|Me enjoying an authentic Kauai Cigar at the resort.|
As we waited on the plane, the pilot tried to placate the passengers' frustrations by reminding us that we'd shortly be leaving for "paradise." I wondered at the time whether that was a bit of an exaggeration; I'd never been to Hawaii before and had trouble equating it with a "place of supreme happiness" or "bliss."
The trip actually turned out to be not nearly as bad as it could have been. We arrived on the island of Kauai only two hours later than originally scheduled, following a brief layover in Honolulu. After leaving blizzard-like conditions in Seattle that morning, we stepped off the plane to mid-evening temperatures in the upper 70s and a delightful maritime breeze from the vast expanse of the central Pacific.
And if this place isn't "paradise" in its strictest sense, it comes about as close as possible for a physical setting this side of heaven. Kauai boasts some of the most jaw-dropping scenery I've ever encountered — sheer green cliffs rising straight up out of the ocean along the north shore, waterfalls, and a "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" that, in my opinion, seriously rivals its counterpart in Arizona.
Our week down there was simply fantastic. I joined a great group of friends from Seattle who were gathered to attend the destination wedding of two other close friends who now live in Australia. The wedding was beautiful, and the vacation was among the most relaxing and enjoyable I've taken in years. Kauai has a rejuvenating quality to it. I can't remember another place where I've fallen asleep so easily. (OK, perhaps the evening gin-and-tonics, Mai Tais, and tequilas-on-ice aided with that as well.) The island's isolated location in the middle of the world's largest ocean makes for stunning displays of infinite stars in the ink-black night sky. And the tropical climate, coupled with the constant proximity to the sea, creates a laid-back atmosphere that we eventually just started calling the "aloha vibe."
I'm a picture-taking fool, and this trip was no exception. Check out my album of images. Below is a preview of them. If you haven't been to Kauai, I highly recommend it. In fact, add it to your bucket list. You won't regret it.