I deserve it, he deserves it, she deserves it. It’s become a growing catch phrase in our culture. I didn’t realize it until I was watching advertisements and it dawned on me that many of the commercials played to our entitlement mentality. Advertisers don’t just pull phrases out of the air. There is nearly always a reason for the words they chose. There’s too little space or time to waste a single word. Once the word ‘deserve’ made it to my consciousness, I began seeing and hearing it used all over the place.
Do we all deserve everything? I remember my boys being in preschool. Each day a child (or more accurately the child’s parents) would be assigned to bring the snacks for the class. Sometimes the snacks weren’t well received by the students. The staff had a saying they effectively used in such circumstances, ‘You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.’ They would make the entire class say it. And it worked, the children seldom complained and had the choice between not eating anything or eating the food placed in front of them. No teacher was running around looking for something that little Johnny would eat. Johnny just went hungry.
I think we’ve become too concerned about feelings and expectations. Perhaps a little toughening up is in order. Trying to accommodate everyone leads us down a road where self-centeredness prevails. There is evidence of this with the popular phrase, ‘Sorry, not sorry.’ From the moment I heard that phrase I thought it was snarky and unbecoming of the person using it.
I think we were better as a society when we had manners and were generally polite to each other. We were also at our best when we learned when to just be graceful when we didn’t like something minor, such as the food placed in front of us. Or, when we learned how to try and change our own circumstances when there was something major we were unhappy with. Placing the expectations into the hands of others to help ourselves leaves us helpless and perhaps hopeless at some point.
I just saw a billboard the other day that said, ‘Every pet deserves a vet.’ I thought it should say ‘Don’t get a pet if you can’t afford a vet.’ We place ourselves in positions and then expect others to get us out of the situation. It’s almost as if we’re regressing to children rather than progressing to maturity.
The definition of ‘deserve’ is to “do something or have or show qualities worthy of.” If most of us actually got what we deserved, we would most likely be getting much less than we have now.
October 1-11, 2019
Our plane out of Fresno left at 1:00 am. We planned on sleeping on the plane but had difficulty. Our second leg was from Dallas. We only had 30 minutes to get from our gate to the next, but we easily made it.
We ended up sitting in the Dallas plane for 3 ½ hours before we finally took off. There was an air conditioning problem. They had no meals and so by the time we got to Cancun we had not eaten in about 18 hours. Once we were past customs, we were bombarded with natives trying to give us a ride. The air was humid, and it made my jeans stick to my skin. Our driver was at the very end of the outside parking lot so we had to walk past all of the cat-calling before reaching him. The drive to Playa was an hour but our driver dropped two loads of passengers off first, making the ride even longer. It was interesting seeing big beautiful hotel complexes with large gates and guards at the entrances sprinkled along side jungle, junk yards and dilapidated structures where people were still living. The driver took us down a side street. He said the government had abandoned a section of a small town and gave its citizens the parcels. He wanted us to see his parcel, which had a two-story structure on it that apparently was unsafe, but occupied.
I noticed signs along the way that indicated to beware of wild jaguars crossing the roads. The Maya people considered them to be deities and their statues can be found at many of the ancient ruins. Today, they still roam around this area wild in the jungle, however we were assured that they are nocturnal and avoid humans.
At last, we were dropped off at our hotel, Panama Jack’s All-Inclusive Resort. We upgraded to a room with a balcony view of the ocean. It was stiflingly muggy, but we wanted to take in the view so we went onto the balcony, closing the sliding glass door behind us. It somehow locked itself from the inside. Our phones were inside the room and there was no one above, below or beside us. We simply shook the door until it somehow unlocked itself. We never completely closed the door again while being on the balcony.
All inclusive meant that we could eat and drink unlimitedly while on the property. They placed vinyl bracelets around our wrists so that the wait-staff would know. There were several restaurants to chose from and we would end up trying all of them. There was a poolside sushi bar, Brazilian steak house, Mexican restaurant, an Italian restaurant and a buffet that would have varying culinary themes throughout our stay.
