Thursday, January 16, 2014


While sipping a cappuccino in the lobby, I noticed that although it had a completely glass rear wall pierced continuously by glass doors, the front of the lobby had no doors at all.  I went over to verify this and the doorman assured me that this was indeed the case.  When I said I’d never been in a hotel before that had no doors, he reassured me that the entry was manned 24/7 for security.  I asked about the weather and he replied that if they had a bad rain, everything in the lobby got wet.

Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian chain of islands, at 6 million years.  Thinly populated by some 65,000 residents, it like the other islands is swamped with tourists year ‘round.  More laid-back than Oahu, without the bustle of a big city, it presents a more relaxed face.  Remnants of the island-forming volcano now make up the island’s central mountain range.  The tallest mountain is nearly one mile high and enjoys as much as 470 inches of rain a year, handily solving the problem of where to get fresh water.  The rain percolates down through the volcanic rock and emerges, purified and drinkable at the bottom.

Important words to know:
Aloha which means hello, goodby, etc.
Pia which is beer
Mahalo which is Thank you
Kane is men as in; Men’s Room
Wahini is women

The word Hawaiian is the only one that ends in a consonant.  That’s because it is an invention of the early missionaries and not a real Hawaiian word.  Only some 18,000 people can still claim to be 100% Hawaiian, all the others are of mixed blood descent.  Soon, they will be an endangered species.

Out to a luau at Smith’s Tropical Paradise last night, complete with pigs that had been cooking underground all day.

First a fire is made in the pit, using Australian Pine or Ironwood.  Lava rocks are then heated in the fire.  The pig, wrapped in Ti leaves is laid on the rocks after being stuffed with some of them to cook from the inside, covered in coconut palm leaves and buried in sand.  After cooking all day, the result is extracted and literally falls off the bones.  Delicious, but frankly, not much different from pulled pork.

Conch blowers calling everyone to dinner

Uncovering the pig

Removing the leaves and hot rocks

Transferring finished product

Today took a bus up to Steelgrass Farms to visit a family-owned mountain farm that grows vanilla, cacao, bamboo, allspice and pepper as well as tropical fruits.  The farm gets its name from a variety of bamboo that they grow which has the tensile strength of steel.

Cacao pods waiting to be turned into chocolate.  A 20-60 crop (needs to grow within 20 degrees of the equator and can't get colder than 60F), Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that can grow it.

Vanilla beans

Black peppercorns

Alien-looking Allspice plants, about 6' high

Cup-of-gold flower, approximately 6" across.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the blog, Paul...... I am now a Hawaii nut...!

    Try the Kona coffee, when you get a chance, and let us know....!

    Minus 3 and snowy here tomorrow.


    Your brother, always.