Our travel experience on Thursday was *fabulous*. Okay, it wasn't fabulous that we had to wake up at 5:15 a.m. and leave the house before 6, in the pitch dark, but I didn't mind so much. Our BART train pulled in just as we walked onto the platform, and there were seats available ... even seats with room for our luggage! When we got to the Coliseum BART station, we only had to wait about 5 minutes for our bus to the airport. We were flying out of Oakland for the first time in many many years -- we usually fly out of San Francisco -- so it wasn't our usual trip. While cruising down Hegenburger on the bus, we saw the restaurant with the three cement donkeys (painted green, red, and white) in the front yard, which was always one of my landmarks when I rode the bus to Oakland airport in the good old days. (BART didn't used to go all the way to SFO, so Oakland was the more easily accessed airport by public transit, but that all changed several years ago when BART's SFO connection was completed.)
We were not chosen by the TSA to be harassed, but I did see other people standing in starfish formation, getting a thorough going over.
Our flight was very pleasant. There were some children, but they were quiet and well-behaved; no one seemed to be dying of a plague they insisted on sharing with all of us; nothing fell out of an overhead bin onto my head; and we had tasty lunch courtesy of the airline food cart. They were giving out a free lunch, but it was a cheesy fritatta: Shannon can't eat dairy, and I can't eat that much egg, so it was sort of out of the question for both of us. So Shannon bought sushi, and I bought a chicken Caesar salad. Both were excellent, and so much food we had trouble finishing them. Also, they brought us drinks 3 times (I think) during an approximately 4-hour flight. Even Thirsty Kimberly can stay hydrated with that kind of attention!
I left the flight with lots of warm fuzzy feelings for Hawaiian Airlines.
After a couple hours of waiting in Honolulu (though we did not roam to check out their beautiful gardens this time), we caught our puddle-jumper to Kaua'i, which takes such a short amount of time that they barely had time to serve drinks.
Shannon's dad (Gary) picked us up in Lihue, and he is unfortunately still suffering a lot from his kidney stone. He's been running a very impressive fever. Also, he seems to be coming down with a cold, so he is very easily tired. I felt a little bad that we had dragged him out to the airport to pick us up, but he seemed willing. (I had asked Shannon a week ago if he thought we should postpone this trip until his dad was feeling better, but he thought it would be fine. I don't feel like it's really my decision to make, since it's not my dad.)
We made our annual trip to the Lihue Costco for vittles for the week (salmon, bagels, lunch meat, a crazy cheese variety platter, juice, etc.), then came home and vegged until dinner time, when Mary got home from work. Unfortunately, she's going to have to work every day while we're here, but we'll still get to see her in the evenings. Last year when we were here, she was gone to Taiwan pretty much the whole time, because her father had just died, so I'm just happy we'll be seeing her a bit more this year.
Yesterday, we had breakfast with Gary, including quite a bit of cut-up fresh fruit, which Mary prepares each morning for Gary in order to encourage him to eat more healthily. Shannon said, "If you cut up fruit for me in the morning, I'd eat it," and at first I scoffed, replying, "Do you want me to wave palm fronds at you to cool your brow while you eat it?" But then after about 20 seconds of thinking about it, I admitted that, actually, I *would* be willing to do that if it meant he would be eating healthier. I think I'll leave out the palm fronds, though.
In the afternoon, Gary, Shannon, and I headed out to see one of Gary and Mary's rental houses ("the Maka house," located on Maka Road in Kalaheo), because it's currently empty and we could explore it without bothering tenants. It has incredible views of the mountains! It's really a beautiful house. I think that's the one they're planning to give to Melody eventually.
After checking out the Maka house, we headed out to Poipu, which is on the south shore of the island, and which was where Shannon and I spent our first two visits to Kaua'i, so it feels like home. We were completely on foot for those visits, so we got to know the immediate area pretty well. The area has changed quite a bit since 2001, when we first went there, but it still feels familiar to me. It's just a lot more built-up. Fewer cacti; more hotels.
Shannon swam for a while at Poipu (maybe 45 minutes?) out among the snorkelers (he was using a prescription mask so he could see the fish, but no snorkel or flippers), while Gary and I relaxed on the beach. Gary says that when he's feeling healthy, he views the beach only as "that stretch of land that must be crossed to reach the ocean," so sitting on the beach was not his usual thing. But we chatted, and I people-watched, and we occasionally spotted Shannon out in the water. After a while, Gary and I turned our chairs *away* from the ocean, because we were both going blind from the glare of the sun. It felt kinda funny to be sitting there on the beach with my back to the ocean, but my eyes were much happier.
After the swimming, we stopped to get Shannon some shave ice (he chose cherry, vanilla, and banana flavored syrups) before heading over to Lappert's to get ice-cream for Gary and me. Last year at Lappert's, I dropped my ice-cream on the ground and apparently frightened everyone with my sudden, noisy exclamation of dismay, but this time the ice-cream stayed balanced on the cone until it was all in my stomach. I had "Kauai Pie" ice-cream, which is coffee ice-cream with fudge ribbons, coconut flakes, and macadamia nuts. Yum! I love Lappert's ice-cream, though Mary frequently cautions about the amount of fat in it. She likes to eat healthily. But if "eating healthily" means avoiding Lappert's ice-cream even while on vacation, count me out!
Then we drove around, seeing a lot of absolutely *gorgeous* scenery, on our way to Koloa. We saw a bunch of these odd-looking flat-topped trees that look a lot like the acacia trees that grow in Africa. I searched online, but couldn't find any indication of what species these Hawaiian trees might be.
In Koloa, we went to our favorite favorite favorite t-shirt shop, which we visit *every* time we come. They're called Pohaku T's, and it's always the same owner lady working there. They make these funkily-dyed (stone-washed and "overdyed") t-shirts with Hawaiian/Kauaian designs on them: triggerfish, dragonflies, sea turtles, etc. Shannon and I both love them, and this year we each bought two. As always, I chatted quite a bit with the owner, told her how much we like her shop and that we always return on every trip, etc. Gary waited out in the car for us, because he was not feeling well.
After the t-shirt shop, we headed back to the in-laws' house in Kalaheo, where we took it easy, as Gary was feeling extremely tired after the afternoon's adventures. Shannon and I read some Harry Dresden (we're currently on White Night), as well as doing our own stuff for a while. He brought his laptop, so he's been able to get online anytime he likes, without inconveniencing our hosts (in previous years, there's been a bit of a traffic jam, with four people wanting to use 2 computers), and we've both been reading. Plus, of course, I've been sleeping whenever I get the chance.
I think it poured rain much of the night, but it's always hard to tell the difference between the sound of rain outside this house and the sound of wind in the plentiful palm fronds.
I woke up this morning *way* sore and achey. I felt the same, to a lesser degree, yesterday morning, and Shannon theorizes that the bed in the guest room may be too soft for me, as it is much softer than our mattress.
Today we are going to Walmart for some reason (this must be in Lihue?). I haven't asked why. I think Gary needs cough drops. But I'm happy to tag along. Most of the day, we plan to just laze around the house, so Gary can rest up. I'm not sure if the whole "church experience" will be happening tomorrow; it will depend on how Gary is feeling. I'm really enjoying the book I'm reading (the one I remember checking out from the library repeatedly when I was a kid) and the Harry Dresden Shannon and I are reading together, so hanging out at home sounds fine to me. We can perhaps sit out on the lanai, where we can see the view and hear the wind in the palm fronds and all that jazz.
Thus far, I'm enjoying the trip, but I'm worried that Gary feels obligated to entertain us.