a lot. We’ve seen our next-door neighbors arrive for a week’s vacation and never experience a sunny day. For us, this is fine. For those spending upwards of $3500 for a week’s vacation, this could be very frustrating. Many of our neighbors haven’t minded the rain and have still spent every day exploring the island. But, for serious hikers, which many are, the trails are slippery and dangerous when wet. A few of our neighbors have experienced minor, non-life-threatening injuries on the trails on rainy days. For us, rainy days as for many retirees is a good day to stay home unless we’re committed to attending a social event. We’ve also experienced several sunny days in a row. During our 75 days on the island, it’s been the rainy season. With spring in full bloom, we expect we’ll see more sunny days. But, even the summers in Kauai may be rainy. If one is looking to lounge in a lawn chair by a pool, drinking tropical cocktails, occasionally walking along the beach, and dining out in fabulous restaurants, Kauai may not be a perfect choice.  Maui and Oahu may be better choices during their prime seasons with less rain. Of course, it can rain in the morning on any of the islands and become sunny for an hour or more, which is more common than not. The trade winds result in drastic weather changes in a matter of minutes. Many days, we put on our swimsuits hoping for a visit to the pool, only to change out of them a short time later when a dark cloud cover has suddenly appeared. 

The rope of this tree is ideal for a swinging splash into the water.

9.  Long drive to Lihue from many locations for shopping: Princeville has a small shopping center. One may purchase a good pair of walking shoes for $195, a dress or men’s shirt for a special occasion for $175 or more, and a pair of costume jewelry earrings for $65. The shopping center in Princeville is not unlike shopping centers in other pricey resort towns. For a 35 minute drive, one can head to Kapaa where there’s a more well-stocked larger grocery store, Safeway, Long’s Drug, and a GNC, and more, none of which are located in Princeville. If one desires to make a trip to Costco, Walmart, or a regular mall with chain type stores, a trip to Lihue, a long hour’s drive in traffic, is necessary. We’ve been to Lihue on two separate occasions to go to visit Costco and to Kapaa three times. 

None of these “flip side” observations should prohibit most tourists from visiting this glorious island of Kauai. If only to drive around the islands as far as the roads go, only occasionally getting out of the car, one would see scenery the likes of which they’ve never seen before. 

A downed tree on Anina Beach.  Children were playing off to the right.

Even sitting on the quiet, easily accessible Anini Beach on an overcast day is a pleasing experience that Julie and I enjoyed when she was here. Add the friendly people everywhere, and there’s no place on earth that we’ve seen so far that compares to Kauai.

Oops, although I’m dressed for the day, the sun just peeked out. Should I change into a swimsuit? We’ll keep an eye on it and perhaps a trip to the pool and a walk later in the day may be on the agenda. If not, we’re still content.

After all, we’re in Kauai and the view from where I am sitting at the moment is unbelievable.  Check out these two photos below for that view.

This is the view with the screen door open from my seat on the sofa as I post each morning.

 

By standing up and walking a few feet we’re on the lanai for this view.  It’s obvious why we love Kauai.
 

Photo from one year ago today, April 1, 2014:

Tom’s eyes scanned the interesting décor in the restaurant. For more photos, please click here.

 

Part 1…Why would YOU visit Kauai?…Facts about the island…

If one can safely make it down the cliffs in Kauai to the beach, a treasure awaits them such as in this location, Kauapea Beach, also known as Secret Beach. This is my sister Julie’s photo.
Many people we’ve met during these past 2½ months in Kauai have asked if we’ll ever return to Kauai. The answer for us is clear. If and when we ever stop traveling the world, having decided to somewhat settle down, perhaps living between one or two or three locations Kauai would definitely be on the list. But, then again, so would Marloth Park, South Africa, certainly my two favorites to date. Tom says he can’t commit as to his favorite location since he hasn’t been there and it’s yet to come.
Many paths down to the beach begin innocuous such as this ending up to be quite challenging as it nears the ocean. One must exercise extreme caution on many of these trails. Almost every evening on the news we hear of yet another tourist falling to their death on difficult treks.

Today, based on our longer than usual vacation/holiday than the average traveler, we offer our perspective, as to why you, our reader, may choose to visit Kauai (and tomorrow, why not).

First, let’s start with some basic facts about the “garden island” as Kauai is so well known.

Kauai General Facts

Kauai Highlights:
Napali Coast: Take an air tour or a boat tour to witness the towering cliffs along Kauai’s North Shore.Waimea Canyon: Enjoy the panoramic views of “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”Wailua River: Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii and Wailua is one of the most popular. Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse: Visit this beautiful scenic point at the northernmost tip of the island.Kauai Beaches: From Poipu on the South Shore to Hanalei Bay on the North Shore, explore Kauai’s amazing beaches.
Airports:
Kauai’s main airport is Lihue Airport (LIH) in southeastern
Lihue.
Kauai Resort Areas:
There are five major resort destinations on Kauai:
North Shore (Princeville), East Side (Coconut Coast), Lihue (Kalapaki), South Shore (Poipu), West Side (Waimea).
Capital City: 
Lihue
Population: 
68,434 (2012)
Time Zone:
Hawaii Standard Time (GMT-10 hours), 5 hours behind the US East Coast, 6 hours behind during Daylight Saving Time (Hawaii does not observe Daylight Saving Time).

Languages:
English, Hawaiian

Flower:
MokihanaFive Largest Towns:  Highest Point:
Kawaikini Peak (5,243 feet)
Island Color: Purple
State Bird:
Nene
Land Mass:
552 Square Miles
Currency:
US dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted. Traveler’s checks are accepted at many businesses.

Climate:
Average temperature: 75˚ – 85˚F.

Ocean Temperatures:72- 80 degrees year-round
Average Daily Visitor Population:
16,160 Kapa‘a 9,472, Līhu‘e 5,674, Wailua Homesteads 4,567, Kalāheo 3,913, Hanama‘ulu 3,272

Miles of Shoreline:  90

Number of Beaches:  59
Area Code/Cell Phones:
The area code for all of Hawaii is (808). Cell phone coverage is readily available in most places if you’re coming from the United States.

Internet Access:
Internet access is readily available on Kauai and at many hotels.

Accommodations:
Luxury
resorts, hotels, vacation rentals including cottages, homes and condos, as well as bed and breakfasts are located throughout the island.
Transportation:
Rent a car at Lihue Airport (LIH) to explore the island. Other options include tour buses, taxis or city buses.

Clothing:
Dress casually. Bring a light jacket for nights. Semi-casual dress clothes for restaurants and nightlife. Suits and ties are rarely worn.

Tipping:
U.S. standards apply 15-20% on meals, at least $1 per bag for porters, and at least $1 – 2 per night for housekeeping.

Kauai has more miles of beach:

And hiking trails than any other island in the Hawaiian Islands.
Kauai has been the backdrop to many Hollywood movies including Soul Surfer, Pirates of the Caribbean, Six Days Seven Nights, Jurassic Park, South Pacific, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Honeymoon in Vegas, Tropic  Thunder, and many more.

