01 February 2011

Ah, Paradise! (And a Picture of Aunt Messy in a Bikini!)

Winter is not my favorite time of the year. You may have noticed this already. But it's all a matter of location. See, Chicago winters can be pretty dreary, and to avoid discrimination, just about every city that has regular snow can be pretty dreary in winter.

This year, though, the stars aligned! There were air miles, in-laws with an empty bedroom in a condo that they rented on Kauai and all of a sudden, I got a phone call from The Boy asking if I wouldn't mind going there for a visit.... I pretended to think about it for a grand total of a second before I yodeled, "Yes! Not just yes, hell yes! When do I leave!"

In the fullness of time, I left. And it is paradise. Make no mistake. 

Sunrise over Bali Hai. It was a little cloudy that day, but not for long.

The rocks at the beach at Lumahai. Even if you've never been there, you've seen this beach. The movie "South Pacific" was filmed there. It's considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Kauai, but it's also called "Lumadie" because it's very dangerous. No non-tourist would ever try and go in the water there and they particularly won't get up on the rocks.

See, there is no reef at Lumahai. Nor is there any form of shallow water or shelf going out off the beach. The waves break on shore and are incredibly powerful and violent. One writer pointed out that Kauai is nothing more than a mountain-top in the middle of the ocean, and Lumahai is proof of that.

There are warning signs all over the place. The Boy (a lifeguard in a former life) says that he would NEVER jump in and try and save someone because once you go it, that's it for you. The maytag catches you and your next stop is Japan.

It's my favorite place in the world. I think I caught some of the wave action in the next couple of pictures. It's mesmerizing to watch.

Remember the warning signs I told you about? Didja see the way the waves hit those rocks? Well, stupid is universal apparently, because the couple in the photo appear to have a death wish. As they were getting off the rocks, a massive wave hit and almost had them in the water. They were laughing, too dim to see just how lucky they got.

This intellectual bright light took his two small children to a space between one set of rocks and the next and stood in the water....

...where this happens... and thought it was grand fun. At this point it was about 3:00 p.m. we declared cocktail hour and left the beach. None of us said it, but the real reason we left is that we couldn't watch the dumb any more. This potential train wreck was too much.

Oh, and when this wave broke, the guy AND the two kids were in the water with it. See what I mean?

This will never put me off Lumahai, though. It's still my favorite place. My mother-in-law loves it so much that we've all been instructed to scatter her ashes there when the time comes.

I decided to head to another beach one day. This is a very small beach below the condos at Pali Ke Kua. There is a sandy beach, but the rocks are right off shore. Surfers and swimmers can only get into the water at one end, but the snorkelling is gorgeous and the waves are always good.

I decided to take my camera at low tide and (very, very carefully) explore the tidal pools. I say carefully because those rocks are a combination of lava and old coral. You can't be barefoot on them. Even the sand is very coarse, so surf socks are a must. It's so much fun that I went for a few minutes and stayed for two hours.

And here it is, kids, the photo you've all been waiting for... me in a bikini! And that's as much as you get to see, too.

The first time I went to Kauai the spiders creeped me out in a big way. They still do if they're big and in my face, but the webs are something else again. This is about the best photo I've taken of an orb web. It's a relatively small one, only a foot across.

Another perfect sunset over Bali Hai. Looking at postcards of this particular view (and there are a lot of them), you'd swear they were touched up because the whole thing looks sort of unreal, an idealization of what sunset should be. They aren't. This is it.

It was not easy to board that plane home, I can tell you. Now I'm planning the next trip out there.

(All photographs copyright 2011, all rights reserved.)


  1. And you came back just in time for a major storm :) Don't worry, I did the same, a week in the DR at a 5 star resort and then back to the crushing realities of -20 and 12" of snow coming in tonight.

  2. Sigh. I guess we might survive. We're supposed to get two feet of snow today - the Fedex trucks all went home at noon so I didn't get the package I stayed home all day because I have to sign for it..... I'm booking next year's trip to the sun on Monday.

    It looks utterly foul out there right now. Even the cats don't want to look out the window!

  3. Dicey, I don't think you COULD take a bad picture of that place. It reaches out and grabs you and you have to mellow out no matter how much you might not want to.

  4. Those pictures are breathtaking Messy! I was praying you were still there and missing the crazy storm until I saw that you had indeed returned. :(

    Best wishes to you, and I hope you stay warm and away from those 4' drifts they were reporting!

  5. There was big snow (it's 4' deep in the alley) and big wind. Charlie the Goofball Kitten was completely freaked by the wind last night. It took a crowbar to dislodge him from my lap.

    When we got up this morning, he took one look out the window and howled, then ran from window to window I'm guessing because he wanted to see if it looked the same everywhere.

    The City of Wind is shut down today. Maybe tomorrow, too. Sigh.

  6. We didn't get nearly the dumping that was promised, maybe 5" tops. Roads were nice and empty for heading to work though, as the parade of SUV's to school was canceled along with classes for the day.

    Cute toes BTW.

  7. We got an unofficial 23 inches at home. Ten miles south they got eighteen and twenty miles north they got seveenteen. I hate snow.

  8. Peter, i hate hate that that parade! It's like two more rush hours and the exhaust fumes are probably visible from space.

    Tonto, i'm with you. I shoveled the front walk twice testerday. The only up side is that if youCAN'T drive, you can enjoy the day.

    Forgive typos, postng from my phone.

  9. wow,neat pixs, scary amazing waves!

    Watch out for foot fetishists!

    Please,pretty please, send some of that snow to the Northwest. I'm sick and tired of this constant rain. At least a bit of white would brighten things up....

  10. Now you understand why I have been working with a realtor to get my retirement place on the Big Island. Once you have been there, seen and enjoyed it, how could you not want to retire there. Combine that with a strong aversion to cold, and you know why my desire is to retire where if I were to walk down the street holding a snow shovel, everyone would ask me what it was.

  11. Oh I get it jburd! Believe me, I get it. For me it would have to be Kauai, though. I know from the experience of living in not less than three "destination cities" that I loathe and despise tourists. Kauai is just prettier.

    However... in the heat and humidity, home repairs are a constant. Every day when you wake up, a repair will need to be made - or so I've been told by people who have retired in the tropics.

    It's also just too screaming expensive to build there, and I'm not going to compromise on that this time. I'm tired of used houses. I want a bright red door. I don't want to see my neighbors.

    That's why it's Oregon for us. Warm, enough space that we can build without caring what anyone thinks but us, and wine. More wine is always a good thing.

    Which isn't to say that I won't be visiting Hawaii on a regular basis. After all, there's a direct flight to Lihue from Seattle now....