May 6, 2013

Kauai, Day 3: I swam with turtles and hand-fed goats!

Do you know how to start your day off on the right foot?

Well, first of all, you should be in Hawaii. Because even if it's raining again, it's still better than rain in other places. But the other key component of a great morning which was heretofore undiscovered by me is Macadamia Nut Pancakes topped with Coconut Syrup.

One of the yummiest breakfasts ever. SO Hawaiian, and so unexpectedly good. (Also, if you want to sound like a local, call them "mac nuts.")

Once Melanie and I had polished off our pancakes and done a little souvenir shopping, we headed back up toward the house. About halfway there, Sarah Ellen called and said that it had finally stopped raining, and we decided to meet at Anini Beach.

Anini is a great snorkeling spot, because it's protected by a reef so it stays relatively calm up near shore. I was hopeful we might get to see a few sea turtles, and I wanted Mel to have a chance to snorkel at least once before we went on our snorkel cruise the next day (she'd never snorkeled before).

I would like to take a moment to point out that I warned Mel that if I were to see a turtle, smell a turtle or hear someone shout "Turtle!" that I would take off like a shot without any regard for her welfare. I'm all about fair warning.

Apparently I'm also all about looking like a member of the mafia in snorkel gear.

Honestly, the biggest laughs we had on the entire trip were when we went through the pictures we'd taken with my underwater digital camera (just a little job I bought at Wal-Mart). We are UTTERLY CONVINCED that it is impossible to take a flattering picture underwater while wearing a snorkel.

In every single one, I'm -- as Mrs. Potato Head would say -- "wearing my angry eyes," and in some of them, it's even worse. I'm angry AND CROSS-EYED.

Luckily, the sea turtles we encountered (TURTLES!!) were blessed with all the natural accouterments needed for breathing underwater, so they just looked adorable.

Look. I'm just gonna lay it all out on the line here. You all know by now that I basically have no shame. I can't tell you why I thought it was a good idea to basically swim right up Caroline's butt. Maybe it was the pull of the tide. Maybe it was just her natural magnetism.

But can we also just take a moment to appreciate how normal Mel's hair looks back there, all nice and controlled in the ocean environment, while mine is still FROING UP ALL OVER THE PLACE? I sincerely hope Mel's snorkel is taller than mine and it's not that my hair was sticking up that much more than hers was.

Huh. It doesn't really look like hers was super-tall.

About this time, everybody except me was sporting chillbumps and was ready to go ... there was an intermittent drizzle, and with no sun, I guess it could have been considered a little chilly.

So we took a few more pictures, relaxed in our chairs on the beach for a bit (everyone else wrapped up in their towels and hoodies -- ha!), then headed home. Mel and I had a luau to get ready for!

We put on our luauiest outfits for the occasion. You may not be able to tell from this distance, but I had rivulets of sweat running down my face and back because I put on this jacket for these pictures. That jacket came off and didn't go back on the entire night -- although I did take it with me for looks. (I'm a girl sometimes!)

The luau was back down on the Southeast side of Kauai, in Lihue. When we arrived, we jumped straight on the train, which was departing for a 40-minute tour of the plantation. (And who should be on the train but a woman who works for our company, in Birmingham, one block away from us? SMALL WORLD.)

I was thrilled that the train took us past lots of animals.

I had no idea we were going to get to stop and see any of them.

But we did! I got to hand-feed two goats, a blonde and a brunette. I was beside myself, I was so excited. I fed them lots and lots of bread.

Mel was a little nonplussed at first ...

But then she liked it.

Even Alabama girls can be charmed by faces like this.

I mean, COME. ON.

After the train ride ended, we joined the other 748 (literally) people inside the big tent for the dinner and show. We had no idea it was a 750-person audience ... we were both expecting something a lot smaller!

This was more like an off-Broadway show.

At the beginning of the show, we were eating our meal during the shorter performances. Mel tried poi, a local dish? Condiment? Made from taro. For your viewing pleasure, I took pictures of her while she tasted it because I'd heard it was horrid. You're welcome.

As our plates were cleared away, the show progressed. There were a large cast, playbills, a full musical program, a full band and narration.

I was expecting The Brady Bunch Goes to Hawaii. This was not that.

Mel and I agreed that one of our favorite parts was the fire dancing. The fire dancers were amazing.

I don't know what would make someone want to do this, but it's impressive nonetheless.

Of course I sat there the whole time wondering if he had sprayed his entire body with a flame retardant, if his skirt was made out of the same fabric that children's PJs are made from so that it won't catch fire easily, what his knuckles look like close-up ...

And by the way, all of the dancers' bodies -- male AND famale -- were sick. In a good way. Unbelievable.

This isn't some camera trick I know how to do. The fire actually moved through his arms like that while he was performing. Crazypants McGuffin up there.

Mel had to explain the whole plot of the show to me, but there was a plot to it. I've already forgotten what it was. Regardless, it was good. I would've been totally fine with some hula dancing and a pile of pork on a plate on a beach somewhere, but I'd say we definitely got our money's worth out of this one.

After the lights came back up, most of the cast came out and sat on the edge of the stage so that the audience could take pictures of and with them. Of course we couldn't pass that up.

Did Mel give the correct Hang Ten/Hang Loose/Just Keep Livin' sign and I gave a thumbs-up? LOOKS LIKE IT.

Please. Count on me to bring the awkward to any event. I'm available for hire.

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