the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Hawaii Part Twelve

>We arrived at the port of Nawiliwili, Kauai, at sunrise, and it was glorious. I am really going to miss the sunrises here when I get back to cold, nasty Ohio.

The Star was running about half an hour late, so we had to hurry off of the ship in order to get to our helicopter tour on time. We made it with time to spare, and even had a few minutes to laugh while watching my parents looking for us. Had a quick van ride to the office of Ohana Helicopter Tours. Fairly good safety presentation. Nasty lady who wanted to know "How good are your pilots, anyway?" We learned that their two pilots are, essentially, the local deities of the rotating wing, so that shut her up pretty fast. We were relieved to find out that she would be on the other helicopter; thank goodness!

It was windy, so the helicopter ride was kind of bumpy, but it was still beautiful. We found out later that only the first two tours were able to fly, due to the wind, so we are feeling pretty lucky. The flight lasted about forty-five minutes or so, and we got to see pretty much the entire "garden island" of Kauai from the air. It's entirely too beautiful to describe; good thing I took pictures.

After we landed, we shopped a bit at the strip mall that houses Ohana Helicopter, then caught the shuttle back to the ship, where we hopped on the other shuttle that would take us into Lihue to visit the local Hilo Hattie. Hilo Hattie is a chain of Hawaiian stores that are scattered about the islands; they have a huge selection of literally everything Hawaiian. Seriously. It's pretty scary. We managed to escape without purchasing any coordinated aloha-wear (you can deck your whole family out in matching prints, with shirts and dresses for all sizes, even down to jumpers for your baby). We picked up a few souvenirs, including the Lilo and Stitch ceramic bobbleheads (exclusive to Hilo Hattie stores), and some CD's by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, whose most excellent rendition of "Over the Rainbow" fueled my morning eToys dance for months back in the dot-com bubble. We tromped around a little more in Lihue afterward, and I got a hat at the Red Dirt Shirt company.

Took the shuttle back to the Star to get lunch there, where it was quiet, and already paid for. Liz spent the afternoon napping, as did my mother, and I went back to Hilo Hattie's with my dad. It was good to spend some time with him, since I've mostly spent every waking minute with Liz so far.

My folks spent the morning tooling around on ATV's, driving to obscure places that are only reachable by rough trails, or by boats. They both claim to have had a blast, which surprises me, since it was not something that my mother had chosen to do. It turns out she was a little speed demon, consistently faster than all the young men who were with them on the tour. They both got profoundly dirty, and enjoyed the heck out of it. Good for them!

We set sail around five thirty, bidding farewell to Kauai (I think it's maybe my favorite island) right as the sunlight was edging toward its rich, vibrant gold.

It's the last night of the cruise, so dinner in the main dining room was not to be missed. Most of us had the quite tasty filet mignon, and we all split a bottle of Ravenwood zinfandel that went well with our dinners. When it came time for dessert, we introduced my father to Bananas Foster, and I think that went over pretty well with him.

It's weird how this week has felt both very fast, and at the same time very slow. I think it has to do with the length of our time ashore, which has been less than I had hoped for, and the roughness of the time at sea, which has been worse than I had hoped for. Oh well. Best not to dwell on it, I suppose; I'll be back at work soon enough this coming week.

Ugh. I just thought about work. Damn.

We need to get suitcases ready to be gathered up by the crew before midnight, so that we can all disembark in an orderly fashion. So, time to start packing...

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