There was nightly entertainment, first outside by the pool, followed by live music in the lobby. During the day there were always activities including bingo, beach volleyball, dance lessons, drinking games, etc. The funniest was when they filled the pool with foam shot from a cannon. Swimmers were given long balloons that they would bat around to the beat of the loud, fast Mexican music that played.
The sister hotel across the plaza was a Hilton hotel. They housed a company called Real Club. We agreed to a 90-minute presentation in exchange for a free breakfast (more upscale than we had at Panama Jack’s) and a couples’ massage. It was extremely high pressure and very shady. I enjoyed the experience because they applied sales techniques that I had been taught and I was viewing the entire scenario analytically versus emotionally. My husband hated it. I must say I’m shocked that Hilton allowed this to happen on one of their properties. A lifetime of branding was greatly diminished in one morning as far as I was concerned.
Walking along the beach was interesting. Each hotel had guards so that you couldn’t access their property if you didn’t have the correct bracelet on your wrist. While the frontage directly in front of the water is accessible to everyone, only guests of the hotels are allowed closer to the properties. The water itself isn’t ideal for wading or swimming. There are a lot of rocks and there is a seaweed problem. Locals are paid to rake the seaweed into wheelbarrows all day long. They are all along this stretch of beach.
There are fishermen that come in with boatloads of fish. The crew pulls a net out near shore with hundreds of fish. The men take the fish out of the nets by hand and place in the boat. Men in the boat place the fish in containers similar to milk crates. Men on the other side of the boat carry the containers to shore. The containers are so heavy they can only carry one at a time. The fish weren’t moving so I’m assuming they were already dead. One of the men said they were ‘bone’ fish, not good for eating. He didn’t know what they would be used for.
You can get a massage on the beach. There are open air tents with rows of massage tables. Their prices were far lower than that of the hotel spas. It was nice to lay there having your muscles kneaded while listening to the alluring sound of the waves and birds. We only did this on the last day. I wish we would have done it more often.
Women and children walk up and down the beach selling trinkets to the tourists. Some of the items are junk, while other things are very nice quality and hand made. We purchased souvenirs from a young boy on the last day. We should have negotiated the price but felt bad doing so. Which is precisely his parent’s strategy, I’m sure.
There were men who would carry musical instruments and/or a microphone with an amplifier and sing along the beach, in the streets, in front of restaurants, etc. They’re not allowed in the hotels so they stand right outside, hoping for donations. Some of them have their wives and children walk around with a hat out for money while the men are singing.
We debated bringing pesos instead of dollars but decided on dollars. We could always exchange via an ATM if need be. The only time we needed pesos was when we wanted to use the hotel’s computer and printer to get our boarding passes. We had to exchange a one-dollar bill for Mexican change. We were told to bring a lot of $1 bills for tipping which turned out to be a great strategy. The people we tipped seemed happy with just a $1 USD.
The iconic structure of Chichen Itza did not disappoint. It’s called Ed Castillo, or, Temple of Kukulcan, and is the centerpiece of this Maya city. I’d been wanting to see it for decades. We were picked up a few blocks from our resort at 4 am. It takes hours to get there and it’s located in the jungle. The heat is stifling so going earlier makes it more comfortable and less crowded. The reviews talked about renting an umbrella, which we did for $4 USD. We were glad we had it. The sun is piercing. We had two hours with our guide who was supposed to be an archaeologist, but we’re pretty sure he was not. You do get more out of the experience with a guide. Then, one hour on your own to wander about the ancient village.
The architecture is amazing. They constructed the buildings around the seasons so that there were visual ques on or surrounding the structures at key agricultural times during the year. The most notable is at the spring equinox when the light catches the Temple of Kukulkan in a way that appears to be a lighted snake with its mouth open at the base, also known as the Serpent Effect.