Some of the above facts may be useful in aiding you in making a decision to visit Kauai.  Of course, when arriving in the Hawaiian Islands, most visitors tend to stay a few nights or more at the other major islands, as we’ve done since arriving in late September by cruise ship:  Oahu (where Honolulu and Waikiki are located; Maui (where Lahaina and the road to Hana are located); Big Island, aka Hawai’i, where Mount Kilauea is spewing lava at present) and of course, Kauai, the garden island.

Many palm trees grow giant pods such as these from which more leaves and flowers bloom.

There are other islands to visit, also beautiful but, more remote. Many tourists visit these four major islands before heading out to Molokai and Lana’i which we haven’t visited at this time. 

Plumeria is often used in making leis. Many years ago, when I visited Hawaii, (before Tom), one would exit the plane via steps down to the tarmac. Waiting at the entrance gate, Hawaiian people would be waiting to drape a plumeria lei over the heads of visitors. This tradition has long since passed unless privately arranged in advance for a fee. 

As appealing as it would be to see these other two islands, the cost to travel to stay for a night or two wasn’t included in our budget. And, of course, we’ve been happy being able to visit Oahu, Maui, Big Island, and Kauai during this extended period of time.

This photo, although taken on a cloudy day easily bespeaks the beauty of mountains, lush greenery, and the sea. 

Let’s review some of our reasons why we’d suggest visiting Kauai, in order of our preferences:

1.  Kauai is the most beautiful island we’ve seen to date: If you’ve followed us in our travels it’s evident we’ve visited many islands to date, some for only a day on a cruise ship and others for longer periods. Without a doubt, the combination of the vast coverage of lush green vegetation over land and mountains and, the aquamarine sea and pristine beaches have made Kauai the most visually appealing island we’ve visited to date.
2.  Friendly people: Aside from South Africa, there is nowhere in the world we’ve visited that is easier to meet people. Not only have we been fortunate to meet friend Richard who’s been instrumental in including us in many social events with the local residents, which has extended to many budding new relationships. But, on our own, we’ve met literally dozens of friendly tourists most of whom have frequently visited Kauai and keep coming back for more.

Although there are many beaches in Kauai in some areas such as the northern coast a hike is often required to get down to the beach, at times treacherous and difficult unless one is in great physical condition.

3.  Grass-fed meat, non-GMO products, organic locally grown produce: Although prices on food are high in the islands, we’ve found the prices on grass-fed meat, free-range chicken and eggs, and organic products to be slightly less than we’d paid three years ago on the mainland in Minnesota. The Hawaiian people are dedicated to keeping their meat, fish, and poultry, and eggs as free from chemicals as possible. Of course, there’s plenty of lower-priced farm-raised fish, poultry and beef available at the grocery stores if one so chooses.
4.  Low crime: Lihue is the largest city in Kauai where the airport, many restaurants, shopping centers (Costco, Walmart, and more) are located. As is the case in most larger cities, the crime rate is considerably higher than in other quieter areas. It is these numbers that throw off the overall Kauai crime rate statistics. We’d never stay in Lihue with our aversion to larger cities with traffic, lines, and a higher risk of crime. Away from the “big city” the crime rate is low. Bear in mind, our comments are based on our perspective both from experience and speaking with locals. There is no available statistic on this variance from Lihue to the more remote areas.   Never on a single occasion during our time here in Princeville or in visiting the resort areas and sightseeing in other areas of the island away from the big city, have we ever felt unsafe. That feeling of safety doesn’t prevent us from locking doors, securing our equipment, and keeping a watchful eye wherever we may go.

It’s only a one minute walk across Ka Haku Road in front of our condo to the ocean and this beautiful coral sea.

5.  Chickens and birds: Although most of Hawaii’s wildlife lives in the sea and we’ve certainly seen our share of the Humpback whales who’s season in the islands is coming to a rapid close, we’ve particularly enjoyed bird watching; the Laysan Albatross and the wide variety of birds even seen from our lanai on a daily basis. But, the chickens have provided us with an enormous amount of heartwarming and laugh-worthy experiences we’ll always remember. Sure, many locals are annoyed by the constant presence, some taking extreme measures to keep them off of their property. We’ve heard tourists complain about being unable to sleep with the rooster’s crowing beginning as early as 4 or 5 am. For us, in a matter of a few days, we adapted to the noise eventually not hearing it at all, as is the case for most locals. As for them running around parking lots, on the side of the road, at every venue where food or people may be present, we’ve loved it all. Also, Hawaii is a bird watcher’s paradise, particularly when hiking and visiting more remote locations. 
6.  Multitude of recreational activities: At this point, we’ve toured almost all of the island accessible by our tiny rental vehicle. There are endless opportunities for surfing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, zip-lining, hiking (a hiker’s paradise but with many dangerous trails), or simply walking and taking in the scenery. With 59 beaches in Kauai, one could easily enjoy visiting as many as possible. Also, a strong sense of community pervades Kauai and many planned social activities and events are open to the public, some at no cost and others for a nominal fee. 

Ah, a lazy day sitting under a tree with a cold beverage and a good book in hand is all many visitors to the island require to make a glorious vacation. Not everyone is into adventure hikes and sightseeing. Many tourists come to the islands to get away from a “must do” lifestyle, preferring to relax and unwind from busy everyday life.  Lounging on the beach, dining in a fun popular restaurant, and drinking Mai Tai’s is all some travelers need for a perfect vacation.

7.  Easily accessible roads: It’s easy to get around Kauai and almost impossible to get lost. There are only a few highways that wrapped around the island from beach town to beach town. If traffic and road construction weren’t an issue, one could easily travel from one side of the island to the other in 90 minutes. However, with traffic in certain areas and road construction often in the works, one must plan their travels accordingly. The northwest coast of the island is inaccessible by road suitable for most cars. Thus, one cannot drive around the entire island.

A scene of a part of the grounds at the Dolphin Restaurant in Hanalei where Julie and I had lunch a few weeks ago.

Other travelers may add to or change this list based on their personal preferences. For us, senior citizens, world travelers, these are the reasons that we’ve loved Kauai and are most glaring. If you’ve spent time in Kauai please comment sharing your experiences at the end of today’s post. We’d love to hear from you!

We’ll return tomorrow with “Part 2, Why would YOU visit Kauai?” including some of the reasons, you may not choose to visit Kauai or for that matter, Hawaii in general. Please check back!

                                              Photo from one year ago today, March 30, 2014:

We posted this video when it was raining inside our riad in Marrakech. During rainstorms, we stayed in the salon, one of the many rooms that surrounded the open air courtyard. For details of that day’s post, please click here.

 

A native of Kauai, a professional photographer shares her art…Fine art, that is…

 

Hanalei Bay Beauty

Last Sunday, at the monthly Princeville Artisan Fair, I met Alia DeVille, a talented and passionate young woman born in Kauai who has adopted the fine “art” of photography.

