It is not true that we've returned to the mainland with gills, but we did spend a lot of time in the rain during the last 8 days. I see now why Kauai is the garden island.
We spent our last morning on the island doing a little more sightseeing and picture taking. This was our ride for the week, the trusty Jeep, which was nice to have in all the wet weather and slick roads.
We drove around to a part of the complex that we hadn't been in before, and found a couple of great views of Nawiliwili Bay. As you can see, it was overcast again on the last day, and in fact started to rain within a few minutes of these pictures.
That's our hotel on the right side of the shot above, and Kalapaki Beach in the middle. I'm not a beach bum, so this next shot was as close to the beach as I got all week.
The rain was coming down pretty good as we loaded the Jeep and headed for a couple of last minute stops. We ran up to the Opaekaa Falls just above Wailua for a quick peak - it looked nice, but not nice enough to drag my camera out in the rain.
The trip home was long, as they always are. With all the things you have to go through in order to travel by air these days, it's a wonder anyone does it voluntarily. Here's what we had to do:
- I dropped the Mrs. off at the front of the airport with all our bags, turned in the Jeep, and then rode the shuttle back to the terminal.
- We had to put our checked baggage through the agricultural inspection machines.
- Picked up the checked baggage from the other end of the agricultural scanners and got in a long line to check in.
- Finally made it to a self-check machine, and had to check us each in separately because once again Mrs. Holycoast is on some list and her reservation was separated from mine.
- Once we were checked in, we still had to wait for the United rep to finish with other folks before we could get our bags tagged. He never did ask for our I.D.
- We then had to take our bags to the TSA screening checkpoint.
- Get in line again at security screening. Had to remove both the video camera and the laptop from their respective cases, along with removing shoes etc.
- After screening, had to reassemble all of the items unassembled in step 7.
- Before getting to our gate, we had to submit our carry-ons to the agriculture inspectors in the terminal.
All of this just to get on an airplane and fly home. Of course, once you arrive at your home airport, it's no picnic either, as we had a very long walk to baggage claim, a long wait for the bags to showup, another long walk to the shuttle bus area, a quick ride to the parking lot, and finally we could head home where we arrived at about 11:15 last night (we left the hotel at about 11 am Hawaii time).
Some observations about Kauai and the Marriott Resort and Beach Club:
- This time of year it rains...a lot. However, if you're not planning on spending your whole vacation at the beach, it's not a problem. The rain didn't really stop us from doing anything we wanted to do, with the exception of long walks which we had originally planned. You could find sun if you tried hard enough, but you'd have to drive about 30 miles to do it. Several times is was raining at the hotel, but reasonably sunny and nice in Waimea or Hanapepe. It's a beautiful island and well worth exploring.
- We brought too many clothes for hot weather, and hardly anything for cooler, rainy weather. A couple of outfits the Mrs. bought could never be used because it never got hot enough.
- All my life I've heard how expensive everything is in Hawaii, but we didn't find that to be the case in Kauai. For the most part, the prices for food were about what I'd expect to pay here in good restaurants, and even gasoline wasn't that much higher (I think we paid $2.75 a gallon).
- Don't go out to eat unless you have plenty of time. Restaurants in Hawaii tend to move at a slower pace than I'm used to at home, and that can be frustrating until you learn to go with the flow.
- I don't know what my agency paid for our hotel rooms, but I'm sure they were in the mid-$300's somewhere per night. With the exception of the view, the rooms at best were average, and it always bugs me when hotels, especially very expensive ones, charge for parking and internet access. It was $7 per day to park, and $12.95 a day for internet. Next week I'm staying in a hotel in El Centro that use the same internet access company and doesn't charge a dime for it. The parking is free too. The view...not so good.
- We had a couple of other issues with the room. The last three days there we had almost no cold water. We had very warm to hot water coming out of both taps. You took your life in your hands when you took a shower. I'm not sure I'd want to be in this room on a hot, humid summer day, either. The first day we were there was the warmest day of the week, and we had problems getting the room to cool down enough to be comfortable.
- The food was good throughout the resort, and the breakfast buffet which was included with our room was excellent.
What will I miss the most about this trip? It's hard to say. Living carefree in that environment is pretty easy to get used to, but probably one of my favorite times everyday occurred before anyone else was up. Some people get up early to go jogging - I got up early to go blogging. Six out of seven days I was up before dawn and would take the laptop out on the balcony and do my blogging while listening to the waves breaking on the beach below. It temperature was usually perfect and it was as dark as the inside of a cow, which made typing a little bit of an adventure at times (sometimes I would have to lean the screen down so I could see the keyboard when I was trying to find a little used key). I'd watch the sun come up (through the overcast) and several times saw early cruise ship arrivals or supply barges as they made their way into the harbor. I'd often be out there for a couple of hours, or until the misty rain or wind drove me back inside. I wrote about my first morning out there here.
All in all, a very good experience, and since I wasn't paying for most of it, better yet. I'll leave you with this picture which was taken in the late afternoon of our first day there. It was pretty much the last time we saw the sun at the hotel.