Category Archives: Kauai

Leaving Kauai, Heading Home

Day 236

It was time to say farewell to Kauai. Thank you for the pleasant accommodations at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club (thank you to the Chens for trading with us!).

One more breakfast stop at Kalapaki Beach Hut (aka Kalapaki Burgers). Ron had the delicious breakfast sandwich with Portuguese sausage, fried egg, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, mayo.

I had the pancake sandwich. Not much of a sandwich, just 2 pancakes, bacon, 2 eggs. I should have ordered the special which was just 1 pancake, 1 egg, bacon or sausage + coffee for $5. The pancakes were nice and fluffy and piping hot but I could only eat one…

We had trouble again last night checking into our flight so I ended up calling customer service to find out why. It seems like interisland flights on Hawaiian do not have assigned seats until you check-in at the counter so you are not allowed to check-in online. Seems inconvenient considering if you travel on to the mainland, you are likely to check bags and the fee with web check-in is $23 per person for the 1st bag but $25 per person at the counter. Most of us want to save money when we can. But the customer service person helped me by putting a notation that they should only charge me $23 per bag since the web check-in wouldn’t work for me. When we got to the counter at the airport though, she was going to charge me $25 so I had to ask her to look thoroughly in the notes to find it. Kind of a hassle but it all worked out and we got safely from Kauai to Oahu then from Oahu to SF. Here is Simon waiting for take-off from Honolulu.

Next time, no more connecting flights. It’s worth it for a non-stop flight with a baby. Poor guy gets bored in the plane and got a little fussy. He slept on the short flight from Kauai to Honolulu for about 30 minutes then almost 2 hours on the flight to SF but got really bored the last 2 hours of the flight. I went to the back of the plane for a bit to keep him entertained but the last 30 minutes, we ended up letting him watch a Baby Einstein video on Ron’s iPad.

Good to be back home. Back to work tomorrow.

Kauai Day Seven

Day 235

We went today to check out Spouting Horn, a natural wonder that occurs when water rushes under the lava shelf and bursts through a small opening at the surface. A pretty cool site, complete with sound effects (from a nearby blowhole) and we saw some sea turtles nearby.

We went to find ourselves breakfast and ended up at Poipu Tropical Burgers. Bad choice. We should have read Yelp before eating here. Their menu sounded good and the service started out well but we were disappointed and irritated by the end of the meal. We ordered the cornflake crusted French toast with guava sauce with 2 eggs and Portuguese sausage. This is what we got for >$10.

There is about half a banana there for Simon to eat but he ended up not wanting to eat it. Instead he spent the meal squirming and wanted to get out of the stroller.

A few things were bad at this restaurant. The quality was bad, look at that soggy French toast. The value was terrible, >$10 for that little food. The service was not friendly nor helpful. I had asked if I could have half a banana for Simon since he started to eat bananas yesterday and I wanted him to have some breakfast. At first, the waitress said no, they can’t do it but when I asked again, she said she would ask the chef. At first I was happy when we got the banana for Simon, until we saw the bill. They charged $1.50 for those few slices of banana but she hadn’t even come to inform us before putting it on the plate and charging us for it. At the very least, I think she should have come to tell us how much it would cost so that we could choose to get it or not. I would’ve just tried to feed Simon some jarred baby food instead if that was the case. $1.50 for half a banana?! Probably wasn’t even half.

After breakfast, we went to check out the beach near the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club. Very warm and pretty.

It’s almost time to say Aloha to Kauai.

Another stop during the day was to the Kauai Coffee Company Visitor Center. They have a nice little walking tour that takes about 20-30 minutes (lots of signs to read).

Simon next to some coffee plants.

Back at the visitor center, they have a lot of coffee out to taste and some interesting memorabilia. It was a good to be able to try their coffee and although they were very fragrant, I wasn’t a fan of the flavor of the coffees. Most left a strange aftertaste to me and were more bitter than I like. I usually like my coffee dark with a touch of cream and without sugar but couldn’t handle these beans.