The entire experience is diminished by the excessive amount of maniacal, rabid vendors who line the many paths with tables of trinkets. They will stop at nothing to get your attention making it impossible to even hold a conversation with your companions. It’s a shame that they’ve let this happen to such a fascinating place.
These ruins are from the smallest Mayan city but also the richest. In ancient times, it was the only city by the ocean. Only 500 elites lived inside the wall surrounding the city. Everyone else lived outside of the wall. Much commerce passed through this port, salt being the most valued which was used to preserve food.
The heavy rain today impaired us a bit. The mosquitoes were relentless despite the doses of repellent we lathered on our skin. We had a guide, which I would suggest to anyone touring this amazing city. Otherwise, you don’t really know the history behind what you’re seeing.
Cenotes are natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, which reveals a secret subterranean world of groundwater pools. The Mayans revered cenotes because they were a source of water in dry times. The name cenote translates to 'sacred well.' There are thousands of them in the Yucatan.
We visited three cenotes. Each was completely unique. Prior to entering any of them, you must rinse off your skin. The bug spray, sunscreen, hair spray, etc. harms the natural inhabitants of the holes.
The first was called Cenote Verde Lucera, which translates into ‘Green Star.’ You can zip-line into the water which was great fun. You can also dive or jump into the water from above. Spider monkeys were all around travelling through the trees and seemingly showing off. Our group consisted of eight people. Our guide said in the peak months their group size swells to 26. Worth it to visit here in the off-peak seasons.
Another was Cenote Xibalba, or, ‘The Hell’ which you just walk through on a plank. The water is in this one is shallow. The Mayans believed that these cenotes were the passageway to hell. Hell, to them, was simply another place, it did not have the connotation that most other cultures have. Trees grow down into the cenote to reach the clear water. There are bats living inside and when you shine a light they cover their eyes with their little wings.
And finally, Cenote Caracol, or, ‘Shell.’ In this one, we could swim. It was a cave with stalagmites, stalactites, and trees growing down from the earth above. We wore life-jackets and swam in a group through the cave. At times it was very tight quarters where you have to float on your back, your nose not even an inch away from the stalactites. You can’t touch the stalactites because they will stop growing. I’m actually surprised that they allow this. Cenotes Xibalba and Caracol both had lights placed around, otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to see.
In this part of Mexico, there are many, many things to do. There is zip-lining, ATV rides, cultural parks, and snorkeling to name a few. Since we could do and have done all of these activities in other parts of the world, we decided to focus on activities that can’t be experienced elsewhere. I am surprised how interesting it was to learn about the Mayan people. I’m not a history buff and only tolerate museums. But the Mayan civilization captured my attention. It’s too bad that we only know parts of their history, the rest is only conjecture. Their architecture alone seems to go beyond the capabilities of an ancient culture. Everything else that we can surmise just adds to the intrigue.
For our remaining time, we relaxed at our resort, primarily enjoying the beach, music and getting to know other travelers from all over the world. It was like a mini United Nations, except we were all happy.
When I was young, I watched the Flintstones on television. One particular episode has stuck with me my entire life. In the episode, Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty travel to the future. They’re hungry and decide to have dinner. Fred orders a steak, Barney corn beef and cabbage, the ladies order lamb chops. Within seconds, their meals are served with silver lid covers over the plates. They are shocked to discover that on each of their plates is only a small pea shaped object. The next scene shows them leaving the restaurant commenting on how delicious the meal was and how full their tummies are. From the moment I saw this, I’ve thought how wonderful it would be if we could just take a pill instead of all that goes into our consumption of food.
Think about how much extra time and money we would have. There would be more living space in our homes. No grocery shopping. The diet industry would go belly up (pun intended). Unless of course, you took too many pills; that would make you an over-taker instead of an over-eater, I suppose. No worries about ailments that require modified diets. No planning a day around meals. Surely someone out there can come up with such a solution. When you do, let me know. Yabba dabba doo!
