This morning we went to Lydgate State Park, which has two very nice little man-made lagoons on its beach. One of them is just for kids, as it has no real waves to speak of and is about 4 feet deep at the worst; the other is larger and full of fish.
The children’s lagoon at Lydgate State Park (left). The kids loved it
The latter is basically a great place to go if you want the experience of snorkeling without the difficulty, which was just what I needed. While I did once live near a beach in Bahia that had some great snorkeling (thanks largely to a Dutch fort and pier that had fallen into disuse in the 400 years since the Dutch were a significant naval presence in the South Atlantic), that was 30 years ago, and whatever instincts I developed for the sport are as rusty as my command of Portuguese. So the easy-to-handle snorkeling experience was just about right for me. And in fact there are some pretty good fish there.
Daniel’s idea of fun on the beach: bury Daddy!
Daniel and Elizabeth make a sand castle
There’s actually a Russian fort on Kauai, on the western side of the island. Apparently the Russian fur traders were looking for a warm-water port, and built a fort here that they used for a year or two, until they were ejected; it’s since fallen into ruin, but you can still make out its basic star-shaped pattern.
These fortsboth so old, and so far from their creators’ homesmake me a bit more generous towards European reluctance to go to war with Iraq (and whoever’s next). Europe seems to be on the verge of putting politics by other means behind it; given that these are nations that spent centuries fighting all over the worldthe Dutch and Portuguese fought all over the Atlantic and Indian Ocean for control of the Indes trade; the French and British struggled for a century over North America; the Spanish, French, Bortuguese, and British had world-circling empires, and the Belgians and Germans tried hard to match them, with the world much the worse for it; and then there’s the twentieth centurytheir reluctance to take up arms in the name of preemptive defense may, on balance, be a very good thing. A peaceful Europe that has no interest in destroying itself or occupying the rest of the world would be a remarkable thing. (Of course, they thought they’d some something like this after 1815.)
Another historic building: this movie theatre in Lihue has been converted into apartments for senior citizensone of the more creative reuses of old architecture I’ve come across
After our morning in the Lagoon of Fish, we drove up to Princeville.
Princeville basically takes the aesthetic of a luxury hotel or golf course, and tries to apply it to an entire town. The result is beautiful in a highly manicured way, but also a little eerie: I kept expecting to see Uzi-toting private security guards in SUVs. It differs from a real town the way a really nice hotel differs from your house: there are certain basic similarities, but you don’t go around stamping your logo in the sand in the cigarette extinguishers and putting little mints on your pillow. (Or maybe you do, in which case, more power to you.) Partly on the advice of a friend who recently spent his honeymoon there, we didn’t stop, for fear of being run down by David Hasselhof, who apparently is a regular there.
The mountains of Kauai
Instead, we kept going west on the island, nearly to where the road runs out. One of the charms of the drive is that there are a number of old, one-lane bridges that you have cross; it’s a bit like driving in some parts of Vermont. (I’m still thinking of the New England-Hawaii potato chip connection.)
One of the mountains on the northern side of the island
On our way back to Poipu and Suite Paradise (shudder), we stopped at the Paradise Bar and Grill in Princeville for lunch. Not a great moment in the history of service: the place is decorated like a beachfront shack, and the service is similarly faux laid-back. Skip it, and drive on to Hanalei.
Daniel drinks some lemonade
Daniel ate his weight in French fries on the way back to Poipu. It was as if we’d fed our other son lunch, and ignored him
There are Internet cafes dotted all over the island. Not many of them, but I keep meaning to stop in and do a little impromptu fieldwork. Are these mainly used by tourists? Are they more of a local resource? Maybe I’ll get some time in a couple of them before I leave.
Wild Bill’s Internet cafe
There’s also a Computer Hospital
After we returned to the condo it was time for another swim with the kids.
Elizabeth with a flower in her hair
It often seems to me that my life is an exercise in managing the children’s blood sugar and fatigue levels, with the aim of keeping the former within certain parameters (no sweets, but you don’t want them to get cranky from hunger either), and manipulating the latter to suit your schedule (run them around for a couple hours so they’ll go to sleep easily).
Daniel in his Hawaiian shirt and matching shorts
Of course, it usually doesn’t work. Fortunately, they both have been running around so much that it’s been relatively easy to put them down, even in strange quarters.