Friday, January 19, 2007

Hawaii (Kauai, Day 6)

The last day of the trip was pretty chill; there were only three of us left, and we didn't have any big items on the agenda. Our flight back to Honolulu wasn't until evening, but checkout time was at noon, so we went ahead and packed up anyway, cramming all of the luggage into our compact-sized rental car.

First, we headed up Waimea Canyon Road back to see the Kalalau Lookout by day. Unfortunately, there were clouds completely covering the valley, and we couldn't see a thing. We walked the mile to the Pu'u o Kila Lookout, hoping things would be better there, but they weren't. Undaunted, we decided to hang out for half an hour or so, to see if the clouds would burn off (it was about 11am at this point).

For about twenty minutes, we continued to see nothing. In the last ten minutes, the clouds started to ease up ever so slightly, so that we could almost see green beneath the white. Encouraged, we stuck around, and were rewarded for our patience by an awesome show, as the clouds slowly drifted, rolled, and melted away. Every minute, the view would change again, and it would still be spectacular.

It was pretty hard to capture the magic of that hour on camera, but I certainly tried. Here are two of the better photos:

Afterwards, we walked back to the Kalalau Lookout, which had also cleared up. At one point we were treated to another of the many rainbows we had seen during our trip:

It was around 1pm when we started driving back, and we were hungry, so we stopped in Waimea at Jo-Jo's Clubhouse, a famous shave ice place that nevertheless looks like a cross between a barn and a shack. Never judge a book, right? We had the Tropical Rainbow (guava, papaya, and lilikoi), with macadamia nut ice cream and azuki (red) bean underneath. Ice cream, ice and beans sounds like a horrible combination, but it was really, really good; the best shave ice I'd had during the whole trip.

We checked out the Red Dirt T-shirt store next door, although I didn't buy any T-shirts (my socks were already permanently red from all the hiking anyway), and then drove back to Poipu Shopping Village for some real lunch. We ended up having hot dogs at Puka Dog, which serves hot dogs in a huge enclosed bun, with "garlic lemon secret sauce", as well as an assortment of tropical relishes (mango, pineapple, banana etc.) and optional lilikoi mustard. The food were good but overpriced; essentially $6-7 for a fancy hot dog.

From there, we were off to Wal-Mart (yes, there is one on Kauai), to stock up on macadamia nuts, cookies, coffee, and other goodies, and then to the airport. One person was on the 7pm flight, and two (including me) were on the 8pm flight, so we just checked in early to wait at the gate. Amusingly, after the 7pm flight finished boarding all passengers, the counter agent asked if there were any passengers who were ticketed on the 8pm flight, who wanted to go early. Of course we did, so in classic Hawaii fashion, we just hopped on, which got us to Honolulu an hour early; plenty of time for a leisurely dinner before boarding our San Francisco flight home.


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