Kaua’i on my mind
Feb. 15, 2010
by Kristen Miller

Because I just got back from a paradise called Kaua’i, Hawai’i, and my column name is “On My Mind,” I only thought the title was fitting.

Yes, I spent eight beautiful days in what I found to be heaven on Earth.

The only problem . . . I came back. The “welcome home” Minnesota weather had me wondering why I ever got on the plane.

For such a small island, stationed in the middle of the Pacific, Kaua’i is grandiose in so many ways.

From the majestic cliffs of the Napali Coast to the beautiful waterfalls and sandy beaches, this island truly has it all.

Despite my friend and I being the only young, single, female tourists on the island (the majority of the vacationers were couples, families, and snowbirds), we had no problems finding fun. We even met some nice locals to show us around.

The island really has a variety of things to do, whether you’re the adventurous type and want to zip line through the rainforest, or the laid back type (me), who just enjoys chilling on the beach or checking out the lush scenery.

If this appears to be an advertisement for the island of Kaua’i, I apologize. Then again, if it works, I’m just helping out their local economy.

As you could guess, times are tough there, too, since tourism has plummeted in the past couple years. People just don’t have the discretionary income to take extravagant vacations.

I don’t necessarily have the funds either, but I haven’t set foot on a plane for 10 years, so I thought I was due for a good, long vacation somewhere exotic.

It was so amazing waking up every morning, sipping my coffee on the patio overlooking the ocean, and listening to the sounds of the waves crash against the lava rocks.

If we were lucky, the sun would hit just right and we could watch the sea turtles swimming below.

Since it was whale season – giant Humpbacks come from Alaska to Hawai’i to have their babies during this time – we even caught a couple glimpses of them breaching (jumping out of the water).

What I found to be somewhat hilarious – though the locals think of them as more of a nuisance – are the wild chickens that can be seen (and heard) everywhere on the island. If anyplace should have Red Rooster Days, it’s on Kaua’i!

The chickens originally came with the Polynesian settlers, but the 1992 hurricane may have had something to do with the increasing population is what I’ve been told.

They are literally everywhere. It’s just funny to be laying out on the beach and have a chicken come clucking by you.

Of course, I had a list of things to do when I got there, but time tends to slip away so not much was checked off.

I did, however, attempt snorkeling. Unfortunately, it was in rough waters so I can’t say I had much fun. I do have a wounded knee to show off my efforts, though. One has to be careful for the lava rock and coral!

One day on the beach, Angela and I were propositioned to go sky diving on the island. Pretty sure that wasn’t on my list of things to do while in Kaua’i! Needlesss to say, we turned it down.

Of course, we had to experience a luau while there. Food was excellent, as was the entertainment. I even tried Poi. This is a Polynesian staple food made from the taro plant. It looks like chocolate pudding, but it sure doesn’t taste like it!

Also on the luau menu was Kalua pork smoked in an imu (an underground oven), sweet and sour Mahi Mahi (my favorite), and surprisingly, macaroni salad. I was told this is also a staple on a Hawaiian buffet.

Of course, I didn’t leave the island without some fantastic souvenirs. My favorite purchase was a pink, floral, ukulele. Now, I just have to learn how to play.

Since Kaua’i is the oldest of the islands, it’s said to be the most beautiful. I think I will take their word for it!

If I ever get the chance to go back to Hawai’i, I will likely stick with Kaua’i. There is plenty I have yet to see and do there.