Chicks in a Coconut

Alia has a skilled and knowledge-driven technique and the ability to create some of the most artistic photographs we have seen in our world travels. As many of our creative and tech savvy photographers /readers are aware, simply taking a good photo of a good scene in itself is an art; the lighting, the angles and the perspective are integral in the creation of a fine photo.

Hanalei Taro Field Glow

With technology at our disposal, there are many complicated, intensive use apps and tools available, many acquired at extraordinary expense, that in the right hands can take a good photo and turn it into fine art. The ability to create this magic is definitely evident in the delicate and crafted hands of Alia DeVille.

Upon meeting her at the fair, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her work. As an amateur photographer with my own passion for a good photo, I was particularly interested in her art. 

Emerald Pool

For myself, as a somewhat tech savvy individual who’s never done more than remove a power line from a photo using the $20 app, Inpaint, or darkening or lightening a photo in the free Fotor app, I can only imagine the intricate work required to turn a good photo into fine art. Alia DeVille has done just that with a finesse one seldom has the opportunity to discover along the way.

Enchanting Makana

Alia is a self taught professional landscape photographer with a love for nature and her island of Kauai. Since childhood, she dreamed of traveling the world as a National Geographic photographer but has found herself entrenched in the exquisite beauty right here at home in Kauai.  

Action and Reaction

Alia expresses in her own words, “Born on the North Shore and  growing up on with the Na Pali Coast and the trails of Kauai as my playground has seeded a strong passion for the incredible natural environment.”

Hanakapi’ai Revealed

For Alia, it its “Not about rules and norms, more about telling a story about a place, embracing the scene and expressing what I see and feel. Waking up to see the mountains towering over the turquoise ocean continually inspires me to capture the immense beauty that surrounds the island.”

Lumahai Radiance

She continues, “Art has always been a passion, and expressing my love of art in photography is a dream come true. Native plants, the beach, the garden, and the stunning beauty of Kauai, provides endless inspiration for my photographs.”

Paradise Found

“To love what you do is the real drive for my life and photography. Seeking moments that seem to take your breath away and make you see the splendor of the ever changing natural world is what I aim to convey.”

“In photography and in life you may not know if you’re in the right place, at the right time, but if you turn around before you get there, you just might miss something amazing. Take that step…that adventure…and it will be well worth it.”

A Blaze of Light
Today, we’re excited to share a few of Alia DeVille’s photos. For many more exquisite works of art, please click one of the several links posted here today with her name to be directed to her website where any of her art may be purchased, if so desired.
Thank you, Alia for sharing your art with us* for our readers and for all of the world to see! 

*Please respect the integrity of these copyrighted photos by Alia DeVille by not copying them for any purposes whether personal or business use. All rights reserved. Federal copyright law prohibits unauthorized reproduction of these photos by any means and imposes fines up for violation. 

                                              Photo from one year ago today, March 29, 2014:
A year ago today, we posted a series of facts about the country of Morocco including information about its monarchy, population, size and government.  Please click here for more details.

 

 

The days turn into nights…And the nights were never ending…Puff the Magic Dragon…

 

This scene of Hanalei Beach looks out to a sleeping dragon-shaped mountain that inspired Peter, Paul, and Mary to interpret the song written by a friend, “Puff the Magic Dragon, lived by the sea and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Hanalei.” There’s considerable speculation that the words to the song were mainly centered around smoking marijuana which grew prolifically in Hanalei. In the future, we’ll be writing more about Hanalei where many movies have been filmed over the years. Here’s a good video that further explains the shape of the dragon.

When I was 12 years old I started writing poetry, shortly after my father passed away from a tragic accident.  It’s ironic how creativity is often born of tragedy and sorrow. For years I wrote poetry with delusions that one day I’d be a great poet.

The heading in today’s post is a line from a poem I wrote at 12 years old that popped into my head as soon as I awoke this morning after a fitful night of tossing and turning. I blamed it on too much hot tea late yesterday, excess caffeine having a profound effect on my sleep.

A colorful Adirondack chair behind a rope fence.

It’s not as if I’m worried about anything in particular. Oh, you know, we all worry about this and that, impeding our ability to sleep. I’m certainly no exception. If I don’t have anything to worry about, which I don’t, I can always conjure up a shortlist to keep me busy while wide awake at 3:00 am.

With upcoming travels in mind, flights on small planes, long distances, and the unknown as to the quality of where we’ll be living, a litany of worry options is always readily available.

This puff flower was no larger than the size of a dime. It’s fun to notice the “little things.”

Why didn’t I pursue becoming a poet? Life, as they say, got in the way; married at 17, a mom at 19, divorced at 26, owning a business, two boys to raise on my own, leaving little time for dreaming of poetry.

And now, why don’t I do it now? Why don’t I write the book I dreamed of writing for most of my life? I certainly have the time. By 11:00 am each morning, I’m done posting here leaving my only task for the remainder of the day to get out to take photos for the next day’s post, a pleasant task we do more days than not.

This tiny blue flower was smaller than the size of a pea. Zooming in I noticed this sweet looking bloom.

What else do I have to do? Cook a little dinner? Watch Dr. Phil at 3:00 pm while we’re still in the US? Go to the pool and fitness center? Set the table for dinner using dish towels for linen napkins and placemats when none others are on hand? 

Oh, dear, I don’t mean to sound boring. I am never bored, not for a minute. This little brain has a magical way of entertaining me one way or another if merely a flash of apathy wanders through its neurons. Instantaneously, I twirl on my heels and a new idea pops into my conscientiousness and I’m off on a new tangent, excited, energized, and interested.

In Hawaii, many trees produce berries that proliferate into new leaves and flowers.

I decided against writing the book. Most certainly, we’d have plenty of fodder for what may prove to be moderately appealing to the growing senior population as to the nuances of travel for us older folks, whether short or long term. But, I’ve totally lost interest in writing the book. 

If we got a publisher (for which we’ve been approached) or if we self-published (popular these days) it would seem like the dreaded WORK. Nothing, money nor notoriety, could possibly appeal enough to either of us to put ourselves in a position feeling as if we’re working again. Nothing.

It’s hard to imagine that at future points in our travels, we won’t be a stone’s throw from a beach.

As for poetry? Ah, that desire is long gone. I don’t have enough angst in my life these days to be able to translate that pain and sorrow into poetic prose. Nor, would I want to summon up the sorrowful memories of decades long passed. I’m too happy now to write poetry other than occasional playful, rhyme-ful, iambic pentameter. Those days are long gone.

Fulfillment? What does that look like now? It looks like this life The simplicity of idle time, the simplicity of taking photos, the simplicity of observing wildlife, scenery, and vegetation fill my heart to the brim.

Hibiscus, Hawaii’s state flower, are everywhere, growing throughout the year. This was surely the largest Hibiscus we’d seen to date, larger than a baseball glove and the first we’d seen in this gorgeous shade of orange.

