<xmp> <body><!-- --><div id="b-navbar"><a href="http://www.blogger.com/" id="b-logo" title="Go to Blogger.com"> <img src="http://www.blogger.com/img/navbar/4/logobar.gif" alt="Blogger" width="80" height="24" /></a> <form id="b-search" action="http://www.google.com/search"> <div id="b-more"><a href="http://www.blogger.com/" id="b-getorpost"> <img src="http://www.blogger.com/img/navbar/4/btn_getblog.gif" alt="Get your own blog" width="112" height="15" /></a> <a href="http://www.blogger.com/redirect/next_blog.pyra?navBar=true" id="b-next"> <img src="http://www.blogger.com/img/navbar/4/btn_nextblog.gif" alt="Next blog" width="72" height="15" /></a> </div><div id="b-this"><input type="text" id="b-query" name="q" /><input type="hidden" name="ie" value="UTF-8" /> <input type="hidden" name="sitesearch" value="b00tz.blogspot.com" /> <input type="image" src="http://www.blogger.com/img/navbar/4/btn_search.gif" alt="Search" value="Search" id="b-searchbtn" title="Search this blog with Google" /><a href="javascript:BlogThis();" id="b-blogthis">BlogThis!</a></div></form></div><script type="text/javascript"> <!-- function BlogThis() {Q='';x=document;y=window;if(x.selection) {Q=x.selection.createRange().text;} else if (y.getSelection) { Q=y.getSelection();} else if (x.getSelection) { Q=x.getSelection();}popw = y.open('http://www.blogger.com/blog_this.pyra?t=' + escape(Q) + '&u=' + escape(location.href) + '&n=' + escape(document.title),'bloggerForm','scrollbars=no,width=475,height=300,top=175,left=75,status=yes,resizable=yes');void(0);} --></script><div id="space-for-ie"></div> </xmp>
header image


Off to LA

Didn't we just come back from vacation?

H has a baseball game to see in Anaheim and so we are driving down there tomorrow morning. We are staying at my Aunt's house in Orange County.

It's going to be a long week for me, haven't really recovered from our trip yet.

We've also a slew of visitors coming from all over, so the following weekend will be another hectic weekend for us.

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker


Day 7

Ditch Tubing

It' s not like we haven't done much this week it seems. I think Sunday was the only day we actually had rest in this island. Today we signed up for some tubing adventure.

When we arrived at their office, we were immediately fitted a helmet with headlamp and a pair of gloves. They hearded us into a couple of vans and drove what seems like a long long way up the mountain. They narrated that the area we were in that time, which was acres upon acres of agricultural land, belongs to Steve Case of AOL. I think he owns a chunk of Kauai having billions of money to spare. They brought us up to a vista point that was actually at the edge of a dormant crater. We can't even tell it was a crater until they pointed the fact to us (I've seen the crater on the map but wondered exactly where it was) as it is overgrown with so many plants and trees it really blended in with the tropical forest.

Kauai has an extensive ditch system that were used as an irrigation system to water their sugar plantation until 2000. Now they've quasi converted it in with their tourism offerings. What a clever way to do business, huh? Anyway, we were to sit ourselves in the inner whole of the big tube and let the ditch current carry you through the sinewy ditch. The ditch is so many miles long, some parts the water was rushing, some are pretty calm. It's fun and dizzying at spots where the water runs quicker. Our guide was very animated, funny and nice. Part of the trip involves us going through unlit tunnels. We'd hit rock walls and ceilings at times and so the helmet, gloves and keen ears for warnings was a big help when there aren't enough lighting in the tunnel.

After the ride, they brought us in a picnic area and served us lunch under the downpour of rain. It was refreshing and invigorating. Sitting with your butt on the water can be tiring and uncomfortable at times but it was a really really fun ride.

Maybe next year, we'll sign up for the zipline tour....we'll see...

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker



Day 6

Hanalei River

My legs feel like a couple of lead posts this morning. Two more days left in paradise and I wasn't going to be the wet blanket. We rented a kayak again in Hanalei. we were determined to tread the river this time on our own.

The rental company, Kayak Hanalei, was the same one we used on Monday. It's family owned and they give you the best service ever. Goldie was really nice, she took care of us until we boarded the kayak and really made us feel like we are part her 'ohana' (family).

View of the valley with its taro fields. Right picture shows part of the Hanalei River

Today was a sunny and gorgeous day. the river runs 13 miles into the mountains. We only paddled 3 1/5 miles into it and went back. No other kayakers there either. It was quiet and pretty much slow moving since the wind was going against us. We headed back and decided to go back to sea to see some green sea turles in the bay. Our way back was really relaxing. The wind was behind us most of the way and therefore only required so little effort from us. We cruised at a slow pace and we were able to see more birds standing like statues on the river banks, small turtles on dead wood, ducks and fishes on the river.

