Monday, October 12, 2009

Some summary thoughts

Well, this blog is almost done. We've been home for a couple of weeks. I've been back at work, and Todd headed back today. It was an incredible trip, and we were really fortunate to have had the opportunity to take it, to get away from work and cares of home, and spend time together is a marvelous place. For me, a big part of WHY I work is to be able to afford to spend time like this, see new things, learn about a new corner of the world. Thats also why I put so much effort into the planning...I get so much more out of the trip when I go into it with some knowledge and context. It makes everything so much more interesting.

To close this out, a few general comments about our bests and worsts. Things we liked, things we weren't as crazy about.

Favorite Island: Kauai. Somehow the north shore of Kauai was just our kind of place. It was beautiful, the beaches were great, the vibe was fun. It just felt right to us. I would go back there in a heartbeat. I hope we get the opportunity some time.

Favorite accomodation: this is a tough choice, but for all-around, I have to go with Hale Kona Kai in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. This condo was incredibly convenient. We liked being able to walk to dinner or stores if need be, or drive a short distance to snorkeling and restaurants. The condo itself was quite small, but really very comfortable. Nice furniture, comfy bed. It was the only place we stayed where we really had room to put away all our stuff. And the view from the lanai was so cool. The view from Casa Tortuga certainly rivalled it, but this one got extra points for great sunsets and for having so many things to look at.

Things we saw from our lanai at Hale Kona Kai:
parasailers, spinner dolphins, a wide variety of seabirds, sunset cruises, cruise ship, fishermen sunsets, surf, meteors, outrigger canoes, the moon, surfers, turtles, long distance swimmers, manta rays

Best Dinner (Cost no object): La Mer, of course

Best Dinner (bang for the buck edition): ono, broiled at home with kona coffee spice rub, with lemon scallion butter, eaten while watching the sunset from our lanai in Kona
Least favorite island: Maui. Okay, I hope its not sacrilege to say that Maui didn't call to us. We are not resort people. I hated Wailea, with it's golf courses, and its well manicured resorts that block off the coastline from view by the plebs. And while the road to Hana was very pretty, it was also very crowded and a long day. The Hamakua coast on the Big Island is just as pretty and easier to drive.

Best Beach: okay, having picked on Maui....Makena Beach, in front of the Maui Prince was definitely the best beach. Hanalei Beach on Kauai was a close second

Best Snorkel spot:
we snorkelled in perhaps 8 different places. 3 of them stood out as truly special. Molokini was incredible, and such an interesting location. Tunnels beach on Kauai had the most interesting topography, and loads of colorful fish. But our favorite was the tidepools at Kapoho, the Wai'opae marine reserve on the Big Island. Such an interesting area, and so many fish. Also shallow so we got a great view of them.
Best Mai Tai: this is tough. We had excellent Mai Tai's at Jackie Reys (Kona), Cafe Pesto (Hilo) and Don's Tiki Bar (Kona). But Todd says the very best one was the first one he the Molokini Bar&Grill in the Maui Prince.

Best fish taco's: El Pelon (Brookline MA). Okay, not fair I know. But I'm not sure anybody's fish tacos were actually better than El Pelon (please, let it re-open before next Red Sox season!). In any case, Todd tried more of these than I did, and had a hard time choosing. Maui Taco's in Kihei were quite excellent, and might win bang-for-the-buck. But when pressed, he chose the walu tacos at Jackie Rey's.

Best Coffee: Maui Coffee Roasters, purchased at a coffee shop in Kahalui, but brewed by us, at home. We found a lot of good coffee beans. The Kauai Coffee estate grown peaberry, the Green Hills farm Kona peaberry, some of the other Kona varieties were all quite good. But the stuff grown on Maui is incredible. A lighter roast, more delicate flavor than the African coffees we usually buy, It was terrific.

Worst Cofee: any we didn't brew ourselves I'm talking about the coffee we were served in hotels and restaurants everywhere. It was universally AWFUL. The kept claiming to serve "Real Kona" or "100% Kona Blend" (wow, love that oxymoron!). But it was terrible. At the Maui Prince, at the Outrigger, at Seattle's Best in Waikiki, in the restaurants on the Big Island where Kona comes from, nobody seemed to know how to brew even a mediocre pot of coffee. That's just sad. Wonderful coffee everywhere, and not a drop to drink!

Best Pizza: Hawaiian Pizza at Cafe Pesto, Hilo. Probably not a fair contest, because we didn't eat pizza much. But I still need to give a shout out for REAL Hawaiian pizza, with kalua pork, tiny bits of fresh pineapple and maui onions

Best New Junk Food: Maui Onion and Garlic macademia nuts from Mauna Loa. Omigosh, these are delicious. We tried ordering them online, but they aren't as tasty and fresh as the ones we bought at the factory near Hilo.

Most Dramatic view: lava entry at Kalapana. Wow. Wish I had pictures to do it justice

Best Rainbow:
definitely this one, over Hanalei Pier

No comments:

Post a Comment