We did some shopping around town before heading back to the hotel. We stopped by Costco which is just like any other Costco except that they carry some Hawaiian products and apparently make a great ahi poke (but didn’t get to try it). When we go to Hawaii again, I think this should be our first stop for water, milk (they sell it by 1 gallon instead of 2), snacks, etc for the week. You end up spending a lot at this small grocery chains and ABC, etc. After we got back from shopping around town, Simon did his stretches with daddy.

Then since he didn’t seem tired, we down to the pool again in the early evening. He got a little bored and started sucking on the octopus tentacle.

Although we did this yesterday, I didn’t make a video until today. Simon got “dunked” into the water. Yesterday, Ron dunked him straight down while covering his nose (so water wouldn’t go up inside) but today, another dad recommended that you make Simon “dive” head first so that the water will just pass the top of his nose rather than run the risk of going up inside. Does that not make sense? Well, check out the video to see. Simon didn’t seem to mind much and he held his breath automatically. Still makes me nervous though.

Ron also started to put Simon horizontally to mimic actual swimming and at first, Simon didn’t do anything, just kept looking around and smiling and giggling but then he started to really get into it by flapping his arms and kicking his feet a little bit. It was so adorable and people around us kept on smiling and laughing with Simon. You can see a bit in this video with his arms doggy paddling and his feet slightly moving. He’s on his way to becoming a water baby!

With all that exercise, he was understandably tired so we couldn’t go out to dinner since he went to sleep early. Ron instead went across the street for takeout from Kalapaki Joe’s. Here are their fish tacos with onions rings. The tacos were very refreshing and delicious slaw. Onion rings nice and crunchy even for takeout.

The nachos with kalua pork. Also yummy but could do with some more sauce or something (like more sour cream or guac…).

Tomorrow it’s time to head back to the bay area!

Kauai Day Six

Day 234

Comfortably sleeping.

We decided to check out some waterfalls today. Here is Wailua Falls on East Shore.

We also went to Lydgate State Park. There is a playground there that is good for kids (probably older than Simon). Ron took Simon down on a few slides.

Then we went on the swings. Simon didn’t know what to make of it.

At the beach nearby, we found a hen and her little chicks relaxing underneath the shade.

We got Simon changed into his swimming trunks and rash guard and let him check out the water. The park has a protected alcove that is great for kids since it is surrounded by rocks so the waves don’t hit the shore full force.

Simon and daddy splashing in the water.

For lunch, we went to Duane’s Ono Char Burger.

Although it was a bit of a wait, their burgers are really good. Great fillings, not really special beef. This is the Duane’s Special (thousand island, pickles, onions, sprouts, cheddar & swiss cheese). I love it that they cut the burger in half for you, easier to eat.

This is the Local Boy (teriyaki sauce, pineapple, cheddar cheese). Sweet and savory. The beef isn’t marinated though, just slathered with sauce.

Deliciously crunchy onion rings and their special salt seasoning.

Then we stopped by Opaeka’a Falls.

and the Wailua River.

Simon seems to like the warm weather so that he doesn’t have to wear clothes, just a diaper.

But also keep warm bundled up in his blankie from home.

We went to the pool in the early evening to let Simon have some more splash time. He still doesn’t seem too sure about the floater.

After the pool, we walked down the beach to Duke’s Canoe Club which is right next to our hotel. We were seated downstairs near the koi pond. Even though we were seated in the bar area, the full restaurant menu is available (which is upstairs) including the salad bar.

Our drinks for the night.

Fried calamari with guava ketchup. Cooked well, not tough, and great sauce.

Macadamia nut pesto seafood fettucine. Yummy but couldn’t finish it all. I liked the pesto with macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts.

Ron had the half huli huli chicken and half rack of ribs. We weren’t sure what huli huli chicken was but it wasn’t bad but also did not seem unique.

As we left dinner, it started drizzling a bit but we were able to avoid getting soaked since our hotel was right next door. We spent the rest of the evening inside our room, entertained by Simon. Simon has somehow learned how to shake his head side to side, like saying “no” and he mimics us (sometimes) when we shake our head side to side. We tried to teach him “yes” by shaking up and down but he just laughs at us and shakes side to side.

In order to tire him out some more before bedtime, we were throwing his jingle ball back and forth and having him “kick” at it. For some reason, he loved it and was laughing like crazy.

Kauai Day Five

Day 233

I’m always entertained when I see Simon’s sleeping position during the night.