One way bridge over the Hanalei river. The bridge only has one lane and so traffic both ways has to take turns crossing it.

Once we got to the mouth of the river that goes to the bay, we had to paddle against the waves, hoping we won't turn over. We settled past the buoys and waited. Then--we saw the turtles' head pop up from the water, they were big ones! We kept our distance from them and we tried not to make sudden moves. They are very shy creatures and do not liked being harrassed. I was able to take some pictures using our disposable camera.

The Queen's Bath

By noon we were done with kayaking and had enough time to explore some more. We wanted to see the Queen's bath in Princeville. It does require a short hike downhill (oh man!) and I braved it just so I won't miss seeing the site. It was worth it, inspite of the warnings that there is danger in the unpredictable surf.

Queen's bath amidst lava rocks. Just a breathtaking sight.

A couple of other places we wanted to visit as well didn't materialize. One required a 4wd and the other was inaccessible to visitors as the trail passes through some private property.

Regardless, the day was still more than what we expected. We went home tired and hungry. We have to finish the food in the refrigerator (including the ice cream cake) before we leave on Saturday.

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker



An accomplished Momma!

I have to pause and CONGRATULATE my great friend FuNkYMomMa for being picked as the representative blogger for the Philippines by the United Federation of Bloggers!

I wrote an entry as a guest blogger on her SITE

To see the selected few that were picked from around the world, check the article on the United Federation of Bloggers Part two on your blogger news section on your blogspot sign in screen.

So proud and happy for you friend!!!

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker


Day 5

Hiking the Nualolo trail

The day of uncertainty has come. I had a restless night's sleep. We are going to try this trail in the mountains. Geez, am I on vacation or what? Why did I even think of forcing myself to do these things while I am on vacation, I must just be tripping! We've practically read a lot of tour books that describe this trail but in the back of our minds, we knew that what we really needed was to know the topography of the area and the condition of the trail itself. Unfortunately for us, the information center at the start of the trail doesn't open till 10am. We are on our own.

We woke up early so we can beat the heat of the sun. It's going to be a long hike. I've been apprehensive because of my recent back problem. I am definitely unsure if I can pull it all the way through. I try not to scare hubby with my thoughts. I know deep down that it will come down to perseverance and my own self preservation to make it through. I can still tell that Hubby is a worried about me too. I constantly drop hints that I will definitely push myself and get back in one piece no matter what. I now feel we are on some kind of reality show. We are here and there is no way I was going to turn back.

We found the start of the trail behind an inconspicuous post that is overgrown with grass. We started with this one lady hiker who greeted us and we find out that she heads out once a month on this trail to the vista point. After that, she's gone and we are on our own for the rest of this quiet and long forested trail. We each have a backpack and two bottles of water on each, some power bars, bananas and a breakfast burrito that we plan to eat for lunch at the vista point before we head back.

The first quarter of a mile trail was uphill. I had a foreboding feeling about what this trail is going to look like later on. The rest of the 3.8 miles to the end of this trail will be mostly downhill. Our original plan was to do the loop which consisted of the Nualolo trail (3.8 miles), Nualolo cliff trail (3.4 miles) and then the Awaawapuhi trail (3.1 miles) all before the sun sets. What was I thinking????!!!

I never had problems going downhill but this trail is very unforgiving, my knees just got pounded by the impact of the wet floor. There was hardly any part that is horizontal, it's just mainly either uphill or downhill. By the time we got to the end of it (Cliff trail), we've walked some 7 miles in 4 hours. I cannot describe the exhaustion we felt at that point. Gatorade, a drink that's supposed to help your body retain water and salt for energy was just passing through in the form of sweat. The view on the other hand was breath taking. The vista point is also a Six days Seven nights film spot where Harrison Ford beat the bush in his frustration. I was ready to do the same thing or call a helicopter to come fetch us at the edge of the mountain.

We debated if we should continue on with the rest of the trail on the loop. We aren't sure what to expect with Awaawapuhi trail either. Hubby and I decided that we'll head back the same way instead (against the advice of most tour books) reasoning that if we did the loop (which in reality is really u-shaped rather than a closed loop trail), we still had to hike an additional 1.5 mile up the road back to our car.

