More lore and beauty from Kaua’i

It is conceivable that a year from now I’ll still be organizing photos from our January trip to Kauai. I have more photos than I have time, but I don’t feel hurried. Every time I do sit down to work on them I am immediately back on that dream island. The wedding location, and the house we stayed in, were on Hanalei Bay, and although there was an entire island worth exploring, we were so at home with our nearly private beach, our short bursts of exploration were limited.

On our last day, however, we circled the island and strategically checked a few “must sees” off our list.

The Koloa district on the southern coast is recognized for its giant crashing waves, and these waves shoot water up the through the narrow openings in the lava created coastline. And here we found the Spouting Horn.

The Spouting Horn shoots the spray up to fifty feet in the air.  Hawaiian legend attributes the spray to a giant lizard, hunted by a young man charged with the duty of challenging the lizard and protecting visitors who came to the area to fish or swim. During the battle the warrior thrust a sharp stick into the lizard’s mouth and lured the beast into the water where he became lodged in a lava tube.

You can still hear the giant lizard’s roar every time the Spouting Horn Blowhole spouts. It’s either the lizard, or the force of the water through the narrow volcanic openings.  Personally, I like the lizard story for my explanation.

I’m not positive we deliberately set out to locate the Spouting Horn. We may have just pulled off from the main highway following a sign or two, but we learned later it is one of the most photographed locations on the island. We were primarily focused on locating Waimea Canyon State Park.

As we approached Waimea Canyon we caught a clear glimpse of the island of Niihau.

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Niihau is the westernmost and seventh largest of the islands, owned by descendants of Elizabeth Sinclair, who purchased the island from the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1864. The island is generally off-limits to all but relatives of the owners. So far the family has turned down all offers to sell, which reportedly includes a $1 billion offer from the U.S. government.

And then we started climbing. Winding roads and climbing about  18 miles we didn’t know if the trip “up” was going to be worth the time. What do you think?

We pulled over to one of the first lookouts and gasped! What a loss this would have been to us had we not made the effort.

Known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon was such a surprise! At ten miles long, a mile wide and 3,600 feet deep–breathtaking!

It’s almost impossible to capture the beauty of this area and effectively share it with you, but you’ll just have to see it for yourself one day.

Care to take a helicopter ride to better see the canyon depths and explore the heights?

Before I leave you… Just one more look. Hanalei Bay

View from the top of the Ace Hotel, OR, We were packed in like sardines

When last I left you I mentioned that I would share my experiences from a week ago at the Ace Hotel rooftop bar. I said I’d tell you about my experience with “clubbing.”

Working in a university provides an education and ease with many “twenty-something” cultural references and I can keep up with the language.  But I thought to be absolutely certain I was using the term “clubbing” accurately–I have a reputation to protect– I’d better check with another source.

Here’s what the Urban Dictionary has to say about clubbing:

“A favourite activity of the moronic majority, this involves being shunted like cattle into a converted warehouse… sadly not to be slaughtered, but to wear ridiculous trendy clothes, listen to crap eardrum-shattering music, try to pick up brainless members of the opposite sex, and generally stand around aimlessly in a desperate but pointless attempt to show how cool you are.”

Gheesh! A little harsh, don’t you think? We weren’t in a converted warehouse…we were at the top of pretty spectacular building.  We’ll get to “eardrum shattering” in a minute.

DSCN1863This shot is of the pool area and the bar extends from there to inside those gorgeous doors, with a larger bar and then out to another patio space.

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There are no photos from our after hours party. There certainly was no room for me to take a photo. It was enough that I got myself in past the bouncers without making someone laugh.

I should have had an ear-trumpet, however. Free flowing alcohol probably contributed to some of the din; standing 18 inches from others in our group I still couldn’t understand more than a few words. I nodded enthusiastically from time to time and did my best.

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No problem. I didn’t actually think I had the hearing of a twenty-five year old. I’m  also reasonably sure I was the only person eyeing the exits and thinking about crowd behavior if we had an earthquake. I always identify emergency exits, but in this case, there were too many people for me to strategize any reasonable exit plan.