Then, his companionship; the lively banter, the romantic moments and the touch of a hand ever so lightly, coupled with an eye crinkling smile easily fills in any possible gaps if, but for a second I may wonder, I may question, “Is this really my life? How did I get so lucky?”

Tom says it’s not luck. It’s a lifetime of hard work and planning. But, I look at it more esoterically, as being a gift from heaven bestowed upon me for patience, perseverance and above all, for hope.

The lovely beach overlooking the dragon.

Writing here each morning, come “Hell or high water” so they say, has filled me with a deep sense of fulfillment, added to all of the above, that makes me incapable of deserving, or of taking, a moment to pine, to worry, to lay awake at night conjuring up worries. So what if I have a fitful night that seemed “never-ending?” 

The morning light offers up a new day to embrace with awe, wonder, and gratefulness and, boredom, dear readers, is never on the agenda.

                                             Photo from one year ago today, March 28, 2014:

The riad in Marrakech was filled with mirrors. We counted 17 as we took photos of many of them to post one year ago today. For more photos, please click here.

 

 

How could we not share this live testament to life? Plus, new photos from a walk…

PLEASE CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK FOR THE LIVE ALBATROSS CAM FROM CORNELL LABS HERE IN KAUAI THAT WE’VE BEEN WATCHING SINCE THE CHICK HATCHED.  IT’S AMAZING!

Albatross Live Nest Cam

Often times, the birds, hang out together, that may or may not be related. This could be the parents of the smaller bird from a previous season or the bird of another family.

As we’re certain that all of our readers are aware, we’ve spent considerable time observing the life cycle of the Laysan Albatross since we arrived in Kauai in January. The adult albatross build their nests in November and equally spend time sitting on their solitary egg.

We had no idea that these birds that we’d occasionally seen momentarily landing on our cruise ship or flying above our heads at sea would provide us with such a strong passion and interest in their life cycle and well being.

This chick is getting fatter each day. It can survive for many days when the parents head out to sea for food, utilizing its own fat stores for water and fuel.

For our readers with little interest in birds, we hope we haven’t bored you with our frequent posting as to their progress. It wasn’t too long ago that we developed a keen interest in birds which has escalated as we observed the albatross.

With little wildlife besides birds in the Hawaiian Islands, we’ve found ourselves replacing our interests in big game and wild animals, to birds while in Kauai for these long four months, surprisingly never disappointed. 

By no means are we avid bird watchers nor do we profess to know anything about birds besides the albatross for whom we’ve learned quite a bit. However, the more time we spend in Kauai, the more of an interest we’ve developed in all species of birds. 

And yes, every morning and several times per day, when we open or stand by the windows and door to the lanai, the same pairs of Brazilian Cardinals aka, Red-capped Cardinal, Northern Cardinals and Zebra Doves, have stopped by to visit hoping for a taste of the unsalted raw walnuts we’d purchased at Costco.

This Red Cardinal stops by several times per day with his smaller female partner, looking for a handout which we generously provide.

Even one particular Brazilian Cardinal has come to know me well enough that his scratchy little feet climb onto my hand to quickly grab at a bite of a chopped walnut from the palm of my hand. My heart always does a flip flop.

The Northern Cardinals are shy and there are a male and a female to whom we refer to as his “wife” who often stop by together peacefully sharing the bits of walnuts, at times taking morsels from each other’s mouths. We swoon when we watch them interact.

Zebra Doves often stop by to scare away the smaller birds from enjoying the morsels of raw nuts we leave for them. Tom calls them “pigeons.”

At times, there’s a scuffle between breeds but, it’s interesting how the same breeds get along so well. For all, we know they have a nest somewhere which they’re returning to with our tenderly offered morsels presented several times each day.

I stumbled upon the above webcam as I scoured the web in an attempt to expand our knowledge of the Laysan Albatross. Having met Bob Waid, the author of the beautiful book on the albatross, and spending considerable time with Cathy Granholm who has been a docent for the Los Angeles Zoo for over 26 years, we feel we finally have an amateur understanding of the life cycle of the Laysan Albatross.

Yesterday, we walked to the beach at the St. Regis Hotel.  All beaches are open to the public and anyone can use the beach. The challenge is getting there down steep paths to use the beach.

We’re grateful to both Cathy and Bob for sharing some of their vast knowledge and familiarity of these amazing birds who nest in their own yards in the nearby neighborhood here in Princeville.

The webcam shown here today is from another area in Kauai close to the sea, near the town of Hanapepe. After watching the local chicks develop close to our home and stopping by to visit every few days, we also feel a close affinity to the chick on the webcam, south of here by no less than an hour’s drive.

Red berries growing on a palm tree.

In these past weeks since the chicks hatched in early February, we’ve had the opportunity to watch the parent’s magical process of feeding the chick on the webcam, at a closer vantage point than when we’ve visited the neighborhood where the families reside.

Frequently, the parents head to sea for days or perhaps weeks, searching for food for the chick which when they later return, they regurgitate for the chick to eat. Being able to see this process is exhilarating, to say the least. 

A view of the massage cabana at the St. Regis Hotel in Princeville. Room rates start at $550 per night, more for ocean views.

I must admit that I’m a little obsessed with watching the webcam, often finding Tom looking over my shoulder to also get a glimpse. We giggle and laugh aloud over the antics of the chick and then, when on occasion, both parents are at the chick’s side feeding, preening, clacking, dancing, and singing with pure joy in their hearts.

Yesterday, we watched a third, then a fourth grown albatross come by to inspect the chick. Both the mom and dad flapped their wings, clacked their beaks, and raised their heads in protest of the intruders. The outsiders quickly departed.

Some of the other adult’s eggs never hatch and yet both parents will continue to sit on the bad eggs for weeks until finally the egg breaks or disintegrates and they realize they are not going to be parents this season.

The views from St. Regis are exquisite.

Later, they take off back out to sea until next season when most will return to the same spot to breed and nest once again. Oh, Life…so magical.

In months to come, the parent will fly out to sea one day, usually in June, July, or as late as August, and never return to the now pudgy chick who sits in the nest day after day waiting for food. When days or even weeks pass and the parents purposely fail to return, the chick’s appetite and newfound maturity will finally inspire her/him to fledge at long last, when she/he is already six or seven months old.

I can only imagine having the kind of “safari luck” to see the moment in time when the chubby chick in this webcam finally fledges and heads out to sea. Oh, would that we could actually see this miraculous event!

Another view of the grounds of the St. Regis Hotel.

The chick will remain out to sea for five to seven years, resting in the water from time to time, feeding and flying thousands of miles to distant shores, to possibly return to the exact home of their birth at which time they’re finally matured and they’ll mate, often for life, repeating this same cycle in this same location. It’s truly a miracle.

Last night, we went to dinner with new friends Cheryl and Paul who are leaving Kauai today, to the local TikiIniki restaurant, a venue we’d experienced in the past. The menu offered few options for me but the staff went overboard to ensure I had a satisfying meal. 

