Tuesday, February 28, 2012

16 Hours in Kauai: A tale of cocks and canyons.

The NY Times travel section has a regular feature wherein they pick a destination and then tell you what you could do there within a 36 hour period. Of course, they neglect to mention that you would need to have a late model hovercraft to actually complete their itinerary in the allotted time frame. Either that or you must be willing to zip through a museum as if there was a prize to be collected at the gift shop, Amazing Race-style or limit yourself to no more than 30 minutes for a full sit-down meal (good luck with that in Europe).

I, myself, am intimately familiar with the rushed visit. Oftentimes, through a confluence of unfortunate circumstances, I have extremely short stays in places that are worthy of much closer inspection. For a perfect example of this annoying phenomena, I only need to look back to the beginning of this month, when I spent a whopping 16 hours on the unspoiled island of Kauai.

Geologically speaking, this is the oldest of the Hawaiian island and the last to be conquered by King Kamehameha. It is immediately observable that they have done a similarly impressive job of resisting rampant tourism, with the law being that no building can be taller than the height of a coconut tree.

For me, a bit of planning is essential if you are going to maximize a short stay.  It is imperative to hit the ground running, particularly if daytime hours are involved.  This is the period of time when you can visit attractions, appreciate natural beauty, maybe even fit in a walking tour.  Anything after five pm and you are looking at eating, drinking and nightlife.  We were kind of in between.

3pm: We checked in to our hotel and my friend, Barbie,  promptly made the classic rookie mistake of sitting down at the beachfront bar to enjoy the view with a cocktail.


Fortunately, I was there in time to cancel her order and rush her and my similarly thirsty friend, Matt, into the waiting rental car.  The daylight hours were ticking and there was a canyon dubbed the "grand Canyon of the Pacific" an hour and a half away that we simply had to see.

3:40pm: The concierge had helped plan our route, which included a stop at the Opaekaa Falls. I don't want to say that this stop was rushed but I do have it on good authority that there have been more leisurely drive-bys in Central and East LA.



Quick as it was, this was our first chance to meet the island's most populous residents, the wild roosters of Kauai.  They are everywhere.  Everywhere! Were one of them to decide to run for mayor, he or she would win by a landslide without even having to campaign very hard.


The scenic, coastal road went by quickly and soon we were coming up on the Waimea Canyon. At   10 miles long, 1 mile deep and more than 3500 ft. deep, it is the largest in the Pacific.


5pm:  As we descended into the Waimea Canyon State Park, we lost all radio stations and most cell phone reception but still had some daylight to work with.  We made it to mile marker 11, the principal lookout spot with enough time to appreciate the canyon's lovely and distinctive color palette.







5:45pm Satisfied that we had shot the canyon from all angles, we began to ascend in search of a suitable spot to watch the sunset.  With Matt now at the wheel, I used this opportunity to take random shots of the dramatically lit road.  I've got to say, I'm pretty happy with the results.










6:15pm All plans of finding a waterfront bar to watch the sunset were aborted when it was noted that the sun was in even more of a rush than we were.  Instead, we pulled into a small boat dock.


As there was no bar at this dock, it was discussed that perhaps I was a bit too rash in canceling the earlier drink orders.



8:00pm  The situation was remedied back at the hotel's tiki bar.  Once that closed, (11pm) it was followed by a visit to a nearby dance club.  All told, this still left a solid six hours to sleep before our scheduled 7am hotel pick-up.

This brings me to another important rule of the rushed visit, or perhaps it is more of a mantra:  You can sleep when you are dead.

10:00am We were able to get a nice airborne view of the northern part of the island, rainbow and all.  Had we been doing the NY Times version, I believe we could have substituted the hovercraft for the 737, but considering the time and equipment we had, I'd say we did alright...





4 comments:

  1. Berti,

    I am very proud of you. You gave up entertainment law to see the world. You showed my the ropes in the music biz when I was first starting out. You see your republicans friends can be nice as well...

    Jose P.

    ReplyDelete
  2. meant you showed me the ropes.....

    ReplyDelete
  3. I too visited this grand island.
    i found it very ironic that i, like hawaii was surprised attacked.
    ABANDONED by friends and left for dead only to be held hostage in a sightseeing tour from hades's nether regions and having honor of being accompanied by "Black Lungs" and "Pokemon".
    after a long drive and contemplating heavily on Seppuku, we returned to the hotel to encounter my intoxicated abandoners.free vodka was provided..all was forgiven.(or was it???????)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Anonymous,

    I am sure that this hypothetical scenario you speak of has a perfectly logical explanation. Say, perhaps, the abandoners did not realize the dire situation that his or her actions would lead to, seeing as a certain SeƱor Asqueroso had made assurances that were not to be.

    Also, I, er I mean the hypothetical abandoner, forgot my cell phone. My bad.

    ReplyDelete