AndyO Blog - 2005
It's Halloween in Seattle, but my mind is
still in Hawaii.
The minute I got off the plane and stepped into the
cold Seattle air, and torrential rain, I missed Hawaii. Before I visited Hawaii, people always told me things
like, "It's better than you expect," or "It's the best
place you'll ever visit."
And all of them were right. Hawaii is the kind of
place that exceeds any expectations because there's no place like it.
Now I want to go back.
Somewhere over the Pacific
Drew slept for the first hour or so on
the flight. There are tons of kids on this flight, and
no one is really being quiet. I'm always surprised when
I see people glaring at me when my kid is screaming.
So, I took him to the back and rocked him again. The
flight attendants weren't nearly as interested in
smiling at Drew this time.
The movie on this flight is "Bewitched," and it looks
as bad as "The Fantastic Four." Of course, I
can't hear the dialogue, as Drew won't let me put on
the headphones I rented.
Even though we brought a portable DVD player, Brenda
digEplayer, too, which
like an iPod for movies. She watched
"Ice Princess," and after our DVD player's batteries ran
out, Cameron watched a Batman cartoon. Not bad for a $10
rental. The digEplayer is a cool concept,
and something I'll keep in mind for the next trip.
I've already set my watch to Seattle (Pacific) time,
which is only two hours ahead, instead of three. This is
because of that insane thing that some of us do called
Daylight Saving Time. For once, I the insanity is going
to help me adjust. But I'll still be two hours behind.
I'm sitting in the Honolulu airport,
looking out the window at Diamondhead.
Cameron is staring out the window at our 767, being
refueled and prepared for our trip. My family is out
walking around the airport.
My dad took Drew and
rocked him to sleep—a mixed blessing, as Drew
probably won't sleep as much on the airplane.
Hospital, Poipu beach, falls, dinner at
We started off our day eating a huge
breakfast, including the Ono that my Dad and Dale caught,
eggs, bacon, and fruit.
running a high fever (for the third day in a row), so
Brenda called the consulting nurse. They wanted us to
bring him into the hospital, of course. It
took two hours to find out he had a virus in his
throat. I sat in the waiting room with Cameron, who
played with matchbox cars the entire time.
We didn't waste any time after that
heading off to
Po'ipu. The scenery is different from
the northeastern part of the island, with trees and
mountains everywhere, instead of beaches. The turnoff to Po'ipu
brings you into a dark tunnel of trees, the road winding
down to the sea.
We stopped at Spouting Horn first, a
lava tube that blows water into the air when the waves
come in. It also makes a loud horn-like sound right
before the water shoots up. The southern coastline and
quality of light reminded me of some parts of
California, like Monterey.
From there, we drove right to
Beach Park. This was definitely the best beach for kids that
we've been to on the trip, as it had a shallow,
protected cove. At the edge of the sand was a carpet of
rocks where thousands of colorful fish swam.
I beckoned Cam out to the rocks so he
could see the fish for himself. He's been scared of the fish
on other beaches, but because they were swimming around the
rocks and not in the sand, I thought he'd like it. It
took a while, but he finally came out and put his head
underwater. The look on his face when he came up was
magical. "I saw some fish!" (By the end of the
day, he was saying, "I saw a thousand fish!")
I sent Cam back to the shore, and I
floated out over the rocks. I was finally getting the
hang of snorkeling. I wasn't thinking about the mechanics
of it anymore; I was just floating and breathing through
the snorkel and felt at one with the ocean.
fish swam right by me. I saw angelfish, needle fish,
and lots of other fish I didn't know the names of.
On the way back, we drove up to see
Wailua Falls, one of those waterfalls that seems to
cascade down for miles (although I couldn't really see
the bottom). "The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook," which has
been our guidebook of choice, said it was 183 feet
from top to bottom (they measured it twice).
Snorkeling, Ferns, Falls, Dinner in Poipu
We took a quick dip at
Lydgate State Park
in the morning, where I finally did some successful snorkeling in
the ocean. I started to get the hang of it after a few
minutes. Cameron wouldn't come in the water for fear of
fish biting his toes.
went up the Wailua River Valley to the Fern Grotto. On
the way up, we had our own entertainment of three
guitarists and two Hula Dancers. They even made us do
the Hula. We rode on a flat-bottom boat, slowly winding up a river
surrounded on both sides by trees.
The fern grotto itself was
spectacular―trees and plants with
blocking the sunlight. At the top of the trail we found a shallow
cave, with ferns and vines hanging down, and water
falling from high above. It was the kind of place that
you just can't capture on film (even though I tried).
The grotto is starting to come back to its lush state
after Hurricane 'Iniki, which devastated much of the island
(there have only been two other hurricanes that have hit
Hawaii in the last century, 'Iwa in 1982 and Dot in
On the way back, the captain told us
about the history of the area, including some movies
that were filmed on the river: "Outbreak" and
"Raiders of the Lost Ark." For the latter, Indiana ran
across a field away from the half-naked natives (we couldn't see
this field from the boat) and swung down onto the very
same river where we were floating.
After that cruise, we drove up to
Falls, and also got a bird's eye view of the Indiana Jones
field and Outbreak Village.
Later, the boys and I joined my
parents in Po'ipu where we had dinner at The Beach House
I love how restaurants in Hawaii just open up right
outside onto the beach or lawn. I went out to take some
pictures and ended up talking to some surfer girls (just
like the ones in
Blue Crush). I asked
them how late they surfed to which one replied, "We
pretty much surf all day."
What a life.
Wilcox Memorial Hospital
We just made a trip to the emergency room
for Brenda. She got Mastitis, which is an infection that
happens sometimes when women breastfeed. It can be very
difficult to treat if you don't catch it right away.
Fortunately, Brenda's on antibiotics and
on the road to recovery.
Drinks and bubbles
My parents' realtor Sharon came over with
her five-year-old daughter, Manna, for celebratory
drinks and appetizers. (My parents upgraded their time
share with her.)
Cameron got out the bubbles he got
from the Patch Olson treasure hunt and gave one of the
bottles to Manna. They sat out on the deck blowing the
bubbles for an hour, I think.
It was fun for Cameron to meet a
"Hawaiian Girl"―or, as my family kept calling her,
"Cameron's Hawaiian girlfriend."
Well, Uncle Dale got a note from the
notorious pirate, Patch Olson. Evidently, Patch buried
some treasure on Kauai and left a note and a map for
Cameron to find it.
We all went
out on the beach, looking for the clues, and, finally,
digging for buried treasure. When Cameron finally found
his booty, he got all kinds of cool stuff, including
priceless jewels, toys, and bubbles. Oh, he also got
Patch Olson seems like a cool guy. I
had no idea I had some pirate blood in me.
Kauai Movie Tour
This morning I went on a
Kauai Movie Tour with my sister and her husband.
It was a five hour tour, and I got to see many amazing
The van picked us up at
our hotel, and then we went on a search for a tour guide
(the one who was supposed to give the tour didn't show).
We drove all the way Nawiliwili, where cruise ships dock
and found Tina, our last-minute replacement guide. Tina is a
manager in the Movie Tour office now, but she also
turned out to be one hell of a tour guide and a great
Even though this tour was billed as a
"Movie Tour," it went way beyond visiting set locations.
We got to see hard-to-find places we would never see
otherwise. We got to hear about where the locals eat.
We got to hear stories (apocryphal and true) about
movie star adventures on the island.
Many movies have been filmed on Kauai, including
- Jurassic Park I, II, and III
- Honeymoon in Vegas
- Tears of the Sun
- Mighty Joe Young
- Six Days Seven Nights
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (my
second favorite movie of all time)
But Kauai has been a prime Hollywood
location as far back as the 1950s, with the two famous
- Blue Hawaii
- South Pacific (one of my wife's
Of course, I need to mention that two
TV shows also had footage shot on the island, including:
- Fantasy Island
- Gilligan's Island (the lost
Without a doubt, the two coolest
things I saw on the tour were:
The mountain from the opening of
Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The beach where the S.S. Minnow was
shipwrecked from Gilligan's Island.
Tina was always gracious to take
pictures and answer any questions we had. She made the
five-hour tour very fun.
Thanks, Hawaiian Movie Tours for a
great tour! If you're in Kauai (or any of the other
places they give tours), make sure you do this early in
your trip. You'll find a bunch of great places to go
throughout your stay and learn about all the great
restaurants where the locals eat.
Smith's Garden Luau
I went to my first Hawaiian Luau tonight
Smith's Garden Paradise. We were late of course,
since I took a wrong turn. My dad was
really stressing, which always makes me laugh for some
reason. I've given up on being stressed about being
late. But we made it to
the Luau, safe and sound, with 30 minutes to spare.