Tiny flowers for which we “zoomed in” to take this photo.

Today, after dining out three times this week, a bit of chopping, dicing, and meal prep is on the agenda as we prepare for tonight’s dinner and also pot luck dinner to bring to Richard’s home tomorrow night. 

An hour-long walk in the neighborhood, an hour by the pool at the Makai Club, and time spent at the overlook across the street will provide another fine day in our pleasing, yet simple lives.

Have a fantastic Friday!

                                          Photo from one year ago today, March 27, 2014:

Doors in Morocco hold a lot of significance in the lives of the Moroccan people. Beautiful and unique doors may be found at every turn when walking through the Medina, aka the Big Square and the souks. For more details and photos, please click here.

Another week races by…Why does time fly fast when we’re older…Living in the moment…More photos from Princeville Ranch…

Curly’s stories of building the ranch, its history, its activities, and the grass-fed cattle business were varied and interesting. In this shot, he was pointing to the sea. We turned around to see the beauty of the ocean at a distance, another fabulous aspect of the Princeville Ranch.

Why does time seem to fly by us quickly when we’re hunkered down, having seen most of the local sights, findings ourselves settled into a routine? When perusing online for various answers to this question, I discovered a few answers that attempt to satisfy my curiosity.

The horse ranch is often busy with tourists riding out on guided tours of the Princeville Ranch.

This answer from an issue of Psychology Today provided me with a few possibilities such as this writer’s comments as follows:

Tom was thoroughly enjoying our tour of the Princeville Ranch.

“So what is the key to time perception? The routine makes time go faster, unique, and memorable events slow down time. Although there is comfort in routine, it does make time fly. So, if you want to “slow down” time, and make your days last longer, change the routine. Create unique experiences for each one. You can also engage in greater mindfulness by focusing on and savoring each passing moment. The old adage of “live for the moment” is the key to slowing down those quickly passing years.”

This is the off-road vehicle in which we toured the Princeville Ranch.

This philosophy may actually hold true. For Tom and I, it feels particularly glaring, when our routine is one of frequent change, moving every few months. Adding the frequent exploring, meeting new people, having new experiences and one would think time would almost stand still for us. 

The scenery was astounding in every direction.

We often marvel at how quickly the time flies, as we say, “when we’re having fun” which we’ve surely had plenty of these past years. It was early in 2012 when we first decided to travel the world in our retirement. It’s hard for us to believe that it’s well into 2015 as we continue on, still so excited and full of hope for the future. 

The colors in this scene took our breath away.

Yes, the time has flown too quickly. But, the memories have been rich, the experiences action-packed, and the planning well into the future filled with anticipation and wonder.

A few days ago, in the background, I heard Tom repeat one of my favorite expressions, “Love the One You’re With,” a popular song from 1970 by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. If you don’t recall the song, click here for the video.

The sea at a distance.

Hearing him use this expression in a conversation with others made me smile as I quickly turned my head back to the person I was listening to. I was smiling over the irony of these simple words, prevalent in our lives in many ways, one in loving each other, letting the past waft away and two, in stopping to live in the moment wherever we may be, essentially, loving the one we’re with.

Another vehicle loaded with friends of Curly’s daughter, Karin were also on a tour of the expansive 2500 acre property.

It is through this appreciation of the moment, that time has the potential to slow down for us giving us the glorious opportunity to savor the moment, the place, and the experience for whatever treasures large and small it may offer for our taking.

A family was on a tour in another vehicle driven by Curly’s daughter Karin. When they exited the off-road vehicle, two toddlers took off running down a steep hill. The mom had to do everything to entice them to come back up the hill when they were having such fun.

As I sit here writing now with 59 days remaining of our time in Hawaii (I use this app to figure that out), I hear the roosters crowing, the birds singing, and see the clouds wafting about the mountaintops. If I step outdoors onto the lanai I can see Hanalei Bay and its aquamarine waters, a color seldom found anywhere else in nature.

Although there were trails such as this on the property we often went off-road to get a better look at the property.

And Tom, at the moment is across the street whale watching as he does several times each day, chatting with his new buddies, shooting the breeze as guys often do, I revel in his few minutes of freedom from me. He’s living in the moment.

A young calf checking out the forest.

Suddenly, the door flies open and he’s standing there with a big smile on his face greeting me with a sense of enthusiasm as if he’d be away for days and once again, I’m reminded, “Love the One You’re With” which he does with vigor each and every day. Then again, I do so as well.

An angry-looking bull stared at us as we drove by.  However, that angry look is nothing more than the structure of these bull’s faces. He’d showed little interest in me when I stepped out of the vehicle to take this photo.

Tonight, we’re out to dinner with new friends for the third time this week with one more social event upcoming with friend Richard on Saturday night.  Hey, Father Time, pay attention to the line from Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feelin’ Groovy,” which states “slow down, you move too fast.” 

Let us savor the moment!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, March 26, 2014:

It was one year ago that Samir and Mohamed took us on a tour of Marrakech to see various points of interest. Of course, seeing this baby camel was a special thrill. For details and more photos from part two of that tour, please click here.

 

 

The Princeville Ranch…An off road adventure of a lifetime…to witness a lifetime of dedication and hard work…

We enjoyed the spectacular views at the highest point in Princeville, except for the mountains.

Yesterday afternoon, Tom and I made our way to the nearby Princeville Ranch, for a 1:30 appointment to tour the expansive 2500 acre family owned business of Princeville Ranch with Curly Caswell, its founder.

We met with Curly under the sign for the Princeville Ranch, the same entrance that adventure seekers enter for the myriad activities offered on the ranch.
Together with his wife Gale and later the addition of their four children, the ranch has grown to become Hawaii’s most exciting and varied world-class ranch experience sought by tourists visiting not only the lush island of Kauai but the other islands as well.
When I exited the ATV, this Brangus cattle approached.

Whether one’s interests fall into the category of horseback riding, zip-lining, hiking, off-road tours, kids adventures, kayaking, picnicking by or swimming under a waterfall, or simply admiring the exquisite beauty of this unique property, the Princeville Ranch has it all.

Moments later, more started to approach me.

 

The Brangus cattle, like other breeds, are often curious when humans approach.

Our tour with Curly provided us with an opportunity to experience an in-depth perspective from our eyes as travel writers while listening to Curly’s interesting stories as to his and Gale’s acquisition of the use of the lands many decades years ago.

The scenery on the Princeville Ranch is breathtaking in every direction.

Over 40 years ago, their passion for horses, led to their dedicated creation of the Pooku Stables, later to become the Princeville Ranch. As their children matured the innovative family participated in the development of the adventure activities together, making Princeville Ranch one of the most popular adventure destinations for both tourists and local residents.

Although there’s no farming on the ranch, there are wild fruit trees as typically found in many areas in the Hawaiian Islands.

Curly’s ingenuity and exemplary business acumen led him to become one of the first and foremost developers of the community of Princeville, leaving a rich footprint of hard work and creativity in his path.

