And then we went to Hawaii

From time to time even the most cold-hardened Alaskan needs a breaks from all of the seclusion and gray of winter. So it’s during those frigid winter months that many of us find our way to Hawaii. Hawaii is like our sister state. They get us in a way no Lower 48 state can. They understand what it is to be separated from the rest of the country, to be excluded from free shipping or low gas prices, to have to pay more for even the most basic necessities because you happen to live a few thousand miles away. They’re a big vacation spot for the Japanese, we’re a big vacation spot for the Japanese. We’re both known for our weather and typically get a lot of misconceptions about it. So when Alaskans go on holiday we typically travel to Hawaii. They like us and we get special airfare. Seriously, sometimes it’s cheaper to fly to Honolulu than it is to fly to Seattle…

Anywho, recently we went to Kauai. If you haven’t been, go. There’s a reason they call it the garden island and there’s a reason their favorite bird is the cock chicken. There are chickens everywhere. Really. It’s kind of crazy. Anyway, here’s a quick run through of some of the highlights of the trip…

The very first night in Kauai we had a business thing to attend, because really the whole reason we were there was for a big convention. So we’re at this cocktail party and my son is with me. First, he tries all of the hors d’oeuvers and decides that he likes none of them. Then he gets the biggest glass of orange juice available, chugs the entire thing, and begins to run around like a little lunatic. Well, if you know anything about how the human stomach reacts to an over abundance of acidic fluids combined with cardio, then you’ll know what happened next. If not, you’ll be just as surprised as I was when he stopped at our table and made a weird noise. He gave us a concerned deer-in-headlights look and ran outside to the patio when he proceeded to projectile vomit over the railing and bushes and on to the grass. Then he ran back inside and said, “I’m okay! Can we got get burgers now?” Yep… That’s my son, future frat boy in training….

animal house

this will be my son’s hero in about 13 years…

At one point we had most of a day off so we hopped in the rental car and drove around part of the island. We went out to Waimea Canyon, which was beautiful.


Waimea Canyon

Except my son tried to chase a chicken into the parking lot and almost got himself hit by a car…. Oh and he tried to steal candied fruit from a local vendor selling snacks at the canyon lookout… Yes, I threatened intense bodily harm and he quickly fixed his poor behavior. After that we went to the little town of Hanapepe. It’s a small community with an adorable little historical strip full of galleries and bookstores. They’re also known for their turn of the century swinging bridge.

cool bridge. Less cool is what happened after this picture was taken...

This is a cool bridge. Less cool is what happened after this picture was taken…

I suggested we top there and we did. Before I continue this story, a quick note… I always come up with a “fun” idea for our trips to Hawaii. Every year something happens that turns my “fun” idea into the worst day of the trip…. This year was no different. We got to the bridge and my son took off skipping across it. It swayed with every step and was overall, a really cool old bridge. On the other side was a little platform you could step up on to get a picture or better view of the whole bridge. So we all stepped up there to look and just like that we got swarmed by mud wasps. Awesome… Like an angry cloud of flying nightmare demons they focused their attack on my five year old son… Probably the best outcome besides swarming me, if I’m going to be honest. You see, both of my parents are deathly allergic and I am not. Before this trip I had no idea if my son would be allergic or not. Anyway, they were stinging him and he was screaming and then my mom, who was right next to him, threw him to me on her way off the platform. I immediately start consoling him while ripping off his shoes because the wasps had gotten into his freaking shoes. Unfortunately, he was screaming and crying and squirming so much that he wiggled his way out of my arms and his bare feet landed right on some kind of thorny brush… So now he’s got wasps stings, he’s freaking out, nobody knows if he’s allergic, and he’s got stickers and thorns in his feet…. Also, I am freaking out at this point because he’s five and may or may not be allergic and did for sure just get stung and we have no idea where the closest hospital is… So I toss his shoes to my mom and carry him back across the swinging bridge to the car. Now we’re on a mad hunt for Benadryl because it’s what my doctor told me to give him should he get stung because it’ll give us time to get to a hospital if he is allergic. So we found a little market and surprise surprise they don’t have any. So we speed to the big market…. Two. Towns. Over. On winding, coastal Hawaiian roads this took forever. Or at least, it seemed like it. In reality it was probably only ten minutes. Anyway, we finally got Benadryl into his system and it seemed to help. The end results were three wasp stings, numerous daily doses of Benadryl and a couple days of puffiness and rashy/blotchy skin. All in all, I still hold my title as worst “fun” activity planner for Hawaii trips. Seriously, this is the third island I’ve screwed up on. Give me time, I’ll get the rest…

We went tubing, which is cool. You go up this big hill and they let you out into this irrigation canal which is no longer in use by the farms. Then you float along, lazy river style, going through tunnels now and then. The excitement is when you get to go over this little four foot waterfall midway through the trip. Everyone had a great time, especially my son who was still recovering from the wasp incident.

Of course, since we were in Kauai, we went to the beach pretty often. The sun was great, the beaches were beautiful, and the ocean was warm. Occasionally we’d see monk seals at the beach (which are protected, so no touching!) and sea turtles (also protected!). My son had an awesome time building sand castles and running from the waves. He only swallowed a few accidental gulps of sea water…

monk seal

monk seal

We did venture north to an historic lighthouse, lighthousewildlife preserve,wildlife refuge and more beaches. I stood on the set of Jurassic Park (which is basically the whole island…).

Welcome...To Jurassic Park!

Welcome…….To Jurassic Park!

There were no velociraptors that I was aware of… But that’s their thing isn’t it? Even if you see one, you never know where the others are until they leap on you from behind and gnaw off your arm…

clever girl

The very last night there was a big dinner with dancing for all of the contractors. It’s basically like a big party because there’s an open bar and by the end of the night everybody is shit-faced. My five year old son was the life of that party. With a dance floor in the middle of the room, a DJ, and flashing lights, he was killing it out there on the floor. Seriously. He was like a little dancing machine. He danced by himself, with partners, with anybody who went on the floor, for the audience, and with half of the women at the event. At the end of one song the whole room applauded him and he dropped to one knee with his arms outstretched and dropped his head. Yeah, my kid knows how to work a room…. He refused to leave the dance floor. Not for dessert, not for ice cream, not for water, nothing. And then at one point he walked straight up to me and said, “Okay, I’m ready to go to bed now.” And that was it. He was done and we were headed back to the room. It was adorable.

The whole trip was pretty much awesome, minus the wasp episode, and the break was very much needed. Now we’re back and there’s more sunlight than when we left and the temperatures are starting to rise and it’ll be spring before you know it. …it has to get above zero first, but whatever… close enough.


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