Kauai is the oldest of all the Hawaiian islands....millions of years old. It is called the "garden island"; 120 films have been made here, including the (in)famous Blue Hawaii, Indiana Jones, Donovan's Reef, Jurassic Park and, most recently, The Descendants with George Clooney. Bette Midler lives here, but most of the celebrities leave after six months; they cannot tolerate the isolation....
Only 65,000 residents on the island....and they like it that way. Ordinances restrict construction height to "nothing taller than a palm tree", and also prohibit any billboards. There is only one road on the island, and it does not go all the way around....the interior is way too rugged for any construction.....inaccessible, visible only from the air. Most of the 30 mile by 28 mile island is a conservation park....AND 9 golf courses!
We ate lunch on the beach at Duke's, a popular Hawaiian chain. Food was good, but toilets weren't as clean as NZ.....we are back in the U.S.!!!
Decided on an open air trolley tour. The weather is spectacular! We toured only 1/4 of the visible perimeter and it took 3.5 hours!
This was the original working pier, built in 1820.....The pier where the ship is docked was built in mid 1940's to accommodate traffic.
Living on Kauai is very expensive.....the median house price is $500,000....gallon of milk is $8...electricity for modest home housing two people is $300/month WITHOUT air conditioning.
On the other hand, there is no crime. The "coconut wireless" is a strong deterrent. Everyone knows everyone else. Where are u gonna go to escape. Kauai boasts one of the top 100 rural hospitals in the United States.....and 57 degrees is the record low!!!
You can be at a beach in 10 minutes from anywhere on the island....keeping in mind that the road only circles the perimeter of the island....and even that does not complete the circle. They ARE expanding the road to 3 lanes! The highest speed limit is 40 mph, and if there should be a wreck....well, you might as well go back home. As you see, the scenery is stunning!
Ah, yes, stunning!!!
These majestic Norfolk pines were introduced by Captain Cook in the 1800's......the tall straight trunk provided a sturdy mast for the ships.
"Heiau" is loosely translated today as "church"
This is what remains.....but it was never a building....a "sacred place" was primarily rocks encircling the sacred place where the ceremonies took place. This heiau was dedicated to the Rising Sun.
A Heiau of another sort.....the royal birthing grounds. No one was allowed on this sacred ground but women of royalty....no males......only women of royalty giving birth, assisted by other women. The pregnant woman would squat and lean her back against the stone wall to birth her child.
A true luau sponsored by a local church...an annual fund raising event, supporting local charities. Our tour guide commented that a baby's first birthday is a HUGE event on Kauai and the family will invite hundreds of friends and family to a luau to celebrate the event.
We are in the largest state park on the island....18,000 acres. Families turn out in droves on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.....note the tent for shade....note the SIZE of the tent....this is only one of hundreds of tents of various sizes. Should have taken a picture of the parking lot.....there were hundreds, if not thousands, of cars!!!!
The seashore of Lydgate Beach Park, alternated between sandy, rocky, populated, deserted.....a windy day and good surf. The 18,000 acres also included the pavilion for luaus, and several sports fields.
Back in the trolley.....a visit to the Opaeka Falls, which "fall" 151 feet!!
The Wailua River is the only navigable river in all of Hawaii. Lush farmland borders most of its 20 miles, leading to the falls and a fern grotto.
Chickens and roosters run wild in Kauai. On 9/11/1992, a hurricane demolished Kauai. The surviving chickens multiplied rapidly in the wild and are still doing so. They breed all year and cock fights are legal! They are not eaten though; the meat is too tough. Kauai has one Costco, one Walmart, one KFC and 2 Starbucks.
The one with the "red head" is a Brazilian cardinal. Did you know that Hawaii is the number one consumer of Spam in the world, probably dating back to the vast consumption during WW II.? And did you know that Spam stands for: Some Parts Are Meat?
On to Kauai's capital city of Lihue where these two monuments were donated by the Japanese government. The occasion was commemorating the centennial celebration of Japanese immigration to Kauai, 1868-1968. Yes, the same people who bombed us only 25 years prior.
Good bye, Kauai. We would like to try the "isolation" here for a longer period of time!