Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kauai Day Five, Sunday

Kauai Day Five, Sunday

I spent an hour wandering the beach and cliffs with my camera and then tried to upload them at the lobby. We had a slow morning but eventually decided to go to Nawiliwili Beach back in Lihue, where we swam in the crescent strip beach for a while but mainly stayed in the shade. We are waaay too afraid of the sun now! (Probably a good thing).

For an early dinner we went to Duke's Canoe Club which was right on the beach. There were two singers playing guitars and serenading us throughout dinner, the main singer had a really amazing voice. We sat way in the back by a pond with koi fish and had calamari appetizers, and I had a delicious mahi mahi sandwich. The most amazing part of dinner, however, were the lava flow drinks! We had multiple people back in California telling us how amazing they were, and they were not wrong. It was basically a pina colada with strawberry syrup/sauce added, deeeelicious!

We then decided to be super classy and go to WalMart to look for some cheap movies. We also lucked out and found some rashguard shirts (tight spandex-y shirts for surfing that have UV 50 protection) because we are so afraid of the sun!

We made it home and decided to watch Hellraiser, which was . . . interesting. And kind of gory. Andra and Drew made popcorn and we snacked on it until the movie was finished, at which point I was about asleep because of a Benadryl I took to relieve the itching from my sunburn.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kauai Photos, Again

Photobucket uploads photos ridiculously slow, but I have about two hundred (half or so) loaded here! Enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kauai Day Four, Saturday

Kauai Day Four, Saturday

Woke up at nearly eight, made vanilla macadamia nut coffee (had chocolate macadamia nut yesterday) and then went with Drew to work out in the resort's gym. Ran a mile and did a little bit of leg workouts and then realized my shirt was chafing my burn too badly to continue. Came back, drank coffee, ate half a bagel, called Troy and remembered today is my Nanny's 90th birthday! Yaaay!

We all decided to go to Koke'e State Park and drive Waimea Canyon, which is the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific Coast”. Speaking as someone who has hiked the Grand Canyon, Waimea Canyon is way too green and the temperature is way too cool. ^_- We all pile in our two rental cars (after another intensive sunblocking expedition of layers of sunblock, clothes, sweater [even though it was a bit too warm for a sweater], and packed our backpacks with food bars and water and towels in case we went swimming) and drove to Waimea, which took nearly half an hour. Beautiful drive!

While on the drive with my friend and Clay in our car, I called to wish Nanny a happy birthday. Troy had told me that as a surprise, they were picking up two of Nanny's best friends and taking them to dinner and then to a Cirque de Symphony performance. I talked with Nanny and wished her a happy birthday, and talked with mom and dad for a while. Dad told me that he and mom stayed a night where we were headed when they honeymooned by hiking the Na Pali coast!

We started the drive up the canyon. It was incredibly beautiful, but hard to take pictures of because there is so much lush vegetation that it blocks the view half the time! Luckily during our hike we had some great views. After over ten miles of winding roads, we pulled over at the Koke'e State Park trailhead and began hiking down to a waterfall. We suspect it was nearly two miles each way, it took about an hour to go down, some of which was nice and easy, some very steep and slippery! The views along the way were incredible, especially on this one big rocky area where the canyon just opened up before us. There were some switchbacks and steep parts after that, but we finally made it down to two waterfalls, an upper and a lower one. We spent some time there, and Allie even swam (I reapplied sunscreen to the few spots available to be burned) and ate a yogurt bar and drank some water.) Then we went to the lower waterfall which was just gorgeous and took some more pictures. We finally decided to head back, feeling the heat and feeling kind of hungry and thirsty. And MY GOD. Are these people ever in shape. It took us about 45 minutes to get back to the top, and the whole time I was sweating and panting and dripping and gasping and at the back of the pack. Allie was hopping around like a mountain goat, and the guys have such long legs they were making big strides, and Andra is just in great shape. I lugged along behind them, wishing I would take off my sweater but afraid to give the sun another chance. FINALLY we made it to the top! Whew!

We drove back the way we came and stopped in a small town for Jo Jo's Shaved Ice. I had a tropical paradise, which had guava, passion fruit, and some other flavor, plus macadamia-nut ice cream at the bottom. Delicious! I loved the ice cream so much! Then we decided we were too hungry to wait for dinner at a restaurant, and walked to a small taco hole-in-the-wall. This food? So amazingly good. I had seared wasabi ahi taco with cabbage and a wasabi aioli sauce on a homemade tortilla with some mild salsa and some homemade tortilla chips. The taco was big and stuffed, there was a lot of ahi that was so deliciously rare, and we all just fell in love with our food. A definite must whenever in Kauai!

