Before I move forward on my timeline, I’ll fill in the photos that were on my actual camera and the details I forgot because I was jet lagged. I’m now jet lagged in the other direction, but Steve helped jog my memory.
We had a layover in LA that was fairly long. Steve’s cousin Arik came to meet us and took us to The Humble Potato, tagline “the Original Hambaga.” It has American fare with a Japanese kick and was really good. The french fries were outstanding. Seriously, if you have a layover, taxi over there. It’s near LAX and worth the trip.
More photos from our hotel. I didn’t get any shots of the pool, but it was pretty impressive, too. No lazy river, like in Aruba, but a very nice swimming space with FIVE hot tubs.
That “Feral Moco” that Steve had for breakfast turns out to be a variation of a common Hawaiian dish–Loco Moco. It seems to mean “rice topped with burger topped with egg topped with gravy.” Hawaii is a place where “local delicacy” does not mean “yummy.” Remember: Spam Sushi is a thing here.
On our way home from the rehearsal, we stopped at The Coconut Experience, a roadside stand run by a darling gal named Sativa (yes, like the strain of weed). I forgot to take a photo, so I’ll just snag one from Yelp:
She had her nearly one year old baby in a high chair, handing him coconuts and fruits to entertain him, slinging him onto her hip when needed. She opened the coconuts by holding them in one hand and whacking them with a rusty machete. It was pretty badass. She had a table at the wedding and was providing the guests with coconut water with or without added booze. more on that later. Steve and I were in love with her.
After our coconut water, we went back to Lihue to change and then all the way back North to the rehearsal dinner. It was as if the wedding activities were in DC and we were going back and forth from home. Lotta driving. But much prettier than the Beltway.
The dinner was at a restaurant called The Cafe at Common Grounds. It’s a field-to-table restaurant on what was once the largest guava plantation in the world. We didn’t get any guavas here, though.
The day of the wedding, we had to buy the coconut rum and vanilla vodka that the groom wanted for the coconuts. Yuck. But one cannot have 100% good taste, right? We all have blind spots. I like stale circus peanuts. We stopped at one liquor store and it had the rum, but not the vodka. Rather than drive all over looking, Steve used his new favorite toy–the credit card concierge. He said ‘Find me a store near Lihue that has both of these liquors and is open now” and they called back with the info.
On the way, we stopped at Sweet Marie’s, a gluten free bakery. Best cup of coffee on the island. Kona, nice and strong. AND really good gluten free food. But even better, was the owner, who called us “the kids” and “bubbelehs” and was from Philadelphia. She was in constant motion and was named businesswoman of the year. We took to her instantly, realizing on the way out, when I saw her framed photos of her parrots, that she reminded me of Marlene Brown, Bubbe, Stacey’s mom. Not physically, other than the red hair, but in spirit. That “you are now part of my family” feeling that she conveyed immediately. Go to Kauai just to eat here and hug her for us.
Marie directed us to the liquor store where we got the booze. I got to check out the cuttlefish-snack heavy rack by the register:
In the parking lot, a flock of gawky young chickens, still young enough to peep, came running up to us. I resisted the urge to herd them into the car. They look a little like gang in the photos, like they were roughing up tourists for scratch. When you’re a hen, you’re a hen all the way, from each grain that you peck to each egg that you lay!
We got there early, since Steve was officiating, so I took some photos of the plants and the grounds. It never stopped amazing me that orchids just grew EVERYwhere. They were so plentiful that everyone just used them as decor, common as baby’s breath.
The ride from the garden where the ceremony was held to the meadow where the reception was help was amazing. It looked like a dinosaur might jump out and eat us at any moment. Unfortunately, it was dusk and we were moving, so I couldn’t take photos. When I search for images of Na Aina Kai, I get lots of brides, the hedge “maze,” and the horrid bronze sculptures that are all over the park–you know, the ones of kids at play that always harken faintly to Pompeii. So trust me–amazing.
Steve and I got a coconut from Sativa and headed down to the beach.
When we heard the drumming we headed back to find the Taiko drummers:
The second one in is a kid, she appears about 10-12 years old. They all have massive biceps. The video, as promised. I’ll spare you the one that includes digeridoo…
The cackle you hear in the background is Kevin’s son five year old son, Daniel. Or maybe his daughter Hana. One of them. Daniel was very taken with the fire dancers and kept practicing his routine using the little LED marbles.
When we walked to the beach the second time, it was dark. We’d stopped for a smooch only to find that the flashlight valet was right behind us. You heard me. Flashlight valet. There were dudes whose job it was to shine lights at our feet so we could make it to the beach. And all this time I’d been doing it on my own. Sucker.
Dark fell earlier in Kauai prompting us to EVERY night, say “Really? It’s only 7? It feels like 10.”
I was seriously amused when the father/bride dance was to “Country Roads” by John Denver. Hyun Joo leaned over and said “Koreans LOVE this song. This and ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra.” Well okay then.