If the trail downhill was excruciating, going uphill wasn't just what my body was built for. Ok, I think now I realized I should have worked harder and longer at the gym to prepare for this. Two and half miles still to go, my legs started to cramp major time! I was then bordering desperation, I was zapping hubby's energy from my constant rest stops to calm my muscles. H didn't seem fazed by the hike so far until I got the cramps, credit him for having taken track and field in HS.

We tried to drink as much as we can before our return to lighten our load. We really just ate the power bars to give us more energy. Our return hike took longer, it being high noon and hot, due to altitude changes and of course going up continuously just makes it harder for me to catch my breath. We saw about 3 more couples negotiating their way to the vista on our way back. We are still by ourselves in the forest and it's making me a little freaked out but my mantra was perseverance-bebe!

We finally saw the final .25 mile sign post, we were so elated but the last stretch as always seem the longest of all. We've wrung ourselves with our last drop of energy and finally we hear cars, dogs in the park and chickens!!! It's a good sign, I can kiss the ground coz we've MADE IT!!!

I tell my friends what we've done and most of them say I am crazy for doing that. I know it may sound crazy but I set out to do it to prove to myself that I can, to put a milestone that I've overcome my back problem (that having it doesn't mean it has to control my life), to test (in a way without our realizing it) that H and I can overcome adversity without having to lose our tempers or respect for each other. I came out of that trail dirty, spent and legs scarred (from the grass and overgrowth cuts) that I'd say can be figuratively compared to the Passion of Christ but otherwise glorious, somewhat experienced and totally fulfilled. I think, all these above all, is by far not synonymous to the term crazy.

Tomorrow's Thursday and you know what I've got planned for this day (my body will just love me for this)....

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker



Day 4

Happy Birthday Honey!

He finally was able to open his gift. I am sure he thought the trip was his gift (a mini ipod), so *I think* he was absolutely surprised by it. He's a music fanatic, blessed with good music ears, so I am sure he will put this to good use. Unfortunately, he'd have to wait till we get back home to download the songs for his playlist. I've set up for a nice dinner at a popular restaurant (Pacific Cafe) in Lihue and also ordered a small ice cream cake from Coldstone.

There was a change in plans for today's activity. I tried to get a kayak rented again so that we can kayak the Hanalei river itself but there were no available kayaks until Wednesday. We opted to move this for Thursday instead since we wanted to stay with the same company that did the bay tour and go for the discount they were offering us.

Allerton Garden

So now, we are off to the Allerton gardens just a stone's throw away from where we are staying. We are set for some Kauai fauna and fauna education.

The garden is privately owned but they are allowing guided tours through the property. Our guide was a retired Navy man who volunteers his time to do the tours. The garden has all kinds of exotic plants from flowers to trees. Quite a lot of these plants are grown in the Philippines. The part of the land that we saw was only a tiny part of the immense land that the Allerton's owned. Their house is located near another secluded beach that I thought would be a dream to live in.

We learned that the plants in the island introduced and native were grown mostly in the last couple hundred years. Before that Kauai was just really red dirt and barren. These days its so lush with all kinds of plants.

What I love most about this island? There are no snakes. They do have lots of chickens that are protected by the island. There really aren't any predators for most of the animals here either. Even the chickens have none except if they happen to be roadkill (which is rare). The residents are very protective of their natural resources and their environment here, how I wish we had the same attitude back home in the Philippines. I know our country has so much more to offer than this smaller island but we choose to abuse ours by being irresponsible or unaccountable of our present actions and the total disregard of the consequence of such actions in the future of our environment. It's a sad reality when one realizes that the future of my homeland seem very bleak--if we just have no respect for any of God's gift.

I don't know why I love trees, they just fascinate me. I guess it's because you can tell they have the history to tell. I bet a number of people have seen this tree--if you've seen the movie, Jurassic Park, it's the scene where the dinosaur eggs were discovered

It is also unbelievable that I neglect to realize that not everyone has seen a banana tree. We've toured through different parts of the garden with exotic plants but I was surprised that the one thing that the people from our tour group was mostly interested was this plant. Suddenly, they started taking pictures of the fruit bearing tree, I was just taken aback by it.

Had to retire early so that we'll be rested enough to tackle the long trek up the mountain tomorrow.

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker


Day 3

Sea Kayaking

Oh no! the days seem to pass so quickly when you are having a great time.

Since Hawaii is 3 hours behind, leaving at 6am for our Kayak gig wasn't so bad since it's really 9am back home in California.

Kayaking is really a favorite activity for hubby and I everytime we come to the islands for the last 4 years. Kauai has 7 major rivers, only three are navigable. The Wailua, Hule'ia and Hanalei.