This morning Ron went for some scuba so Simon and I stuck around the hotel and went to the pool. We stayed in the kiddie pool for about an hour before Simon got a little tired and went back to the room. Isn’t he a cutie?

Ron brought home some food from Dani’s Restaurant. Here is the deep fried seafood platter (mahi mahi and scallops) with fries and mac salad.

Kalua pork with rice and mac salad and a small side of lomi lomi salmon.

After our lunch, we all decided to take a long afternoon nap, including Simon.

When we finally woke up from our naps, we went to the Koloa Rum Company Tasting Room. They offer a tasting every 30 minutes (on the hour and on the half-hour) but no children are allowed in the tasting room itself (so Ron and I had to switch off). Each person is only allowed 1 oz total of rum. They are very strict, likely because the state laws are very tough. But it is a short and sweet presentation and they also offer their chocolate rum sauce and rum cake at the end of the tasting. Here we mixed our dark and gold rums with their mai tai mix. It’s pretty potent stuff.

We did not end up buying any rum but did buy a small rum cake and some buttered rum flavored coffee.

After the tasting, we went to find dinner and ended up at Mark’s Place. Open Monday through Friday 10am-8pm. Closed weekends.

Simon waiting anxiously for our dinner.

We ordered the famous mix plate with chicken katsu, beef teriyaki, and beef stew served with rice, chow mein, and mac salad. Very yummy.

Also, we had the loco moco (mini serving without the salad). Sauce was delicious.

Plus 2 freshly made SPAM musubi for tomorrow.

Simon is resourceful in using us to help him stand up.

He is also slowly getting better at crawling on all fours.

Here he is moving a few feet. Notice how his ankles and legs cross each other? Not sure why he does that but that is also how he “walks” sometimes when we are helping him stand up. It seems like it slows him down (which may be a good thing)… maybe something he’ll grow out of.

Kauai Day Four

Day 232

I found Simon had wrapped himself up in his blanket early this morning. We usually put him down stretched out lengthwise and his head the other direction. For some reason, he finds sleeping across the short width of the crib more comfortable so tosses and turns until he moves this way. Silly baby.

The morning view from our room.

Happy to be out and about to start our day.

We headed to the North Shore today and stopped by Kilauea Fish Market for lunch. We had the refreshing yerba mate iced tea.

The sesame ahi poke. It had yellow onions, green onions, and sesame seeds plus a soy-wasabi dipping sauce. Very fresh and good texture. Chunks of ahi were cut in awkward pieces though, some were really big or small and some in-between.

The grilled mahi mahi taco with salsa, cheddar cheese, and a garlic-cilantro cream. Pretty tasty and the mahi mahi was grilled well, not dry. We gave Simon a few bites of mahi mahi and he seemed to like it so maybe we’ll have to try to feed him some fish when we get home.

Ron ordered the ahi wrap which is wrapped in a sun dried tomato tortilla with brown rice, carrots, cucumber, mung bean sprouts, green onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, organic greens and creamy oriental dressing. All the vegetables were very refreshing and it didn’t feel heavy at all even though there was plenty of seared ahi tun wrapped in.

After lunch, we dropped by the Kilauea Lighthouse.

We took a closer peek ($5/person, <16yo = free) since it is also a wildlife refuge. Recently, a bunch of babies were born and were nesting in the ground. This is a wedge-tailed shearwater nesting bird hatchling, if you can see that fuzzy gray colored thing in the hole.

I think this is the ne ne bird that Kauai is famous for.

As you can see, the lighthouse is undergoing renovation right now and it is slated to be complete by it’s 100th birthday in 2013. Right now it does look pretty weather-worn with windows broken and the lens boarded up. If we come back to Kauai, I hope to see it restored.

On our way to Hanalei, we stopped by to check out the view of some taro fields. We ended up stopping by Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. which makes smoothies with a taro base rather than a milk or yogurt base. We ordered a mango papaya smoothie (even though they ran out of bananas so they weren’t going to sell any smoothies today) and although it was refreshing, you couldn’t really taste any taro, maybe just a little grittiness of the taro base but that was it.

We continued driving and stopped at Tunnels Beach for a fresh coconut drink.

