National Tropical Botanical Garden…A surprising find…

As soon as we spotted this sign on the highway, we decided to give it a try.

It was amazing how much we saw in one day when early last Thursday we headed to Poipu Beach to stay overnight for my birthday. For once, we felt like typical tourists, rushing from one location to another, on a frenzy to see as much as we could see in the time allotted.

As we walked along the path, Tom spotted this tree trunk which sent me spiraling with joy. What a find!
At first, I thought this tree had been painted which would be ridiculous in the tropical garden. Upon closer inspection, I could hardly believe my eyes. It is a Rainbow Eucalyptus or Eucalyptus deglupta

Usually, that isn’t us on the tourist’s mission to “see it all.” We’ve noticed the guests that come and go, living next door to us in our Princeville condo. They come for an average of four or five days and rush out, day after day, hauling “stuff” to get out there and see what they can on their short stay.

What beautiful colors Mother Natures bestows upon her treasures!

Many who visit Kauai the first time stay for short periods as they often visit other islands during their vacation/holiday, unaware at first that it’s hard to leave Kauai and for many, it’s more difficult than leaving the other islands. Nothing compares to Kauai as far as we’re concerned. 

These plumerias were the only greenery and flowers growing on this otherwise bare tree.

There certainly is plenty to see in Kauai if sightseeing is their thing. For us, the beauty surrounding us day after day provides us with such a sense of peace and contentment that we could easily get lost in time, never seeing much outside our immediate area.

These lemon yellow daisies were pretty.

But this time, we’ve made a concerted effort to get out and see as much as we can, especially when we feel so connected to this amazing island. We continue to talk, asking ourselves if we could live here one day, but feel for the long term it wouldn’t fulfill our objectives.

We’ve accepted that if we stay in one location for any greater length of time than three months we’ll get bored and restless. That’s just us, having adopted a lifestyle we find exciting in its ever-changing nature. Also, the affordability of living long term in the Hawaiian Islands becomes an issue that must be addressed before considering a move here. 

A gnarly truck stood alone.

Housing prices and rents are through the roof. The cost of electricity, fuel, and groceries are shocking at times. Trips to Costco help tremendously often ending in spending hundreds of dollars and hauling huge oversized containers of products one hopes to eventually use.

Medical care, from what we’ve heard, is mediocre at best. Many travel to Honolulu, Oahu for the treatment of more serious illnesses than seek the local care in Kauai.

A papaya tree.
However, many find their love and dedication to the islands worth a struggle and with careful planning find a way to make it affordable and this we fully appreciate and understand. 

Here in Princeville, although an affluent area of upper-middle class and wealthy, we have met many residents living on fixed incomes, managing to make it work.

The gift shop at the National Tropical Botanical Garden was filled with books on local history.

I suppose in a way, if we did ever settle somewhere, we wouldn’t want a life of financial struggle. In many countries in which we’ve lived the cost of living was less than half the cost of living in the Hawaiian islands.

On occasion, we’ve spotted varieties on cactus in Hawaii as shown in the lower left of this photo.

Tom reminds me not to focus on costs as much as when writing here, in hopes that our readers don’t assume that’s our only concern. It’s not. But, many of our readers, I say, are curious about our lives wondering if they too could travel or live in another country (or area) and make it work for them.

This variety was shaped differently than other similar cactus we’ve seen in our travels. Usually, these paddles are thinner in other climates, wherein this case they were double the thickness.

We’d love to see comments from our readers on this topic. Feel free to write a comment at the end of this or any post.

Anyway, back to our trip to the National Tropical Botanical Garden. We had no idea of this property, stumbling upon it on the highway from Barking Sands Beach to Poipu Beach in our hunger to see more and more. After parking, we walked a considerable distance taking photos along the way until finally, we encountered what appeared to be a ticket office. 

These berries on palm trees eventually turn a bright red.

Self tours were posted for $20 each and guided tours at $40 each, lasting for a few hours. Still having much more to see as the day wore on, we decided to wander about for a short time on our own. Soon, we’re planning on arranging a tropical garden tour that has been highly recommended by locals. To avoid redundancy, we decided to continue on.