One bad point to today: I discovered BLISTERS on my chest from the sunburn! Very small, clear blisters on the reddest parts! I am so upset, I hate that I damaged my skin so badly. I am NEVER going to go without sunscreen again. Ever. This is just way too painful and way too scary to deal with. The bright side is most of the sunburns are not as painful today, just a few around the edges of my bikini. Gah.

So we came back from Waimea, taking a quick detour to find where the blowhole spout is (right by us) and found a great deal on snorkeling equipment (Boss Frog's, must go back) and realized we were right by Poipu Beach, which is supposed to have great snorkeling. Unfortunately we were too darn tired to explore any of that today.

Now we are back in the resort. Allie, Zach, and Clay are at Shipwreck Beach boogie-boarding, though it is nearly dark and they should be back soon. Andra and Drew just drove to rent a movie for tonight, and I am sitting here by myself after a shower and reapplying medicated Aloe Vera all over. Yay!

As soon as my friend and Drew come back I'm off to the main area to connect to wifi and to upload these last few days posts and put the pictures up! . . . they are home now and could not find the movie place but did buy some pasta to make for dinner!

We are having a wonderful time, sunburns aside, and I am just in love with how beautiful Kauai is. The only thing that would make this vacation even better is if Nick was here. Then it would be perfect.

Kauai Day Three, Friday

Kauai Day Three, Friday

The next morning was full of pain. We had debated going on a hike today (a SHADY hike) to stay out of the sun and the beach to let our sunburns heal.


We hurt too much to move. They had worsened over the night to the point where moving and sitting and even touching them hurt badly.

So we stayed in, putting on more aloe vera, eating, and sitting on the balcony. I woke up two hours before everyone again and spent the time reading Emma on the balcony and then dozing. There was no rain but it was kind of chilly so I ended up dozing with a beach towel over me on the lounge chair. We had bagels, fruit, and some poppyseed muffins for breakfast, and the others also had egg, ham, and cheese sandwiches.

My friend and Drew ran out to go to the store again and came back with aloe vera with lidocaine and tea tree oil. I took another Alleve and then a Benadryl to see if it would help with inflammation, but it mostly made me sleepy, so I tried to read in bed for a while and ended up falling asleep for two or three hours.

After my nap I put the lidocaine aloe vera on, which felt pretty darn amazing, yay! It didn't deal with all the pain however, so boo. And it doesn't last long, double boo.

Zach and Allie had left on a walk that morning and spent the day at the beach (they were not burned as badly as the rest of us) and we all stayed in until five or so when we decided to go on a hike at Poipu Beach by tide pools and blowholes, according to a book the concierge loaned us.

And thus began the most intensive hiking preparation ever seen.

Two layers of thick sunblock! Bathing suits just in case we wanted to swim after the sun went down! Workout capri's and a t-shirt, plus a 3/4 sweater! my friend and Drew had hats on, and Clay put a t-shirt over his head! We packed two backpacks with three different sunblocks, some snacks, water, a hiking book, our phones, and my big camera! We drove a mile or so to the Poipu Beach, and started walking around where the book said to go, and realized that it was just a beach area and not a hike at all.

We looked super cool in our intense sun-blocking outfits when surrounded by people in their swimwear, let me tell you.

We walked along the tide pools and saw some fish and crabs and lava rock, very pretty. We saw some sea turtles by the rocks on our hike, they were so cute! We found Zach and Allie, and Zach decided to walk back like they had came and Allie decided to swim in a little area where a ton of people were swimming. The ironic part was that beach had at least six signs saying “Do not Swim!” “Danger—Strong Current!” but there were so many people swimming and using boogie boards! We weren't comfortable leaving her so we stayed in the shade and watched her, feeling like bodyguards or something in our outfits. I called Nick and said goodnight. I miss him.

After her swim we started walking back to our car, and found a shop that rented boogie boards for $20 for a week! Great deal! They rented three and then were so excited that after driving home Drew, Clay, Allie, and Zach went out and boogie boarded at Shipwreck Beach. (In front of the Hyatt, the beach where we burned so badly the first day.) my friend and I sat on the couch at the resort and hoped they wouldn't die, it was sprinkling and the waves were intense and it was nearly dark.

They survived! And came back and we made a pizza from Costco at like 8:20 pm and then watched some crazy surfers on TV and sat around and talked and got tired.