There was strong currents today though so not appropriate for swimming.

The best scuba is usually here but with the big waves during the winter, people do not go scuba during this time of the year. Also, we should have known better to not sit too close to the water’s edge but our things got a little wet when the water surprised us when a big wave splashed down and the edge of the water came all the way up to where we were sitting. At least only our feet got wet.

We tried to let Simon drink some coconut juice but he couldn’t suck that hard through the length of the straw. Simon has figured out how to drink from a straw but only if it is a bendy straw and if it has been cut in half. He doesn’t have enough “sucking power” yet. He has also learned how to drink from a water bottle since it is sort of like his milk bottle but without the nipple so he pulls the bottle towards his mouth, either puts his entire mouth around it or on the lip and I help to tilt the water into his mouth. I’m surprised whenever he can actually take a few gulps. I think it entertains him a bit.

The beautiful green mountain behind us.

Right below the green mountain is a dry cave. Not much to see but pretty cool.

We continued driving and reached the end of the highway at Ke’e Beach.

Along the beach were these visible tree roots since the water had washed away all the sand underneath it.

Ron held Simon to let him put his toes in the sand.

Right after this picture was taken though, a big swell caught us again and we got wet up to our knees! Ron almost lost a shoe but it stayed at the edge of the water so he was able to retrieve it. Simon wasn’t affected at all though since Ron was holding him in his arms. I understand now why where was a lifeguard tower and there were actually lifeguards there, it’s easy to get caught by these big waves. We’ll have to go back to South Shore for some calmer beaches.

We then slowly made our way back to our hotel. First we stopped in Princeville to walk around the shops and have some ice cream at Lappert’s. On the left is Kauai Pie (Kona coffee ice cream swirled with chocolate fudge, coconut flakes, macadamia nuts and vanilla cake crunch) in a chocolate-nut waffle cone and on the right is Big Island Inspiration (Vanilla ice cream with chunks of fudge brownies and chocolate) and Pumpkin Crunch (seasonal) in a regular waffle cone.

Simon enjoying a toe while we’re enjoying ice cream.

Then we stopped by Kapaa Farmer’s Market to get some fruits to try. They had this neat sign.

Then we went nearby to this place called Chicken in a Barrel to pick up dinner. They smoke their meats in an old oil drum. It smelled really delicious, a very good smokey smell. The beef was maybe a little too charred but everything else was delicious, including their chili which had big chunks of ground meat.

We bought Simon a big Hawaiian avocado. It’s supposed to be creamier than Haas but it actually didn’t seem that way. It seemed harder even though it was ripe but still able to mash easy enough for Simon’s little gums. He seemed to like it. His favorite foods now are avocado, puffs, and cookies. Not really healthy huh? I hope it’s a phase he’ll grow out of soon.

Other fruits we bought include the apple banana, starfruit, and cherimoya (I think) plus a Haas avocado thrown in (we bought it just in case we couldn’t find a Hawaiian avocado so Simon would have something to eat). The apple banana is supposed to taste a bit like apple and also turn pinkish or reddish with cooking or ripening, we’ll have to see if it does that. This starfruit should be sweet since it’s almost orange in color. Cherimoya? Not sure how that will taste. There is also something called an egg fruit that I’d like to try. It’s shaped like an egg and inside texture is like a hard boiled egg (kind of dry and pasty) and supposed to taste like sweet potato.

We did pick up some baby yogurt with peach for Simon to see if he would eat it. He ate about 1/3 of it (most of it on his face) before he stopped. He would only eat it if we let him hold the spoon and direct it into his own mouth.

We worry that Simon isn’t eating enough solid foods and seems to prefer to drink milk. It’s been tough feeding him while on vacation as there isn’t much of our food that he can eat since it usually has too much salt or is fried or he just can’t gum. As I mentioned, he tried mahi mahi today and seemed to enjoy it so we’ll keep on trying to feed him whatever he is willing to eat. I just hope he’s getting enough nutrients. I guess I shouldn’t worry too much as long as he keeps on growing.

Also, I would like to say thank you to everyone for the birthday greetings these last few days! I feel very loved 🙂 We’ve been having a wonderful time here on Kauai, what more could anyone ask for on their birthday? 🙂 Thanks again!