For whatever reason, this palm tree’s top exhibited stunted growth.  Any botanists in the room willing to explain? Soon, we have a professional tour of a massive tropical garden.

We were thrilled to take these photos included today, a few of which left our mouths agape at the wonder of nature. Wherever we may travel we find the majesty of Mother Nature’s bounty, at times right outside our door and at other times, requiring a little bit of investigation. One never knows what treasures lurk around the next corner.

Please check back. We have a real treat for tomorrow’s post!

Have a terrific Tuesday! 

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

The previous night, one year ago, we had a braai (barbecue) for our closest friends in Marloth Park. Time to depart was fast approaching. It was a fabulous evening as the sunset and visitors came to call, pleasing all of us. For the exciting photos, please click here.

Continuation of the road trip to Poipu Beach…A wide array of sites to see…

The horse seemed happy to see me as I approached the fence,with giving us his version of a smile.
As we drove away, the horse’s eyes stayed with us. He, too, enjoyed the short interaction.
Unable to see the Waimea Canyon due to the vog (fog and volcanic smog) the ride back down the mountain was relatively quick.  As we lowered in elevation, the air began to clear, although the sky was still hazy.
Back at sea level, the sky cleared and the scenery was breathtaking.

With a plan to turn right toward Barking Sands Beach (photos tomorrow) once we reached the main highway, Highway 50, we continued along the road, spotting the photos ops we’re showing here today. 

This creek wandered along the quiet road.

When the above horse smile at us, animal lovers that we are, we couldn’t stop laughing. It only takes a minute of interaction with an animal to get my head spinning longing for more. 

Another road leads us to another area of the military installation, located on the ocean.
Military installations were positioned at the end of several roads we explored, preventing us from going further.

After seeing this horse, I began looking at the chickens and roosters along the highway with a renewed interest.  OK, I’ll admit it.  I’ve loved the chickens since the day we arrived in Kauai. I continue to look at everyone we pass. 

Shortly after we were back on Highway 50, we stopped at the Kawaiele Waterbird Sanctuary, only spotting a few birds as we wandered the grounds.

Not unlike my fascination with warthogs in Marloth Park, I have a special affinity for the chickens since discovering that they are much smarter than previously assumed. 

Here’s the ‘Alae ke’oke’o as shown in the poster below, one of only a few birds we were able to see at the Kawaiele Waterbird Sanctuary.
This poster helped us determine the bird we’ve shown in the water.  Not quite sure how to pronounce it but it’s an ‘Alae ke’oke’o. Many Hawaiian words and names are difficult to learn to pronounce.
The wetlands at the bird sanctuary.

Lately, I’ve been making a clucking sound at the roosters and surprisingly they approach me with fascination, thinking I’m “one large hen” they need to pursue. One almost climbed into the car with me as shown in this photo below. It all provides us with fodder for laughter.

This rooster wanted to jump into the car with me after I’d made clucking sounds. 

Once we reached the highway after the interaction with the horse we headed along the western side of the island. With a map in hand we were able to locate appealing attractions along the highway stopping many times to investigate and take photos, enjoying every step of the way.

This dirt road would have taken us to the very end of the road as shown on the map on the western portion of Kauai. Unfortunately, the little car would have been damaged on the rough road forcing us to turn around.

Tomorrow, we’ll share our tour of the Kauai Coffee Company where we had an opportunity to see how coffee was roasted, taste a variety of their blends, and wander a path through the coffee estate, a former sugar cane plantation. We had no idea how much fun we’d have visiting a coffee farm!

See you later with lots more!

                                           Photo from one year ago today, February 21, 2014:

A year ago on my birthday, Nomsa and Zeff stopped by to sing Happy birthday in Afrikaans to me and exchange warm hugs while we were living in the African Reunion house. Having cared for our needs for three months it would be difficult to say goodbye a week later. Notice the sign behind Zeff’s head, “Take risks. If you win you will be happy.  If you lose you will be wise.” Then and now we find significance in those words as we continue in our travels. For details from that date, please click here.