Kauai, Hawaii ~ Eric
We all thoroughly enjoyed our time in Kauai. Warm sunny days, cool nights, lush green tropical forests, clear blue waters. The real highlight for me was spending time with my old friend Neil Navratil.
I first met Neil a year after I had finished High School. Rather than rush off to college, I chose to take “a year off”, and spend some time living the life of a ski bum. At the end of the first winter, Neil, then the Executive Chef of Flathead Lake Lodge, hired me on as his assistant for a summer. It was my first real kitchen job. It was no surprise when one summer turned into winter, into summer again, and all of a sudden, five years had passed. Neil and I worked together, skied together, played together, and shared many fun times.
Fast forward twenty years, it’s kind of funny that we are heading off on another “year-long” adventure, and the first real stop is to visit Neil. I’m no longer living out of the pick-up truck and have moved on from the kitchen life, and Neil has left the Montana cold behind for Kauai, his new paradise. While our opportunities to get together are rarer, we still share some fun times when ever we have the chance to connect.
As it holds true for many tropical islands, Hawaii is expensive. Just about everything is about 15%-20% more than we are used to paying at home Any products not grown locally are shipped or flown in. In the Continental States, we are used to paying premium prices at resorts. In Hawaii, even the convenience stores have resort prices. Purchasing locally grown produce for our snacks and dining on the local seafood both gave us an opportunity to experience some new foods and not break the bank. Neil took us down to the Ishihara market one day for lunch. We enjoyed a few of their famous poke’s, freshly cooked rice, & some cold beers.
It’s important, especially when traveling with the kids, to plan for some down time. When visiting a new exciting place, we want to see everything we can, and are tempted to fill the daily schedule with activities. The time exploring is much more enjoyable if the kids have had a chance to rest, explore the tidal pools on their own, swim in the pool or simply just play. We finished each of our days in Hawaii with a swim in the condo pool, and as a result, everyone stayed in a much better mood throughout.