Heaven on Earth - Fall 2006 travel blog

Poipu Beach

Hyatt's real beach

Hyatt's fake beach

Mahaulpu Beach

Tunnel of Trees



Poipu is one of the tonier areas in Kauai, on the south coast where the sun shines more reliably than in other parts of the Garden Isle. We headed to the Hyatt in Poipu for the Hawaiiana Fest, a gathering of artisans demonstrating their skills and wares. Rooms at the Hyatt go for $500 - $800/night. The resort is as gorgeous as you would expect, but I had a tough time imagining what I would do to have $500 worth of fun there in 24 hours. The beach there was beautiful, but full of lava rocks and a better place to sun rather than to swim. But this was easily remedied. Hyatt built a fake sandy beach within its gardens. The sand lead to an enormous river shaped pool which snaked past orchids, hibiscus, palm trees, etc. Cabanas were available to rent and provided privacy and shade.

But we were there to see the artisans. Of course selling their wares was on their agenda, but they were enthusastic about their crafts and very willing to talk to us about what they do. In one corner a man was getting a tattoo in the traditional way. It looked like a nail dipped in ink attached to a stick was being driven repeatedly into his flesh. Ouch! The nose flute musician was making his instruments out of bamboo. He literally plays his flute with his nose. He holds the instrument to one nostril while holding the other shut. He explained the ancient Hawaiians felt that the air coming out of the nose was pure, rather than the air coming out of the mouth which can be tainted by lies and false words. Wood carvers were making decorative and functional drums and ukeleles. Lessons were given in basket weaving and preparing the materials that go into the baskets. Jewelry tempted me at every turn. Even simple pieces made out of shells hung on woven coconut hair were artfully done.

It has been a challenge to keep our budget under control here. Food and gas were expensive in Honolulu, but Kauai is even more remote. When we go to the grocery store we pay 25% - 50% more for familiar foods. This is understandable since most things come from the mainland and transportation costs keep rising. We have tried to buy more foods that are produced around here. I have papaya for breakfast every day and will miss it when we go home. Marinated raw mussels and tuna called poke is sold ready to eat. It costs about half what we would pay at home and has been yummy in a stir fry or over pasta. While we have been here a Costco opened its doors and started selling gas about $.40/gallon less than any other station here. Within 48 hours gas prices at all the other stations began to fall. Very interesting...

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