Saturday morning found us packing and clearing the Hale Koa. We really had a great stay in all respects.
We pushed out to the stadium for the Swap Meet. Not my thing but my wife loves to go. While she shopped, I ran back to town intent to see a sacred place, the Kaniakapupu Palace. I followed the directions up to the Nuuanu Pali Drive, a quiet, densely forested winding lane. The path into the woods was not obvious, and there was substantial broken auto glass on the ground where I expected to park. I decided to return without seeing the site.
Collected my wife at the stadium and was pleasantly surprised at the small quantity of stuff that she purchased. We traversed the central highland to Halewia to catch the annual arts and crafts fair. Held in the Haleiwa Park, the festival is a big deal, must have had 20 or so tents on the ground. Didn't see anything noteworthy, and I had a Kua Aina hunger on.
So, off to Kua Aina for the world's best hamburger....a 1/2 pound burger with lettuce, tomato, sweet onion, and pineapple, with crispy fries. We engaged a young couple next to us in conversation. He's a Special Forces trooper from Fort Bragg on a pre-deployment vacation at Turtle Bay Resort with his wife. So it goes, "Say, do you know our friend, Staff Sergeant Karl Smith? He's at Fort Bragg." And the return, "Sure, I do. We have been together since basic training." So, he texts Karl, and the return was immediate, "Tell Aunt Susie and Uncle Joe hello. So, do you see why I love the Army? Randy and Shanna, two beautiful people serving their nation in a great way. We wished Randy good luck and God's protection in Afghanistan.
Well, off the airport. With time to kill, we had a Kailua Pork Nacho platter with a Mai Tai for dinner. Met a young couple from Las Vegas, she from one of the world's beautiful places, Jackson Hole, WY, he a former University of Utah football player. Great people, heading to Kauai for the first time. At the gate we met Shannon, traveling from El Paso to Dallas to Honolulu to Kauai ("whew!") linking up in Kauai with her parents from Arizona. As luck would have it, despite delays, they linked up in the Lihue airport, arriving almost simultaneously.
On leaving the Lihue Airport, we drove to the North Shore. No moon, no street lights, and dark as a pocket, almost creepy. The speed limit signs will drive you crazy. Seems like they changed every mile or so.
We checked into the Hanalei Bay Resort. Everything was perfect. Thank, Jebett! The hot tub was waiting, and we plunged in. It was full of Californians, but they are OK people in my book.
Almost feels like home....
I started the day before the sun did at the Secret Beach lava pools, trying to get that signature sunrise picture. I shared the beach with a couple of fishermen, another photographer and various walkers. What a beautiful place! The pounding surf, the mist, the steep cliffs, the sky at dawn....sensory overload for sure.
My wife and I grabbed our gear and headed to Tunnels. A really low tide and pounding surf triggered red flags on the beach, and we moved on to Ke'e thinking the beach would be quieter. Well, it is 10 AM and I parked all the way back to the Limahuli Gardens. The water was quiet but the fishies were few and far between.
We stayed awhile until the hunger pangs grew fierce. We tried the Mediterranean Gourmet for lunch. The Ahi Tuni lettuce wraps were excellent. Jenica, our server, took care of us at the MG luau three years ago. Great to see her again. We returned to the condo to cool our heels. We had a special treat upcoming, dinner with Kauai22 and her DH.
We met them at their condo before dinner. See previous comment about Californians! We hopped down the street to the Red Salt for dinner. I had been anxious to try Red Salt. The Mai Tai was superb. Nice views of the ocean. The food was good. It's pricey; I couldn't believe they charged for a coffee refill. Tacky.
But it was great to meet a TA friend. She really gave us great advice on our trip to Athens and Santorini last year. TA at its finest.