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DansDeals Forum => Trip Reports => Topic started by: @Yehuda on October 20, 2015, 05:01:02 PM

Title: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 20, 2015, 05:01:02 PM
A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai

The whole trip report is finished, but I know that it's incredibly long, so I'll post it in a few pieces over the next few days. Here goes! Hope you enjoy and hope it helps others plan their trips!

Trip Planning
It’s no secret that I’ve wanted to go to Hawaii for a long time. That’s why I starting writing this trip planning segment in January 2015, 8 months before travelling. I love the stress and thrill of award booking and thought it would be fun to keep track of how my flight/hotel bookings progressed. If you also like the insanity of booking, read on! I do warn you that it gets into technical airline stuff, but I did try to translate as much of the jargon as possible. However, if this long post scares you, feel free to jump to the end of it where I’ll sum up how much I spent on flights/hotels and how I booked them. Or, go straight to the next post (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=56505.msg1290520#msg1290520) for the actual trip report.

After last year’s 6-week incredible journey through Europe (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=42333.0), I haven’t stopped thinking about the next trip. Although Europe was awesome, it wasn’t exactly the most relaxing honeymoon one could have. Every day our itinerary was packed, and we were flying once or twice a week. So I knew our next trip had to be somewhere of a more classic honeymoon destination. From the way people talk about it here, I knew Hawaii had to be the choice. I had hoped that we could make it there this past winter, but due to time constraints, we decided a short stint to Orlando would have to do. We had a fantastic time (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=969.msg1030897#msg1030897), but as soon as we got back, the travel bug was at my heels once again. This time Hawaii. This summer. C’mon, it has to happen!

From my days of opening up any credit card I could get my hands on, I had enough Lufthansa (LH) miles to make the roundtrip on United (UA) in lie-flat business class (J) from Newark (EWR) to Honolulu (HNL) at 70K miles per person (as opposed to UA miles which requires 80K, although LH is not the cheapest way to book this route – Singapore is at 60K). So, I knew what miles I wanted to use, what airline to fly and thought I had 3 months of summer flexibility. Boy was I in for a surprise. I first learned about the “Shabbos in Hawaii” question and found out from my Rabbi that I should not be in Hawaii over Shabbos. So, in order to get the most out of the weekdays in Hawaii, I would have to leave home on a Sunday and get out of Hawaii by Thursday noon-ish (so that the plane would be past everyone’s opinion of the dateline before Shkia). From my research, the only flights out of any island in the early afternoon only go the west coast – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, etc., so I figured – great, we’ll do Shabbos in sunny California – and stay by fellow DDFer, Yehoshua - and extend our trip through the weekend. Now I had all summer for flexibility, while just needing Sunday and Thursday flights. That abruptly changed. My wife’s job/school schedule changed, and she wouldn’t be free for basically all of June or the end of August. Then, throw in the 9 days/Tisha B’av and some other obligations, and it wasn’t too long until I realized there was literally just ONE Sunday/week that would work for us. Talk about being flexible when it comes to booking award flights.

UA’s availability was pitiful for nonstop flights in any class on any day of the week from mid-June through mid-August, yet I kept checking every day. I knew it was basically pointless to do daily checks in January/February time, but I couldn’t help myself. I even started checking from other destinations - first those that had lie-flat for at least a portion of the trip: Washington, D.C., Houston, and the few flights from Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and Denver (DEN) that are lie-flat. Nothing doing. Again, lie-flat was ideal, but I couldn’t even find economy (Y) space on any of these routes. It also seems like DEN no longer has lie-flat on that route, but it anyways always has a place in my heart since my wife is from there and her family still lives there, so that also made it an attractive option since we could tack on some DEN time to our trip. Either way, nothing doing there, but I kept checking every day.

A few weeks later, and 2 seats opened up from DEN to Maui (OGG) for the Sunday morning I needed!! I called LH and jumped on those tickets. I chose J (they also had Y available) even though it wasn’t lie-flat (which most would agree is not a good use of miles) because I figured I had the LH to burn and a 7 hour flight will definitely be more comfortable in a somewhat bigger seat. 35K per person for the one way. Next, I quickly booked NYC-DEN on Southwest with our Companion Pass for the Friday before our flight, so we could have a nice Shabbos in Denver with her family and then head out Sunday morning to Maui. I didn’t have a return, but I quickly realized that this was going to be my first trip where I booked the legs one at a time and would wait months in between finding a way there and a way home.

A week later, I opened my computer after Shabbos to find out that LH emailed me over Shabbos saying that the flight was cancelled, and I was rebooked on a super early morning flight with a stop in SFO. Man, that stinks. Of course, I still had the flight and that was great, but that’s a lot less convenient. I went to the forums and got some encouragement from Dan and Ergel to call LH and see what they could do. I had to wait till Monday for their office to open (I never had success dealing with their foreign offices on the weekend), so I left it at that.

(Disclosure: This piece has been posted before, but don’t kill me for retelling the story now.)

I called up Monday morning, and the agent said she couldn't do anything. She tried to search for availability to switch my flight, but obviously could only see what I saw on UA's website– nothing. Then she said the manager wasn't in yet, and she'd have a "scheduling agent" call me. After not receiving a call (they had the wrong phone number), I called back that afternoon and right away asked for a manager, explained the situation and basically told her that I know this will only work if someone from LH will call their representative at UA and convince them to open space on another flight. She tried searching for availability in her system (which obviously didn't work) and then said a scheduling agent would call me.

10 min later someone actually called (!) and again told me there's no space showing. I asked if there was any chance she could call UA and get them to open up space on a better flight. Not only did I need nonexistent space, but since the nonstop DEN-OGG was cancelled for my dates, I needed an origin/destination change. I told her I'm really beginning my trip in New York and only going to Denver because that's where I found a flight to Hawaii from, so if she could get me on the direct EWR-HNL, that would really be great. The rep thought I was crazy but she agreed to call. A few minutes later, she got back on the phone with me and said UA agreed to open space from EWR-SFO-OGG, but that they weren't happy with all these origin/destination changes. That flight would kill the whole day and get me to land at 9PM. With so few precious moments in Hawaii due to the Shabbos issue, I persisted and asked her if she could try for the direct flight one more time…

5 min later she got back on the phone and said I could either have DEN-HNL or EWR-HNL. The choice was obvious. I couldn’t believe it, but thank G-d, magical space was opened direct from New York on the nonstop, lie-flat!!

The next step was to cancel the WN tickets to DEN and book a flight from HNL to another island since everyone on DDF knows that – and say it with me – the first thing you do when you land in HNL is get on a plane to another island! Having thought I was going to Maui for a while, I spoke to some people and decided to keep it that way (plus there was no award space on the interisland flights to Kauai, the other island I was considering). Both Hawaiian Airlines (HA) and Island Air fly the interisland routes with HA bookable with either American Airlines (AA) for 5K or UA for 6K, while Island can only be booked with UA for 6K. Based on availability, I booked HNL-OGG on Island for 6K UA per person. Next up, I booked the Andaz Maui with 2 free Hyatt nights and booked the last 2 nights for cash (not paid upfront) just to hold the rooms for when my wife would get her Hyatt credit card and 2 nights. Not sure that holding the rooms in such a way does anything, but I figured I would try. Her nights posted in March, and I swapped out the cash nights for her 2 free nights (there was still award availability, so no data point from my attempt at holding the nights). I tried for a while to figure out how to use someone’s Diamond Suite Upgrade (DSU) to upgrade us to a suite (and obviously not use free nights certificates for all the nights since those can’t be used in conjunction with a DSU), but the Andaz no longer accepts Cash and Points nights, which means the only way to use a DSU is to pay cash. None of the popular corporate codes brought the rate down low enough, even with using discounted Hyatt gift cards, to compel me to pay for even 1 night with cash. So, I gave up on the suite, but hey, it's still 4 free nights at the beautiful Andaz Maui!

The next step was getting home. As you know, it had to be Thursday afternoon, so I researched and found that UA, AA and Delta all have flights in the early afternoon from OGG-LAX. AA had 1 seat available while the others had none. I thought that ideally I would have used LH to book UA on OGG-LAX-NYC (and make LAX a free stopover and go to NYC after Shabbos), but I found out that LH only gives a free stopover on a RT and my ticket had to be booked as a one way since the outbound was already book when it was the only leg that had space at the time. Since there was no chance of getting in a free stopover, I grabbed the one AA seat OGG-LAX for 12.5K British Airways (an AA partner that is cheaper to use for this route and cancellation is only the $5.60 fees you pay) and kept checking all 3 airlines everyday (probably more than I needed to being that it was still 5 months in advance, hehe).

In the meanwhile, I bought the guidebook recommended by everyone on DDF - Maui Revealed - as well as the corresponding app. What a fun read! I used sticky notes to tick off every item that seemed interesting to me (I’m sure you can guess I ticked way too many things) and then went through all my ticks a second time, knocked some out and organized them by activities per day. I also read through the whole Maui thread on DDF and everyone’s trip reports there and compared those experiences with Maui Revealed to decide the best way to break up the activities for our 3 full days. Much closer to the trip, I posted my itinerary on DDF and Dan helped tweak it based on his experiences to put together an awesome plan for the 3 days. 3 days sure doesn’t seem like a lot, but that’s what you have to do if you aren’t going to be there for Shabbos. We’ll just have to go back!

Fast forward to the end of May when I realized that I can possibly get off from work for a second trip to Hawaii this summer – in June! I quickly looked up what dates would work and even found a decent flight situation, DEN-OGG (again) on a Sunday morning, which means we could get in a Shabbos at my in-laws before the trip (which my wife would love), and we wouldn’t need to deal with interisland flights since it goes straight to Maui. The route back through LA for Shabbos also had some availability, and finally, the Andaz Maui even had space!

