Saturday, June 13, 2009

Kauai Day 1: Burgers and Onion Rings with a side of Beach

Getting on the plane was mercifully uneventful. I forgot to take my laptop out of its case for security, but instead of strip-searching me in the back room in retaliation for my thoughtlessness (as I always fear they might), they just passed the laptop through the x-ray machine a second time. No problem. The only worrisome part of the journey came when we learned that seats on the plane were assigned only a little before boarding time and that the plane had been over-sold. Usually you can check-in online and choose your seats, and if you check-in early enough you can get your pick and find the ones with leg room. But mass confusion occurs when seats are assigned to some via an overhead t.v. screen scroll and not to others, and when boarding groups (1, 2, 3, 4) differ between couples traveling together. Charles was in the boarding group following mine, but the United worker let us both on at the same time with a shrug and bewildered smile.

United airlines has something called “Economy Plus” that we were unexpectedly upgraded to that actually has seats spaced so your knees aren’t providing lumbar support for the passenger seated in front of you. However, that was the only frill of the flight, other than a couple of non-alcoholic drinks. No peanuts, no pretzels, no meals unless you wanted to pay $9, and no individual television screens in the back of the seats. I tried to sleep, but having a middle seat and no pillow made anything but semi-consciousness impossible.

Six hours later we landed, and the sky was cloudy, the water choppy, and it was windy. Aloha us. Fortunately, as in Scotland, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change. The difference between Scotland and Hawaii in this respect is that Scottish weather changes from bad to worse, whereas Hawaii weather can alter in either direction. Charles passed up the $15/day convertible and the “loss of use” insurance the Alamo Car Rental lady was pushing and we left Lihue in a sensible Ford Focus. Then it was off on Hwy. 56 to the North Shore.

I had our lunch place picked out: Duane’s Ono Char-Burger. Described as a “Kauai institution” that has the “best burgers on the island” according to an LA Times Travel article I read. The LA Times writer didn’t appreciate eating with the Chickens at the “unwashed” cement tables in the back, but I find the mild smell of chickens homey, and watching their antics while waiting for our BBQ burgers and onion rings was excellent entertainment. Yes – if you know Charles you may have paused during that last sentence. I ordered onion rings, and he ate more than one. I have proof!

3105 Hanalei Bay Resort is the specific name of our “condo” rental. It’s a studio with a lovely little kitchenette, surprisingly spacious bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub and a fold down Murphy bed. There’s also a guest book dating back from 2005 in which former honeymooners, anniversariers and vacationers have written their “thanks for the great room”s, travel tips like where they had the best time snorkeling (Tunnels beach ranks highly with our predecessors), and complaints. More complaints than you’d think, and many about the Murphy Bed. I guess they didn’t know what a Murphy bed was when they booked the place. My only complaint is that there’s a surprise $40 fee to use the internet for seven days, which was not advertised. But considering I got a fantastic discount on the place, I will not be adding that complaint to the guestbook when I leave. This place far surpasses my humble expectations.

In the afternoon we bought groceries at Foodland down the road. Nothing much, some wine, cheese, coffee and milk. The grocery store has a mouthwatering variety of seafood, so I am planning a return trip since our kitchenette comes fully stocked with pots, pans and olive oil.

In the evening we walked down to the little beach at the base of the hill. I haven’t been to the beach in a decade. I felt like I was meeting an old friend that I hadn’t seen in years, feeling guilty that I hadn’t bothered to call or write, and a little shy. But as soon as I walked into the surf, it felt as though no time had passed. That’s how these kinds of relationships go.
The evening ended on a high note for me. I did not exactly beat Charles at Scrabble, but I didn't lose either. We tied. Which is the first time that has ever happened since he is a brutal Scrabble player.

1 comment:

Dogma said...

I REMEMBER that burger place!!! MMMmmm good. OMG he ate onion rings? Amazing.
I've got a cure for the lack of ammenities on the flight --- on my flights to and from NC last week I had full length movies on my iPhone - watched movies and ate pretzels and cheetos I bought at one of those airport stores.