Sunday, August 5, 2007

[OT] Trip to Kauai

Every so often when the overlords are distracted by a nearby prisoner scuffle, I'm able to wriggle free of my shackles and scramble through the darkened tunnels of the salt mine toward the surface. Sometimes if I'm lucky, I can reach the surface and feel the sunshine on my pallid skin and grab a few lungfuls of that sweet, fresh air before they find me with their electrified cattle prods and drag me, screaming, back down to my station. I kid, really. They prefer to use tranquilizer guns.

But I did manage to catch a break and take a few days away in June to have a vacation to Kauai with my significant other. These are some of the photos that I took with my camera phone on that trip. If you're wondering why we did not have a real camera with us, we did. Before we left on the plane, I made sure that one of us was carrying a portable digital camera. While I'm not blaming anyone for this, it did happen that when we stepped off of the rental car lot and turned on the camera, it immediately displayed a 'low battery' indicator. Cameras have a tendency to do that when they are not recharged for months at a time.

But midway through the first day, I did discover the camera function of my new phone, so I took a handful of pictures throughout the trip. We did buy a few disposable cameras, but I haven't gotten around to having those developed yet. I think it involves dropping them off somewhere, but I need to figure out where this place is...

Hm, so this first photo is from a secluded beach in Kauai. Secluded, that is, except for the other fifty tourists who had arrived before us. This beach, you see, was accessible only by a steep trail that wound its way up a mountainside through a rocky forest, over a barren and wind-swept mountain path, and finally down through a muddy dirt path, before depositing us on a riverbank across from the beach. Naturally, one of us fell in the water in crossing said river. Here's a hint: it wasn't me.

Another photo of the opposite side of the beach. This would have been a better photo without the half-naked guy running by.

The second photo was taken on our way back up the mountain. I took a photo of this plant, because I swore that it was a breadfruit tree (there were weird pineapplish fruits on another part of it). My girlfriend seemed to think that it was some sort of palm. Unfortunately, I couldn't get close enough to the fruits to validate my claim.

Another photo on our way back down the trail. This might just look like a muddy pile of rocks, but it was actually a very small stream. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the much more impressive river (that one of us fell in), which had crystal clear water and was full of small gobies and other fish.

A picture of my reward after a hard day of climbing. That night we had dinner at the Hanamaulu Restaurant and Tea House, which serves local-style Japanese and Chinese food (famous, apparently, for its garlic fried chicken). The portions were generous and my tempura teishoku, combined with the remainder of my girlfriend's plate of garlic chicken and a large bottle of Sapporo Black, were collectively sufficient to ensure a food coma that night.

The next morning, we had an early wake-up to take a trip on Capt. Andy's catamaran, which would take us out past the Na Pali coast, and let us swim with the fishies in a hopefully shark-free reef. Now, as you might be able to guess if you know me at all, I hate waking up early on vacation. Thus, in exchange for waking up at 5:00 am for a wet drive down to the harbor to ride on a boat full of tourists, I was expecting the best goddamn boat ride of my life. Perhaps I should have lowered this threshold just a bit. This first photo of that experience was taken early in the morning- probably about 7:30 am or so. The day was quite pretty.

Midway into the trip, a pod of dolphins swam up to the boat and frolicked in the water. Ok, this was pretty damn cool. Another common sight on the trip was the schools of flying fish that would break out of the water and buzz through the air for amazing distances.

Now the photos stop. No, I did not run out of memory on my phone. I was too busy lying on my side in the back of the catamaran trying to keep myself from inadvertently feeding the fish. This activity continued for about the latter 60% of the trip. On a brighter note, I got an awesome sunburn on one side of my legs from lying out in the midday sun for a couple of hours. After the hurting stopped, it looked like I was dipped in chocolate like those dipped shortbread cookies. Cancerous chocolate.

Capt. Andy's bathrooms. I'm sure I had a witty comment for this photo at some point. Shit and pirates. Yeah. ARRRR! Swab me poop deck, laddie! No wait, that's not right.

The second of two great hamburger places that we visited on this trip. The first was Kalapaki Beach Hut (fairly delicious); this is Ono Char Burger. The burgers were ok, given that we ate them about an hour after purchasing (due to a bathroom emergency), but what really blew me away was this weird berry shake from Ono's. I can't remember the name of the berry unfortunately. Juwannaberry? Yeah, that's it.

There was a sign at the burger stand that said something to the effect of "THESE BURGERS ARE NOT MADE WITH FISH. ONO IS A NAME, NOT THE FISH." If there was ever a sign of a tourist town, that would be it.

Last photo is of the coastline along the single highway that circled the island. We stopped here for an impulse photo, and ran into a family from the infamous Capt. Andy's Barf-o-matron. Boat, what boat?

So maybe we'll see some of the disposable camera photos when I get around to developing those. As an added bonus, one of the cameras might not be ours! (We may have accidentally taken someone else's camera on the boat, because everyone had the same disposable camera).

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