Wait – go to Maui twice in 1 summer!? Nah – I would just change my interisland flight in August to Kauai (as the Grand Hyatt Kauai (GHK) had space for the week in August that we’re supposed to go), and then make this June trip to Maui.

I first called Hyatt to switch my 4 nights from August to June, since there’s no change fee, and then contemplated the rest of the routing for a day or two, as the flights I currently saw available had lots of seats on them. I’m glad I took the few days to think because I soon realized that my dates conflicted with a family matter that would not allow us to go to Hawaii that week. Dang, shot down once again, but what can you do? I rushed to call Hyatt and switch my reservation back to August, but alas, the Andaz got booked up in the meanwhile! Ahhh! The GHK had space in Kauai for August, so I had them switch our nights to that.

So, we have EWR-HNL in J, interisland to OGG (whose flight time changed about 3 times since I booked, but was now actually at a better time, fortunately), one seat on OGG-LAX, and our hotel is on another island. This should be a fun summer of waiting…

July 17 – This morning, I got an Expert Flyer alert in the early morning that space on AA’s flight from Kauai (LIH) to LAX opened up! Great, we’ll go to Kauai, and I’ll just change our interislands to LIH and cancel the OGG-LAX for 5 bucks, no big deal. I ran to my computer and logged onto AA.com and BA.com only to find… 0 seats on the flight! ExpertFlyer also showed 0 seats. Someone must have beat me to it. Sheesh. Well, we’re back to where we were. :(

July 31 – With just 2 weeks left till our trip, I was randomly searching on UA.com (as I had been doing for months) and found 2 seats in Y from LIH-LAX! (Coach would be more than fine on this leg since J isn't lie-flat anyway.) A quick call to Singapore (a UA partner that is cheaper on this route), and I nabbed them for 17.5K per person. I then called British Airways to cancel the 1 seat that we had OGG-LAX and lost the $5.60 taxes, but I was expecting that. The remaining issue was the interisland flight. Because my HNL-OGG flight had a few schedule changes, I would be able to get UA to rebook me for free on HNL-LIH, but only HA flies HNL-LIH, not Island Air, and they didn’t have any award space. So, I just cancelled HNL-OGG and got back my UA miles and $5.60 taxes. I was going to have to book the HA flight some other way. I could have transferred 7.5K American Express Membership Rewards to HA to book, but the next flight that was available at the 7.5K rate would require me to wait around HNL airport for 3+ hours. The remaining options were to pay cash (hah!), use miles like Chase Ultimate Rewards to book the flight directly from HA (which only gets a value of 1.25 cents per point and UR are worth more than that), or to book with my Arrival Plus (A+) card and use those points to cover the cost (which only gets a value of 1.1cpp, but that’s always the value it gets). I opted for A+ and booked directly on HA.com for $112 person, which came out to 10,080 A+ points per person after the 10% rebate that you get when redeeming miles (soon to become only 5%). I also could have opted to book through the DansDeals HA Corporate account (which offers the same rates as booking direct but also gives free luggage), but the charge wouldn’t post as a “travel” charge and then I couldn’t use my A+ points to redeem against the charge (as A+ points can only be redeemed at 1.1cpp when redeemed against a “travel” charge). My wife and I pack lightly and had no problem packing for 6 weeks in Europe in our carryons, so we figured we’d be able to do it again for just 1 week and save on the bag fees. I imagine that with bringing food we’ll need 1 real bag, so if in EWR I can’t get our bags checked all the way through HNL to LIH, then we’ll pay the fee for 1 bag (which should only be $15 since we joined the HA frequent flyer program). Boy, am I glad we had GHK booked just in case. (And I had bought Kauai Revealed a while earlier to have some fun random reading.) All we have left to do now is find LAX-EWR!

August 6 – Time for the car rental. Everyone makes it seem that to make your trip to Hawaii even more special, you really want a convertible for your stay. While a 4-wheel drive vehicle is necessary for parts of Waimea Canyon in Kauai, the hassle of swapping out the car, plus price of renting a convertible for fewer days and a 4WD for 1 day, steered me away from getting a 4WD. I had previously done research, and the cheapest I could find for a convertible for 4 days was $248 via Avis. However, recently, there was a recall on Mustangs in Hawaii, and Avis temporarily had to return all of their Mustangs. The location in LIH had a few left that they were not making available online and were only taking phone bookings for at a set rate of $109/day + tax. Yeah… no thanks. After trying other agencies, corporate codes and Priceline, I was drawing blanks. Finally, I tried discounthawaiicarrental.com (noted in the Hawaii threads' wikis) and was able to find a Mustang from Dollar for $276. Not the cheapest, but can’t really complain for so close to my travel date and while a recall is going on. I grabbed that for now with my UA credit card since it will cover the insurance and will hopefully switch the card to my A+ after the rental (assuming iy”h the car stays in good shape) to cover the charge with 24,750 points. Convertible here we come!

Food time – Shortly before our trip, I achieved Hyatt Diamond status, so that would cover breakfast at the Grand Club/lounge at the hotel. For lunches, we decided that we’d pick up some bread, spreads, snacks and drinks at Walmart in Hawaii. So, all we needed to bring along with us were dinners. I decided that when you spend so little on flights, you can afford to splurge on food ;) and so we placed an order for 12 pre-cooked, double-wrapped, travel meals from Pomegranate Supermarket (POM) in Brooklyn for $240. The truth is, if there was a Kosher restaurant in Kauai, we would have gone there for all our meals and spent well over $240 – so this was definitely a great deal.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5732/22055407986_17685cc791_c.jpg)
Talk about a close fit :). All pics taken on an iPhone 5, except for a few taken with a Sharp Aquos

As everyone seems to have a POM customer service story, I’ll share mine:
I placed my order in time for Friday delivery and was told that Manhattan delivery would be $20 and that I could just opt for ice packs to be put in the box for $2 instead of additionally having the box lined with styrofoam insulation for $15. After discussing with AnonymousUser who had just ordered from POM himself, I decided we didn’t really need the styrofoam since the food would be frozen, would go straight into our freezer over Shabbos, into my mom’s freezer Motzai Shabbos and under the plane 30,000 feet in the air. After placing the order, I was told that I would be charged $25 for delivery since I lived further out in Manhattan than they thought and my bill had the $15 insulation charge on it. After a few back and forth emails with them, I proved that I had been told it would only be $20 (good to know that next time it’ll be $25 to my neighborhood) and explained that I didn't order the styrofoam, and they agreed and also removed the $15 insulation charge. My invoice said that my order would go out on the 8AM delivery truck. When the food didn’t arrive by 10:30AM (Brooklyn is not that far away), I called up and was told it’ll go out in the next half hour. When it still didn’t arrive by 2PM, I called up and struggled to get hold of someone. After a half hour on the phone, I finally got someone who was able to located my food… still sitting in Brooklyn. They promised the delivery guy would take it right away and that it would make it before Shabbos and, b”h, the food showed up shortly before Shabbos. Of course, the box was insulated with styrofoam, so I emailed the guy I had been in touch with and told him that while he shouldn't worry about this till after Shabbos, I had a lot of stress with the food almost not coming and that I got charged for the styrofoam and it showed up, despite not requesting it. He responded while we were on the trip and said he would refund the insulation fee. (It took about 2 weeks and several reminder emails to get the refund.) Overall, not a huge deal (just needed to keep on top of them), and the food was great, so we definitely recommend ordering from POM for your trip.

With most of our flights booked, I bought travel insurance from Travel Guard. After having a good experience with them on our Eurotrip, I went with them again, this time opting for the Gold plan (2nd highest option) for $88.

Sunday, August 16 – The day of our flight came, and we still didn’t have a flight home. While others here have departed on a trip without a set return, I was nervous (although not as much as my wife) to embark without a flight home, but kind of excited at the same time. A few days ago, I booked a flight on Southwest from LAX-EWR with a connection in St. Louis, as that was the only flight I could find with award space, but even with our Companion Pass, it was still not a great award redemption. I was hoping Southwest’s great cancellation policy would come in handy once better flights opened up, and I was right. I’m skipping here to the final flight booking just to keep all the trip booking in one post.

As we landed in HNL, Yehoshua (the Wonderful) texted me that he was checking flights and space opened up for Motzai Shabbos LAX-EWR in J! While LAX-EWR currently only has lie-flat on 2-3 morning flights (soon to change in October - sheesh, I really wrote this a long time ago), I figured I’d splurge on the recliner-J for the redeye flight in the hopes of getting a better sleep. I originally anticipated leaving Sunday morning/early afternoon, but we realized that we wouldn’t really get in any activities on Sunday morning, so leaving Motzai Shabbos wouldn’t be a big deal. I tried grabbing the flight while making our way through the HNL airport and even while sitting on the HA flight on the runway, but I couldn’t get it done in time and just hoped that the space would still be available that night when we settled into the hotel. B"h, the space was there that night, and I called up LH and booked the return LAX-EWR in J for 17K per person (hey, they rounded down – it should have been 17.5K – even after they supposedly stopped rounding down).

So, our final tally:
EWR-HNL on UA in J booked with LH for 35K + $5.60 per person
HNL-LIH on HA booked directly and paid with A+ for 10,080 per person.
LIH-LAX on UA in Y booked with SQ for 17.5K + $5.60 per person.
LAX-EWR on UA in J booked with LH for 17K + $5.60 per person.
GHK booked with 4 free Hyatt night certificates.
Convertible 4 day rental from Dollar paid with A+ for 24,750.