I may have been somewhat out-of-place, yet I still had a good time. It was kind of fun to be in an environment that wouldn’t ordinarily have welcomed me and it is a bit of a hoot to know that I made it past the long, long line of hopefuls at the lobby door waiting for their opportunity to be invited inside. I was occupying crowded, but prime real estate.

At first I found the heavy, monotonous electronica really perplexing. I don’t know what a DJ actually does under these circumstances.  What I heard seemed to me a continuous loop of nearly indistinguishable pulsations.  A large screen reflected rapidly flashing images in sequence with each pulse.

Not my music. Not my crowd. But I enjoyed watching young people be young people. I’ve thought about my interpretation and the lens with which I made my judgments. I seem to remember that I was young once, too. It’s useful to think about that.

Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” has a permanent slot in my car CD changer. For forty years I’ve loved this concept album with its steadily synethesizer-punctuated  unusual sound effects. The band is often referred to as psychedelic or techno-rockers. The album is considered a classic, listed 43rd on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “500 Greatest Albums of all Time” (2012).

I’m pretty sure my parents and grandparents weren’t too impressed with Pink Floyd.

We stayed with the momentum for a couple of hours. Or maybe it only seemed like a couple of hours. And I was pleased to have made it through without causing a stir of embarrassment to myself or others.

It was very dark, so I don’t think anyone noticed when I had to scream over the crowd to get Jay’s attention and then use hand signals to indicate there was no way I could get myself out of the low-to-the ground overstuffed chaise that had saved me from standing in heels.

I think it was in my best interest that no photos were taken!

Tempus Fugit

In my daily experience there are few time-related mysteries. I don’t need to question where time goes, I know where I spend the precious commodity. But I do believe time flies.

A few of you have very kindly contacted me to find out if I’m still planning to continue blogging. I didn’t at first realize so much time had passed since I last left you with tales from our whale watching experience.

I really hope you enjoyed some of what I was able to share from our wedding trip to Kauai, because I have more to share at some point.

Our son and daughter-in-law have been married six weeks and it’s been that long since we  returned from Kauai, but the festivities continued into this past weekend.

Jay and I were amused to note that January’s island charm, seclusion and beauty stood in dramatic contrast to the boisterous family and friend post-wedding reception at the Ace Hotel, Los Angeles.

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The Ace is definitely a “happening” place. In fact, young people congregate at the rooftop bar in intimidating numbers. I wandered up that way to see for myself, and commented upon returning to the rest of our party that I’m sure the poolside revelers were quite impressed I was getting along so well without my walker! I was more than a little out of my element.

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Other facets of the hotel were very interesting to me. The Ace was built inside the 1927 United Artists Theater building. The decor is starkly urban with few, if any, “soft and plushy” seating areas and the use of concrete and hard surfaces suit the neighborhood environment. The urban modern complements the original vaulted ceilings and detailed plaster and metalwork, also sensitive to its location in Los Angeles’ historic core.

The guest rooms are industrial, modern, functional and spare, but the reception area was warm and beautifully transformed to reflect the couple’s wish to create intimate and personal space. I found the dinner and overall ambiance to be delightful, but that isn’t what I’ll be talking about in years to come.

What most impressed me was the warmth and life brought to the occasion by a gathering of friends and family.  How special it was to see our children’s old friends, now mature professionals, enjoying the occasion along with children of their own. What a hopeful combination of family history and toasts for the future shared among close friends. Each person represented a distinctly unique relationship to the bride and groom.

I suppose it is true that the curtain has come down on this special wedding season, but as we move on to new seasons in our lives I think  the memories that were made during the last several weeks will continue to infuse us with a deep joy.

And I also predict that I will experience a little reclaimed time and energy that might be devoted to contributing more frequently to this blog. I have quite a backlog of story possibilities. Maybe next time you’d like to hear how I experienced the midnight “club scene” at the Ace Hotel?

That was a first! It’s a wonder I still have my hearing. But that’s a story for another time.

I’m glad you didn’t forget about me in my absence, and thank you for stopping by and reminding me how much I enjoy hearing from each of you!