Kauai is paradise.
Sometimes i wonder if it is paradise lost.
Yesterday brought this to mind.. The thoughts jelled last night as i stepped outside the condo on Poipu beach. The sunsets are spectacular, but are about equal to one at the top of our hill in the Southwest corner and Laverne Patterson Griffin’s from her home out on Tater Peeler Road back home.
i was struck by the number of stars i could see in spite of the lit palm trees along the path by the beach. i called Maureen out before she dressed for bed. i got my phone out and turned on the “Sky Guide” application (all the geek heads are about to explode because i used the whole word). i pointed out the number of stars and explained it would give her an idea of what clear nights at sea would look like except the number of visible objects in the sky would be exponentially more. i raised the phone almost straight over my head and identified Jupiter to her. We looked. Pete and Nancy joined us. The four of us sat and enjoyed the view.
The others retired. i poured a glass of cabernet sauvignon. i mused about what it was like several hundred years ago before some adventurer realized he could make money and use the natives to produce huge yields of pineapples and sugar, followed by the zealot who was going to save all the natives by converting them to Christianity, followed by the hotel men who envisioned (correctly) that tourists would flock to the beaches and eat fine and get burnt in several ways; yeh, long before this hotel existed, replacing the one leveled by Iniki in ’92 when there was a pool formed by reefs where the tourists could snorkel with the fishes, beautiful tropical fish feeding on the bread crumbs in your hand, gone now as the hurricane has wiped out the pool.
My musing ran out of gas. It was 8:30. i don’t think we are still on Southwest corner time. i think we are just worn out from golf. Oh, we rode in carts, but i’m not sure i’ve played more than three or four rounds in golf without a rain squall during the round. Even with a good nap, we were all going to bed early after another fine dining experience.
Bedtime in paradise
* * *
i don’t claim we are different from the rest of the tourist folks. We are taking in the joys of paradise just like them. No guilt here. We have dined well and played golf every day but one. Undoubtedly, it was a surfeit of golf, food, and drink.
In the process, we have found the perfect place for a mai tai. Merriman’s. It’s a bit fancied up, but it is a good fancy. And the seafood at this place is simply too good to describe. Maureen and i tried the “Ma Kai,” the catch of the day surrounded by mouth watering accompaniment. Pete is on a quest for the perfect Mai Tai. This one is close as we all four attest.
One night in the old sugar mill town of Koloa, we went to La Spezia, a New York Times featured place, seemingly a bit out of place, but one can forget with the ambience and the Italian dishes extraordinaire. i was so into it, i had a martini, instead of a mai tai.
Dawn, gray, 5:45. Still an early riser, earlier than most, certainly earlier than Maureen and my friends. Don’t know why. i quietly open and close the door and walk the beach, heading east pass what had been the snorkel heaven pool.
A woman with a large camera walks past me. The sand here is not like in the US. It is soft everywhere. Work walking. As it curves around, a sea lion, asleep on the sand has not caught the eye of the camera woman. Just me and the sea lion for a few moments. He sleeps well.
i continue on. The walk is tough in bare feet. There is no soft sand. i follow the curve of the beach. There are about two dozen folks stretched out over about a hundred yards on the beach with large dark objects between them and the surf. i pass the first one. It is a huge sea turtle. Just me and a young Japanese couple who, of course, also have a tripod and camera. i avoid the couple’s camera view and get as close as i can to the sleeping turtle, an amazing slice of the sea ashore. Placid, motionless, at rest, he and the others ignoring the gawkers and the picture takers.
Paradise with observers.
i walk back. A man with a tripod has taken the place of the woman who was there earlier. The sea lion has not moved while a whole bunch of photos have been taken.
i return to the condo complex with the wandering swimming pool and bar within feet of the beach and the surf. The number of surfers has grown to about a dozen. More will follow. The waves are consistent, around six feet. The surfers had paddled out, a few on paddle boards. The beach crowd will steadily grow and the variety of activities will also grow: swimmers, divers, floaters, sun worship, lord knows what else.
* * *
i muse again. Our favorite golf course here is Kiahuna, about a mile away. It has a number of fence remnants, black lava runs, purportedly erected in ancient times by the menehune, creatures who are about three feet all and live in the forests. Off one fairway, there is a lava rock structure, a one-room hut, the home of the Portugee, an early, early settler and his native wife. About twenty yards behind the structure is a smaller structure with a sign like the larger one explaining this was the Portugee’s crypt.
* * *
In some ways, Kauai is a strange place. It often sends me back to my sea time, and i often wish i could travel back in time. i shall leave those thoughts with just me. You are likely to have a much different take.
We are home, the musing is done. There are other things to convey, like “Bubba’s,” but later. We had a flight change in Honolulu. As we approached the landing, Pearl Harbor was outside our port window. i felt a tug. Pearl Harbor was my launching pad for adventures at sea. It is a special place, historic, beautiful, Navy, oh, so Navy, my Navy.
But before rest, i must thank the Toennies for including us on a wonderful, crazy week, “an escape” i told the UBER driver going home from the airport. Like i said, paradise: