Kauai has been named to have some of the top beaches in the world, is known as the Garden Island, and has officially filled a missing piece inside of my heart. The warmth of the island is not as overwhelming as the other islands, the surrounding green trees make you half expect dinosaurs to pop out roaring, and the mangos are almost as huge as your face. I have fallen in love with the clarity of the beaches, the laid back locals and the heartwarming vibe that surrounded me when I was there. Not to mention the oxtail soup, the Mai Tais and the poke are unlike what you have ever tasted.
My friend, Marilyn, and I decided to go for a suicide Lihue trip four hours before the flight, planning to be there for one night. We hopped on a plane in LAX and entered the land of alohas and mahalos. The first night was relaxing and welcoming. We went to Trees Lounge where an amazing singer named Isaac Moreno serenaded us into heaven. Trader Sams in Downtown Disney has nothing on this place.
The next day, we rented a car, drove up the Eastern coast of the island until the road stopped and went on a 3 hour hike. Before we reached the end, we stopped by beach tunnels and found as many places that called us to take photo shoots. That night, we were not able to make our flight because it was oversold. We were lucky because we ended up staying at a resort for free because my coworkers had at an extra room. We met some locals, had some drinks that night and slept underneath the most comfortable duvets we have ever felt.
Day three consisted of lounging, the most amazing Bloody Mary's and Saimin soup at Bamboo Grill, several trips to the ABC store and using Standup Paddleboards at the Kalapaki Beach. The Kaua'i Marriott resort is one of the most beautiful places to stay at. You can feed koi fish, the poke is great, the staff are very sweet and hospitable, the pool is a beauty and it's all up next to the beach. The flight was filled again and without even trying to go to the airport, we just booked another hotel. Thanks to the Hotel Tonight app, a $25 promo code and $25 credits, we booked the Kauai Shores Aqua Hotel for $57 that night. Cute tropical colors, nice staff, motel style resort and on the beach. Creighton, a local friend we met picked us up and we went out to eat at The Eastside Restaurant. It was a bit fancier but we ate poke and I ordered a scrumptious Hawaiian Mojito. We ended up driving down the beach and having a bonfire. And when I say driving down the beach, I literally mean coasting down in a Tacoma, looking for wood on the sand and loading it up in the back, blasting rap music and practicing our local Hawaiian accents which is called Pidgin, Bradda. Next thing we knew, we were playing the guitar, guzzling down Longboard beer, dazed by the fire, and allowing the mist of the ocean caress our skin as the warm night enveloped us into a dreamlike stance. Life was good, spontaneous and I was happy.
Day four consisted of eating spam and eggs from Eggberts, more tanning at the beach and a visit to the Wailua Falls. Our flight was at 150pm so we didn't have much time to explore. Our lovely locals, Creighton and Adrian picked us up and showed us the Falls. They then continued to take us to the airport and now I'm writing this blog post 35,000ft up in the air enroute to LAX.
What I have learned is to always allow yourself to try new things. Get to know the locals in a new place and walk in their shoes. About 90% of the time (made up statistic), they will want you to experience their beautiful home to the best of your ability and they will be happy to help you in doing so. You just have to be open to adventure, to meeting new people and to letting go of your fears. In my case, you just might end up with a couple of bug bites a really, really dark tan, and sore legs but other than that, saying yes to adventure is vital to experiencing the best of a place and to having one hell of a story.