Monthly Archives: January 2013

Welcome to Honolulu

We are in a hotel! It feels like total luxury.

We checked in, had a free glass of wine (um, awesome!) and headed out to find some dinner. We walked a mile or so to this hole in the wall regional Japanese food place called Sunrise. I got Okinawan soba, which I now see was the top recommended dish on Yelp. Both the kid and I loved it so much, I had to get another one so we would both feel full. We got some sushi too. We were the only white people in there. The waitress loved seeing Kiddo slurp down soba noodles, which by the way look like ramen-like Odon noodles, but I guess that is the Okinawan style?

We forgot to bring an extra diaper and Kiddo peed a lot between leaving the hotel and coming home from the restaurant. We might have taken off her diaper, let her pee in the beachfront park, and carried her home with a bare bum…it is possible! 😉

Now we are chilling in our king bed.

There is a free yoga class I am jonesing to do tomorrow morning. Let´s see if I can wake up in time/extricate myself from Kiddo early enough to go!

Four nights here then off to New Zealand. Our US leg is almost done. This trip is going so fast!

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Whale Watching

I never wrote the post on whale watching from Maui!

Sunrise from Maui on our whale watching catamaran.

Sunrise from Maui on our whale watching catamaran.

I just wanted to briefly write that we went on a two-hour sunrise trip with the Pacific Whale Foundation out of Ma´alea, and loved it.

We saw all the kinds of whale behaviors one hopes for: tale flips, mama and baby whales side by side, whale “singing” through the hydroscope, aggressive males showing off with their tales, and finally, a double breech, right in front of our boat. In addition, we had a whale pop out of the water about 30 feet from our boat. US law does not allow a boat to approach within 100 yards of a whale and mandates that the boat be in the neutral gear if it ever finds a whale within that 100 yard distance, so we got to float there while the whale was squirming around on the surface of the water for a few minutes, until we drifted away from each other.

The boat was nearly empty, so we could move around and get front row seats wherever the whales were active.

The temperature was amazing. It was cool in that summer morning way, with a light breeze and a beautiful blue sky.

Kiddo was only awake for a half hour, after which she slept in the Ergo and let us enjoy the trip without any antics (I was slightly worried about a “Wanna get down! Wanna go in the water! Wanna go swimming!” reel from her.) She was really excited though about having seen the whales, though, so that was a success.

I couldn’t have asked for a better splurge activity in Hawaii.

The Composting Toilet

So I wish this wasn’t one of the more memorable things about our trip to Kauai, but it has been.

Our cottage had a composting toilet, which was composed of a wooden box with a hinged top with a hole in it and a full toilet seat that rested on top of that. Under the hinged lid was a Home Depot 5 gallon bucket. Next to the box was a covered can with sawdust and a scoop.

When we arrived, the owner gave the spiel. We were to use the toilet as we would, throwing the paper in there too, and then cover it with a scoop of sawdust. When we arrived, the sawdust in the can was fine and easy to scoop – no problem. When the bucket filled up or got too smelly, we were supposed to open the hinged lid, take out the bucket, put another big scoop of sawdust over the top, and put the bucket´s lid on. Then we were to leave the bucket outside the cottage and they would take it away.

Here is what I loved about the experience:

  • Peeing in the empty bucket. Ooh, how fun!
  • The first few times I scooped sawdust over the contents. A novelty!
  • Learning how much waste we produce (about a 5 gallon bucket a day, including lots of sawdust). Eek!
  • That it didn’t smell at all! In fact a poo in that toilet, covered in sawdust, smells not at all when the next person goes a few minutes later. In our experience… (Maybe we just ate no red meat while we were here though, which is true…)
  • Feeling like I was not murdering the planet too much.
  • Not having to deal with the waste after we put the bucket outside.

Here is what I did not love about the experience:

  • That after that first can of sawdust, the owner replaced it with dried bamboo leaves and other large and awkward to scoop plant matter, so it was difficult to scoop and messy.
  • The flies.
  • Remembering what to do in the middle of the night.
  • Going outside, in the rain, to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
  • Switching the bucket/refilling the sawdust can/other basic maintenance when all I wanted to do was a quick pee.

