December 7, 2009

Kauai: The Coco Palms


This is what's left of the Coco Palms, the site of the old Elvis Movie, "Blue Hawaii." Sadly, I only ever got as close as this while passing by in a car.

The hotel was the 'it' spot back in the 50's and 60's, but was devastated by Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Disputes with the insurance company have kept it closed to this day.


December 4, 2009

Kauai: Jungle Fowl


Chickens run wild all throughout the island of Kauai. We saw them from the moment we left the airport and on through the rest of our time there. They were on the sides of the roads, in backyards, even along the side of a waterfall that we hiked a mile to get to. And you can hear the roosters crowing nearly everywhere.

The locals call them 'Jungle Fowl" It's unclear exactly how they came to be so prolific, but most of the stories we heard indicated that the population skyrocketed after Hurricane Iniki in 1992. The most plausible involved cock-fighting birds that were freed in the havoc the storm wrought.


Regardless, I found myself inspired by all this wandering poultry. Between that and my vacation reading of "My Life in France," I find myself wanting to try my hand at Coq au Vin.

December 3, 2009

Kauai: Waimea Canyon

_MG_5570 - Version 2

I was blown away by the beauty and the scale of Waimea Canyon. In the US, it's second only to the Grand Canyon in size and it is an amazing thing to see.

I've already made it pretty clear that I'm not a nature boy. The great outdoors is not familiar territory to me. So, as a photographer, landscapes aren't really my strong suit. I can't begin to convey what we saw out there, but here's my attempt.

_MG_5659 - Version 2

_MG_5599 - Version 2

December 2, 2009

Kauai: Outdoorsy fun up the Wailua River


We certainly got our exercise in Kauai. Besides walking a few miles in our misadventures trying to get around, we also got all outdoorsy and did some hiking and kayaking.

Tammi and I joined a group and paddled two miles up the Wailua River. Then we waded chest-deep to the trail to Secret Falls.

IMG_8107 - Version 2

The hike itself was good, not too strenuous, but pretty messy, given the mud and the sloshing around. One lady went all-natural and dispensed with footwear.

Once we got up to the falls, we took it all in for a while. Tammi and some of the others in our group waded into the pool.

IMG_8045 - Version 2

The whole nature thing was more fun that I would have expected, but I don't imagine I'll be kayaking down the Hudson any time soon. When it was all said and done, I ached in places I didn't realize existed.

November 27, 2009

Hawai'i on Foot or "I Never Learned to Drive!"


I'm an unapologetic pedestrian. I can't drive and I can't say I particularly care to learn. Honestly, I prefer places that driving isn't necessary. And the places I might want to get to by driving are places like Napa, Provence or the Italian countryside where I really want to go to sample wine and have 3 hour lunches wouldn't be especially conducive to responsible driving. Tammi can't drive either, although she actually wants to learn and has been taking classes in pursuit of that.

Regardless, neither of us currently have a license. That proved a bit of a limitation in getting around on Hawai'i's more rural islands. Neither The Big Island or Kauai are particularly accommodating for the non-drivers.

The Big Island, being more rural and, well, Big, was the most challenging of the two. Taxis cost about $5 per mile to get around and I ended up dropping $100 just getting to our hotel from the airport. Besides the tour we took of the island, we didn't get beyond the grounds of our resort and it's sister hotel.

Kauai was a bit easier, with towns only a couple miles apart and a bus system that could get us up to the north shore of the island. But it only runs until 6:15pm and doesn't run at all on Sundays, which led to some rearranging of plans. Even with that, we put in more than a mile or two walking while we were there.

Coming from New York, it's funny to see the reactions of locals and hospitality folks when asked about getting around without a car. They initially assume we're being cheap and try to convince us that it's worth it to get a car. When we explain that that's not an option, they just think we're weird.

I'm writing this back in Honolulu, which though touristy and laden with hi-rises and Waikiki Wackos, is more familiar terrain for a city boy like me.

November 25, 2009

Quick Bite: BK Breakfast Spam Platter

BK Spam Platter

Even Burger King serves Spam for breakfast. Also note the popular Portuguese Sausage, which I tried out at a more reputable place.

November 23, 2009

Hawai'i: The Loco Moco


This is the Loco Moco: a thick beef patty, topped with a fried egg and starch-thickened gravy served on a bed of rice. Think Salisbury Steak with rice and egg. For breakfast. Weird right? It's actually pretty good and a really interesting example of how Hawai'i integrated so much of the influences that have flooded the islands since Captain Cook 'discovered' them 200 years ago.

Contemporary Hawai'ian cuisine is notoriously low-budget and ingeniously cobbled together with whatever is on hand. Famously, Spam is more popular here than anywhere else in the country. Without getting too involved in a discussion/monologue on the politics of big business and imperialism at the turn of the last century, suffice it to say that there has been a lot of poverty and plenty of cultural intermingling over years.

The Loco Moco pulls together American burgers, Japanese rice and hangs onto the 50's era aesthetic of TV dinners and powder packet gravy.


I prefer the egg over easy so the yolk mixes in with the rice. The gravy is thick and goopy and rich and binds it all together. It's a little much for me, but it's been interesting to try out a couple examples of it.

November 12, 2009

The Annual Trip: Hawai'i


With the wedding strategically placed just before Thanksgiving, we have now canonized our traditional holiday trip as the Anniversary Trip.

Friday morning, we take off for Hawaii for nearly two weeks of fun in the sun. We'll be island-hopping, hitting Oahu, The Big Island and Kauai while we're out there. No major plans yet, we'll just be playing it by ear. It's been an eventful 12 months and the both of us hope to take advantage of our first real downtime since the big day.

Given the lackadaisical flow of posts lately, it's not really necessary to warn that updates will be sporadic, but I am hoping to take some time to regroup and get more consistent all around the interwebs. Expect some news about the blog, the photo site (which I hadn't gotten around to mentioning), Twitter, and Examiner before the year is up. You've been warned.

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