We've traversed the Wailua twice. I found this the best river so far. It involves kayaking for a few miles and then hiking for more to a secret waterfall. This is the same river that Harrison Ford and Anne Heche hauled the parts from the amphibious plane in Six days Seven Night movie.

Hule'ia involves the same course except that the waterfall is smaller than the one in Wailua.

Hanalie is the final river we needed to try out after having done the other two. I unknowingly signed up for (by mistake) a bay tour which meant we had to kayak in the sea. I had butterflies in my stomach from the start, not knowing what to expect from this trip. We have not kayaked in surging waters and I can't really swim in the ocean if ever we turn over. The trip also includes a snorkeling trip in a secluded beach. By the time we negotiated the waves through pouring rain (yes, it was pouring on and off) and got geared up for snorkeling, I'd finally overcome my fear.

The water was very inviting, the reef very clear and full of fish. We dove right in with the rest of the group. It was the most enjoyable experience, we were able to go far enough to certain areas where it is teaming with schools of different fish species. How did we manage this? I'd say wearing a life jacket and fins is the way to go! I took a lot of underwater pictures with our disposable waterproof camera. The last time we did a snorkeling trip we had to jump off a boat in the middle of the ocean. I am no water baby and even with a life jacket then I wasn't daring enough to do that at all. I had this distinct fear of sinking to the ocean floor without any chance of being rescued.

Just as we landed and inspite of the rain in the horizon, the water was very very inviting

Who can resist not experiencing what's underwater with a view like this. I couldn't even think if I can do it or not---we just did it!

Then they served us lunch at the beach while we take on the view before us and talked about the fishes we saw in the reefs. The guides had a fish card for us to compare it with.

The weather cleared up by the time we ate our lunch, we certainly got to take all the events in while sitting in the sand to get some rest. Then we're off to return to where we started on the other side of the island

Earlier, we had paddled to the bay where the endangered green sea turtles congregate. We found a couple. They have this compelling fish-y smell brought about by its mostly seaweed diet. Both are both jumbo sized and very shy. In everyone's excitement, one of the couples went under suddenly. Probably a wave slammed them on the side unexpectedly or the wife made a mistake of turning abruptly to catch a glimpse of the elusive turtles which caused their kayak to tip over. It took both guides and a lot of time to get them back up.

It was a blast after we learned how to catch a ride with the waves. By the end of the tour, I was exhausted and already nursing a headache from the ever changing weather, however, we still had time to go and make a side trip to the guave plantation near the area.

Tomorrow will be H's birthday and so I can't wait to finally give him his present.

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker


Day 2

A day of shopping

We were to plan our week's activity today and had alloted the day for some souvenir shopping.

I've made some phone calls to make reservations for our activities. I was able to make two, one for Monday (tomorrow) and the other one on Friday. The Friday activity seems very popular, the concierge had told us that it was fully booked for the week. It was a good thing I called in just the same and we were lucky to get a spot on our last day in the island.

Went to Walmart to buy souvenirs to take back home. I think we've eliminated all on our list by the time we stepped out of the store.

The condo was looking very empty after we returned. Last year we had a family reuinion here and it was a full house. It was kind of hard to match that this year but it would be great to have some R&R on our own this time.

Tomorrow we need to get up early and drive for more than an hour to the north side of the island, Hanalei.

Hanalei is where they filmed the movie "South Pacific". The mountains where Peter, Paul and Mary got inspired with the song "Puff the Magic Dragon" and where they coined the term "Bali Hai".

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker


Day 1

Plane ride

Ours WAS eventful. We sat behind a bunch of rowdy, insensitive group of people who thought they were the only ones on the plane. Besides getting drunk during the trip, they were the most annoying group with their loud conversations that lasted the entire freaking 5 hour flight. I swear the flight crew must be in their aloha mood that day for they weren't fazed at all by their behavior. Drinks were bought and poured as if they were having the wedding reception in the plane. I am glad someone (not us) told them off later in the flight. I am very disappointed with the Hawaiian airlines flight crew for ignoring such conduct. It is unfortunate that Hawaii will also have to welcome these types of people in their islands.

Our Place

We are staying at our usual place in the south shore of Kauai called Poipu. We were welcomed by a pouring of rain that only lasted a few minutes while we picked up our rental car. For the first time in history, I was able to resist the urge to upgrade on the car class. I was determined to stick to our budget and keep our expenses down to a minimum.

Once we arrived at the property, the sun was out. They've given us the suite in the same building as last year's, with a spectacular ocean view. Half of the property was still under construction the previous year. This time, it's all finished down to the last pool. We've arrived in paradise indeed.

Can't wait to plan our week!