In elementary school. I left campus each lunch period to go to the corner convenience store. The principal figured this out and called my parents. They asked him to follow me to see where I was going. He followed me the following day and watched where and what I did. He called them back and reported that I was going to the store and purchasing a jar of pickles with my lunch money and eating them on my way back to school. My parents treated this as a very big deal. They bought me lunch tickets and I was selling them to other students at a discount in order to obtain cash for my pickles. They grounded me for the rest of my life and made me write daily reports on the dangers of leaving campus at lunch. On the last night of my report-writing punishment I had run out of dangers and spent the evening writing about how dangerous wild dog bites could be.
I’ve always had a weakness for dill pickles. It’s that thing that once I start, I can’t stop. I am reminded of this today, decades later. I was at Winco and saw a jar of baby dills. I stopped in my tracks, staring at them as if they were talking to me. I bought two of the big jars. When I came home, I sat down and couldn’t get them out of my head. It’s been three hours and the jar is about empty. I am Jolene and I am a pickle-holic. Thankfully, my children don’t read my blogs.
I’m at that age where I’m increasingly having to care for my parents while still tending to my children. As I’m talking to a case manager at an assisted living facility she said that I’m what’s called an Oreo. This is a specific stage in life and I have many thoughts about it:
My father continues to offer to pay me to manage his schedule and finances. I remind him that he never charged me to do these things when I was little. He thinks that’s funny.
In the last month, I’ve been to five medical facilities to visit four relatives.
In the last two months, I’ve been to five doctor’s offices for one relative.
Nearly every day since May, I have had to navigate complicated school systems for two boys.
At college orientation, we were told by faculty and students to let our kids figure it out on their own and that it’s ok for them to fail. Yeet.
I wonder if my kids will have to one day manage my schedule and finances. Since I have boys, I wonder if I do need help, will they help me or their wives. I better be nice to both.
The minute I’m caught up, another situation requiring my attention pops up. It seems never ending. It also seems like resolution is seldom simple. This is a challenge for someone who is wired for speed.
While this may be the biggest juggling act of my life so far, I kind of like the newness of the experience and the challenge of doing good work in all arenas. Cheers!
I am incredibly excited to announce that I have been recognized as a Book Excellence Award Winner for my book, Seven Bridges in the Young Adult Category.
Out of hundreds of books that were entered into the Book Excellence Awards competition, my book was selected for its high-quality writing, design and overall market appeal.
To view my complete award listing, you can visit their website.
Seven Bridges was released in 2016 and is about a being who journeys through seven lives in order to become enlightened.
Seven Bridges is perfect for young adults and the young at heart. It plays with perceptions and relationships in a unique and creative way.
You can get a copy for yourself on Amazon.
My youngest child uses the pass-through counter from the kitchen to the living room as his own personal study area. I’ve been battling him for years to take everything back to his room when he’s finished. Seldom does he heed my threats. It drives me crazy. A couple of weeks ago, I was walking past the area and grumbling about the clutter. I realized he’ll be moving away for college and I will be clutter-free. No sooner did I think it then sadness overcame me. He won’t be here to make messes. As a result of this epiphany, I haven’t complained since. In fact, I told him about my realization and said that he can keep his clutter there if he wants. And that is when I began creating a list of lasts and a list of firsts.
There will no longer be a need for a morning shower schedule
There will be an empty space in the garage
I won’t have to call the school when he’s sick or late (won’t miss that one…)
I’ll no longer have an errand boy
It’s quite possible that we’ve had our last 4th of July street fireworks celebration as a family
He’ll be living away from his family
He’ll have to shop and prepare food himself (that should be interesting)
He’ll have to do his own laundry (probably won’t – sorry roommates)
I’ll have no idea what his grades are at any given time
He’ll have to find his first job
I keep thinking of more lasts and firsts. This experience has caught me by surprise. Your kids are with you from birth until they move out. That’s a big hole to fill. I’m looking forward to watching him grow and mature. I’m also wondering about all of the adjustments we’ll make on this end without seeing him every day. An interesting point in life.
