Totally random things I promise.
This is like David Letterman's top ten list really... Relating to Maui, Kauai, and everything else regarding a real family vacation!
#1 - Roosters do in fact "Cock a doodle Doo" at the crack of dawn. Oh, and at 3 in the afternoon... Oh, and at 11 o'clock at night... Oh, and whenever they damn well please. A lot. Loud. And sometimes they sound like creepy children of the corn having bizarro chicken conventions in the darkness around your "Orchard Cottage". In the night. Roosters.
#2 - Humuhumunukunukuapua'a is a real fish. A really pretty fish. The State Fish of Hawaii (does Alberta even have a"State Fish"?). My own personal rule with snorkelling in Hawaii is that you in fact do not stop a snorkeling trip until you have spotted one. Don't worry, this does not actually take that long, and it is worth the wait every time! They are just so fancy and amusing. Not to mention, learning how to pronounce the word with a fancy fish puppet singing the song is really fun to do with a three year old!!
#3 - You really can learn important facts from a kids book, like about the State Fish of Hawaii... and different names for lava... and what the nickname for the Island of Maui is. Together, these facts assembled in order for us to win a Trivia Contest on our snorkeling cruise. Awesome!! Or should I say, TEAM AWESOME (yeah I know, some people have heard me referred by my team name before, but I used it again to win a Tshirt and gain some amazing notoriety on a snorkeling cruise)... A couple days later, Jason and I were spotted by some folks on the beach who pointed at us and said... TEAM AWESOME!! Seriously, we made an impression (or at least the 4 Mai Tais I was drinking did).
#4 - Baby Powder really does get wet sand off. After weeks of playing on the beach with Cecilia, and subjecting her to embarassing strip downs and vigorous naked baby scrubbings in a cold, trickling, public shower... we were notified of the baby powder technique. Nevertheless, Cecilia has a whole new attitude when we leave the sand now, know the showers are all but a thing of the past (except in Kauai, when we have been allowing her to "freewheel" at the beach... AKA... no swimming diaper in the ocean). Which means that when shit happens (and I am being completely literal here), she gets a shower.
#5 - If you have walked into one Tourist Shop, you have walked into them all. Want a shot glass with a hula girl? Want a grass skirt with a coconut bra? How about a Ukelele? How about Macadamia Nuts? Seriously, don't waste your time with visiting a bunch of shops... just hit the one you need to get your souvenirs and then get your ass back to the beach. Done. You have come to Hawaii to be outside and in the sun and the surf and the sand, don't you forget it!
#6 - Even after 6 weeks in Hawaii, you can still get a sunburn. After 6 weeks of methodical SPF 50 application, one afternoon at the beach where you meet a nice couple with their kids from Montreal and end up chatting instead of reapplying... you can burn your evenly bronzed skin... Ouch. A lot. And you have the benefit of feeling guilty about causing your little girls cheeks and nose to adopt the colour of an angry hibiscus! On a selfish note... the couple from Quebec said I had a very Parisian accent when I spoke French. Maybe as a Canadian speaking french that was meant as an insult, but I took it as a compliment.
#7 - Having a Cold/Flu in Hawaii is WAY BETTER than having a Cold/Flu in Canada. Ever. I mean, I am not wishing this on anyone, I am just saying, I suffered on the sofa looking out over a cloud covered extinct volcano, covered in lush vegetation and surrounded by trees covered in Passion Fruits and Mangoes. When I was feeling a touch better, I cooled my fevered skin in the light spray from the ocean while watching my family frolic and play in the waves. Poor Me. ;)
#8 - When listening to Radio in the Islands... you really have to listen to the Hawaiian radio station. It gets you totally in the groove of Aloha time. You hear a little slack sting guitar and the smooth baritone of some Hawaiian dude crooning to you about Rainbows and beaches and sunsets, you are ready to kick back and enjoy the islands for the relaxing place it is!! In all seriousness, bring your "AUX" attachments for the car since the radio reception can be spotty, and with everyone working on Aloha time, the traffic can be surprisingly heavy and slow.
#9 - Outdoor showers are completely awesome. I am not referring to the aforementioned Public Showers that trickle brackish water on your skin about 6 feet from the sand... I am talking about the most awesome Private Shower we have here in Kauai. It is casually concealed behind a bamboo fence and a flimsy shower curtain that gets some pretty good air when the Trade Winds blow. Even still, there is really something and forbidden about showering under the light of the moon with the crickets (and roosters) harmonizing around you. Jason and I are discussing installing a nice outdoor shower in our house in Calgary... I wonder if the neighbours would mind?
#10 - Once you have kids, Family Vacation has a whole new meaning. A really good meaning. I was a little surprised when we mentioned our big trip to Hawaii that many folks would inquire "Are you bringing the kids?" Of course we are bringing the kids. If we did not intend to have family vacations, I am doubtful we ever would have had kids. But we did, and we do family vacations, and family hugs and we love it. I have absolutely no qualms about people who don't have kids. We love all you guys too, and will happily share family hugs with you all too... but for now, we are happy to be together. Jason and I realized that a 7 week vacation meant that he and I would be TOGETHER for that entire time. Seriously people, I made one trip to the library without him, and he took the car for a vacuum (oh, and the short road trip while I took the morning to recover from the cold/flu). You know what? We had a great time together. All that time, and we are still in love and still have things to talk about. We talked about politics and poopy diapers, retirement and mango juice, restaurants and the inconvenient locations of sand grains on our bodies. It is not glamorous, it is not unusual, it is just the nature of living with your best friend... and having the chance to show your kids how to have a great time and be respectful to the people you love the most.
We are blessed... We took our chance and seized the trip of a lifetime. It was amazing. I hope you all enjoyed the ride and the blog.