Total cost of flights, hotel and car rental:
160,160 points and $33.60
;D ;D
#LongLiveDansDeals

Off to the real TR!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 20, 2015, 05:01:12 PM
Sunday, 8/16

Before Shabbos, we packed up almost everything we would need for the trip so that on Motzai Shabbos we could quickly clean up from Shabbos, pack up the last few things and head over to my mother’s house in New Jersey where we we could be just 15 minutes from EWR for our 9:15AM flight on Sunday. By the time we got to bed in Jersey, it was only a few hours before 6:30AM Rosh Chodesh Shacharis at Adath Israel in Hillside, NJ (which is literally minutes from EWR). After Shul, I headed back to get my wife, pack up the car and have my mom drive us to the airport (thanks!). We were at priority checkin (due to flying J) a few minutes before 8AM with plenty of time till our 9:15AM flight. Now, my nerves kicked in; it was time to attempt to get our bags checked all the way through to LIH. I grabbed my printed out tickets of EWR-HNL and HNL-LIH and stepped up the counter. The agent looked at them and in one second said, “We have a new policy. The flights are not on the same reservation, so we can’t check the bags through (unless you’re a Gold member).” Darn. I asked for a supervisor, got a snarky, “She’ll say the same thing as I said,” and was met by… the same thing the first rep said. Oh well. Because we were flying J and had free bags on the first leg, we decided to check the POM box as well as our 2 suitcases, which were just the size of carryons, figuring it would be nice to not walk through EWR with our bags. With 20/20 hindsight, I can definitively say that was a mistake.

After going through TSA Precheck, we headed to the UA Lounge, which was right past security.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/720/22069111522_361b958a16_c.jpg)

We quickly found out that flying J domestically – even to Hawaii – doesn’t get you access to the lounge. Sheesh. Not to fear, I pulled out 2 one-time passes, and we headed in as I gazed at the monitor and saw that our flight was delayed. I’ve read that this flight, UA15, is plagued by delays, and unfortunately, our flight would be no different from the norm. We were nervous about catching the connecting flight in HNL, but there was nothing we could do at this point, so we put it out of our heads.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5770/22069110922_dd087a9f74_c.jpg)
Back, back, back, a little bit forward, and how about back again?

Eventually, we decided we better head to the gate in case the time changed to an earlier time. When we got to the gate, we found some seats, and within 10 minutes, they called boarding. Glad we decided to go to the gate. We lined up in Group 1 and were ready to get our trip started.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/682/21458744414_0829ce30f0_c.jpg)

Turning left upon entering the plane put a smile on my face as we headed towards our lie-flat seats, *just* the second time for us (both on UA). We picked the first row (bulkhead) because supposedly there is a bit more space in the footwell, but I really didn’t notice much of a difference. I did notice that the window seat had more room in the footwell and a larger shelf than the aisle seat, as the seats are tilted towards the window and that shape allows for more room in the window seat.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5780/22055409726_fd45eb45a0_c.jpg)
Our seats for the next 9:20 hours

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/606/21460444093_75f815f9bf_c.jpg)
Dark, but bed-mode

Before we even settled in, the stewardess informed us that our Kosher meal (KSML) was on board and then my nerves kicked in for the second time that day – I asked if it would be possible to warm up the POM meals we brought along with us (in case the KSML was bad), and after some hesitation/confusion (and making a joke about the quality of airline KSMLs that she didn’t seem to appreciate :-[) and explaining that the food was already wrapped up for an oven, she heartily agreed. Right afterwards, she brought out some drinks.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/685/22081589665_4f02b0d8a4_c.jpg)
 
That stewardess, as well as the rest of the crew, was extremely friendly and provided great service. I am far from being experienced enough to comment on the quality of the service (soft product) or the seat, entertainment system, blanket, pillow, drinks, etc. (hard product) compared to other airlines’ premium cabins, but to humble me, it was all very nice.

We finally took off at 10:40AM, almost an hour and a half after scheduled departure, but the pilot announced that we’d been given a better route and our travel time would be just about 9 and a half hours instead the scheduled 10:52 hours. I’ve gotten used to the concept that sometimes planes can get a better route and make it much earlier than expected, but boy does it confuse/surprise me. Leaving 1.5 hours late and only arriving 13 minutes late made me very happy as we knew there shouldn’t be any issues catching our connecting flight now.

Breakfast was served shortly after takeoff and was from Regal Caterers. We decided to wash (my Rabbi says to wash on Mezonos rolls) and enjoy a bit of the first course. The danish in particular was very good. I’m not so into the pictures of food, but I know you love them ;) so…

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/591/22091594701_34f3c2891e_c.jpg)

After finding out that the main course was an omelet, we asked if the stewardess wouldn’t mind holding onto our omelets and instead warming up our POM meals once she was done serving everyone else. I figured it would be appropriate to give them time to serve everyone their normal meals before making this request, although it did take a long time for them to get back to us, which was annoying particularly because we also still had to wait for the meal to warm up. Being that it came from the freezer just a few hours earlier, we could tell that 30 minutes of warming wasn’t enough, and we had to ask them to warm it up more. Finally, our penne alla vodka arrived. We both thought it was fantastic, although I personally like the one at Café K better. Again, it was still super flavorful and was an incredible treat while on a plane.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/685/22069100622_d6d1157261_c.jpg)

While eating, we watched the live action Cinderella movie (so-so) and then switched off between napping and catching some TV like Impractical Jokers and Shark Tank.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/612/21894677759_cdd6c82888_c.jpg)
Note my wallet under the TV. We’ll get back to that later :-[

A little while later, they came around with the second meal (I didn’t even realize there would be 2 meals!). It’s always so difficult fitting the KSMLs on the tray tables, but I managed even though the first and second courses were brought out together.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/730/21458733544_b2527d001a_c.jpg)

This time I didn’t go for the bread/pita. The cake-thing was… yeah… but the breadsticks were good and the lox was yummy! The third course was a chicken dish that the stewardess was able to show me since someone behind us also ordered a KSML but wasn’t particular about the stewardess not opening up the wrapping. (No one behind me looked religious – could be they either are Jewish, not religious or they just have dietary restrictions similar to Kosher.) After seeing the chicken, plus still being pretty full from the POM pasta, I asked if it would be possible to just have the omelet from breakfast, if they still had it. She warned me that they would have to reheat it, and it might dry out, but that didn’t bother me. I’m not sure if the drying out is what did it, but I really liked it. While this picture is not super-appetizing, the egg and potatoes really were!

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5809/21893381540_cf332c352c_c.jpg)

Now it was time to try for an extended sleep. I know it’s a bed. On a plane. But, for me, it still really isn’t super comfortable for falling asleep. My knees kinda still hit the divider and arm rest, the pillow kinda hits the hard headrest, the blanket isn’t super long, etc., so it took some twisting and turning to find a comfortable position, and I woke a bunch of times, but I did get in a decent sleep. Not trying to sound fancy or anything, but let’s just make it clear that a lie-flat seat on a plane is still not your bed at home. (I know, I know, I still haven't flown a *fancy* first class to compare to.)

Finally, we started descending and, in a few minutes, landed safely and smoothly 9 hours later and 6 hours back in time. We were in Hawaii! They let everyone out the front door, which meant right by our seat, so we jumped off and got to the end of the jet bridge when I realized… I didn’t have my wallet! I checked all my pockets twice, my backpack and my wife’s bag. Nowhere. The last option was to take the awkward walk against traffic back through the jet bridge onto the plane. At least we were sitting the first seat. Of course, the stewardess was standing right in my seat as I looked for my wallet and sheepishly found it sitting on that mini shelf under the TV. Whoops.

Back in the airport, we were so excited to be in Hawaii, but we were also hit with powerful humidity – not much different than in NY. :P The airport is very open – no windows or walls in many places – which added to the heat, but was very cool. Pun intended. We made our way to baggage claim and, within a few minutes, found our POM box and my wife’s suitcase b”h. But, that was it. :'( We waited till everyone cleared away and then I headed to the UA baggage desk, which was right there. A few minutes waiting on line, and soon enough, I found out that my bag was... still in Newark. Should have just schlepped the bags with us onto the plane, eh? Who could have known? This was my first time losing a bag and boy it wasn’t fun. I was told that the bag should be put on the next day’s EWR-HNL flight and then passed onto HA’s HNL-LIH (following our exact flight #s that we took today) and delivered to our hotel.

After filing the claim, we went off looking for our connecting flight. We were told there was a shuttle that could take us right where we needed, but that the walk was only 4 minutes. We went up some stairs, down some others, and yeah it took more than 4 minutes for someone who hasn’t been there before. ::) To help others out, HA (maybe not all of HA and maybe also some other airlines) is in another building down the road. Not incredibly difficult to find, but it’s also not "just right there." The first HA desks we passed were only for flights to the mainland, and the next set was for the interislands. Interestingly, there was no desk, only self-service kiosks and 2 guys taking bags to checkin. We went to the kiosk, paid $15 to check the POM box and hoped that we could pull off taking our bags on the plane (while they are carryons, my wife’s is officially an inch too tall and mine, an inch too deep). We dropped the POM box with the bag guys and headed to TSA Precheck, which I was pleasantly surprised to see. The TSA agent asked us if we’re taking the bags on the plane, and I froze for a second, but then realized she just wanted to make sure we weren’t bringing checked bags to the wrong place. Through security, we made our way to the gate where everyone had to put their bags through an x-ray machine again due to agriculture security. I guess you can buy things in the airport that you aren’t allowed to take on the plane? I had planned on going to the lounge that the AA Executive card gets access to, but we really didn’t have enough time to make it worth it (plus it turns out that it’s in the main building with flights to the mainland, not in the building with interislands). We found some seats and boarding began almost an hour before takeoff. We were in Zone 3, but still got on the plane pretty quickly. There were no 2 seats next to each other when I booked, and we didn’t get a chance to talk to an agent to see if they could do anything, so we just sat in our seats, one behind the other.