In high school I participated on the track team. Because I was a sprinter, I worked out with the boys team to push my time down. One day as I was walking to the track, passing the boys locker room one of them spotted me and began singing the song ‘Jolene’ by Dolly Parton. The others joined in and their voices resonated off the walls and drifted throughout the area. This is my first recollection of the song and how it related to me. At that time, I had no idea that in nearly every week of my life going forward, someone would ask me about that song.
They ask questions such as:
Have you heard of that song ‘Jolene?’ ‘Yes, yes I have,’ said with a smile.’
Does anyone ever ask you about that song ‘Jolene?’ ‘Yes, all the time.’
Were you named after that song? ‘I was born way before the song came out…’
Do you hate that song? ‘No, not at all.’
I’ll bet you get tired of hearing that song. ‘I really don’t think about it one way or the other.’
Did you take her man? ‘No, I have my own.’
Sometimes, they’ll just break out into singing it to me. It’s such a part of my life, I’m just used to it. I really didn’t analyze my thoughts on this matter until I was on the phone with a customer service representative named ‘Brandy.’ She asked about the song and I gave my usual answer of ‘Yes, I’m always asked about the song,’ and ‘No, I don’t mind at all.’ Then she said she could relate because her name is ‘Brandy.’ I said, “Oh! By Looking Glass. I love that song! In fact, one of the main characters in three books that I’ve written is named Brandy after the girl in that song.” She replied, that her parents had named her that because her dad was a sea captain. I said, “Funny, I named the character Brandy because she was married to a sea captain!” We both laughed at how a song had integrated its way into our lives. With that exchange, I stepped back and began consciously listening to what people would say to me about the song.
As a joke, I downloaded ‘Jolene’ as a ringtone. After the novelty wore off, I changed my ringtone. However, for some unexplained reason, the Bluetooth in my car would begin playing the song every time I started the vehicle. Even my millennial boys couldn’t figure out how to make it stop. Funnier still, I was working in Washington and driving a rental car. Somehow, the Bluetooth in the rental car began playing the song and I couldn’t get it to stop. It would be easy to just turn it off, but I needed the GPS system to help me navigate the several hours that I was driving. If I turned it off, the GPS would stop. So, for several hours I had to hear the song in its entirety over and over and over.
While at a doctor’s office, the receptionist called ‘Jolene’ to which two of us got up and walked over. It turned out we had the same name. This had never happened to either of us before. The first question I asked was, “What is your middle name?’ Her first question to me was, ‘How do you spelled it?’ During our time together, we would look at each other and smile, almost like some kind of sisterhood had instantly developed. There aren’t very many of us out there apparently.
The obvious benefit to this notoriety is that people seldom forget my name. I guess you could call it a great marketing tool. So for that, I thank you Dolly!
Even as a baby, the pictures and videos show me as predominately left-handed. The only other person in my family to be so was my Grandfather. When he was growing up, they forced him to use his right hand for everything, including writing. As a result, his handwriting was terrible. When my mother realized that I too was left handed, she set off on a crusade to ensure that no one attempted to change what came naturally to me. In the first grade, she requested Mrs. Mackey as my teacher because she was left handed. My mother actually interviewed her prior to making the request to confirm that she wouldn’t allow me to curl my hand up and then down the paper like other lefties tend to do.
There are elements of being left handed that only lefties seem to unconsciously do. Here are some examples:
Backing out of the driveway – the three right handed drivers in my family back up cars to their right out of the driveway. I back up to the left. I only realized recently that this was occurring.
Ironing has always been a challenge for me. We have a built-in ironing board and it is designed for righties. I’ve always had to wrap the cord around my wrist to not iron the cord on accident.
