For Christmas 2017, my family decided to meet in a tropical location since the past two Christmases have been ski vacations. Since Zika is endemic in many tropical areas, Hawaii was one of the few Zika-free places we could go. Twist my rubber arm!
My parents booked a house near Hanalei, Kauai which was awesome because the North Shore is my favorite part of the island. We were between Hanalei and the Na’pali Coast so it was a really awesome location. On the way, I had a several hour layover in Honolulu so I went to Waikiki. It was beautiful!
I walked on the beach and stopped at The House Without a Key in the Halekulani Hotel. I had a few drinks while listening to Hawaiian music. It was so idyllic! I also have a new tropical drink favorite. Move over Pina Colada, meet Hale Passion (Rum, Passion Fruit, Almond, Coconut, Light Cream)!
SMS and I met at the Lihue, Kauai Airport and drove to the house. The next day was Christmas Eve and we spent the day hanging out and got our first shave ice of the trip!
On Christmas, we went to a luau at the Kilohana Plantation. We had pre-lu’au drinks at the Mahiko Lounge, which made excellent, original recipe Mai Tais (which actually originated in Oakland, CA! There is some controversy to the origin story though). I’m not the biggest Mai Tai fan but I had a few sips and it was much better than others I’ve had. The lu-au was really well done and we had a great time. On the way home, we crashed a locals party (by accident!) at Tahiti Nui where Meg got carded, had no id and, therefore, couldn’t drink. We didn’t stay too long!
The next day, Brady, Rickey, SMS and I wanted to go for a hike. We decided on the Sleeping Giant. We weren’t in the biggest hurry and the lunch place we stopped at took forever. Unfortunately, this meant we got to the hike as bad weather was moving in. It was really a beautiful hike but we couldn’t make it quite to the top since there was lightening and the top was a broadly exposed rock. We’re so smart! On the way down, it started raining and the trail was so slippery. There was clay in the soil and it felt like a slip-n-slide. No huge wipeouts but I felt like it could have happened!
That night, we played a family game. It was pretty complicated but we did ok. Ed sent over a spy flamingo to try and see what was happening.
The next day, we took a long road trip over to the West side of the island. Waimea Canyon was pretty fogged in so, although still pretty, did not show its spectacular vista views that day. We decided to head to Barking Sands beach and it was awesome! Gorgeous weather and the water was great. It was the best beach day by far!
A day later, we hiked the Kalalau Trail along the Na’pali Coast. This was my third time doing it and it’s really a spectacular hike. We hiked the 2 miles to Hanakapiai beach and then went inland two miles to the Kalalau Falls. SMS and Joe turned back because they thought we would run out of time before sunset but the rest of us pressed on. The falls were beautiful but a little colder than my other times there! I went for a brief swim and then we hiked back. We made it back right at sunset, all in one piece apart from Ed’s right sneaker that had completely separated the bottom sole from the rest.
On our last full day, we went to the beach at Hanalei. It was overcast but nice to hang out at the nearby beach. We went into town and had BBQ and shave ice. In the evening, we headed over to the St Regis and had drinks on the balcony. We were lucky to get an amazing table so it was a beautiful end to our tropical vacation.
Heading back to California, SMS and I had another Honolulu layover. We went to Waikiki to get coffee at the Honolulu Coffee Company in the Moana Surfrider followed by udon at Marukame Udon. Both were places we went to on our honeymoon so it was nice to revisit. While we were in line at Marukame, we met a kid and his Dad in front of us. The kid had an impressive knowledge of the commercial space industry- it’s pretty awesome when kids learn a lot about topics they’re passionate about. It makes me want to study more!