I got the feeling throughout the
dinner and the following show that the Smith folks were
going through the motions. I realize they do three
shows, every week, and see the tourists as just
tourists. Despite these observations, the food was excellent
(the pork was the best I've ever tasted) and the show
was entertaining, although both my sons fell asleep well
before it was over.
While I don't really want to write
this, I was really disappointed in the Luau band. I
guess I was expecting some Broadway-quality music, but
it came off like the musicians really care
about the music they were playing. Maybe it's not
supposed to be polished.
still a good time and worth checking out.
North Shore Adventures
Today, we got the kids out early and we
drove up to the end of the road in Kauai. The last ten
miles of that road are spectacular, with the jungle
closing in around you.
We drove over three or four one-lane
bridges (some of them made of wood). Of course, every
time we drove over one of these, I had to sing the line
from the Rush song Red Barchetta: "At the
one-lane bridge, we leave the giant stranded at the
riverside." Brenda was not amused, except she did later
ask me if a Red Barchetta was a real car. ("Yes," I
answered, it's some kind of Ferrari.")
In Ha'ena, Cameron and I found the
Manini-holo Dry Cave cave―the kind of
cave you'd expect to find in a movie or some adventure
book. We did a little exploring with
Cam's tiny LED flashlight, and looked at the modern
petroglyphs and the places where people had had
When we got outside, I realized I'd
been eaten alive by cave mosquitoes! I also saw rain
hammering the scenery in front of me that
rivaled Hurricane Isadore.
But we were standing close to the wettest spot on the
planet (Mt. Waialeale); what did we expect?
We finally made our way to Ke'e beach, where
we parked with many other people in the mud. Once we got
down to the beach, we ran back and forth between the
cover of the trees as each wave of torrential rain
As the rain came in, I could see it swirling in silver
sheets against the green backdrop—beautiful, until it
On the way back, we stopped in Hanalei
and ate at Bubba's Burgers. I kept hearing about this
place from my dad, more for the name, I think, but I
walked away unimpressed. The staff was unprofessional
(one of them leapt over the order window right in front
of me, almost taking out Drew and me). When a kid took
my order, he acted like I was bothering him.
The best part of the meal was looking
at all the pictures of famous people who had visited
Bubba's Burgers (it's a chain in Hawaii, I
think), including President Bill Clinton, Steven Tyler (Aerosmith),
Ozzy Osbourne, and Anthony Keidis (Red Hot Chili
I decided against buying any Bubba's
merch, even though it seemed like a hip thing to do.
The vibe of Hanalei was pure
California—a mix of surfer and stoner attitude,
although I got the feeling I wasn't seeing the real
Hanalei. But I got some good pictures.
Further back toward Kappa'a, we
stopped at the Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge.
On the way out to the point, you walk over a narrow
path, the ocean churning on both sides of the path. It
was one of the most breathtaking views I've seen on the
We heard the whales had made it to
Kauai, where they migrate during the winter, but no one
had spotted them from the lighthouse point yet.
Time Share and Princeville
My dad signed us up for a time share
presentation at the hotel today. We all thought it was
going to take 30 minutes (and you get some free gifts),
but it took the entire morning. I always wanted to know
how time shares work, so it was interesting. And I
really enjoyed talking to my parents' realtor, Sharon.
Afterward, we went to Princeville for
lunch, which was tough with the boys. After that, I
was totally burned out and told Brenda I wanted to drive
back. My parents, sister, and brother-in-law continued
the journey to land's end.
The kids woke up at 4:00 a.m. (Hawaiian
time) today. Brenda got up and took them down
to the beach until around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. I kept sleeping for a
I got up around 7:00
a.m., and then Brenda, Drew, and I went shopping at
Safeway. I'd read about the high food prices in Hawaii,
and they weren't kidding. But since we're staying at a
condo with a full kitchen, we thought we should just buy a
bunch of food. Drew fell asleep in the Kelty backpack and
slept throughout most of the shopping expedition.