Hanging clothes on hangers – I can tell when I’ve hung up clothes or when a righty has. Mine face the opposite of everyone else’s in my family.
Sitting on the ends of the table – when lefties go out to eat, they head for the two corners of the table that allow their left hand to extend out the most. You recognize a lefty because we all do it. If, as a lefty, you’re confronted with another lefty who wants that same spot, there is a momentary look of surprise that you actually have to deliberate who gets the choice seat. The reason for this is that as a lefty, when you’re sitting with a righty on your left side, you have to be more careful with your cutlery, otherwise you’ll keep elbowing your neighbor.
Desks at school – in college, the lefties would come in early to try to get one of the two desks that were designed for left handers. If you weren’t early enough, you had to sit in the right-handed desks and turn your body sideways to write. It was funny watching a righty accidentally sit in one of the lefty desks, realize it and pop up to find a ‘normal’ one.
Researching left-handedness didn’t really reveal anything I felt was statistically relevant. It seems as though studies have shown we’re more creative, better athletes and smarter. While looking at the methodology for such studies, I tend to think no one really knows. But until someone comes up with more definitive answers, lets go with that.
March 7, 2019
We left at 6 am from Fresno and arrived in Lihue at 2:15 pm. Walking off the plane and being hit with the humidity was a surprising remembrance of the five previous times I’ve been to Hawaii.
We were picked up at the airport and greeted with lei’s and baseball caps that had the state fish, Humuhumunukunukuapua embroidered on the front. Our hosts took us to dine at Keoki’s Paradise in Koloa. It would turn out to be my favorite restaurant and we would eat there three times during our stay.
Our suite was very nice. We had two bedrooms, walk in closet, two bathrooms, full kitchen, dining room, living room, washer and dryer, and a lanai that spanned the living room and the master bedroom. We were on the top floor (4th) with an unobstructed view of the ocean. We left the patio drapes and windows opened the entire time. It was decadent waking up each morning to that view and having coffee on the lanai.
March 8, 2019
I ran four miles to start my day. There is something about the climate here that lets me run as long as I wish without feeling tired. As I was running, it rained off and on. I was treated with a beautiful full arched rainbow. I would see several more rainbows while on the island.
We drove to Waimea Canyon State Park. It’s often cloudy or raining on this part of the island, but the day we went it was sunny. From the lookouts, and we stopped at every single one, you could see the dynamics of the canyon including the many waterfalls, a multitude of colors from the foliage and the soil. We were told that there are wild boars and goats, but saw neither. This area is called the Grand Canyon of Hawaii.
On the way back, we stopped by a papaya grove. Being from an agricultural area, I was surprised that there was a tree that I did not recognize. I had tasted papaya the day before and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.
We wanted to purchase fruit from the small stand in the midst of the grove but their prices were crazy high, $8 for an avocado for example.
For lunch, we ate at the Wrangler’s Steakhouse in Waimea. Being that it is a steakhouse, we assumed that the steak would be good, but it was just ok.
On the way back to our suite, we visited Hanapepe for their Friday Night Festival & Art Walk. We got there early and found a place to park. While we were getting out of the car, two women came up and said we would have to move the vehicle in 45 minutes so that a tent could be set up. Because the festival is so popular, parking becomes difficult. We found a spot on a side road so that we could stay longer if desired.
Tucked behind the main road is the Swinging Bridge. It does sway and seems rickety, but looking down to the Hanapepe River below, I calculated that if the bridge did fail, I would survive the fall. It’s only wide enough for one person at a time. Bridge etiquette suggests waiting for others going in the opposite direction as yourself to cross before embarking. The walk was enhanced by keeping my arms up in the air while crossing.
Our final stop in Hanapepe was Talk Story Bookstore which boasts to be ‘Westernmost Bookstore of The United States.’ They sell new and used books. My husband asked if they carried any of my books. They did not. However, they offered to provide a table for me during an upcoming Friday Night Festival so that I could promote my books. If we come back to this island, I will definitely do this! As a side note, there is a cat who lives in the store. Her name is Celeste and she likes to be petted, but only on the face. Celeste added to the charm of the place.