It was at this point (as I mentioned in the trip planning section) that Yehoshua texted me that flights opened up for our return trip LAX-EWR on Motzai Shabbos, and I tried booking from the plane till the last minute as we were taking off. I didn’t get it done, but held out hope the space would be there later.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5835/22055391156_7eb0c15f13_c.jpg)
A last look at Honolulu

We booked Y because paying for J for a 30 minute flight seemed crazy, and we were just fine. I’ll point out that the space under the window seat is very tiny, and my backpack didn’t really fit underneath it. Our “big” carryons fit just fine up top. I knew that we would be rushing around to get our luggage, car rental, etc., so I Davened Mincha on the short flight.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/618/21458720584_ddb321173a_c.jpg)
SomethingFishy cleverly posted his HA “KSML”, so I will too :)

Literally just a few minutes later, I got my first peek of Kauai.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/618/22055384606_f595204884_c.jpg)

As we landed, I could already see the beauty of the waves crashing against the land.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5807/21458718164_a058f63c8c_c.jpg)

All it took was 1 minute of taxiing to get our first view of the incredible terrain.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5811/21460431963_1b05f285b3_c.jpg)

We got off the plane to find an airport that was even more open than HNL and felt less humid thankfully. LIH really feels island-y and baggage claim is literally a step off the street. Of course after losing 1 bag already, we nervously awaited our POM box’s thump out of the chute, but there it came. We may not have had my clothing or basically all of our toiletries, but thankfully we had our food. We were pointed towards the strip of road where all the car rental shuttles pick up from, and the Dollar shuttle (as well as many others) was already there waiting. A 2 minute drive around the parking lot, and we pulled up to the rental office. I was ready for the sight we were met with because I read AJK’s trip report, but my wife was shocked and then fell in love with the babies.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/727/21893261948_8c6599b442_z.jpg)
Roosters were literally everywhere on the island. I guess they’re like Manhattan’s pigeons

I took care of the car rental while my wife rooster-watched. The rep was very nice but was also like a pushy used-car salesman trying to get me to buy insurance, threatening that my insurance won’t cover me in Hawaii because they have a law that the rental car owner is responsible even if someone else hits you and regular car insurance won’t cover it and by trying to get me to buy the pre-paid tank of gas. They wanted $3.27/gallon, and Google says the car holds 19 gallons, which would have been $62.13. He told me he paid $3.42 that morning on his own car. I took my chances that we wouldn’t use up a whole tank on our trip, and I was right, but not by much. Finally, he let me know that their fleet doesn’t have any Mustangs in it, so they were going to give me… a 2015 Camaro! Woohoo! It took some time till they pulled the car around, but when it came – Wow! I’ve never driven a convertible before, so I looked a bit silly trying to open the roof – you’d think they would have shown me without me having to go ask for help, hehe. The trunk was very small, but just fit the POM box perfectly. We filled up the back row with our bags (not sure how it could have fit if we had real suitcases) and drove off.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5806/21491112313_7aeddf1410_c.jpg)
The first thing you see heading out of the airport, welcomes you to Kauai amid some beautiful palm trees

Waze worked fine (really throughout our whole journey), and our first stop was 5 minutes away at Walmart to pick up a toaster oven and food for lunches as I mentioned in the trip planning post. We also had to pick up some toiletries and clothes for myself since my bag was delayed and I had no clothing, bathing suit, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. We looked for the cheapest toaster that looked like it could hold 2 POM meals at once. Some obviously large enough ones were more than we were hoping to spend, and some cheap ones looked too small. We settled on this on one for $28, and 2 meals ended up fitting if we squished them a bit, hehe. Since the food is kept in aluminum pans, we were able to just bend the side flaps up and then they fit. Unfortunately, I didn’t save the model number, just have this pic (model # is too blurry to read), but either way, I imagine the exact models that this specific Walmart carries changes every so often. This one says it can hold 4 slices of bread or a 9” pizza – maybe use those points to help you pick one out.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/653/21460254163_30beaeaaa5_c.jpg)

As we headed out of Walmart, I realized I hadn’t gotten a pic of the car yet. :)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5755/21458715204_1d83bb3d59_c.jpg)

After dealing with the bag, connecting on our interisland flight, picking up the car rental and spending more time than we expected at Walmart, we were finally ready to head to our hotel. The “plain ol’ highway views” on the way as the sun was setting instantly made us fall in love with the island.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/588/20682477349_4637813b99_z.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5739/20869235675_f7e6219654_z.jpg)

The half hour drive finally turned off into the famous Tree Tunnel on Maluhia Road, something we had the pleasure of seeing and driving through basically every time we went to or from the hotel. It was hard to capture it in a picture while we were driving, and despite our Blue Hawaiian tour guide the next day telling us people always stop in the middle of the tunnel to take pictures, we didn’t feel comfortable without a shoulder on the side, so you’ll have to live with just this picture. :P

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5703/21458504144_de63d28620_c.jpg)
The wise observer will notice that this picture was not taken upon our first entry into the tree tunnel, as 1) the sky is not at sunset, and 2) the thicker side of the trees is on your right side when you enter the tunnel from Highway 50 ;)

After a couple of minutes, alas, paradise was straight ahead – the Grand Hyatt Kauai.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/773/21893272198_18a0848903_c.jpg)

Even just taking in your first view of the hotel shows you how they created the perfect combination of luxury and tropical when designing this hotel.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5746/21893665158_34edd8e592_c.jpg)

From prior research, I knew that valet parking cost $10 a night, while self-parking is free. The parking lot is right there on the side, and the valet had no problem letting me unload our stuff right outside the lobby and then going to park the car myself. Before we even had a chance to take the bags out of the car, someone was there grabbing them for us while someone else donned us with our complimentary leis. My wife looked longingly at people who had leis in the airport, so she was super excited when the beautiful lei was given to her. (I knew it was coming for free, so I wasn't about to buy in the airport. :P) They have a stand of leis waiting at the entrance with a worker whose job is just to give them out to arriving guests.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/677/22113684025_ae5d43b1e3_c.jpg)
Courtesy of Google Images and some random website. Flowers for the women, black pebbles/possibly-plastic for the men

For you to get an idea of the time, it was 7:30PM by the time we went to checkin, which coincided perfectly with my estimated time of checkin on my itinerary 8), and I was hoping for an upgrade to a suite as a Hyatt Diamond member. As you know, I paid with free night certificates, which can’t be used in conjunction with an official Diamond Suite Upgrade, but I was hoping just to get a complimentary upgrade. Officially, the complimentary upgrade for Diamond status only gets you upgraded to the best non-suite room upon checkin/availability, but I had emailed the reservations manager a week prior and was told I could get a suite if one was available upon checkin. Back in the airport I checked online and there was still a few suites available, so I was excited. However, the checkin agent said we would be upgraded to an Ocean View room, and that there were no suites available. I told him I saw availability just an hour ago, so he went “to the back” to check and confirmed that there were no suites. I looked on my phone again, and there was nothing available. Not sure what happened there exactly, but nu nu, the room was still gorgeous, faced the ocean (which, as you’ll see, was incredible), and we didn’t really need the space of a suite – it just would have been nice. As our Diamond amenity, we chose the free use of a cabana by the pool. However, later on when we wanted to use it, all the cabanas were already reserved for the day, and they were really just 2 beach chairs with an awning overhead, so we just settled onto regular beach chairs and traded in our Diamond amenity for this Kauai book. (Yes, it’s worth less than the value of the 1,000 Hyatt points we could have chosen, but it’s more fun to bring home another souvenir than to collect 1,000 points.)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5788/22068909402_d2d40d54dd_c.jpg)

The lobby, like the airport, is very open with no doors and large openings instead of walls. We glanced around for a minute and checked out the center of the lobby, which is a type of garden (with no roof) laid out right in front of where we got our first of many gawks at the incredible, framed view of the ocean that the GHK so wonderfully built.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5635/21460237443_643ddf4de0_c.jpg)
It was hard getting the lighting right where it wasn’t entirely bright white or dark black outside the “window,” so I just kept snapping pics every time we passed by until eventually I got the right lighting

Of course, we weren’t *allowed* to push the luggage trolley by ourselves, so a bellhop came along with us to our room on the 5th floor of the Poi’pu Guestroom Wing, which is one floor above the lobby as the lobby/entrance is interestingly on the 4th floor of the hotel. The bellhop was super friendly and offered some tips of the local area (such as – get to Poi’pu Beach!), and I made sure to give him a tip. It’s a bit of a walk to get to the room as the hotel is very spread out, but it's really not too bad. The room was another wonderful blend of tropical and luxury.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/571/22068828102_83c261dbe6_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/621/22091320181_10204d7f41_c.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5784/22069076132_f7a725c6db_c.jpg)

As you can see, the room was spacious, had a small, private porch – known as a lanai – and the bathroom was very large. As AJK is famous for pointing out, the toilet (which was in its own room) was very modern with a heated seat and built-in bidet. The only annoying part was that we could never get it to turn off completely, so it always made a low humming sound. The soaps and shampoos are made exclusively for the GHK, and if you could capture the smell of Hawaii and put it in a bottle, they did it. Large bottles are available for purchase in the spa, but are quite expensive, so I just took a few of the small shampoos to keep that smell with me for as long as I can. Sprinkled around the room and bathroom are the same gorgeous flowers that made up the lei.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/664/22081560005_8963e8a99f_c.jpg)

I thought we would have to request a fridge, but there was one already in the room. We had picked up a case of water bottles for $4 at Walmart, but there were also 2 bottles of Aquafina already in the fridge that would be replenished every day as part of the $40 daily resort fee that award bookings thankfully don’t have to pay :). Our first order of business was to unpack the POM box and move the meals to the fridge. They were still on the frozen side – pretty awesome – and we decided that for just 3-4 days everything would be fine in the fridge, and we could avoid dealing with sending everything down to the hotel’s freezer and requesting meals every night. That idea worked out without a problem as the food did not go bad.