But, hey, I pee a lot. Maybe someone who uses the bathroom less frequently would not find it as aggravating.

All in all, it was not too hard. I even was googling composting toilets, thinking maybe there was a way to have one in our house in Norway. I am not sure yet.

Glad I got the experience, and glad that particular experience is over! 🙂

The End of Kauai

We are leaving our little cottage on moving to the big city!

We are leaving the rain, the dangerous stairs, and the composting toilet. I am a little bittersweet, though.

We had a nice time and lived pretty cheaply here, relatively speaking. For a cottage, the rental car and gas, it was about $175 per day. Of course if we were camping that would be heinously expensive, but we have been scoping out places to stay in Japan, the last leg of our trip, and thinking that we need to conserve our budget for there. For Hawaii, not camping, but with a car and Hawaiian gas prices, that is not too bad.

Yesterday it rained constantly. We went out for brunch at our favorite place here, though it was quite busy and we both chose things that left us wishing we had ordered our old favorites. What is that?! We are getting old 🙂 Afterwards we went back to the house and Kiddo took at 3.5 hour nap. I think she is growing. We went to a nice restaurant for dinner, where I treated myself to the first sugary item in awhile: gluten free lemon cake with strawberry and guava sorbet. I must say: I really love dessert. Well, I love food in general, but also sweets. I hate it when I get to the point of craving sweets constantly, which is where I was after Maui (the vegan desserts at Mana Foods were deadly), so that is why we are cutting back. Last night was a sweet reprieve.

The place was called Caffe Coco, and they serve Hawaiian/American food with a healthy twist. We got salad wraps as appetizers, and then I got organic chicken on purple sweet potato mash with coconut creamed spinach. It was sooooo tasty.

The meal, the dessert, the company of my beautiful family was all a perfect end to our stay in Kauai.

The next morning we woke up, hung around, cleaned the place up, took our last pees in the composting toilet and headed out. We ate our first Hawaiian plate lunch at Mark´s Place, a random hole in the wall we found on Yelp. Good, but greasy, as Hawaiian plate lunches are known to be.

Kiddo slept at the airport and we headed out without a hitch. Honolulu, also rainy, I hear, awaits!

Venturing West to Waimea

Yesterday we had a driving day. We drove from Anahola, where we are staying, all the way around the island to Waimea and Polihale State Park, the furthest drivable point Northwest, when accessed from the south.

Kiddo was a dream in the car, thanks to the iPad.

Waimea Canyon was amazing. I wish we could take a hike in those parts, but we are just not up for that with our squirmy toddler. So we had to make to with amazing views from the top. She made some other tourists laugh because she walked up to the viewpoint and said, “Ooooooooooooh!” But maybe not all of them heard when she then turned around and went to climb up the stairs and said, “Oooooooooooooh big stairs!” Maybe it was just an “ooh!” kind of day.

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Ooooooooooooooooh! Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Waimea, the town, was sort of a tourist trap. We drove through the first time without me believing that we had hit the town at all. But we had. On the second run through, it grew on me a bit. The people there aren’t the friendlist, but I guess with the steady stream of tourists, you sort of might get sick of us too!

After seeing the Canyon, Kiddo fell asleep and we got some lunch at the Shrimp Station. It was tasty while we were eating it and then we both regretted it. Greasy. We also bought a coconut to drink the water from. It was AMAZING! It was expensive, as expensive as buying a small carton of coconut water in Norway, but you don’t get fresher than that and you could taste the tree and the air and the sunshine, I swear!

We drove to Polihale Beach State Park next. It is at the end of the highway and then 4.5 miles down a dirt road. The road was super bumpy at the beginning, so much so that Kiddo woke up from her nap. Whoops! The beach itself was breathtaking. Fifteen miles of wide, sandy beach. Beach, in other words, as far as the eye can see. People were driving their Jeeps and tailgating out there. It was about all you could do, though, as it was windy and the waves were crashing high and constantly. So we sat on the sand and enjoyed the view for a few minutes and got back in the car for the 4.5 miles of teeth chattering bumps back to the highway.

