May 31, 2003

Aloha Kauai! Aloha Big Island!

Our last day on Kauai dawned picture perfect as per usual. After leaving chilly and rainy Connecticut, we were starting to get used to this Hawaii 80's and sunny stuff. As beautiful as it was, we received the very disappointing news that our reserved Na Pali Snorkel Sail was canceled due to rough surf. I had received word a couple days prior to expect as much but it was still a total bummer. We were to take the 6 hour sail from Captain Sundown - I like to read about what we missed. Sigh.

Instead we ate a long breakfast, went for a dip, and walked down to the beach. Not just any old beach mind you, but the private beach of the Princeville Resort. "But you weren't staying at the Princeville Resort" you whine. Oh stop it... No one was there and no one cared. "But seriously, what part of 'Private Beach' don't you understand?" And now I know why I didn't marry you, you wimp.

THE Princeville Resort? Yes. Where the cheapest rooms are over 700 bucks? Yes. Where Matt Leblanc of "Friends" and "Joey" and "Ed" fame got married? Yes. In fact, he had just gotten married on this very beach a few weeks prior to our visit. I could still smell the stink of his bad acting in the air.

We lounged in the hammock the posh resort provided us and cavorted in the shallow lagoon of its private waters. I should have taken full advantage of the shade of their private palm tree as my shins turned a rather frightening shade of red after I fell asleep for a spell with my legs exposed to the bright sun. (Oh, you'll see pictures in subsequent days.) After we had our fill of pretending we were millionaires with our own private beach, we returned to our room to pack. It was time to leave Kauai and fly out to a completely different island.

We had some time to explore the "city" of Lihue before our flight which wouldn't rate a mention except for this: I bought an extra memory card for our camera just to be safe at a Radio Shack. We never used it and I sought to return it at a CT Radio Shack. I got all my money back after a 20 minute exercise in, "Wow, stuff is really expensive in Hawaii! And that 9.25% sales tax, how am I going to figure that out?" Just so you know. Their Tandy computers almost blew up because of the difficult transaction.

The little island airports in Hawaii are just darling, I have to tell you. They are tiny, they lack roofing, and they are filled with honeymooners and retirees. They are very, very different from the JFK's, LAX's, and BDL's we are familiar with. Oh, and they are generally on time too. We flew a puddle-jumper to Honolulu and then another on to Kona on the big island of Hawaii. For those of you ignorant as to the naming conventions of Hawaii, the state is called Hawaii and the biggest and southernmost island is called Hawaii but everyone calls it "The Big Island."

Not many people visit the big island as compared to Oahu, Kauai, and Maui. As such, there are no garish resorts or endless time share condo developments. Golf courses are few and far between and there are native Hawaiians everywhere. As loyal BesettingVice readers already know, the state's highest point (Mauna Kea) is there and is home to a bunch of observatories. Since Hawaii is so remote, and the big island is remoter, and Mauna Kea is so high, it's pretty much the best outpost for space observation. The observatory requires one particular quirk - all the lights on the island are very dim, and most are shut off after 10 PM or so, so as to limit the light pollution at night.

"So what" you say? So this: there is nowhere to eat on the island after about 8PM. So if you're going to Hawaii for the happening nightlife, I can strongly advise you to stay in Honolulu. But, if you are a tiny bit adventurous and enjoy natural beauty like nowhere else on earth - from black sand beaches to the only tropical rain forest in the US to active volcanoes to Mars-like mountain tops, the Big Island is for you.

For the record, we loved it. Loved it silly. And we had 5 more days ahead of us here for you to read about.

Continue on to Days 6 and 7!

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