We then checked out the lanai to see our beautiful view and hear the constant ocean crashing up against the beach. The GHK faces northeast, so you can’t see the sunset and can’t see a full sunrise in the morning. An iPhone plus nighttime lighting didn’t help this picture too much, but trust me, the view was… sigh. Boy writing this thing sure brings back fond memories.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5691/22081563095_188f4775cf_c.jpg)

If you recall, I was not able to grab the flights home while on the HA flight, so now that we settled in, I opened up my computer and found the flights still available. I wanted to book them at the cheaper rate with LH, but LH’s USA office was closed already, and I’ve never had great success when calling the foreign numbers, so I figured I would wait till the morning to book.

After setting up the toaster and popping in two meals, we may have taken a bit of a risk by letting it warm up while leaving the room, but we were getting tired and also wanted to check out whatever we could of the grounds, so we left – b”h there was no incident. We first realized that our room was extremely close to the Grand Club – just 2 floors above it – so we stopped in there to check it out, thanks to being Diamond.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5804/22055258976_6d73608762_c.jpg)

The club’s ceiling is two stories high and there are glass windows looking down, so I was able to get shots from the hallway above.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5715/21894539439_7c296b26f3_c.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5733/22055260256_159bac90db_c.jpg)

In the club, we asked about Kosher food, and as expected, were told that Kosher bagels (from Oahu Kosher) would be available for us for every breakfast of our stay. Glad we went in because you had to “order” them in advance (not just at breakfast), as they need to bring them in from the main kitchen freezer.

After the club, we made our way outside to the beautiful grounds and pools. It was already dark, so it was actually hard to tell what was a pond or a pool, but just listening to the ocean and walking in the serene setting of the grounds was awesome. We passed by an area that had torches lit up around a Hawaiian dance performance and stopping for a minute really hit the Hawaiian spot. The groans and moans of the dancers/“singers” were very funny. It was too dark to get any pictures, but I knew we would be back to explore more in the morning.

Back in the room, our meals were still cold, so we had to add more time (as everyone warns about POM meals), but eventually they were ready-enough for us to eat. My wife had the BBQ chicken nuggets with popcorn cauliflower and garlic broccoli, while I had the fire poppers chicken nuggets with popcorn cauliflower and mashed potatoes. The BBQ nuggets were great – super tasty and not dry – while the fire poppers were a bit too spicy for my taste, but still full of flavor. The cauliflower was very flavorful (although not quite as good as my wife’s own cauliflower heaven), the broccoli was pretty good and the mashed potatoes were good (although they put in onions despite my request to leave them out and the note on my receipt saying “mashed potatoes – no onions,” but no big deal really). I’m a bit surprised that I can’t find a picture of this dinner, because I thought I got pictures of all the meals, but yeah, you’ll just have to wait till this dinner repeated itself in a few nights. :P

I Davened Maariv and then, finally, exhausted from the day and the fact that it was 6 hours later back home, we crashed for the night. Kauai Revealed warns that you could stay at the GHK and not leave during your entire visit to Kauai and still have an incredible time, but you would obviously miss out on the gems of island. At this point, we definitely could agree that we could have stayed there forever.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 20, 2015, 05:02:08 PM
Ya, ya, I know ygygold just started a Kauai TR of his own, but I finally finished mine, so what - I'm not going to post it?
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: yochiek93 on October 20, 2015, 05:07:08 PM
Ya, ya, I know ygygold just started a Kauai TR of his own, but I finally finished mine, so what - I'm not going to post it?
Please do we can use all different  experiences
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: TimT on October 20, 2015, 05:22:53 PM
Beautifully done. Thanks !!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: benjie1305 on October 20, 2015, 05:25:12 PM
Well well well. Now we all know where you disappeared to. Nicely done!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yaalili on October 20, 2015, 05:29:44 PM
Wow, glued for the entire part!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 20, 2015, 06:14:13 PM
Wow!!!!!! Great start to the TR! Looking forward to reading the whole thing, despite it being the size of a novella. Way to go!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: MosheD on October 20, 2015, 06:53:35 PM
That was long! And amazing! Thanks.
I have a feeling future travellers will find this tr especially useful due to its detail.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Aaaron on October 20, 2015, 07:00:16 PM
Great so far! But can you provide a little more detail?
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Joe4007 on October 20, 2015, 07:04:24 PM
Awesome report! Brings back great memories.

The soaps and shampoos are made exclusively for the GHK, and if you could capture the smell of Hawaii and put it in a bottle, they did it. Large bottles are available for purchase in the spa, but are quite expensive, so I just took a few of the small shampoos to keep that smell with me for as long as I can.
Well said. I miss those.
The GHK faces northeast, so you can’t see the sunset and can’t see a full sunrise in the morning.
I guess we stayed in a different wing. The pictures below were taken from our lanai.
(http://i.imgur.com/KTeP1H0.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/C62lpTD.jpg)
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Something Fishy on October 20, 2015, 07:12:29 PM
Great so far! But can you provide a little more detail?

ALOL

Well said. I miss those.I guess we stayed in a different wing. The pictures below were taken from our lanai.

Time of year would also make a big difference on where exactly the sun rises and sets.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Joe4007 on October 20, 2015, 07:14:21 PM
Time of year would also make a big difference on where exactly the sun rises and sets.
Ah, makes sense. We were there in December.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 20, 2015, 07:28:15 PM
Ah, makes sense. We were there in December.
Making the sun set and rise in the SW and SE skies respectively.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Something Fishy on October 20, 2015, 07:34:45 PM
Well there you have it:

(Sunrise is the thick yellow line)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5673/22354349861_e1923f4bd5_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/S3F217)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/597/22343705065_133150ac02_b.jpg) (https://www.flickr.com/gp/morrishersko/0h4275)
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: David Smith on October 20, 2015, 08:01:28 PM
Great TR so far! Looking forward to more! You're a great writer, i really enjoyed reading it!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: lunatic on October 20, 2015, 08:05:22 PM
Awesome,  makes me want to go so badly... I think I am also a no shabbos guy
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 20, 2015, 10:32:02 PM
Please do we can use all different  experiences
I plan on it :)

Beautifully done. Thanks !!
Thanks!

Well well well. Now we all know where you disappeared to. Nicely done!
Yep, I ran off to Kauai ;)

Wow, glued for the entire part!
Aw, shucks.

Wow!!!!!! Great start to the TR! Looking forward to reading the whole thing, despite it being the size of a novella. Way to go!
Find me a publisher :P

That was long! And amazing! Thanks.
I have a feeling future travellers will find this tr especially useful due to its detail.
I hope so :)

Great so far! But can you provide a little more detail?
At 8:38, I went to the bathroom. You asked for it. :-X

Awesome report! Brings back great memories.
Well said. I miss those. I guess we stayed in a different wing.
That's great, looks like SF cleared things up, although your pictures do look like they're overlooking another area of the hotel.

Well there you have it:
Sweet tool. You've just been dying for me to get this out, eh?

Great TR so far! Looking forward to more! You're a great writer, i really enjoyed reading it!
Thank you!

Awesome,  makes me want to go so badly... I think I am also a no shabbos guy
It's still fun, but it's a bit annoying to have to leave so quickly.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 20, 2015, 10:32:31 PM
Monday, 8/17

Well, everyone was right about jetlag. Despite going to sleep pretty late, I woke up at 2:30AM (8:30AM EST) and couldn’t fall back asleep. My wife was able to sleep a bit later till 5:30AM. Because we were up so early, catching sunrise from the room wasn’t difficult, although again, from most rooms of the hotel (and particularly at this time of year - thanks Joe4007 and SomethingFishy), you can’t actually see the ball of the sun.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/675/20682477309_74d38e56fd_z.jpg)

We Davened Shacharis, and since it was now the second day of Elul…

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5663/21460065923_be4bb3d6c5_c.jpg)

After Shacharis, it was time to book the return flight as the LH office would now be open. Thankfully, the flight was still available ;), so I called LH and grabbed the flights. I thought we would have to be constantly checking for flights while on the trip, but fortunately, we were able to take care of it right away on our first morning. Going on a trip without all the flights booked ahead of time worked out well in the end. Hurrah!

I then called UA to get an update on our bag as it was past 9:15EST and the bag should have been put on the daily EWR-HNL flight. However, the rep told me they don’t update the system once the bag makes it onto the plane – only once it lands and an agent picks it up at baggage claim. Seriously!? It would be another 11 hours before we would know if the bag even made it onto the plane that morning…

I had heard from DDF and the front desk that I could have our POM meals warmed up by the hotel kitchen and served to us in one of the hotel’s restaurants for $10 a person/meal. I decided that we should try it for one night and a quick call to the kitchen grabbed the last reservation available for that night.

After taking care of those few things in the room, we headed to the Grand Club for breakfast. The staff was super friendly just like throughout the rest of the hotel. Our bagels were waiting for us, wrapped and sealed with an Oahu Kosher sticker. There were several spreads options including fake butter, jams, and Philadelphia cream cheese. The bagel sure tasted like the Thomas’/Lender’s bagels we picked up from Walmart for lunches, hehe, but that was fine with us. As is fairly well known in the Kauai thread, the lox here is also Kosher. However, it’s already laid out on a plate and not knowing what touched it, I decided to avoid it. Some people have asked to get a fresh package of lox (and gotten it), but I didn’t want to bother them with that. The staff also claims that the oatmeal is Kosher, but it’s already being warmed up in a pot and there are several toppings (who knows if those are fine), so again, we just avoided it. We also opted for some cereal and were happy with their selection.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5720/21893107340_274b85c2fd_c.jpg)

There’s also a fridge with a variety of drinks, but most were soda, so we just took some water. There is also a juice machine (like a fountain soda machine), and they let me look underneath to see the Hechsher on the flavors. Only some had a Hechsher, and because I didn’t know if they ever switch around the spouts/tubes, I decided to just avoid the juices. In the end, a bagel with spreads and cereal and milk was plenty for us. We took our food and ate on the patio outside.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5733/22091395571_1fdc05d40c_c.jpg)

Because it was still very early, we decided to take a more proper look at the grounds after breakfast.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/633/22055377326_3cdd482d15_c.jpg)
Pond with waterfall in front of hotel

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Another pond in front of the hotel, this one with black swans, turtles, and koi fish

The trees and flowers everywhere were beyond stunning:

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Back inside, right off to the side of the lobby is one of the several restaurants that sit on the water with open walls. There were birds flying in and out as they pleased.