At times, the ATV maneuver on easy roads such as this.  At other times, we were off-road.

The detailed story of the growth of the Princeville Ranch is found at this link. However, as we always strive to maintain the integrity of the interests and nature of our website surrounding our ongoing world travels, we found ourselves particularly fascinated with the grass-fed cattle, one more avenue of success and opportunity at the Princeville Ranch.  

Tom was the official “gatekeeper” jumping out to open various gates along the tour.

Access to North Shore Kauai Beef is a treasure for the local residents of the island and for those lucky tourists who have access to a grill or kitchen at their vacation rental.

As we’ve discussed in many past posts, my way of eating changed the quality of my life almost four years ago, allowing us to travel the world, hopefully for many more years to come. The concept of eating only grass-fed meat and organic produce has been instrumental in that renewed health and mobility.

The weather changed dramatically during our tour.

North Shore Kauai Beef was literally and figuratively born out of the Princeville Ranch in 1994 during which time, until 2009 it was labeled as “Princeville Pride.” 

North Shore Kauai Beef is offered on the island at the following locations:

  • North Shore General Store (formerly Princeville Chevron station, recently acquired as a Union 76 station) where one can purchase a burger from the Café or buy steaks or burgers to cook at home).
  • Harvest Market in Hanalei
  • Princeville Wine Market in (Princeville Shopping Center)
  • Healthy Hut in Kilauea
  • Hoku Whole Foods in Kapa’a
  • Kaua’i Ono Food Truck in Hanalei

In the past, over two months while living in Princeville we’ve found ourselves thrilled to be able to purchase reasonably priced, chemical, and hormone-free grass-fed meat at three of the above locations. At this time, our freezer is jam-packed with North Shore Kauai Beef purchased long before we met Curly.

The concept of grass-fed meat is interesting, as well stated on the Princeville Ranch’s website:

“Our cattle are raised on 100% pure Kaua’i pasture. NO growth hormones nor antibiotics are used in our Brangus breed of cattle. They enjoy fresh green grass year-round and are raised between 24 and 30 months of age. Our cattle are handled with low stress and it shows in the flavor and quality of our beef.”

Wild brush grows rampant on the ranch, which is moved rather than chemically treated.

The “Brangus breed was developed to utilize the superior traits of Angus and Brahman cattle. Their genetics are stabilized at 3/8 Brahman and 5/8 Angus. This combination results in a breed which unites the traits of two highly successful parent breeds. The Brahman, through rigorous natural selection, developed disease resistance, overall hardiness, and outstanding maternal instincts. Angus is known for its superior carcass qualities. They are also extremely functional females, who excel in both fertility and milking ability.”

And then…there was the sea.

Curly explained that the cattle are rotated to other pastures every few weeks to allow time for the pasture to regenerate.  Careful attention and maintenance are exercised to reduce the growth of plants and grasses that tend to inhibit the healthy growth of good pastures, entirely without the use of chemicals.

What could be more perfect for devotees such as us with a desire to avoid the chemicals and toxic grains fed mainstream cattle? After all, if cattle are fed corn in their diet, used to “fatten” them, that same corn becomes a part of our digestive system and DNA when we consume it.

As we climbed to the highest point, the unpaved road was often steep. I sat in the front with Curly, easily hanging on through rough patches.
As an individual who entirely avoids consuming grains, starches, sugar, and gluten in any form, grass-fed meat becomes a necessary element in the maintenance and future development of good health.
Not only have we extolled the virtues of eating quality grass-fed meat, we have learned over the years to prepare it in a manner to ensure the finest flavor and tenderness. Tips for the preparation of grass-fed meat may be found at the American Grassfed Association at this link. It only takes a moment to review these easy tips to ensure a high-quality meal.
Views of cattle in one of the many pasture areas.
Our favorite is always the grass-fed burger, made without a bun. Defrosting the ground beef overnight in the refrigerator, we cook the burgers atop the stove in a pan prepared with a few tablespoons of organic extra virgin coconut oil.  Once heated, we saute the burgers, onions, and fresh garlic, seasoned to taste, only until it’s medium-rare, letting it rest for a few minutes when done to ensure distribution of the juices.
Cattle are scattered throughout the acreages, rotated every few weeks to allow the pastures to regrow.

When done, we top each burger with the sautéed onions, garlic, and pre-cooked slices of nitrate-free bacon, and of course, a thick slice of cheddar cheese. Adding a few slices of locally grown organic tomatoes and avocado, the meal is complete.  Actually, it’s one of our favorites.

Further shot of the above stupendous view.

As we bounced along the rough road with Curly in one of the ranch’s many off-road vehicles, our attention was drawn to the breathtaking scenery including a long-ago man-made lake (when the massive acreage was a sugar plantation developed in the 1800s by Gale’s ancestors).

Curly called this a Christmas berry tree, although it’s not Holly.

Adding the beauty of the surrounding vegetation-covered mountains and of course, the exquisite blue of the ocean at a distance as shown in our photos, we were humbled and in awe. 

Curly’s favorite cow, Sugar, is 16 years old and had a calf a few days ago.

As we stood atop the highest elevation on the 2500 acre Princeville Ranch, we found ourselves turning in one direction after another trying to absorb the scenery surrounding us, like nothing we’ve ever seen in our past travels.

Sugar’s calf was much smaller than she appears in this photo.

Our special thanks to Curly, Gale, and their family members for providing us with the opportunity to enhance our worldwide experiences with the divine tour of Princeville Ranch which we proudly share with our worldwide readers today.

Sugar, under the tree, and her new calf.

With more photos worthy of sharing than we can possibly post in one day, we’ll continue adding additional shots of the ranch over the next few days.

Back to you again soon!

Photo from one year ago today, March 25, 2014:

On a day tour outside the Medina, we visited the Jardin Marjorelle, a popular garden in the city of Marrakech. We were curious about this family of turtles lounging in the sun, yet close enough to take an occasional dip in the pond in the heat of the day. For details of part one of our two-part tour, please click here.

 

 

Photos keep comin’ and comin’ of these past weeks…Beautiful beaches…

Many of these photos were taken at varying times of day with varying cloud cover.

When my sister Julie visited us for eight days my goal had been to take her to see some of our favorite spots on the island many of which are within an hour’s drive of Princeville.

This couple strolled along the beach.

We’d discussed heading south to Lihue and then Poipu Beach. After Tom and I had visited the southern and western coast over my birthday spending a night at the Kauai Sheraton at Poipu Beach we’d been somewhat disappointed when dense clouds impeded viewing Waimea Canyon, a common occurrence.

The combination of lush greenery, water, and sand create a pleasant scene.

I wasn’t as excited to show her the southern part of the island when it was equally cloudy during most of her eight-day visit. After all, this is the rainy season in Kauai. Luckily, Julie wasn’t at all disappointed with the weather when the sun only managed to peek out on occasion. 

Often beaches are lines with trees proving shade for those beachgoers needing protection from the sun.

