Today was a very long day.
I got sunburned.
My legs are pink, The pink color of the crayon you use to draw white people. My face was varying, lighter shades of pink, but is now turning more brown, except around my hairline, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like when I shave. It will probably be several shades lighter where my facial hair is. Great look!
We started off the day at 6:00 am, and hit the beach around 8. Shortly after that we took a drive and went snorkeling at a beach called I don’t know what (the Hawaiian translation for that has lots of vowels), which was even more amazing than last time. This was a very rocky shore, with masses of coral the size of cows. These corals hold entire ecosystems on their own, with anenomes living on them, smaller fish hiding in them, bigger fish moving from one to the next feeding, and so on. The colors and variety of fish are amazing. It just continues to amaze me that they exist just a few feet below me while I’m swimming, and some of them came within inches. I could identify some angelfish and puffer fish, though not specific varieties, and I even saw what I think was a needlefish. At one point we followed a school of 60-70 bright green and yellow guys, it was just singularly amazing. I really wish I had spring $250 for a cheap underwater camera.
We got lunch from a shrimp truck which was okay but it was freaking lunch from a shrimp truck. Awesome? Awesome.
We went to the Kauai coffee plantation where small children were stunting their growth on free samples. It was pretty cool, actually, there was a small self-guided tour with a coffee harvester, and a gay Hawaiian flirted with me. The best part was one of the trees out front, people carved their names into the leaves. Sounds weird, right, usually you carve your name into the bark? But no, these were carved into the leaves, hundreds of them, just so many messages from other passing tourists.
Then we saw what we were really driving around for, Spouting Horn. This is a sort of natural geyser that’s formed from the pressure of waves coming in under some rock and being forced through a hole in the surface. It looks and sounds amazing, and I risked a $100 fine (that’s $100 Hawaiian, which is about $160 U.S.) by going past some scary signs to get closer photos.
After that we rested a bit, swam in the freaking Pacific Ocean (I’m still having a hard time getting over that) some more, I watched my cousin play Nazi Zombies, and we drove off on some somewhat aimless adventure. We offroaded the rental Jeep a bit (they won’t mind the red dirt, I’m sure) and found Glass Beach and Salt Pond Beach. Glass beach is full of volcanic (and man-made) glass, and we explored the cliff face a bit, atop which is an old cemetery that looks Buddhist, and at the base of which is one hundred years of abandoned machinery. Old car parts are strewn around, and in some places volcanic outgrowth has partially buried some of it. This is one of those places that archaeologists ten thousand years from now will find and assume was the site of some kind of ritualistic orgy or virgin sacrifice, because they can’t figure out why else this would ever exist, at all.
Salt Pond beach was much friendlier and we’ll probably revisit for snorkeling. We went the back way, around the airport, where the terrain looks like surface of Mars and some people live in tents and old trucks.
When we got home, my sister, her boyfriend, and I went to dinner at a Keoki’s Paradise Bamboo Bar & Cafe. The atmosphere was fun, kind of the Hawaii that people think exists but really doesn’t, and the food was great for the price. I had to get a fish taco because I had to get a fish taco while I was in Hawaii, but the fried calamari strips were the best part. Plus we got some fruit drinks with umbrellas and I got two umbrellas because I asked the waitress to make sure I had one.
Then, home, more swimming, and I’ve spent the last two hours culling photos and writing this. This place really is paradise, though I could be saying that because I’m staying in a swank resort with few bills to pay. I’d love to stay here, but the only professions I’ve really seen are surf instructor and scantily clad young woman, both of which I’m (barely) not qualified for.