May 2, 2013

Kauai, Day 2: It rained again, but half of us persevered

Monday dawned much the way Sunday had. Which is to say, it was pouring buckets of rain when we woke up.

We were scheduled for a sunset dinner cruise that afternoon that required us to check in at 1:15 for our 2:00 departure, and the port was about an hour and 15 minutes from our house. That meant leaving the house at noon, and if we wanted to grab lunch on the way, adding another hour-plus to that. 11 a.m.

Then there was the fact that Sarah Ellen and Caroline (understandably) wanted to rent a second vehicle because Melanie and I had at least two activities planned during the week that would have left them stranded without transportation for long periods of time, which meant stopping by the airport to rent another car.

So Internet. We left the house for our sunset dinner cruise at 10 a.m.

Sarah Ellen and Caroline ended up with a MINIVAN (two single girls with no kids -- ha!) and stopped to eat at the Sunset Grill & Bar, where they had what they said was some of the best sashimi they've ever eaten. Mel and I took the scenic route down to Port Allen and ended up at the Kauai Island Brewery.

And are you ready for the hilarious part? During lunch, the boating company called to tell me that our cruise had been canceled because of the bad weather.

I mean, yes. It had been hard for us to ignore the rain that pelted our windshields during the 75-minute car ride down to Port Allen, as well as the clouds that hung low and continued to dump rain on us as we entered the restaurant.

But Kauai is famous for its mercurial weather ... it can change on a dime. So we were choosing to be optimistic!

Nonetheless, our hopes were dashed. It was canceled, for reals. Sarah Ellen and Caroline decided to head back North for the day, and Mel and I weren't far behind. But as we approached the turnoff for the Kauai Coffee Company, the rain slowed to a light mist and we decided to take our chances and stop to see what we could see.

From the picture below, you can almost feel how moist the air was. The clouds were almost right on top of us, and dew was practically forming on our skin as we stood by the car. But the colors were so vivid from the rain!

I think this scarecrow is supposed to be charming or whatever. But I think pretty much all scarecrows are creepy-looking. Perhaps I'm their target audience.

Mel and I walked straight through the gift shop (don't worry; we bought plenty on our way back through) to the back porch, where they had free samples of all of their different flavors of coffee.

Little hand-painted coconuts told us which ones were flavored ...

versus dark.

I'm not a huge coffee drinker (I prefer my coffee the color of, um, a biscuit? Most people ask me if I'd like some coffee with my cream and sugar), but Mel had a sample or two.


I'm sure grander declarations have been made inside people's heads throughout the course of history, but bear with me. I think we had some toxic combination of jet lag and cabin fever going on.

We followed the path, which was stamped about every three feet with steaming coffee cups. QUAINT, Internet!

I don't know if you've ever done this kind of thing before, but coffee plants look a lot different than I assumed they would. 1) They're really tall.  2) They have flowers. And 3) They're really fragrant. They smelled like gardenias or something. I was my normal Migraine Killjoy Self within like two minutes on the cute stamped path: "I might have to take a pill. I'm gonna have to take a pill. OHMYGOSH these coffee bushes smell so strong. Where are my pills?"

Signs popped up about every 20 yards or so with moderately interesting information.

We finished our misty tour (my hair would never be the same), and on the drive back to the house, I decided to detour to a nearby waterfall. I didn't want Melanie to go another day on Kauai without getting to see a waterfall. Luckily, Opaeka'a Falls is only a few miles off the main road that runs around the island, so it wasn't really out of our way.

At only about 150 feet high, it's not a huge waterfall, but it's still beautiful.

Even though Mel has seen Niagara Falls, she was a good sport about seeing my piddly little Falls.

Directly across the street from Opaeka'a Falls is a spot overlooking the Wailua River. On a clear day (WHICH WE DID NOT HAVE), you have a gorgeous view of Kauai's stunning mountains in the background. On this day, though, we still got to enjoy the lush greenery surrounding the river, as well as a couple of kayakers.

There's a little restored Hawaiian village to the right of the river that was made famous in the movie Outbreak ... it stood in for an African village where a deadly airborne virus was found. All things considered, there are probably more positive things for which I'd rather be known, but you know. You take what you can get.

We were still adjusting to the five-hour time difference at this point, so we drove on back to the house to meet up with Sarah Ellen and Caroline. Mel made some slap-yo'-mama-good guacamole from scratch that night, and we ate that with chips for supper on the patio, just chatting and laughing.

Good, good times.

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