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Ilima Terrace restaurant

Out back, the pools blew our minds. It was literally like looking at the brochure from some dream resort that you never thought you could ever go to. We didn’t go swimming now, but I’ll describe what the pools are like now while sharing pictures.

My first point will be about Tznius (obviously, from a man’s concerns/point of view), and I’ll clarify that I am not going into this to ease my conscience, but rather, as with the rest of the TR, to help others get an understanding of what to expect - based on my experience. These pictures were mostly fltaken at 7AM, so you won’t see anyone in the pools. However, we went to the pools every day on our trip and at different times during the day. For almost the entire time, the pools were surprisingly empty. We were shocked and grateful for: #1 having more space to ourselves and #2 being faced with a lot less Tznius concerns than we expected. Now, of course, there were women in bathing suits. However, it really felt that the majority of the people in the pool areas were… children. Even the adult pool had maybe 5 people in it at the busiest time we saw it. My wife will also point out that most of the women we saw were mothers with their families and not some young girls trying to attract attention. Obviously, age doesn’t matter in this issue, but it’s a bit easier to deal with than when you’re at a beach destination during spring break. Maybe we were just lucky that there weren’t so many people around, but checking out availability on Hyatt's site implied that the hotel was almost sold out during our stay. I felt that I face the decision of “looking away” more often on my daily walk from the subway to my office than I did at the GHK’s pools. Okay, onto the pools themselves!

All the pools cap out at about 4’ deep, and I was really happy about that as I am not the most comfortable swimmer – although my wonderful teacher [my dear wife (DW)] helped me make great strides on this trip! It was deep enough to swim in, yet you didn’t have to use your energy to float when you wanted a break since you could just stand. The water was always heated to a comfortable temperature. I saw that Dan wrote he would have liked the water to be a bit warmer, which made me expect that it would be too cold, but we were actually very comfortable the whole time. (Of course, it sometimes can take a minute to get used to – it’s not 90 degrees – but always after a minute we were comfortable.)

The adult pool (ages 14+) is at the top, nearest the hotel, and has a few bridges you can swim under. Just a few steps away is a bar (not swim-up) and waitresses take food and drink orders at the pool. It looks like I didn’t get any pictures of the adult pool, but it basically looked like the rest of the pools (see below), just with only adults. ;D The pool eventually leads to a very small connector “slide” out of the adults-only pool and into the open-to-everyone “lazy river.” Slide is in quotes because it’s really just an opening to connect the two pools, and it was always full of kids blocking the way. Lazy river is in quotes because the current was too slow to really push you along without you kicking along yourself a bit. I’m a huge fan of lazy rivers, but we mostly just swam through this one since it didn’t really move you. Let’s just clarify, though, it was still gorgeous!

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One of the many bridges you could swim under

The lazy river has 2 awesome waterfalls that you can swim through, into the caves behind them. The waterfalls were really cool (but they were turned off during a few of our swims).

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Another nice part of the lazy river is that at several points the river opens up to larger pool areas so you have some more room to move around before continuing.

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When you get to the end of the river, you can either walk down some steps to the lower family pool, or take the water slide. We did the slide once, and either I was doing something wrong or it wasn’t that great – I stopped halfway down the slide and had to push myself down the rest of the way (no, I’m not a big guy).

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The slide starts up here…

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… and drops you off down here

The drop off is a large pool area (again just 4’ deep, so you can tell the slide isn’t some monster-fast/huge-drop slide), which then twists and turns to different huge swimming areas, where you could really just stretch out and swim.

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This main pool has an island you can climb onto that has a jacuzzi in it (didn’t get a picture). It also has a few bridges you can swim under, as well as a basketball hoop and volleyball net.

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Right next to the pools, you can pick up complimentary pool towels and rent/buy tubes and other pool toys/accessories. There is also a cute food/drink shop right here.

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At the bottom of the pools, you’ll find the manmade saltwater lagoon. This area is surrounded by pebbly sand (not too comfortable on the feet) with plenty of beach chairs. There’s a stand here with complimentary suntan lotion and ice water. The lagoon was just as gorgeous as the pools, with several islands to swim around, and felt like the ocean - sans the fish and waves. It starts off shallow, which was really nice to just sit in the shallow water with the pebbly-sand and the sun beating down, and its depth varies throughout, getting much deeper than the pools (however all around the edges, it’s always shallow enough to stand).

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At the far end, it hits its deepest point of 9’.

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9’ deep right where the guy is swimming

I went into detail about the pools and lagoon because we ended up spending a lot of time here, and they were definitely a highlight of our trip. How about we get started with the day, eh?

At around 7:45AM we headed to the concierge desk to pick up our tickets for our 9AM Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour (BH). The normal cost for this tour if booked directly online within 5 days of the tour is $240 per person; if booked more than 5 days in advance, the price drops to $210. When I found out these prices, I was shocked and thought we would for sure be passing on this experience that so many have said was amazing. Looking into a bit more in the Kauai thread, I learned that Costco on the island usually sells BH gift cards at up to 20% off, which could bring the cost down to about $170. Besides for the fact that I’m not a Costco member (and would have to get hold of Costco gift cards in order to shop there – putting aside whether you could even use Costco gift cards to buy BH gift cards), spending $340 on a vacation activity still seemed like it would be too much for us. Eventually, I realized that the hotel’s concierge could book the tour for us. I called up about 10 days before our trip and found out there was availability for the day we wanted to go (our first morning as Kauai Revealed suggests going your first morning – and earlier in the day is always better lighting than later – so you can get a feel for the layout of the island - which I didn't think was so necessary for someone with GPS). I also found out that they charge $215, just $5 more than BH direct. The concierge told me they can either charge me directly (they’re an Expedia Local Edition, not owned by Hyatt) or charge the tour to my room. The benefit of these options is that the charge would come up as a “travel” charge on my bill (either as “Hyatt” or even, I imagine, “Expedia” would post as travel), and therefore, like the car rental, I could pay with my A+ card and redeem my points against the charge for a total of 38,700 points. While the value of those points is worth about $40 more than had I gone the Costco GC route, we all know by now that I view my miles differently than many others and prefer to spend miles than cash out of pocket when possible (and not when the value is incredibly poor) and so we got to enjoy BH without spending cash out of pocket!

Blue Hawaiian (who called a day in advance to confirm), as well as the concierge, told us to arrive at 8:15AM, 45 minutes before the tour, for the safety briefing. At first, I thought that seemed super early (and was concerned we wouldn’t be up in time – HA!) but we decided to try and be on time. The GHK is a half hour from the airport and the helipads (for all the tour companies) are located in the airport. Once you enter the airport, there is a fork right away that points towards the heliport versus airport. Waze was telling us to stay right towards the airport, but I went for the heliport, and we were there 2 minutes later. As we pulled into the parking lot at 8:25AM, 35 minutes before the flight, I got a phone call from BH asking me where I was. ::) When we walked in, they told us that the safety video starts in 5 minutes, a half hour before the flight. So in summary – don’t worry, just be there 30 minutes before the flight. We also found out that because we booked through the GHK, we would be getting 2 free gifts – a DVD of BH’s trips around the islands (unfortunately, not a free video of our personal tour) and a BH t-shirt! Pretty cool to get something unexpected, especially when I still had no clothing. ;D

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I found out on DDF that it’s always a big hock whether you’ll be able to get a seat in the front row of the helicopter, or at the very least, on the right side of the back row, as those have the best views and don’t have anyone sitting in your way. When I made the booking, the concierge took down our heights and weights and commented on the fact that we were relatively small and would have a good chance of sitting in the front 2 seats. Well, the BH operators also know it’s a big hock about where you sit, and they played with us throughout the 10 minute video and while we strapped on our fanny pack life vests until they finally revealed that, yes, we would have the front 2 seats! Woohoo! There were two 9AM flights, and we were joined by 2 older couples who got nice and comfy in the back row (6 passengers per flight + the pilot). The other flight took off first, and while waiting outside to board under the wind of the propellers, DW and I were told to wear over-the-head headphones/noise blockers to make sure my yarmulke and her scarf stayed on! They said they know it’s a religious thing (cool that they knew out here in Hawaii), but that after the last time someone’s yarmulke went flying, they make us wear the headphones to hold them on. lol

Well, it was time to board (I was in the “ideal” seat – front right) and off we went!

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The pilot told us that Jurassic World used one of BH’s helicopters in the movie and just covered over the “Blue Hawaiian” logo. It was so cool noticing it in the movie afterwards – literally the same helicopter just without the logo!

While I’m not a fan of roller coasters or heights, I was completely confident going into this flight (as I am on planes). DW can’t understand how, but wasn’t complaining. The first 10 seconds caught me off guard as the chopper did not rise entirely smoothly off the ground, but after that, it was smooth sailing. We flew from the airport on the East Shore, passing near the South Shore (the pilot pointed out the Tree Tunnel from the sky) and into Waimea Canyon. As everyone else warns, the pictures here do not do it justice.

