I can still hear the soft hush of the waves and the rustling of the palm leaves. A soft breeze blows across my shoulders and I can smell the sweet scent of plumeria. I've just returned from 5 short days in Kauai.
I'm still in contact with several friends from high school. This period of my life was tough. So much was new and different. You are torn by changes in your body and changes in your emotions when you are a teenager. There are so many challenges. Through this time, I made several lifetime bonds with 4 girl friends.
We got together in 1997 for a 'Fem-Fest' and again after our 30th high school reunion. Two of my friends stayed in the central Valley of California. My friend R and I have moved farther away - me to the Pacific Northwest and she to Virginia.
I first met her when we were 13. We were in junior high school and we shared several classes. I remember going to her father's grocery store to see her after she returned from the Philippines. She was so sweet and brought me a lovely handkerchief that was locally embroidered. We partied together through high school and piled into her father's station wagon to go to the drive-in. We spent the first year of college together at the local junior college. She married and moved away. Her husband and G were best friends in high school. They actually got G and I together by asking us to 'double-date' with them a couple of times. Yes, our first dates were double dates with R and her husband. G was the best man at their wedding and I was a bride's maid. Later, she finished her college at my alma mater - UC Berkeley and even lived on the same street I did while I was in college.
Over the years R and I have communicated through letters and email. Sometimes we went for long periods between touching bases. It was always amazing to reconnect and just pick up.
She phoned me for my birthday in July and I told her I wasn't working. We talked about what was happening in each others lives and she mentioned she was going to Kauai for work at the end of September and was going to stay on for a few days. Her husband and sister couldn't join her, was not working - would I be interested in joining her? For sure.
I arrived last Friday night and joined her at the hotel. We spent the next 5 days exploring, shopping and reminiscing. Our common background and bond provided the security to relax. We explored Koloa and then returned to Lihue to attend a local hula contest - Mokihana Festival. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon. Sunday we drove north and caught a slack key guitar concert in Hanalei and a good dinner at the Dolphin Cafe at Hanelai. Of course we got in some good shopping at Ola's Gallery.
Monday, we headed to Waimea Canyon. We thought we might go hiking but the sign for Hanapepe - the "Biggest small town in Kauai" seduced us. We turned off and spent an enjoyable morning exploring the art galleries and shops. We lunched at the Hanapepe Cafe before finally heading to the canyon. The canyon was as lovely as I remembered. But the clouds had thickened and by time we made it to Koke'e, the rain was falling. We stopped and checked out the small museum and enjoyed seeing the chicken families before heading back.
Tuesday was the big adventure day. We had reservations for a 7:00 zip-line adventure at Princeville Ranch Adventures. We got our helmets and harnesses. I was nervous. I've been afraid of heights at times but I was pretty certain I was prepared for the heights. I think my biggest fear was landing. My knees are not in the best of shape and I didn't know how difficult (or fast) the landings would be.
We headed out and did our first zip on the 'bunny slope'. What a rush. I was hooked and ready for more. We did 7 more over the creeks and treetops before we hiked down to a swimming hole fed by a bubbling water fall. We jumped in and floated around on inner tubes before eating lunch. We hiked back up and did one more zip before returning. I highly recommend it.
We were done by 11 and headed to Hanalei for shaved ice and more shopping. We returned to the hotel to shower and relax before heading off for some local island dinner - saimin. It is a soup similar to ramin or pho. The best place to have it on Kaua'i is Hamura's Saimin. We took our seats around the counter and ordered. I had the special and R had the traditional. The special had bok choy, sliced pork, hard boiled egg and fish cake. It was so tasty We also had a couple of chicken skewers. For desert, I couldn't resist the Liliko'i chiffon pie. My god was the crust so flaky. It was the best crust I've had in ages. The flavor wasn't really strong but it was tart and sweet. The perfect finish to a salty warm meal.
Wednesday morning, we headed for our massage on the beach and then breakfast. We headed off to explore Poipu and make our final purchases. It was time to pack. I dropped off R and her co-workers at the airport and returned to the hotel for a final swim before heading for my flight. Too short. I want to return - soon.
Here are some pictures.
Beach at Marriott Kauai
More pictures here...