March 9, 2019
Just down the road from our condominium on the South Shore in Poipu is the Spouting Horn. It’s a blowhole that created by a hole in the lava along the shoreline. The spout can rise to 50 feet. There is a guardrail that prevents people from getting too close. From the lookout you can also see seals and sea turtles. Along the path to the guardrail are several vendors. One said it costs $3,500 per month for the table and $3,000 per month for daily set up/take down service. We marveled at how much they would have to sell to break even. Good thing there is a steady stream of buses bringing cruise ship tourists to visit this place.
For lunch we ate at Savage Shrimp where ‘The best coconut shrimp in the world’ is made. It’s this little, unassuming eatery where you order at the counter and they bring your entrees to your table. There aren’t very many tables. The coconut shrimp was good, but I wouldn’t say best in the world. Fun little vibe though.
Late afternoon we went to Sunshine Helicopters where we had a 55 minute tour of the island. From the air we saw Waimea Canyon, many waterfalls including Manawaiopuna which is the iconic one shown in the Jurassic Park movies, and the Na Pali Coast which can only be reached by sea. It is good to get this aerial perspective of the island early in your trip. Especially because much of the beauty can only be seen from this vantage. There is a military base on the east side of the island. The helicopters and water vessels must steer clear of it. It’s called Pacific Missile Range Facility and apparently monitors activity far and wide. We were told that the equipment there is so powerful that it has affected pacemakers recently. It’s said that you can’t see anything at the facility but that you can occasionally hear things.
From the air we could see the results of torrential rain nearly a year ago. Kauai now holds the record for the most rainfall in a 24-hour period, 49.69 inches. It washed out roads, caused massive flooding and left an entire community stranded. While they continue to repair the roads, people have to caravan in and out of the area at prescribed times.
The pilot said they had recently found an illegal commune and removed about 100 people from the jungle.
March 10, 2019
The property has an activity orientation on Saturday and Sunday mornings. They have a raffle each time for free things, the incentive works well at getting guests to attend the gathering. One speaker from a nearby diving company had taken third place in the National Geographic Great White Shark Photography Contest. He had taken his picture off the coast in Africa.
We went to church at Kauai Christian Fellowship in Koloa. It was one of the highlights of our trip. The band played rock music, most of it written by members of the band. The sermon was the story of David, Nabal and Abigail. I hadn’t remembered much about this story, but the message was how important it is to have self-control. It was delivered well and impactfully. When we left, I was surprised that we had been there two hours. The time went so fast.
We snorkeled off the beach in front of our condominium, lounged in the pool and spa and had dinner in. A very relaxing day, which I needed as I was extraordinarily tired. Maybe it was the 6 mile run this morning combined with the two glasses of wine at lunch at Keoki’s Paradise Restaurant.
March 11, 2019
We left at 5:30 am for the Holo Holo Niihau & Napali Coast Tour. It’s a 7 ½ hour excursion. They take you to the coast lines that can only be accessed by boat. Our boat is too big to stop along the shoreline, but we can get close enough to see the undisturbed beauty. It’s the end of whale season and we saw baby and adult whales. There were otters and dolphins as well. In the summer, you can get permits to camp in this area. You have to transport all your equipment, etc. via boat. I would like to do that next time we’re here.
After seeing the coastline, the catamaran headed to Niihau’s North Shore where we snorkeled at Lehua Crater. There are no others boats to be seen from this secluded place. The fish look like most of the ones in the Finding Nemo movie. There are many and they’re all so unique and colorful. My husband saw a Monk Seal under water swimming toward him. It startled him.
At one point, a school of Spinner Dolphins swims alongside our catamaran. They can keep pace with the boat. The Captain likens them to unsupervised teenagers. They do have big personalities and like to thrust themselves into the air while spinning up to seven times before plunging back into the ocean.