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The incredibly lush green

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Peeking over the edge of one of the valleys with some red mountains…

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… and then, seconds later, being blown away by the valley below

BH warns you to wear dark-colored clothing, so that your camera doesn’t pick up your clothing from the reflection against the glass. I wore a dark shirt, but didn’t realize my shorts mattered. :-[ I have tons of pictures like the one below, just hope I didn’t ruin others’ pictures…

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Despite my legs in the way, this is one of the famous waterfalls from the original Jurassic Park!

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Our first view of the Na Pali Coast (now we’re on the West Shore)

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A hauntingly dark view of Na Pali; sometimes bad lighting turns out nice pictures :)

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Look at the depth of those peaks!

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While this one isn’t too clear, it was cool to fly into some of the valleys and then turn around to face the ocean

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Kalau Beach, at the end of the famous and treacherous Kalalau Trail

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The water was so incredibly blue

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Tunnels Beach (now we’re on the North Shore), famous for great snorkeling. Our pilot said the water here that day was the clearest he’s ever seen it – from the sky, we were able to clearly see the reefs 100 feet underwater

As we headed down the East Shore (staying pretty inland) we hovered over Mount Wai'ale'ale, one of the wettest spots on Earth, and ironically, it wasn’t raining at all. Heading back to the heliport, we got some last few pictures.

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This white patch in the side of the mountain can be clearly seen in Jurassic World - was cool to notice it in the movie after having seen it in real life

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Pretty cool seeing our shadow on the mountainside

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This is the road from Jurassic Park when they’re driving away in their jeeps from the oncoming dinosaurs during the storm - sweet!

As you can tell, I really liked the Jurassic Park/World scenes and didn’t care too much for the other movies that were filmed here. ::) All in all, the hour trip was awesome – first time in a helicopter, the views, the green, the pilot’s commentary, the famous scenes, ah it was wonderful! Once you’re back in their shop, you can watch a video from your flight. There are a bunch of video cameras onboard that the pilot switches between to catch the views you see and your faces/reactions. While the video is cool and not crazy expensive at $25, we felt like it would be something that would probably sit on our shelf and never be watched, so we passed on it and headed out.

It was just after 10AM, and the plan was to rent a kayak to head down the Wailua River to Fern Grotto and Secret Falls. Dan suggested to rent from Kamokila Hawaiian Village (noted in the book as well), since the trip from there to the falls is about 10 minutes in the water (and a half hour hike), which means you don’t need to be ready for a strenuous 2-3 hour kayak trip as you do with all the other rental companies (who leave from the mouth of the river). However, 2 things changed our mind. One was the price, which I found out before our trip. At $35/person for the rental (and no way to cover the charge with points as the GHK’s concierge didn’t have a deal with this rental company), a $70 activity didn’t really appeal to us too much. The second reason was what actually solidified our decision and that was exhaustion. Travel - even when lying in a bed – is very tiring for us. The long flight, getting bags, getting the car, Walmart, waking up at the crack of dawn, the jetlag, etc… in combination with seeing the incredible pools of the GHK meant that even at just 10AM, we were ready to call the rest of the day a hotel day. We drove the half hour back to the hotel, passed through the awesome tree tunnel once again and went up to our room. We changed for the pool, made bagel sandwiches for lunch and brought our POM meals down to the Ilima Terrace restaurant off the lobby (not where we would be eating) where one of the chefs came out with a tray that had a printed sign for The @Yehudas. Again, just another example of their awesome service. We gave him our meals and headed down to the pool. I already described the pools and lagoon in detail and swimming in them now was a blast. I should point out that as soon as we landed, I realized I had left my contact lenses at home and that definitely hurt my swimming experience – although it was still great. I kept switching off between my glasses and goggles – glasses meant I couldn’t go underwater, goggles allowed underwater but didn’t allow for much sight. Catch 22, hehe. Despite there being a few more people than at 7AM, we still had no trouble getting beach chairs and towels and still felt like the pools were almost empty with just a few kids/families around. After a while of swimming, we ate our sandwiches and… got right back in the pool.

After a few more hours in the pools (seriously, we were there from the late morning till late afternoon), we took one of the little paths out of the lagoon area to Shipwreck Beach. Shipwreck doesn’t get fond reviews in the book or on DDF, but being our first Hawaiian beach, we thought it was nice. It had the same proportion of people as the pools did, and we were able to find a spot to sit down that was decently far from other people.

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The sand was very smooth and comfortable to lie on (especially compared to beaches I’m used to, like Point Pleasant in Jersey), but it was clear that the water is what turns people away from this beach. While standing in the water felt refreshing and great, the water was not calm at all. The GHK puts up colored flags to let you know how the water is and the red flags (dangerous/swimming not suggested) were raised during our entire stay (as they supposedly normally are). While we felt comfortable standing at the water’s edge, the waves were a good few feet high and that meant we were not about to attempt to swim (especially with no lifeguard at this beach).  About 30 feet into the ocean, though, there were a few boogie boarders who were putting on quite a show in their attempts to ride the waves, which was fun to watch.

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All of a sudden the skies got dark, and on the Sunny South Shore – gasp! – it started raining. We grabbed our stuff and ran back the room. As everyone predicts, the rain wasn’t long-lived and by the time we got ready for dinner and Davened Mincha, it was clear again to the point where we were able to get our first fully sunny view from our room. Holy cow, do I miss it...

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On our way down for dinner, we once again grabbed a sigh-inducing view of the framed ocean.

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We made our way down to Tidepools Restaurant, which is built over one of the hotel’s koi ponds.

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The tiki huts, open walls and sitting over the water gives this place an awesome island feel.

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The servers were extremely friendly, and our table was waiting for us – plastic cutlery and all – when we arrived.

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Reminding them not to open the meals before we got them was silly as they laughed and said they knew how this works. It took a bit of time till the food was ready (which was a little surprising since we scheduled a time in advance), but it wasn’t a big deal. We also ordered sodas ($3 each) so that we felt like we were actually using their restaurant a little more. The food arrived, and it was awesome to eat high-quality food at a beautiful restaurant in Hawaii.

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We weren’t too impressed by the variety of POM’s side dish options, so we kept rotating the same few sides. This was the one main I splurged on (i.e. getting a meat dish that was more expensive than the standard chicken options), having the Boneless Spare Ribs (below, left) while my wife had the Buffalo Chicken Wings (below, right). The ribs were very flavorful but a bit too fatty for my tastes, and the wings were okay, although a bit on the shvach side compared to other wings we’ve had. The cauliflower was good once again, as were the roasted potatoes, while the broccoli was nothing special. Don’t get me wrong – the food was overall very good and having this quality of food, warm and in the middle of Hawaii was great – just wanted to give my opinion…

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After dinner, we walked along the boardwalk/walking path that runs along the ocean and got to see the gorgeous colors of the sky as the sun was fading.

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We continued to walk until we came across a hidden, dark entranceway…

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…that turned out to just be the garbage dump area. ;D Sheesh, even the garbage area is mystical here.

Turning the corner, we found ourselves outside the Anara Spa and figured we’d peek inside. DW and I have never gotten spa treatments before and didn’t start now, but figured that we’d put our free Diamond access to use and at least look around.

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Aha! So this place *does* have a regular, boring pool :P

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While the men/women changing rooms are concealed behind doors, the separate Jacuzzis are out in the open flanking the pool on either side

Back in the hotel, we walked past a performance. Seemed like every time someone was up there singing, they were singing Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

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We headed back to the room, Davened Maariv, found out that my bag successfully landed in HNL (!) but for some reason still wasn’t going to make it back to me tonight >:( and finally called it a night after our first full, long and awesome day in Kauai.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Luvtotravel on October 20, 2015, 10:34:04 PM
read this through in a single looong sitting and have to say you really struck the balance between educating and entertaining!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: sam28 on October 20, 2015, 10:34:23 PM
Wow amazing so far I hope one day I can write mine to its my dream to go there . I have the points fo the trip but cant make it .
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: tageed-lee on October 20, 2015, 10:45:01 PM
Awesome!! Great TR! Looking forward to the rest!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Dr Moose on October 20, 2015, 10:52:20 PM
Wow, so many pictures.

Awesome TR!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Marco Polo on October 20, 2015, 10:58:17 PM
Great TR so far. Very detailed, i like.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: coralsnake on October 20, 2015, 11:46:17 PM
Love it.
Thanks!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yaalili on October 21, 2015, 12:27:16 AM
Excellent stuff.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: chff on October 21, 2015, 12:36:30 AM
Great TR!! Got any comp from the travel insurance for the bag?
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: efflpetzel on October 21, 2015, 12:51:43 AM
Amazing amazing TR,
Reading this is bringing back so many good memories,

and the scent of that hotel ahhhhhhhhhh
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: tzifanya54 on October 21, 2015, 01:10:59 AM
Great so far! But can you provide a little more detail?
+1
LOL great read though.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 21, 2015, 01:30:06 AM
So regarding the slide, I don't remember it being a problem for me as a kid, and I must have gone down 50 times!  :D

The restaurant looks exactly like I remember it from 21 years ago!

The BH ride looked amazing! I love the pictures!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: ygygold on October 21, 2015, 04:33:35 AM
Ya, ya, I know ygygold just started a Kauai TR of his own, but I finally finished mine, so what - I'm not going to post it?
Hey thanks for the tr! It's amazing to share the experience.
I'll leave out the hotel details in mine.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: E R K on October 21, 2015, 07:21:48 AM
Both ygygold and your trips look amazing. Was up way too late last night reading and dreaming. Will make it there I"YH one day. Thanks for all the attention to detail.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: benjie1305 on October 21, 2015, 08:15:58 AM
Good stuff! I think that the "Maui Revealed - book / app" should have links to DDF TR's to make it visible to vacation goers how successful trips were planned and done. Good stuff once again!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Marco Polo on October 21, 2015, 09:07:05 AM
Was there a piece of dirt on your camera for the helicopter pictures?
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Aaaron on October 21, 2015, 09:52:57 AM
Was there a piece of dirt on your camera for the helicopter pictures?