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker



Not so real time

I've resorted to writing on paper for the week we are away. I found out that the place we are staying at has the amenity of providing internet access (for free) to the residents. It's just downstairs in a public area next to their store called 'Marketplace'. I tried it once but ended up not being able to post at all. A fellow pinoy struck up a conversation with me and I gave up the chance to post a single entry. So I am back to writing the old fashioned way.

I'll post what I've written when I get back, in order of each day's happening but not necessarily the published date on the page.

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker



Leaving on a jet plane

First day of our vacation and here I am really wishing time would just slow down for this one week we will be off to sunny and therapeutic Hawaii.

I've checked in the night before (by web) and so we bypassed the long queue at the counter. Security to the gate on the other hand was a bottleneck. They now require us to really go through the detector barefoot (it used to be only those who wear socks and shoes). I think, travelling on this significant day required all of them to be extra careful and thorough. That's perfectly fine with me, I want a safe flight to my destination.

I was carrying hubby's surprise birthday gift in my backpack. It's a mini ipod that's he's totally not expecting to get. I am really running out of ideas for a gift (hehe)...I was crossing my fingers as we went through the checkpoint hoping that they won't randomly pick me for a manual check of what may look like a 'questionable' item in my handcarry. I was running all different scenarios in my mind on how I'd have to break it to him if ever that happens. One not so funny thought had stuck in my mind if they ask me what is in the wrapped present, I'd say --- 'er, hon, by the way, Happy advance Birthday, here's my present to you?' and blame airport security for ruining the surprise.

Deja vu on an incident a couple of years ago on our way home from Las Vegas. Airport security was still morphing from its lax to their 'very tight' passenger check procedures. Hubby was stopped as they've detected some mineral residue (from hiking) on his sandals, coupled with a certain unfamiliar item he was carrying on his backpack (a 3-d face picture of us lasered into a block of glass/crystal, a new technology at that time). I've relentlessly kidded him after he was questioned, examined and all, that he was now in their watchlist from then on. He wasn't very happy about the whole experience and I thought today it might just be his turn to do the same to me!

Thank God, that didn't come true, I still have a surprise to spring on Tuesday.

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker



Pre boarding stuff

The time I was unable to log on, was in a way, probably a blessing in itself. I was beginning to lag from doing some of my other chores at home (haha). We are going away for a week and I want to come back to a clean and organized home. I just didn't want to deal with piled up laundry, dirty floors, etc after our vacation, that will just prematurely start my done-with-the-fun-vacation-stuff-blues. The things I was able to do other than blogging:
  • Went to Ikea to buy three more tall bookshelves and installed it in the home office.

  • Unpacked all of H's 9 boxes from Japan that arrived here a couple of weeks ago. It contained all his childhood photo albums and school memorabilia. They were occupying more space in the garage, hence, the necessity of the bookshelves above.
  • Cleaned out the garage! Well, as clean as it could get at this point. We still have a few things that need additional storage. We are in desperate need of an outside shed so we can park the two cars in the garage. For now, one car inside is the best I could do.
  • Found a ton of picture frames from our move last year that were still in the box. We were able to put some of it up on the wall and some placed on the new bookshelves.
  • Met with my friend Girlie's cousin for dinner before we left. I felt bad, she didn't want to eat much and with the time constraint, was only able to do a little shopping at Stonestown. I promised to make it up to her after I come back from vacation. Overall it was really fun to meet her. She was easy to get along with and reminded me of Girlie in more ways than one.
  • had buried myself with work and by the end of the week was totally and truly ahead of it, I was running out of things to do. I was a sign I was really ready to go on vacation!

Didn't get to bloghop and visit my favorites....I miss reading up on everyone but will do it upon my return! Catch ya all later!

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker



Problem fixed

It's been a LOOOOONG time--! but we are back online!

I missed blogging so much.

After the internet problem came the router problem, which I had to also fix and another round of calls with another tech support group.

But you know, I so glad that the times I got help and had the problem fixed (finally) was when I was on the line with pinoys in the Philippines! There are times I'd get India and they can't seem to pinpoint the problem all the time. I won't talk about that time when I was on the phone with them.

I remembered a friend of mine had cell phone problems and he was very grateful to the person who helped him (way over there in the Phils). He said they were clear, concise and got the problem fixed in no time. I sure can vouch for that now!

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker



Lost connection

We've lost our internet connection this week at home. So I haven't been able to blog at all. I'm so irritable because I can't log in -- can you believe that? It's actually controlling my mood swings. It doesn't help either that everyday we call customer service to inquire about the problem and that person happens to be on the side of the planet.

Copyright 2004 Wandertrekker