Drew and Zach had been sleeping on the couch pull-out, but they are so tall their feet hung off, so Allie and I switched with them for the night and slept on the couch pull-out. I had taken another Benadryl that night and slept very well.

And now it is morning on the fourth day and I am on the balcony watching the waves and seeing the overcast skies and . . . wow, that was a really loud and big wave. Eeek! . . . and being misted on a little bit. It is after eight and I am thinking it is breakfast time.


Kauai Day Two Thursday

Kauai Day Two Thursday

So this morning I woke up at six and watched the sun rise. Drew and Zach woke up around seven, so I was excited to go back inside and talk to real people! Then about fifteen minutes later Allie woke up. my friend and my friend's brother were still asleep, so we decided to go get breakfast. We drove a few miles to a small foods store, Living Foods. It was so expensive we didn't buy a thing! A pineapple was nearly seven dollars, a box of Kashi cereal nearly nine. Ridiculous. So we went back and my friend's brother was up and he made us all breakfast sandwiches of eggs and ham and cheese, delicious! We ate it with green grapes out on the balcony and fresh coffee that Zach made. Yummy!

My friend had been at the gym and she came back while we were eating. We decided to go find the beach in front of the Hyatt, which was supposed to be amazing. We went got dressed and sunscreened and started on the trail to the right, and went about five or so minutes before we realized it was in the opposite direction! We went hiking back and continued along for nearly ten minutes before we hit sandy beach, and kept going until we made it to this amazing area with fine sand and great waves. We lay down our towels and backpacks. It was about eleven o'clock.

The big waves coming in were irresistible and we all made our way down to the water, letting the waves slam into us and knock us around. my friend and I stayed for maybe twenty minutes and then went up to lay down on our towels in the sun, but the guys were in the water for hours. Allie joined us (she'd run to the Hyatt to see about a salon thing) and went into the water as well. my friend and I kept sunbathing, watching our friends, and just talking. It was lots of fun!

Unfortunately we stayed out for over three hours with minimal sunblock applications. By the time we all decided to head back to our suite, I was noticeably pink on my chest. After the ten minute hike, other people were finding pink spots. A few hours later and we were all looking like lobsters, excepting Allie, whose Mexican heritage helped her just brown. (Grrrr.) I was red everywhere. Everywhere! It hurt sooo badly.

My friend's brother had decided to stay at the beach longer while we went back, and ran to Costco to stock our kitchen. He didn't reapply sunscreen either. (For the record, we all feel reaaaally stupid.) At Costco we spent nearly $200 on groceries and I bought more sunscreen and some aloe vera, which felt amazing on the pain. I also looked for sunglasses to replace mine which had broken the first day at the beach, but there were none.

The rest of the night was dedicated to us talking about how stupid we were, realizing that sunburns hurt like no other, and trying not to move. Also to taking pain medication, because OW.

We also medicated with mai tai's at the resort's $1 mai tai and free appetizer event from 5:30-6:30, where they had a buffet style of caulifower, broccoli, carrots and celery and a yummy dip, two different fried things with either crab or chicken, and the yummy drinks.

Then we went back to our suite and complained the whole night about sunburns and how we are all extremely stupid.

LESSON LEARNED: if you are white, put on a ton of sunblock and then put on more. And for the love of aloe vera, don't stay out in the sun for more than an hour your first day! Owwww!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Photos of Day One and Day Two

Link to my Photobucket account: here!

Kauai Day One!

On June 21st around 10:30 pm I arrived at my friend's where I would be spending the night so her mom could drive us and her brother my friend's brother to the airport at San Jose, a three hour drive from where we would begin. I was expecting my friend to be asleep because of our early start that next morning, but she and her mom was awake and eating Chinese salad, so we all stayed up chatting and preparing until nearly 1:00 a.m.

Our alarms went off at 2:00 a.m.

After dragging myself out of their comfy guest bedroom where my friend and I had slept that night, we got all of our things together and were in the car before 3:00 a.m. driving sleepily to San Jose. I was completely wiped and fell asleep on the side of the car, the headrest in front of me, and my friend's leg multiple times, and when I next awoke, it was 5:00 and we were nearing the airport. my friend's mom dropped us off and we said our goodbye's before heading inside with our (heavy!) bags on our (tired!) feet. It was a bit of a struggle to get our bags checked, mainly because there was no correctly marked lines or directions and the airport lady running around would says something that confused us and then run off again. But we did it eventually! Then we went through the longest security line ever! It was like standing in line at Space Mountain at Disneyland. We finally made it through and then we were in the airport terminals. We were also hungry.

