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Kauai, Paradise on Earth: Day 4

Puff the Magic Dragon and other mystical things.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157626497881651/with/5671241192/

Awake by 5:45 every morning with little to do at that early hour but relax, we developed a routine of taking a long walk along our beach every morning before coffee and breakfast. It was a great way to stretch, wake up, and fill your lungs with fresh salt air bright and early.

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The beach behind the villa was a treasure trove of trinkets brought in by the sea overnight. Every morning, she would leave her bounty strewn along the sand, as if carelessly discarded in her hurried flight back to the open waters during low tide. I would comb through her treasures each day, grabbing them up before she had a chance to return and retrieve them. Much to my delight, I discovered on day one that "our beach" was littered with beautiful sea glass each and every morning..my favorite sea treasure.

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Pockets bulging with sandy gems, we finally returned to the villa for Kona coffee and some deck time in the sun, which was already shining hot and bright by 8 a.m.

A little before noon, we pulled ourselves out of the sun and headed into Kapa'a town for an oceanside Sunday brunch at Oasis. With a spicy bloody mary in hand and a GIANT platter of pancakes with grilled pineapple and maple bacon cream, I was in heaven.

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We spent the afternoon lazing in the sun at "our beach" in Anahola, and when we became so lethargic that we couldn't even stand ourselves, we cleaned up and headed toward Hanalei.

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On the way out of Anahola, we decided to stop at Duane's Ono Char Burger, because so many people rave about how great the burgers are, because it was less than 1/2 mile from our house, and because we wanted a snack. We got a BBQ burger and fries to split and headed down the road toward Hanalei.

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My assessment of Duane's: It was not a BAD burger, but it was a very forgettable burger. I am not sure what all the fuss is about. It was okay, but looked and tasted remarkably like a Whopper with BBQ sauce. To me, this is food you eat in a pinch when nothing else is available. This is not food you go out of your way for.

I did however, very much enjoy the chickens and dogs that kept us company as we waited 15 minutes for our very average burger.

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We headed north to Hanalei. Yes, the Hanalei where Puff the Magic Dragon lives. Don't believe me? Well, you should. I saw him. He was lying stretched out, curled protectively around Hanalei Bay. Look, I even got his picture. I "overenhanced" it a bit so that you can see his big, dragon head stretched out into the bay with one large brown eye watching all that comes and goes. Keep watching and he might wink at you.

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We arrived in Hanalei right at 3:00 p.m. so we decided to stop at the Hanalei Community Center for the Sunday afternoon slack key concert. This is a regular event held twice a week by slack-key guitar master, Doug McMasters, whose wife, Sandy, narrates between songs to tell you the history of slack key guitar. It is housed in a building that sits back in the taro fields, just below the towering green mountains.

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As we entered, we noticed it was a "shoes off" event, so we quietly slipped out of our flip flops and took a seat. Just as Doug began to play, a hard rain began to fall outside and a soft breeze blew through the open windows, bringing in the smells of the fresh fields outside and the occasional crow of a confused rooster. The combination of Doug's spellbinding music, the view of the misty mountains and taro fields beyond us, and the breezy windows bringing in the sound and the fresh smell of the rain created a magical moment as we sat there in our bare feet, mesmerized, transported. You could almost feel the presence of the "ancestors" of whom Sandy so often spoke.

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According to Sandy, the slack-key style is quickly dying, as the younger generation of Hawaiian guitarists are more interested in modern (easy) versions of Hawaiian style than they are in learning the old styles, which are far more complex and take a lifetime to master. The slack-key tunings, as best I could understand, were irregular tunings that were specific to various Hawaiian families and kept secret for decades. If you were not in the family, you'd never learn the tuning. Today there are more then 75 of them documented and only a few left who can play them. McMasters was amazing, not only in his musical talent, but also with his bubbling personality. We felt honored to have gotten to hear and see him.

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The concert was followed by some shopping in Hanalei and sushi in front of Bouchon's giant open window, overlooking Hanalei town.

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I fell asleep to the lyrical sounds of Doug's mongoose song dancing through my dreams.

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Posted by vicki_h 10:10 Archived in USA Tagged beach island tropical hawaii kauai

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