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Polihale beach, looking out over the Na Pali Coast

 It was then that we saw the dark clouds materialize, literally over our heads while we were driving. The whole island began to get rain in about 15 minutes from when we were sitting on the hot beach. It was crazy! We headed home, stopping for some Mexican food on the way at Verde.

The host at our cottage told us we had better not park down the driveway. Flash flooding was predicted for the night. Yikes!

We were in the car for over five hours, and saw about half the island, including one inland trek of almost ¾ the height of the island. We saw desert, jungle, valleys, canyons, and beaches. Not bad for a 12 hour day!

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From the bumpy road to Polihale Beach.

 

Hormones

Hopefully, without too much of a TMI, I can tell you that sometimes, I am hormonal. I am really really trying to combat this, to be Zen and mindful and happy throughout any fluxes in my body´s chemical composition, but sometimes, my hormones get the best of me.

But when you are breastfeeding, your kid is also exposed to the hormones you have coursing through your system. Well, I haven’t read about this actually happening, but I have confirmed it with anecdotes from my friends. Good science, you know. (Even if it doesn’t actually happen, they certainly pick up on your less than stellar moods – fact!)

Yesterday, when we were trying to leave the house, I was just…off. I was trying so hard to be calm and present and happy, but I was just pissy. I didn’t want to leave the house. I especially didn’t want to leave the house when Kiddo was specifically asking to stay home, because she, too, was pissy. 

Turns out we both just needed a kick in the pants, though, because after some whining and antisocial behavior from both Kiddo and me, Dada succeeded in getting Kiddo interested in the beach by luring her to look for crabs, and he told me he brought the weight lifting bands so that I could burn off some energy doing my P90x2 workout using the trees. It also helped that we both happened on the fact that I probably was hormonal at the same time and could have an “aha” moment, and also laugh together about it.

After that, we had a nice day at the beach. 

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Kiddo playing drums at the beach

Another nice day in Kauai

Today we slept in, lounged around, and went to our favorite farm to table spot, The Garden Café, for lunch.

I had the best lunch ever. It was amazing. It was a special, and I think we are going to go back tomorrow to try to eat it again! It was a veggie wrap with Asian pesto, avocado, green beans, beets, sprouts, and marinated eggplant, served with a big salad topped with green papaya with an avocado dressing. I seriously had a party in my mouth. It sounds…healthy…but I promise it was delish.

We went to visit their sheep and stumbled upon one of the farm interns that was bottle feeding two lambs that had been abandoned by their mother. The intern had adopted them and was feeding them every few hours around the clock, since they were born. It was a humbling experience. And a bit ironic, I suppose, since these sheep were being bred for meat, so these two lambs would be pets, and all the lambs the mothers accepted would be on the…lamb burger track.

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Twin baby lambs that became pets of the farm interns when their mama abandoned them.

Then we drove to Poipu and scoped out some of their beaches. We saw whales in the distance, another blowhole, a farmer´s market, the secret private estate of Robert Allerton (that is now a garden or something – Queen Emma, the wife of Kamahameha III used to live here, so it has royal roots). Poipu is the more posh area of Kauai, together to Hanalei in the North, which we haven’t made it to yet.

It was nice to see easily accessible beaches and pretty palms and manicured lawns, but you really do get the feeling that the locals have to give up their prettiest spots so that tourists could have their resorts. That is a bit sad. But it sure is amazingly beautiful.

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A fancy resort/golf club/private something or other near Poipu

We had tasty tacos at Tiki Tacos in Kapa´a. They had blocks that Kiddo played with at dinner, which was amazing. The tacos were pretty damn awesome too. Huge. The owner tried to tell us that one would probably be enough if we weren’t too hungry, so we each got two 😉

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Tiki Tacos mmmmmmm

We had a nice evening: we all watch The Lorax together. It was good! It is fun that Kiddo likes to watch movies now. A fun thing to do at night together when we all need a good relaxing few hours.

Thanks, Kauai, for a great day.