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Sunday, September 23, 2001

Today was a lazy day.

We began by visiting a local fair which was supposed to feature a lot of local artists. In actuality, it was really a bunch of craftspeople. Their craft was ok, for the most part, but it was mostly just the sort of thing you'd expect in the little kiosks you see in shopping malls. Things like stones and cultured pearls strung on strings, carved coconut shells, and simple garments.

Then we stopped down the road and picked up a couple of things like sunburn ointment in anticipation of hikes and walks we hope to do later in the week.

From there we headed south, just following our whims. We first turned up a Kuamo'o Road to view Opaeka'a Falls (not shown). We viewed the falls from a pull off above the top of the falls. It was impressive, but would have been more impressive if we could have gotten closer to it than the mile or so we were from it. There we met a couple from Detroit and the husband's Turkish sister. They were feeding the zebra striped doves. After talking a while, we headed up to see where the road ended, then came back to the highway and continued south.

At Ma'alo Road we saw a sign indicating that Wailua Falls (top left) was located four miles up the road, so we headed up there. This is the falls that showed up on TV's Fantasy Island. We met the Detroit trio again.

Back on the highway and heading south again, we drove until it was clear we were running out of places to have lunch, so we turned off at the next road and headed towards Koloa along Maluhia Road, passing though the tree tunnel. The tunnel was more along the line of what I expected for vegetation on Kauai'i. There are over 500 eucalyptus trees lining the road (smaller versions of the trees we have in the bay area). Before two earlier hurricanes, the tree tops totally intermeshed, though I was impressed with what remains. The trees also now are overgrown with various vines and hibiscus plants as well. It would be a great biking road. Unfortunately, few of the roads here even have shoulders wide enough for bicycles.

Rather than heading to Po'ipu, we headed west along the ocean front on Lawa'i Road to Spouting Horn. This is a lava shelf that extends a few tens of yards into the ocean and has a few tunnels in it oriented such that waves pulse through them and explode out the top like whale blow holes. There used to be a much bigger blow hole, but in the early 20s a sugar cane owner had one of his workers drop explosives down it because the 200 foot tall spray was stunting the growth of sugar can in about 10 acres of his thousands of acres. We spent some time watching all the chickens with their hatchlings, crossing from one side of the road to the other and back again. Still we don't know why.

We decided to head back at this point, stopping in Koloa at a family Italian restaurant for lunch.

When we got back to the condo, we took a hike north along the ocean front, which is just a few yards from our front door. We eventually meandered over to the Coconut Marketplace and had dinner at the Hula Girls restaurant. We didn't realize that there was going to be live entertainment until Henry (middle left) showed up and began setting out his guitars and ukuleles.

Henry was a good performer to the 4 or so tables that were eating at that time. He got us all involved. We sang along with him, he taught us some Hawaiian lyrics, told some bad jokes, had us sing to our spouses, and engage in other silliness. He even let me hold his custom made, $7,000, abalone inlaid ukulele. A very nice instrument.

After dinner, we went to the movie theater in the Market and saw "Rat Race". It was quite a hoot. Certainly one woman there really enjoyed the film -- we heard her roar with laughter though most of the film. Also, whenever Rowan Atkins (of Mr. Bean fame) showed on screen, Kathy began giggling even before he did anything.

Overall, the island so far seems much like the California Bay Area, with more impressive mountains and a whole lot more water. The people are the most friendly and helpful I've ever met, though some things never change (bottom left).