She agreed the day trip to the southern coast could better be accomplished the next time she visits Kauai and, after this exceptional visit, she’s certain she’ll return in the future, most likely without us. We still have a lot of world to see and returning to Kauai, as much as we love it, is not a part of our upcoming itinerary.

The “wet” tunnel at Tunnels Beach is not open for swimming.

Thus, by staying within an hour’s drive from our home, we visited many of the sights Tom and I had already explored. However, a repeat visit didn’t prevent either of us from taking many photos often on overcast days, often in the exact locations, I’d previously seen.

I had no concern about being bored seeing these same beaches, same overlooks, and the same scenery. As I’d mentioned in a previous post, when you love someone, nothing is more exciting than sharing a favorite scene or location. 

Kealia Beach in Kapaa. 

As a matter of fact, there this one spot as we approach Princeville on the Kuhio highway where there is the most beautiful forest of trees we’d ever seen. Sadly, there weren’t any available spots to stop to take a photo. The photo is either taken through the windshield or not at all.  Each time we’ve driven through this area, our mouths are agape in awe over the stunning views. The trees remind Tom and me of the flat-topped acacia trees in the Masai Mara where we were on safari almost 18 months ago.

A small area of the expansive Anina Beach which is our favorite.

I contemplated whether or not to post the photos of these same locations I again visited with Julie. However, with her skills as a TV producer and her keen eye, she presented a new perspective in her observations of the scenery, which I easily incorporated into my new photos. 

A view of Hanalei Bay from our area in Princeville.

Over the next several days we’ll be presenting the photos, although Tom and I will continue to visit new locations, photos from which we’ll soon be sharing. Today is the exact date that in two months (of the four months we’re spending in Kauai) that we’ll depart the Hawaiian Islands to head to Australia by cruise.

Kealia Beach as seen from the Kauai Path in Kapaa.

Plus, it was one year ago today that we began to post the “one year ago photo” at the end of each post to aid our new readers in “catching up.”

The beach in downtown Kapaa.

And yet, there hasn’t been a single day when I’ve struggled with what to post the next days, what photos to share, what stories to tell. The island of Kauai is a never-ending photographer’s paradise, even for a novice like me.

Swimmers are the Hanalei Beach on a cloudy day.

With an exciting tour scheduled today which was rained out last Friday, which we’ll share this week, we find ourselves excited for that which is yet to come on this glorious island.

Although most beaches in Kauai are sandy a few have areas are rocky.

Last night, we had another fabulous evening with new friends Brenda and Pat at yet another repeated experience, dinner at Bouchon in Hanalei Beach which proved to be another equally great dining experience for both food and service. We love consistency and we’d loved having the opportunity to share it with our new friends who’d yet to try the restaurant.

Have a tremendous Tuesday!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, March 24, 2014:

We chose not to ride in one of these horse-driven buggies.  It saddened us to see the horses working in the extreme heat and some suffering from injuries.  As a result, we walked everywhere we wanted to go, such as to the pharmacy, the ATM, and restaurants in the Medina. Madam Zahra purchased food and prepared all of our meals leaving us little need to grocery shop other than for nuts for snacking. Once every few weeks, we hired a taxi to take us to the closest grocery store at a cost of approximately $15 round trip. We weren’t interested in the pricey nuts in the carts in the Medina after seeing them sitting out all day in the heat of the sun, surrounded by flies.  Those from the grocery store were reasonably priced and fresh. For details, please click here.

 

A visit to the Princeville Artisan Fair…Showcasing local artists….Getting along…

In the event of rain, the various outdoor vendors had tents under which they displayed their products.

Why in the world would we go to an artisan fair when most of the products they sell are either for the home, clothing, or jewelry, none of which we can or will purchase in our travels?

Without room in our luggage for one more item nor having a home in which to hang a painting or photo, none of the products in these types of fairs are suitable for us.

In some cases, vendors fear photos being taken of the products to avoid the copying of their unique designs.

However, over these past 29 months of traveling the world, we’ve attended a number of these types of events out of curiosity and for an opportunity to highlight a local artist or vendor. With our huge and growing worldwide readership, it’s an opportunity for a vendor to have a little more exposure.

As a business owner for most of my career, I certainly appreciate the importance of marketing and advertising.  As in the case of this website, we don’t accept any money or gifts in place of a good review, a product, or mention of any skilled craft. 

Jake, with a vendor, seemed to be enjoying the attention from passersby, including me.

However, on many occasions, we’ve highlighted local shops, restaurants, vacation homes, and vendors as a way of giving back for the blissful experience of traveling the world as we do. From time to time, we’ve received feedback stating this exposure has proved to be beneficial for them in one way or another.

Today, we’re showcasing a few vendors we encountered at yesterday afternoon’s Princeville Artisan Fair which occurs at the Princeville Community Center on the fourth Sunday of every month from 1 to 6 pm. Here’s an article from the local newspaper, TGI, The Garden Island with details about the fair.

Colorful fabrics with Hawaiian patterns are often found in various sarongs, scarfs, and dresses.

Although Tom has little interest in looking at merchandise we have no intention of purchasing, he decided to join me to ensure I got a parking spot, a kindness he employs on a regular basis, always looking out for my convenience. He drops me off, then drives around looking for a spot. In this case, the closest possible spot opened up as we pulled in and we chuckled. 

He had the choice of sitting in the car or wandering about with me. He chose the latter. But, leave it up to Tom to find a great spot to sit for people watching, and within minutes he and another retiree were busily engaged in idle chatter.

I was fascinated with this handloom this vendor was using in making scarfs, shawls, and wraps. It looked like to fun activity that I’d have enjoyed in my old life. Unfortunately, I’d never have room for such a loom in my luggage. The quality of the work was exceptional.  For more information, click here for Skywoven’s website.

He never rushes me at such venues; shops, fairs, and farmer’s markets. He waits patiently, never making me feel rushed or worried that he’s waiting. On the other hand, I’m sensitive to the fact that he’s waiting, inspiring me not to take a moment longer than necessary.

I suppose this mentality is one of the many reasons we get along so well and our travels are filled with pleasure, not only getting along but getting along lovingly. That’s us.

Skywoven‘s finished products were beautiful. 

Off I went to explore both the grounds of the Princeville Community Center which had myriad tents and displays set up not too far from the building and then, inside the building which housed some of the smaller displays. 

This vendor, Kauai Curators specialized in shell-made leis and various pieces of jewelry of what appeared to be scrimshaw. This artist was so busy, I didn’t have an opportunity to compliment them on their work.

It appeared that 80% of the visitors were seniors like us and the remainder, tourists with families, some with dogs and young children. We easily blended into the welcoming environment as has been the case in every activity in which we’ve participated here in Princeville. The people are friendly and quick to say hello.

This vendor, Rooster Exotic Woods, specializes in utilizing the local wood of the islands including but not limited to Koa wood to make a variety of products as shown here and in the photo below.

