Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Slow-mads in Kauai


Kauai is a postcard.


"Slow-mads" are slow nomads, explorers who spend long periods of time in places. To me, the word suggests not rushing. It's about going with the flow as life unfolds, bumps and all.

Yes, we plan. But often we don't know what our next step will be...as was the case when we went to housesit on the Big Island for two months. One day my friend Laurie said a friend of hers wanted to sublet her place on Kauai. Perfect. We'd been hoping to spend more time on the islands.


View from the lanai

She gave us smokin' deal that included the use of her car. This was huge given how car rental prices have blown up recently.

On a Kauai Facebook page, I'd been reading about another problem: lack of taxis and Ubers. Getting from the airport to your lodging could take hours. When I posted for suggestions, a woman PM'd me, saying she'd deliver us to our doorstop for $20. Hm. Should I trust a stranger? Yes is my usual answer.

Joy of Anini Beach

Sure enough, she showed up on time and drove us north to Kapa'a. Along the way, she pointed out a store her friend owned, a restaurant or two, and a guy with purplish skin and wearing a purple cape that everyone calls The Purple Man. He was a regular sighting during our five weeks there. We gave her $30 for her friendly helpfulness. 


Kap'a Multiuse Path

As always when we land, we set to making the place our own. We unpacked, cleaned, and moved furniture onto the lanai to take advantage of the incredible view and ocean breezes. And the crowing of roosters. They are an unavoidable part of Kauai life. While their squawking might get old, they are quite beautiful, and the ubiquitous baby chicks scuttling after the mama hens are adorable.

strutting his stuff


After one night of tossing and turning in the hot bedroom that faced the noisy street (well, that me was ME trying to sleep; Dave can sleep anywhere), we even moved the bed into the living room. I loved drifting off to the lull of the waves.


At Namaste with another new friend, Debbie


That first night we walked a short way to Namaste, an Indian food truck, where an old guy cranks out delectable food. We shared a table with a couple and struck up a conversation. Next thing we knew, we had a date to visit them in Kilauea. A few days later, they toured us around their gorgeous property, and we hung out in the shade drinking margaritas and sharing stories about famous people we've encountered, live music we've seen, and places we've traveled. 


New friends Rich and Michele

Before we went to see them, we took this gorgeous hike along the Wai Koa Loop Trail:



This trail is on private land, but the owners allow public access. I'd learned on the Kauai Facebook page that the main entrance is closed and to enter via the dog park. (Slow-mad Tip: Joining the Facebook page of our destinations is a great way to get the inside scoop).


Along the Wai Koa hike


We also visited the Kilauea Farmer's Market, a cool scene but the Indian food from a booth was subpar. It would be Namaste food truck for us here on out. And we checked out the stunning Kilauea Lighthouse overlook. In these pandemic times, you need a reservation to visit the lighthouse, but getting to this point was good enough for us.


Lighthouse in the distance

A week or so later, our friend Mar messaged us from Colombia that a friend of hers happened to be on Kauai--"and you will love each other!" Mar is like me, a "friend-ta" (a "friend yenta") who loves to bring people together. And she was right, we totally dug Debbie and enjoyed a day on bikes with her along the multiuse path. A guy selling coconuts just steps away from the apartment rents out the bikes.



With Debbie on the Kapa'a Multiuse Path


I had another day with Debbie, joining her and her friend Kim at Pu'u Poa for a snorkel amongst the healthiest coral I'd seen yet--and the most array of fish and turtles. Debbie has traveled, lived and worked all over the world. She's writing a book. I feel like we could hang out together for two weeks and never stop talking.


With Zan and Joel

Turned out that meeting up with people would become the theme of our time in Kauai. We were thrilled to get a message that our friends Zan and Joel were coming to the island. We hiked with them on the beautiful Kuilau Ridge Trail, explored the stunning Limahuli Garden & Preserve, swam on Haena beach, and enjoyed some beach-and-pool time at their lovely resort. 


Dave and Joel on the Kuilau Ridge Trail


One evening we met for dinner at Lava Lava Beach Club. We got married 9 years ago at the first Lava Lava on the Big Island. What a joy to experience the other one with this couple that I feel blessed to call dear friends. 


Lava Lava offered blackened tofu in place of ahi. Delish.


We also enjoyed a day at Anini Beach with our friends Michele and Robbie who live on the island. They are new parents to Anders, whom we were thrilled to meet. Michele's parents also joined us. 


Michele and Knox


Robbie and Anders


For a small island, Kauai has a lot to offer. We did a slew of other hikes, waterfall viewings, and snorkel trips. Our boat to the Napali Coast was canceled due to high seas, but we saw the coast's drama from Waimea Canyon and while snorkeling around the point at Ke'e Beach. You have to get a permit to go to Ke'e, and with Dave's persistence checking online, we snagged one.


Dave taking a picture of Waimea Canyon


Wailua Falls


It's always thrilling to swim with honu.



fish at Ke'e Beach



mermaid in her environment


Ho'opi'i Falls Hike


We spent a lot of time on the apartment's lanai, did yoga, went to the Kapa'a Farmer's Market, and popped into a bookstore on one of our drives. Some hot afternoons we'd walk down the multiuse path to find a calm spot to take a dip in the ocean.


Talk Story was my happy place


Yes, this place was a dream. But the last week I got sick. Being a slow-mad can be more challenging when illness is involved. We were forced to scrap an international trip that we'd spent months planning. Unravelling all of that took some doing...but that's the nature of this life we live. We have to be flexible. 

Our Southwest flight to California was half-empty, so we had a row to ourselves, a blessing since I didn't feel so great. After some medical intervention and healing time, I'm feeling better. And it didn't take long for us to score several housesits in California (more on that next post).

Based on my effusive updates on Facebook, someone asked me if I wanted to live in Kauai. I thought about it and realized I don't want to live anywhere permanently right now. I want to live wherever I am. Variety is my life spice. Amazingly, Dave feels the same. 


post-snorkel happiness


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