Why? Because it couldn't fly.

Trip Start Nov 13, 2008
Trip End Nov 20, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it couldn't fly.

But we could! Today we took our long awaited helicopter tour of the island.  More on that shortly...

We started the day with a tour of the Coconut Coast (a name given by the tourist industry - no local would ever say it.) The lonely planet's description of the sites on this route, Wailua falls, Opaeka'a Falls and the fern grotto, are only mildly complementary - saying they are not necessarily the prettiest, highest, most spectacular on the island but merely the ones accessible by bus.  We think this was a little harsh and they are in fact beautiful and well worth seeing.  The Wailua falls are the twin falls seen in the opening sequence of Fantasy Island and you can get quite close.

The highlight of the day, and our stay on Kauai, was certainly the helicopter ride around the island.  Kauai is actually quite mountainous and with the road only following the coast, up to 90% of the lush and natural beauty is inaccessible to the aloha-shirt-wearing PT Cruiser-driving rabble.  The locals can penetrate a little further using their 4-wheel monsterized pickup trucks that are de rigeur on the island.  But really the only way to appreciate the awesome splendour (and I don't use the term lightly) of the undulating landscape is by air. 

Our one hour helicopter ride revealed the sinuous folds of the mist-shrouded Na Pali coast - 16 miles of jaw-dropping 4000ft cliffs rising sheer out of the Pacific.  We soared hair-raisingly close to knife-edged ridges, swooped through the canyons and valleys of Waimea Canyon and hovered right in front of waterfalls and valleys that would be otherwise inaccessible. The helicopter even flew right into the cloud-capped crater of Mt. Waialeale.  It was a stunning experience from beginning to end - and we have the DVD to prove it.

With our feet sadly back on the ground, we found our way to a Kauai instituion - Hamura's Saimin Stand. Saimin is Hawaii's version of ramen, and Hamura's is a very old-school worn-formica wrap-around-counter cafeteria serving the best saimin in Kauai. Pretty certain we were the only haole (non-local) there.

After one last Kauai beach visit, we went back to pack to leave.  It felt like our Hawaiian vacation was ending, just in time for our Hawaiian vacation (on Maui) to begin! One week would not have been long enough. Fortuantely we have almost two weeks left.  We are back home on Dec 3.
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