In reality, if a senior chose to live in Princeville as a single person or as a widow or widower having lost a spouse or significant other, of which there are many in this area, there would be no lack of social activities providing them opportunities to make friends and to feel a part of the community. 

More wood products from Rooster Exotic Woods.

The only difficult aspect to this scenario is taking that first step to engage in conversation and if all goes well, to encourage a future get-together. We find this to be the case even for us as a couple. 

Pottery design and manufacture is the product of this vendor, Love Fate Studios

Both last night and again tonight, we are out to dinner with two separate couples Tom has met across the street at the ocean lookout. He took to the initiative to start up or participate in conversation which ultimately led to finding the commonality of interests. From there, gradually plans were made to get together out to dinner.

Mugs and pots from Love Fate Studios. Some of the vendors didn’t have websites, which we encouraged them to develop in order to enhance their visibility and subsequent sales.

Last night’s dinner was with Cheryl and Paul from Minnesota (coincidence) at Kalypso, a reasonably priced bar and restaurant located in the heart of the town of Hanalei. 

Us old-timers had to maneuver carefully when walking on these tree roots in the display area, often found on trails in Kauai. No point in spraining an ankle or breaking a leg.

It proved to be a highly enjoyable evening for all of us. The food and service were acceptable and at under $50 with tip and drinks for each couple, it was one of the better-priced meals in this otherwise pricey area. 

The entrance to the community center’s building where recently Tom and I had attended a party for seniors.

With the high degree of a delightful conversation, I failed to take photos of our food but, our meals were similar to other such restaurants we’ve visited in Kauai thus far.

These hibiscus located at the Princeville Community Center are the largest we’ve seen. They are the size of a cantaloupe.

Tonight, we’ve invited Brenda and Pat for pu pu happy hour at our place. Then, we’re off together in their car to Hanalei once again to the same restaurant we visited last week with Julie and Richard, Bouchon’s. 

The food and service at Bouchon’s Grill and Sushi Bar warranted a positive review at TripAdvisor for which I received a pleasant response to our review from the owner. If you’d like to read our review and the owner’s response, please click here.

This vendor had adorable handmade cards on display but no business cards or website to promote their sales.

Today’s a sunny day and once I’ve uploaded today’s post we’re heading to the Makai Club’s pool. Each time we visit, we find ourselves enjoying the company of even more people, whether tourists staying at St. Regis or Westin Hotels which provide access to the Makai Club, or locals, like our friend Richard who uses the pool and fitness center for a fee as we’ve done these past months.

Happy Monday! Spring is in the air.

                                             Photo from one year ago today, March 23, 2014:

It wasn’t always the best quality of products and often items were “knockoffs” of brand names but, the tourists gathered around displays such as this anxious to negotiate great prices. For details from that date as we counted the days until we’d see our family in Hawaii in December, please click here.

 

 

Visitors to our home over past few days…Human kind, that is…

With all the rain these past days, its been easy to spot the waterfalls.

Our condo, although perfect for the two of us, is not ideal for entertaining guests. With the bedroom located at the end of the main living area and the dining table at the other end, it could be a bit awkward having guests.

But, with our easy attitude about not fussing over details in our daily lives, we welcome whoever crosses the door of our temporary home no matter where we live including here in Kauai.

Today there’s a bit of sunshine.  Yesterday, the mountains were covered in thick clouds and vog (volcanic smoke and fog).
Tom, friendly sort that he is, has met several people across the street at the lookout, where he wanders several times per day to whale watch. Not only is the walk back and forth good for him but, he has the fabulous opportunity to meet new people, two couples of which he’s invited over in the past several days either to meet me and/or get out of the pouring rain.

Most often the couples he meets at the looking are leaving soon. How wonderful it would be that they were staying for longer periods like us. But, for however long we make the acquaintance of others, our lives are enriched in many ways.

The morning before Julie departed we took one last trip to the overlook of Hanalei Bay.

When we first arrived in Kauai over two months ago, we met another fabulous couple, Vicki and Jerry, on the beach in Hanalei spending the entire afternoon together. We engaged in lively conversation finding our lives parallel in many ways in their diverse travel experience and the manner in which they relish the quality of their lives. 

Here’s the link to that day’s post in Hanalei with Vicki and Jerry, with photos of all of us.

Cloudy days have a certain appeal in Kauai.

We’ve been very fortunate to continue meeting many people here in Kauai. Although many leave for their other homes in other locations, we find ourselves entrenched in ongoing social activities, many attributable to Richard who has taken on the role of our personal social director and now, a lifelong friend. 

Every week Richard seems to pop up with another new plan to enhance our social calendar which we’ve yet to refuse to participate in; dinner parties, full moon parties, house parties, local senior events, and of course, his charming companionship of which we never tire.

I never tire of taking photos of the beautiful African Tulips.

The only other place we’d lived in these past 29 months that has afforded us so much social activity was Marloth Park, South Africa, where the human-kind visitors were as plentiful as the animal-kind. 

Now, here in Kauai, the animal visitors are limited to whale and dolphin watching and the birds, the glorious Laysan albatross, and of course, the endless array of other birds who’s photos we’ve posted regularly. 

After spending considerable time trying to figure out every type of pod growing on trees in Kauai, I’ve given up. It appears that many such pods simple bloom into the leaves of the various trees.  Now with spring in the air, I may be able to determine otherwise and prove myself wrong.

Kauai is not ripe with wildlife other than avian and marine types. Our friends Bev and Sam have told us many stories about the feral pigs in Kauai invading their property and the complex measures they’ve found necessary to implement to reduce their invasion.

Yes, we do miss the abundance of wildlife in Africa and we always will, hoping someday to return. In the meantime, we’re content with the abundance of the human-kind and of course, the growing albatross chicks down the road which we check on every few days. 

Tomorrow, we’ll begin preparing our tax stuff for our accountant in Nevada, a task I’ve put off for far too long.  It’s the one thing I tend to procrastinate over, year after year. Otherwise, I’m “johnnie on the spot” on other such tedious responsibilities. 

Look at the size of this Laysan albatross chick! They are growing fast.  Every few days we drive to the neighborhood to see their progress. Oftentimes, the chicks are left alone for many days while the parents head out to sea for food returning to regurgitate a huge portion for the chicks. As the chicks get fatter and fatter, they are easily able to survive on their fat for water and sustenance until their mom and dad return.

As soon as I complete and upload the post on Monday morning, I’ll start compiling the necessary components to piece the tax stuff altogether, ugh! I commend those of you who are ahead of this painstaking process each year. 

Once it’s completed, I’ll feel free to return to joining Tom in our endless pursuit of “where do we go next.” This, dear readers, is a task filled with pure joy and adventure.

Happy Sunday! 

                                           Photo from one year ago today, March 22, 2014:

The maze-like structures of the souks in the Big Square never ceased to be confusing. Walking to the far edges of the souks, it was only Tom’s great sense of direction that enabled us to find our way back to our house located “smack dab” in the center of the Jemaa el Fna souk, one of the most famous souks in the world. For details, please click here.