On the way back, I asked if I could sit with the Captain. He is on a perch at the top of the catamaran and there is an empty seat next to him. He allows me to join him once he reaches the coastline heading home.
March 12, 2019
We started our day with a tour of the Lydgate Farms Hawaiian Chocolate Tour in Kapa’a. The farm itself is quite extensive in the variety of foliage along the path.
It begins with the tasting of fruits grown on the island. Most I had not seen nor heard about before. Most notably was the dragon eyeball fruit. It got its name because it resembles an eyeball and the black seed shows through the translucent flesh like a pupil. While the texture and name gave me pause, it was my favorite.
We then made our way to the cacao grove which proved that chocolate does grow on trees. The entire process for making the fruit into a chocolate bar is described. The last part of the tour is a chocolate tasting blind test. Chocolate will taste different depending on a number of factors including where the fruit was grown, how it was processed and what ingredients are added (herbs, cherries, flowers, etc.). There were nine chocolates tasted, both my husband and I each correctly guessed five
That night we went to the Luau Kalamaku in Lihue. There is a craft fair section and my husband and I both got jaguar temporary tattoo. We both chose sea turtles. It’s interesting because it needs a few hours to dry, you then wash off the ink and there’s nothing on your skin. In a few more hours it reappears and lasts for about a week.
The dinner itself was buffet style and included the traditional fire pit cooked pig. The show was reenacting a moment in ancient island times and included hula dancing, fire poi ball twirlers and fire knife dancing.
March 13, 2019
Today we did the Wailua River Kayak & Hiking Tour. We had to leave at 5 am to arrive at their office in Kapaa by 6 am. At check in you are offered a chance to leave your shoes at the office and wear a pair from a large pile on the floor. I’m so glad that I did. The red mud on the hike would have ruined my own shoes. As it was, it seeped into my borrowed shoes and stained my feet.
We were in a group with four others and our guide, Thomas. We drove the short distance to the launching point on the Wailua River. There were two people per kayak. My husband sat behind me and gave paddle directions. The kayak portion of the trip is two miles each way. Then there is one mile each way hike to the Secret Falls which is a 125’ waterfall. We ate lunch at the base. The falls aren’t so secret as there are many people here. You can swim in the pool. Some swam under the falls, but there are warning signs that boulders are loosened and can splash down with the water causing injury or death.
The hike is physically challenging. Because of the constant rainfall, the path is nearly all mud, much of it deep. Because you have to walk with a stick for balance and pull your feet out of inches of thick mud, the path seems much longer than one mile. You also must cross a few tributaries, one that comes up to your hips. My husband and I had no problem, but my uncle and cousin were very challenged.
Kayaking back, my husband wanted a get a coconut from the shoreline trees. He was unsuccessful so our guide grabbed two for him. We already had a coconut from Honolulu that we brought home in 1995. We weren’t sure if we would get them through TSA and the agriculture inspection at the airport, but we did. They’re now here with their Honolulu cousin, drying out. The entire experience is absolutely beautiful with scenic features you won’t find anywhere else. Our concierge suggested going to the early morning tour because there are less people. It was good advice. By the time we left the river and trail were over crowded.
After the excursion, we took a driving tour of this part of the island. We saw Princeville and Kalihiwai. We toured the Kilauea Lighthouse which is in a wildlife refuge that is the home to many creatures including the Ā (Red-footed booby), Mōlī (Laysan albatross), ‘Ua ‘u kani (Wedge-tailed shearwater).
March 14, 2019
Our flight leaves tonight so today we just relaxed at my uncle and cousin’s suite before taking a meandering drive to the airport. We stopped one more time at the Keoki’s Paradise restaurant and closer to the airport we walked around an abandoned port that was used for inter-island trading. There were several feral cats.
Thoughts that are alien to any of my other projects can be found here.