Sunday, July 7, 2019

Kauai Day #1: Kilauea Lighthouse, 'Anini Beach, and a Spectacular Sunset

I've now been to three Hawaiian islands, and Kauai is the prettiest.

The kids had gone directly from Will's Silver Award ceremony to California for a week at Camp Grandma, after which Matt and I flew to meet them (on the weekend of the Tony Awards, and imagine my surprise when I settled in to watch them at 5pm PST only to find out that they're TAPE DELAYED on the west coast--what monstrous madness IS THAT?!?), and then all six of us, three generations' worth, hopped out of bed bright and early on California time (but at a quite reasonable time for Indiana), and flew to Kauai.

Let me just tell you that direct flights are BRILLIANT. On the way home from Kauai, the grandparents had another direct flight back to their home; Matt, the kids, and I had two different layovers back to Indiana, for a total travel time of over 16 hours. The experience was... not brilliant.

Fortunately, these kids have grown to become excellent travelers. I'm especially thrilled by this because Will used to be a TERRIBLE traveler--she hated every routine change, deeply loathed every transition, and when she was six basically pitched a fit for a week straight through from San Jose, California to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. That's actually the same road trip during which I later figured out that I'd probably had a raging case of whooping cough the entire time--I'm very sorry, Entire Lower Half of the Country.

Syd is currently going through a phase in which she doesn't particularly enjoy traveling--as her travel journal fully illustrated (sigh), she's a girl who right now really mostly loves cuddling her pets, baking in her kitchen, being with her friends, and creating art in our studio, and travel allows her to indulge in nearly none of these things (here's where I'll just point out that I spent TOO MUCH MONEY buying her some VERY NICE TRAVEL ART SUPPLIES for THIS VERY REASON, but whatever)--but she's still a patient and compliant traveler, even if most of it doesn't come with any smiles. Eh, she still found things she enjoyed, and I absolutely refuse to acknowledge the reality that most of those things that she did enjoy are also things that we have at home. Just... whatever. Pour me another mai tai, please!

We arrived to a beautiful morning in Kauai, got Snorkel Bob to rent us snorkel gear and boogie boards, and drove up the coast to Princeville, stopping along the way to see ever more beautiful sights:

Kilauea Lighthouse sits on the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, and in the winter you can see whales migrate from where Will and I are standing. Why did I not bring our binoculars?!?

And then, of course, we had to get our feet wet!

We'd come back to 'Anini Beach to snorkel and swim later, but on this day we waded in our street clothes, enjoyed the sun and the water, and marveled at pieces of coral washed up onto the shore:

Personally, I also marveled at all of the rich people's houses on the drive down to the beach parking. Did I see Steven Spielberg's house? I mean, maybe? There were definitely some properties that looked like they could have been built with Saving Private Ryan profits.

Of course, we also looked like fancy people if you ignored the way we were dressed (or rather, disheveled) and instead judged us solely on the beauty of the Princeville Resort that the kids' grandparents rented for us:

We had a lovely, giant balcony perfect for forcing unwilling children to write their travel journals on--

--as well as plenty of friendly neighborhood visitors, like this Brazilian cardinal, that we knew perfectly well not to feed people food (spoiler alert: we kind of did it anyway...):

We also had the most terrific spot to watch the sunset. I'm not generally thrilled with the ipod Touches that the kids earned from selling a whopping amount of Girl Scout cookies each, because more technology and more screens and more distractions and more not hearing their mother call for them because they have headphones on, etc., but I will say that 1) probably unlike many parents, I do love seeing their ability to connect with beloved friends (even though said friends are asleep by 4pm Kauai time and up again at 2am Kauai time), and 2) I love that now they have the ability to take photos and videos from the palms of their hands. It's a great way to see what's meaningful to them in the everyday, and no, neither of them appear to yet have any interest in selfies:

Even the kids, who had a three-hour time zone head start thanks to Camp Grandma, were pretty wiped out by the time the sun set. Instead of exploring more, then, the guys went out to get pizza (Syd requested "Hawaiian," because of course she did), we all ate it on our giant balcony, and then I don't really know what else happened, because I, at least, fell asleep pretty much as soon as I was full. I probably made it to the bed first. I mean, I woke up there, so here's hoping I made it there on my own power.

Tomorrow, there's shave ice, inner tubes, and some good advice about rum.

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