Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas from Kaua'i

Originally uploaded by bonbayel.
The rooster is the harbinger of the sun, but here on Kaua'i they are reporting the sun rising back in California. They start crowing at about 3 am. This isn't a farming community we're in
(although right here was an attempt by a hapless German a century ago, who dreamed of making it rich in the copra industry. He just forgot to plan in the time it takes for the trees to grow big enough to produce coconuts!) but there are chickens all over the place. Evidently they were set loose by the mighty 'Iniki hurricane in 1992, and now wander freely all over the island - and certainly more than one rooster in the barnyard!. 'Iniki caused a lot of damage as well. There's a lot of literature about it, and I expect there are people who date things as before and after 'Iniki.

My daughter doesn't believe you can celebrate Christmas anywhere but in the North (Denmark or Maine.) She just moved back to Denmark after about 9 months in Brazil, and was amazed at the snow- and Santa decorations all over the place. We've seen a lot of beautiful floral decorations with poinsettias, lots of Santa hats, but little "snow." Christmas trees and beautiful wreathes are all over, although I expect they are the "permanent" variety. Otherwise there is a fantastic tree here on Kaua'i called "Cook's Pine" that would make a beautiful Christmas tree, although I haven't seen them decorated as such.

We had a Hawaiian flavored traditional Christmas dinner at Gaylord's - at the home of an old Sugar Grower - I started with an "Elvis Blue Hawaii" Mai Tai. The stuffing included mangos, which was very good! And the desert was evidently a Hawaiian tradition - a very custardy bread pudding with "English" (custard) sauce.

But we spent Christmas Day very actively. We went swimming at Lydgate State Park, where there is an area protected by a massive breakwater, since the surf is quite active and there are signs all over of the dangers of riptides, etc.
And after lunch we drove up the "King's Highway" from Wailu'a as far as we could go, and then hiked for about 1 1/2 hours on the red-muddy path on the Kuilau Ridge. (You should see our shoes!)

As for that sun (la in Hawai'ian) - it alternates between a nice warm sun and various forms of showers and storms, none of which last very long. We've been lucky that almost all rain has fallen while we were driving or back at the hotel at night. (We think this area is the source of the line in the Camelot song that it only rains at night!) But at sealevel the temperatures are from about 75 - 85. We got temperatures down to about 60 driving up the Waimea road to the top - where what rain we felt was actually being in a cloud!

If you click the rooster, you can go to my Flickr site to see what else we've seen this week, including a lot more birds. In case you're thinking of going to Kauai, you may enjoy the guidebook my cousin recommended: The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed

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