So we went to Starbucks and I had a white mocha and a cranberry scone, and my friend and her brother got croissants and a breakfast sandwich. Yummy! We chugged our drinks because it was time for us to get in line to board at that time, on the smallest big plane I've ever been on. It held maybe 80 people and had the teeeniest seats ever! my friend and I sat together and my friend's brother a few seats in front of us. We departed by 7:20 a.m. and arrived a little over an hour later in LA. my friend dozed that whole flight and the waiting time before our next flight, but I wasn't able to sleep on that flight.

The next flight we took a shuttle (loooong ride!) across the airport to the proper terminal to get to our gate, which was either 43 or 48. We weren't sure because the screen had bad pixels. We thought it was 43. Our flight was meant to depart at 9:50. my friend fell asleep in the chair, I called Mom, Nick, Dad, and my aunt Terry who lives by LA, and then suddenly my friend's brother says, “It's 9:50 and we haven't been called yet. I'm gonna go check it out.” Oblivious to the meaning of that sentence, I nod and he disappears, leaving me with a sleeping friend and some bags.

A few minutes later he jogs back and tells us to hurry, wake up, we're at the wrong gate and they are boarding NOW. We grab our stuff and book it to gate 48 and board the plane.

This flight we did not have seats next to each other, which was very disappointing. We were going to trade with people but no one was able to, so my friend was at the front, my friend's brother in the middle, and I in the very last row by the window, next to a family of four plus a cousin. It was a loooong flight. The kids across from me were quiet which I was thankful for, but not talking to anybody for five plus hours kind of sucked. my friend stopped by once and I got up once to use the bathroom and go say hi back, but as soon as I headed down the plane the seatbelt sign turned on and I got back down, and it was too difficult to get back out to attempt it again. I read Emma by Jane Austen and slept that flight away.

Finally we landed in Kauai! It was 12:56 p.m. Hawaiian time (three hours earlier than California) and we deplaned, got our bags, and started sweltering in the humidity. It was about 75 degrees in Kauai but the humidity made it feel like we were swimming through the air, definitely hot the dry heat we were used to around Sacramento.

We took a shuttle to the Hertz car rental place, where my friend (awesome my friend, who planned this whole damn thing) had rented us a Nissan Vesta AND where they got a surprise $150 discount on the underage driver thing because the guy had a coupon he gave us! Yay!

Then we drove off to Poipu, a resort area on the South side of the island, using my friend's brother's phone for a GPS. We didn't get lost, but it did take a while because all the drivers here are apparently sloooow! We were distracted, however, by the gorgeous lush plants and scenery and the amazing hills and cliffs. We drove through the resort area until we made it to our beautiful resort, and parked and trekked inside in our sticky airplane clothes, where we were greeted with “Mahalo!” and given leis and told some of the resort's events and checked in. We then grabbed our bags and walked five or ten minutes to our building, and took the elevator to the third floor to our room.

Our ocean-front room.

In Kauai.


The ocean in front of me as I type this is not an ocean you can wade in. It hits up against a rock bank/cliff and makes some impressive smashes, and is beautiful to see. The entire suite we have is gorgeous. It had a living room, a dining room, a full kitchen, a master bedroom with a king bed and a master bathroom with a huge tub and a huge shower, a smaller bedroom with a Queen bed, a smaller bathroom but still a large shower, and a few closets. And it had a balcony, which has a table and four chairs, a smaller side table, and a lounge chair that I am sitting on at 6:11 a.m. and typing this down in Open Office to hopefully transfer to my blog later today with some photos.

Anyhoo, after arriving yesterday we were sooo hungry because the long flight didn't feed you unless you paid $10 for a salad or sandwich, and since we had some trail mix bars it wasn't necessary. We decided to go down to the grill at the resort, and my friend and I had a delicious fresh fish sandwich with fries and my friend's brother had a burger. We were right by this huuuge pool that had lots of people swimming and lounging around. It was a pleasant spot.

There was also an incident.

A bird incident.

While we were eating, my friend noticed “the cutest baby birds ever!” flocking around us hoping for some crumbs. I decided to feed them some even though my friend warned they would all come around and pester me for more. I tossed them a few crumbs and started to eat a french fry. I took a bite and had another bite to go when one of the small birds decided I wasn't sharing enough.

