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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kauai 2012

Where do I begin this post?

Who: Just me and Dave...and later, Edward.

What: Our first-ever trip to Hawaii (an odd thing since we've always just been here in CA)

Where: Plantation-Hale suites in Kapa'a, Kauai

When: December 9-14, 2012

Why: So many reasons.  To name a few: to relax, to hang out together and not while caring for an active child, to escape the chilly weather, to celebrate surviving my qualifying exam, to do something new/fun/relaxing/delicious before I tackle the last major step of my tenure (such as it is) in Davis.

How: It was a frugal trip, made possible by a combination of hard work and sweat, an AmazonLocal voucher, off-season plane ticket prices, and yelp.

Dave, my dad, and I (plus Jennifer and Edward a bit) all worked on Cassie's daycare back in September 2011.   We did much of the construction on the "school room."  It was hardly a shell of a building and now it's a to-code, full-functioning room for the kids to do their art work, have circle time, eat snacks, etc.  To pay us back, Cassie gave us 2 full weeks of "free" overnight childcare.  She didn't need to pay us back, but we sure did appreciate the gesture.  So of course we took her up on it.  We used a night here and there but made sure to save a week's worth for this trip.  She knew about it the whole time, too, even helping me lurk AmazonLocal and Groupon for possible trips.

Initially, I bought a Groupon voucher for a 5 night stay in Costa Rica complete with a culinary class with a chef and a 5 course beach dinner.  But the only dates available didn't work with our schedules so I got a refund before my 30 day window was up.  I got up one morning and saw an AmazonLocal deal for Kauai in my email--only $800 for a 6 person suite with a kitchen and a rental car for 5 nights.  I made sure there was availability at the hotel, checked that airline prices were decent, and bought it.  Once we worked out what dates to go based on my, Dave's, and Cassie's schedules we bought plane tickets for only $340 round trip for each of us.

Yelp guided us on our eats the whole time we were on the island.  Because I enjoy cooking so much, I don't actually want to eat at expensive places anymore (I get more enjoyment out of cooking something fancy myself and saving the money) we ate at cheap places instead.  I really do enjoy cheap eats.  And man, did we ever eat some good stuff.  You probably know that Dave, Edward, and I are Pork People.  We judge entire regions of the country based on the quality of their pulled pork.  While we like it in any form, we all prefer the lightly-to-no-sauce variety in the deep south over the heavily sauced Texan style.  So of course we sought out pork all over Kauai.

The kalua pork at Pono Market was soooooooooo good in fact, that it prompted Edward to fly over for a taste.  I mean, why not when plane tickets were only $300 and he didn't have to pay to stay?

Activities: We hiked the Na Pali coast, went tubing down an old sugar cane irrigation canal, lazed around on the beach, saw Waimea Canyon, and watched Jurassic Park 1 and 2 since they were filmed there. The guys snorkeled.

It was a fantastic trip.  I included just a few pictures here but if you'd like to see more, I can easily send you the link to my Picasa or Facebook albums, which are annotated.  Just email me or leave me a comment.
Pono Market kalua pork, seaweed salad, and sesame ahi poke.  Below is the conversation Edward and I had over gchat while we were eating this food near the beach.  At 4:30 pm his flight itinerary popped into my inbox.  BOOM. We are pork people.
4:01 PM        me: Dave says you should come here to eat the pork
  It's nice
4:02 PM Plantation Hale
  We have a kitchen
  You should hop a fight here tomorrow
4:03 PM We have two beds
4:04 PM We can walk to the airport to fetch close :-)
4:05 PM Edward: Haha
  It's only $336 roundtrip
 me: Do it
  You will love it
4:06 PM Edward: When do you guys get back?
 me: Seriously you can
  We leave at like 3
4:07 PM Do it
  Gonna drive. Let me know.
  We leave on Akaka 848 on 12/14

6 minutes
4:14 PM me: Alaska
 Edward: I can get the same flight
  Arriving 12:25pm tomorrow, same flight back
4:15 PM me: Do it
  Just send me the flight confirmation
4:20 PM Is Jennifer going to be okay with you coming?
 Edward: Yep
4:23 PM Where are your seats?
4:25 PM me: 11d and e
  Can Jennifer come?
 Edward: She can't

6 minutes
4:32 PM Edward: Woo!

12 minutes
4:44 PM Edward: Sooming shorts, shorts, boxers, flip flops, socks, casual shoes, shirts
  1 or 2 snorkeling sets?
4:48 PM me: 2
  Looks good
Dave and I on our first day after lounging on the beach.
We started seeing rainbows EVERYWHERE as soon as Edward arrived.  Coincidence?  Yes...but he'll argue they were for him.
We hiked the Na Pali coast trail the day before we left.
Dave and I on our lanai before we went home.
It was soooooooooo freaking windy most of the time so I didn't actually get to wear the cute hat I bought there. Oh well.  Maybe next time?  And yes, I am a whitey.  I seriously think I saw a few people wince and put their sunglasses on when they saw me walk by on the beach.
Both Dave and I agreed that while we enjoyed having the whole week childfree, we would have preferred to have only a couple of nights away from Eddie.  All the activities we did would have been great for Eddie, too.  I think we all would have had a great time with him there.  If only plane tickets didn't cost so much...  Lately Eddie's been really interested in lava and volcanoes.  We told him that the island we went to was created from lava coming out of the ocean a long, long time ago. He was super disappointed that we didn't have any pictures of hot, flowing lava on our trip.  Once he's "bigger" (age TBD), we'll take him to Guatemala, Hawaii, or Iceland to see some in real life.

Mahalo, Kauai.  Until we meet again...


Leah Roy said...

I need to take notes from you on how to take a cost-efficient vacation! Looks like a great trip! I went on my sister's fb account and looked at all your pictures and now I'm super hungry. The food all looked sooooo good. The scenery and company looked pretty great too!

Kaitlin said...

A) I want the link to your Picasa album
B) I am totally jealous of the trip
C) How on earth does your body look so amazing after have a child?!

steph.kelley said...

Sigh. What a great trip. Love that Edward joined you on such short notice — what a hoot. Your idea (on FB?) to leave Eddie little gift bags for every night you were gone was a great one!! xoxoxo