Even though we had a bunch of food,
got back we went out to breakfast with my parents at Eggbert's
the little village by our condo). I
thought the guava juice was great, though it wasn't
the pure stuff. I had a Portuguese omelet, and it was
A little later, we all went to Snorkel
Bob's to rent some (you guessed it) snorkeling gear. Ever since I watched
that show "Man from Atlantis" when I was a
kid, I've been obsessed
with swimming in the ocean, and, more specifically,
swimming with the fish. Snorkel Bob's
outfitted us with some great equipment, and we
headed to Lydgate Beach Park—one of the few
protected beaches on the island (it's protected by a
I got in the water with my fins and
mask. It felt like walking on the moon as I tried to
step around the sandy bottom with my fins. I
looked down in the three feet of water and saw schools of
brilliantly-colored fish swimming by me. They looked like they were going
to bite my toes! (I found out later that people feed
them all the time).
found snorkeling extremely difficult. I couldn't get the
hang of breathing through the snorkel. But
it was a good first try. We also got my five-year-old
some snorkel gear, but he found it extremely difficult.
He also didn't like those schools of fish swimming by.
Later, Brenda took Cameron swimming at
the pool, and she let him use his snorkel gear there.
Drew and I wandered off and took pictures of the
pounding sea. I also lay in a hammock with him (really a
first for both of us), and he liked swaying around.
When we got back, Cameron not only had
learned to swim, but he was going around the entire pool
with his snorkel. This was the boy I was just trying to
teach how to go underwater in Spokane. It was like he
became a different child in 30 minutes.
It was the perfect end to a day spent
mostly in the water.
Here we are in Kauai.
We flew down on Hawaiian Airlines with my parents, my
sister and husband, and our two kids. The whole way
down, I was thinking how great the service was on
Hawaiian. I mean, I actually got a meal for the first
time in years. The flight attendants made sure we were
okay with our baby, and really helped me out when I had
to rock him to sleep in the back galley.
But when we got to Oahu, we found that a piece was
missing off our stroller (the piece that allows the car seat
to clip on to the stroller). We told the person in the Jetway, and she radioed the baggage guys. And then she
took off for 10 minutes. After I asked again, she
radioed the baggage people a second time. They didn't
have the piece. So, they told me to go fill out a bunch
Screw that! I wasn't wasting my time filling out
papers in Oahu. I mean, obviously if it were more
important I would have, but it just wasn't worth my
time, when the answer would most likely be, "we don't
know where it is."
So, what a missed opportunity by Hawaiian to be a
truly great airline. All I really expected was for them
to be proactive and help me do what I needed to do to
recover the piece. Instead, it because a "that's you're
problem; go talk to Baggage."
Anyway, we got on the island hopper 717 jet and flew from
Oahu to Kauai in 25 minutes. My two kids were
climbing the walls by this point.
Here are some first impressions:
- It's really humid! Reminds me of the east coast
of the U.S. or Dallas in the summer.
- All of the buildings are open. For example, a
hotel lobby will extend into a garden with no doors.
- Tikki torches are everywhere. I used to think
these were kind of lame, but these torches seem to
bring out the jungle spirit in me.
- The mountains are jagged and higher than I
- The famous volcanic red dirt is everywhere. They
say if you get it on shoes or a shirt, it will never
- Tropical birds are flying around, although not
what I expected. There are lots of doves here, too.
But the most surprising birds are the wild chickens
which have some of the most vivid colors I've
ever seen on chickens.
- You don't say "thank you," you say "maholo."
- I had some pineapple at the poolside bar and
couldn't believe how good it was. I thought, "Wow,
this is what real Hawaiian-grown pineapple tastes
like!" Then I found out they don't grow it in
Hawaii. (It still tasted good.)
- Guava juice is good.
11:00 a.m. Hawaiian time - Oahu
Just landed in Oahu. The plane bounced
around a little bit on the way down, which is what I'd
expect with landing in a humid place. Reminds me of a
Phoenix or Las Vegas landing.
Oahu airport is a little
run-down, but OK. My mom, sister, and brother-in-law
headed off to a bar for some Mai-Tais.
Brenda went off to change Drew. I waited outside the
women's restroom listening to Drew screaming away.
We're getting on our plane, a Boeing 717, to
our final destination, Kauai. I told Cameron we
were flying on a private jet.
12:05 p.m. Somewhere over the Pacific
I was just hanging out in the back of the
plane with the flight attendants, rocking Drew to
sleep. He's actually been pretty good on the plane, but once he gets
a little cranky, you have to pick him up and walk
around. My mom, who was sitting across from
us, put Drew down in the aisle and let him go. He took off like a
The in-flight movie is
"Fantastic Four." Unfortunately, this is my third time
seeing it. Flying at 35,000 feet doesn't help the movie