It flew at me, beating its wings in my face and hooking its claw around my lip for purchase as it tried to eat the french fry that I was eating. I screamed and flung my hand up at the bird, and it flew away, leaving me a panting pile of panic and the other two dying of laughter. The long and short of it is I do not in fact, now have bird rabies, and that I will never in my whole entire life feed birds again. (Later today I would find a placard by the main room that says "DO NOT FEED THE BIRDS". Oops).

Another odd thing happened during our dinner. I started getting really dizzy. I'm not sure why, if it was the lack of sleep, the two flights and possibly altitude sickness, or the humidity, but we came back to our room and all decided to lay down. I called Nick and talked for a while, still feeling like I was on a boat rocking back and forth even though I was laying down. We hung up and I decided to nap for a while. I fell asleep around 4 or 4:30.

I woke up after my friend and my friend's brother went to get groceries, after the rest of our party arrived (Drew, his brother Zach, and his girlfriend Allie) and after they had made and eaten a pizza and were chatting around the dining room table. It was after midnight.

I stumbled out, said hi, and stumbled to the bathroom to take out my horribly goopy and glued in contacts. Then I walked back out and redid my hi, sitting down and chatting for a while as well. Within the hour we were all back in bed, though I was afraid sleeping would be impossible now after a day of napping and six straight hours of sleep.

My friend and her brother took the master bedroom, Allie and I took the Queen bedroom, and Drew and Zach slept on the pull-out couch. Allie dropped off right away and it took me about two hours to get anywhere near sleep. I kept starting to doze off and then jerking awake. It was hard to sleep without Nick. I still woke up every two hours or so, but I managed to stay asleep until just before six. The rooms were humid (we had the window open to hear the ocean and it was looooud, it also rained sporadically and loudly through the whole night) and I was hot and not tired anymore. So, in the dark of the room, I grabbed my laptop and snuck through the living room where Drew and Zach were sleeping, opened the slider as quietly as possible, and sat down to write everything that happened yesterday, while watching the sunrise. (It's beautiful, by the way). It has been raining with sprinkles and outright downpours since I've been out here, but it is cooler and the mist is welcome. The ocean is crashing into the rocks and those (evil) small birds are chirping. I think I'm the only one awake right now, so I'll stay out here for a while longer and perhaps doze a bit more.

On the balcony with an ocean-view in Kauai.


(Pictures have been taken, but with a really good camera, and they are too large to even upload to Photobucket quickly. Wifi is only available in the main room unfortunately, and my battery is running out. I'll get them up as soon as possible, but in the meantime, here is a dark and stormy looking picture of the view off our balcony!)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Craaaaazy Girl

"Crazy Girl" by the Eli Young Band is adorable. Just throwing that out there. (It's a country song, don't listen to it dad!)

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On Saturday I broke down my 20 gallon freshwater aquarium and moved it to our apartment. That . . . was fun. Yeah. Just about seven whole hours of fun. Whee! (Tips for moving aquariums may follow in the future, but right off: 5 gallon Home Depot buckets with lids are awesome, don't use styrofoam because they leak all over your trunk and your jeans and are super hard to carry, move as much of your cycled water as possible, at least 50%, and once you're all done setting it up test your water again because the new water will not be the same pH. Oh, and if you are a crazy girl like me and decide to change the substrate at the same time, wash it ahead of time and leave some of your old gravel in a nylon hose in the new tank so that your bacteria from the old gravel keep the aquarium's chemistry levels from bouncing all over and getting new tank syndrome. It seems to be working so far!)

We also purchased six ghost shrimp and two mystery snails, and they are adorable. My corycat is SO much happier with the new sand substrate instead of harsh gravel, and my killifish is killing me with his possibly being sick but then being perfectly fine and MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY, DAMMIT. Oh, and if he is sick then I can't treat him with my malachite green because apparently it is bad for invertebrates and snails. AWESOMENESS.

I am totally obsessed with my tank again, yay! I want more tanks, including a super awesomely expensive saltwater, not yay!

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The private school I work at as the computer teacher/after-school teacher has their graduation tomorrow, and a field day on Wednesday where the staff and parents play the kids in a softball game and have a bbq! Should be fun!

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I . . . have run out of things to talk about. My brain is going a mile a minute about tanks and aquarium plants and getting gourami and how I want angels but need a taller tank but I've had angels before but they've died after a year or so and waaaaaaah. If only money wasn't an issue! (Sob!)

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Oh yeah! Kauai! I go to Kauai on the 22nd until the 2nd, with Andra! Yaaaay!