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Kauai, Paradise on Earth: Day 1

We have arrived.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157626607322990/

After a long 12 hours of flying, we finally saw the Garden Isle before us. There was Kauai, peeking out of the sea like a green goddess, a crown of fluffy white clouds upon her head. Although it was 8 p.m. to us, it was 2 p.m. Hawaii time, so we still had half a day before us.

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We breezed through the tiny airport and in no time had our rental car and were on our way. We made our way to the Grand Hyatt in Poipu on the sunny south side, appropriately “oooooing” and “aaaaahing” all the way. This was our second trip to Kauai, but it had been 5 ½ years and the beauty of it still took our breath away.

We are not typically resort people, but I had scored 2 free nights at the Grand Hyatt, so here we were. I will say that our arrival at the Hyatt was everything you expect your arrival in Hawaii to be. We pulled up to a staggeringly beautiful entry that soared several stories in height, yet was open to the sea and filled with tropical trees and plants, parrots, and lush furnishings. Chilled orchid leis were placed around our necks as we were warmly greeted and sent to the reservation desk and our bags were taken for us to be whisked up to our room. We were taken up to a beautiful ocean view room that felt even more luxurious knowing that what was costing us $0 would have cost us about $1100.00 for 2 nights.

Why is it that luxury feels so much more decadent when it’s free?

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Tired, but not wanting to fall asleep at 3:00 in the afternoon and end up waking up at midnight wondering what to do next, we stepped out to check out the Hyatt grounds and beach. We had barely dipped our toes in the sand of Shipwrecks Beach when a massive whale broke the surface of the water just off shore. We stood there, frozen, speechless.

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“Did you see that?” I asked, never taking my eyes off the ocean.

“Yeah. Was that real?” Matt said.

“I’m not sure. We’ve been awake for 18 hours now. Maybe it’s an exhaustion induced hallucination.” I replied, still staring at the ocean.

It was about that time that we saw another whale breach. Beautiful. Magnificent. The whales proceeded to put on a show for about half an hour as we stood there, mute, stupid, mouths hanging open in awe.

As the whales began to move out to sea, we looked at each other, mouths still hanging open.

“Well,” I shrugged my shoulders, “I can go home now. That was awesome.”

Was it a sign of the vacation to come? Where can a trip that begins so magnificently go from here? The magic of Kauai had already begun.
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We rested, cleaned up, and headed for an early dinner at Tidepools restaurant at the Hyatt. With tables in open-air thatched huts perched over a koi pond facing the magnificent ocean and sunset, how better to end our first day and begin our vacation adventure? The restaurant was incredibly beautiful and romantic, tiki torches flickering in the evening light, a couple of koi splashing at our feet, tiny birds flitting around on the edges of our seats.

That’s when Matt made a mistake.

He knocked his spoon off the table and into the koi pond.

That doesn’t sound so bad, I know, but have you ever dropped anything in a koi pond? Within seconds, about 50 koi were churning the water about 12 inches from our feet. Certain that food had been dropped in the water and that one evil and selfish koi had taken it all, all of the koi worked themselves into a frenzy. They jumped. They splashed. They writhed. They came to the top with their eyes bulging at us and their mouths gaping open and closed, open and closed. This must have gone on for 20 minutes until someone else obviously made the mistake of dropping something in the water and in a FLASH they zoomed away en masse.

It was HILARIOUS.

We apologized to the waiter for the spoon, as I dried off my shins, who told us they actually have someone who cleans out the pond every day. “You wouldn’t believe what all gets dropped in there,” he said.

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We had a delicious dinner. I had a smoked duck salad with granny smith apples and crusted goat cheese, the fresh catch en fata (cooked in a pouch with Portuguese sausage, potatoes, fennel, tomatoes, and saffron) with a spicy manchego cheese baguette, followed by a shared molten chocolate cake with ganache and vanilla bean ice cream.

(Matt managed to keep his spoon this time).

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Posted by vicki_h 07:41 Archived in USA Tagged beach island tropical hawaii kauai

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