+1  I was scratching my monitor to get it off  ;D

Monday, 8/17

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The incredibly lush green

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Peeking over the edge of one of the valleys with some red mountains…


Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 21, 2015, 10:03:03 AM
Wow amazing so far I hope one day I can write mine to its my dream to go there . I have the points fo the trip but cant make it .
Awesome!! Great TR! Looking forward to the rest!
Love it.
Thanks!
Excellent stuff.
+1
LOL great read though.
Thanks!

read this through in a single looong sitting and have to say you really struck the balance between educating and entertaining!
Thank you! Glad I'm achieving those objectives.

Great TR so far. Very detailed, i like.
Both ygygold and your trips look amazing. Was up way too late last night reading and dreaming. Will make it there I"YH one day. Thanks for all the attention to detail.
Thanks, I try.

Wow, so many pictures.

Awesome TR!
;) Thanks!

Great TR!! Got any comp from the travel insurance for the bag?
Thanks! Yes, will be in the next post.

Amazing amazing TR,
Reading this is bringing back so many good memories,

and the scent of that hotel ahhhhhhhhhh
Thank you, agreeeeed!

So regarding the slide, I don't remember it being a problem for me as a kid, and I must have gone down 50 times!  :D

The restaurant looks exactly like I remember it from 21 years ago!

The BH ride looked amazing! I love the pictures!
Glad you enjoyed the slide :P, you sure have a good memory! Thanks!

Hey thanks for the tr! It's amazing to share the experience.
I'll leave out the hotel details in mine.
Yep, enjoying yours a lot as well! Feel free to post whatever details you'd like - and hey, maybe I missed an inch of the pool  :P

Good stuff! I think that the "Maui Revealed - book / app" should have links to DDF TR's to make it visible to vacation goers how successful trips were planned and done. Good stuff once again!
Thanks, hah! Because all their readers would love to read about POM meals.

Was there a piece of dirt on your camera for the helicopter pictures?
+1  I was scratching my monitor to get it off  ;D
Something happened to my phone camera a little before the trip. Could be when I had the glass replaced shortly before the trip, they messed with the camera a little. I blurred it out on certain pictures, but didn't do it for all pics. I have a new phone now, b"h, so that's good :)
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 21, 2015, 10:03:25 AM
Tuesday, 8/18

6:30AM wakeup. Guess jetlag was starting to wear off. ::) First thing I did was call UA again and found out the bag will be delivered today. Wow, great update. Before I hung up, I got a call in the room from the bell desk – my bag was there and being brought up to the room as we spoke! I was promised a $250 UA travel voucher in addition to being reimbursed for the interim expenses we had ($60), but neither has come yet as of 6 weeks after the trip. [Both have now arrived b"h, and I'm working with Travel Guard to see if they'll compensate for anything as well.] Getting to have my stuff back felt so great, and it made me feel very badly for people who lose their luggage and never get it returned.

After Davening and breakfast at the Grand Club, we headed down to the lobby. Throughout our stay we met a whole bunch of interesting creatures from geckos to frogs to snails.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/631/21458463274_24b272ff09_c.jpg)
 
(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/650/22055230426_075f5be720_c.jpg)

But now, we got to meet the gorgeous parrots of the GHK just chilling in the lobby garden.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5645/21460235733_62960d6f40_c.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5717/21460247253_566b492cc9_c.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5749/22055176466_1fb8914001_c.jpg)

My wife particularly loved playing with them and trying to get them to “speak” and bob their heads/move around. Some actually did play along a little, and it was fun to watch.

The plan for the day was to drive up to the north shore, making a few stops along the way.

(http://i.imgur.com/V2HF4Vi.png?1)

Our first stop was Wailua Falls. I had originally assumed we would stop by 'Opaeka'a Falls after kayaking yesterday, since they’re very close to each other, but once we decided to skip kayaking, I decided that Wailua looked nicer in people’s pictures and figured we’d just go see one of them instead of both. Wailua didn’t disappoint.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5675/21458499744_89eac72148_c.jpg)

At the end of a quiet, curvy road, you see cars just pulled over to the side and you know you’ve arrived. No need to hike at all, just stand by the railing and gawk at the power and drop.



DDFers have claimed that it’s possible to climb down the cliff here to actually go in the falls, but there was a tall fence all along the road in the area. Perhaps it’s new, or else you really need to walk quite a ways away from the falls to climb down and then hike back to the falls. After 5 minutes, we got back in the car and headed back to the main highway.

As we drove up the East Shore on Highway 56, I made sure to look out for Sleeping Giant, as the book advises. Our pilot yesterday had actually pointed it out from in the air, but we made sure to pass it on the ground as well.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/704/22068860782_0640771c8c_c.jpg)
Zoomed in, please excuse the quality

The book says that a little further up the highway, you can see a profile of King Kong in the mountains. I looked when I believed I was at the right spot, and I could kind of make it out, but it was really just the back view of Sleeping Giant. I felt cheated. :P The highway continues north and really isn’t a highway as much as it is more of a “main road” that passes along beaches and through cute little towns. After a decent drive, we pulled into fancy Princeville, and after a few turns, found ourselves in the makeshift parking lot by Queen’s Bath. The “lot” which is basically just a dirt section off the end of the road has space for about 7 cars, but people were parking behind other cars and blocking them in. We didn’t love that idea, but had nowhere else to park the car, so we found someone who had just pulled into a legit spot and asked if we could block them in, while making sure to leave the water by the time they wanted to. They kindly agreed and off we went!

I had been told to expect a 15 minute walk from the car to Queen’s Bath, but boy, that is not a "walk" in my opinion! We felt it was more like a hike - going down muddy paths (I guess it had been raining recently, which didn’t help) and along narrow cliffs of 10-20 foot drops with some small waterfalls.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5766/22091346061_d852223ebb_c.jpg)

While, the scenery was really nice, I’m very glad we kept our sneakers on and didn’t switch to flip flops for this “walk”. Once you get to the ocean, the ground levels out and you start walking on awesome lava formations, which have created incredible… oh, forget it – just look at the pictures!

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5634/21893132320_0c4061fb03_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/630/22068853062_676065aa13_c.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5644/21519732254_9574ae4250_c.jpg)
Sigh

We weren’t sure how much further we’d have to walk along the water to find the bath to swim in, but we knew all the people who had filled up that parking lot had to be somewhere. Finally, we found it, and unfortunately, it was a bit more crowded than we had hoped (although it wasn't terrible).

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/684/22142831505_3e37e4044a_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/654/22130301702_2910a78695_c.jpg)
The view from the top really shows you how long it is and how clear the water is

I thought I had gotten a better picture of the climb down into the water, but this will have to do. For reference, I am standing above the bath at the level of the lava I had been walking on, and the blue and pink blobs at the top of the picture are people down at the water. You have to try to hold your stuff while grabbing onto rocks and climbing down.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5719/21894416539_ef4e2f889e_c.jpg)

Queen’s Bath is a natural pool of ocean water that is protected from the ocean’s force by its lava walls. That meant safe swimming, live fish and pretty deep waters in certain points. People were constantly diving off the top lava into the pool (shows that it was deep), which was a bit annoying because you had to watch out overhead, but still cool to watch. For someone not comfortable swimming, there’s plenty of wall to stay close to, although there really isn’t too much shallow/standing water. My wife says this was her favorite activity on Kauai, and it’s hard for me to argue. After snorkeling for our first time – tomorrow – we wished we would have had snorkel gear for here. I was still switching off between glasses and goggles (and attempting to figure out how to swim), so it was difficult for me to see much, but she said it was incredible under water.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/579/22055139826_368de52114_c.jpg)
The ocean’s force crashing against the bath's walls that protect its swimmers

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5737/21893127650_12f8172ba4_c.jpg)
The small entrance into the ocean for fresh water and fish to flow in and out. Dangerous to stand near during rough conditions

The only thing that hampered our fun was the fact that we were blocking in someone’s car and had to keep checking whether they were interested in leaving yet or not. After about 30-45 minutes in the water, we decided to just leave and not potentially hold them up any longer and, boy oh boy, thank G-d we did. As we climbed out of the water, we saw the sky start changing colors.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/781/21893126450_7a6f94a66f_c.jpg)

Within seconds, the skies opened up and the rainy North Shore let us have it. Because we were wet already from the bath, we didn’t care much about the rain until we made it back over the lava and into the woods where the pouring rain had turned everything into an even messier mudslide than before. People a few steps ahead of us stopped their return trip and huddled together under a tree, but we figured we’d venture on. We wanted to go quickly, but we also didn’t want to slip down into the streams just off to our side, so we carefully tiptoed around puddles, mud, tree roots and people (for some reason going to the bath in this weather!) until we finally made it back up to the parking lot. That was not fun. Completely soaked, we just sat in the car, grateful that we always closed the roof whenever we left the car.

The plan for the afternoon was to continue around the island to the Kalalau Trail and Ke’e Beach, but those were not looking too good. However, knowing that rain on Hawaii is supposed to last for 20 minutes and stop, I convinced my wife to let us venture onwards and see if things would calm down. Driving in a downpour is not fun, and once we got back on the highway, we hit traffic, so we were barely moving. We passed by the Hanalei Valley Lookout and just got a nice view of cloud/fog. :P Continuing on slowly, we got to meet the first of many of Hawaii’s famous one-lane bridges.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/753/21894413359_4a806ef60e_c.jpg)

Each time we came across one, we thought it was miraculous how people decide when to stop and allow the other direction to go. We tried to follow closely behind others who went ahead so we wouldn’t have to make the decision ever, hehe. The signs tell you what’s appropriate, but no way was anyone stopping after just 7 cars.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5714/21956896519_82678e1be3.jpg)
Local courtesy is 5-7 cars

We ate our bagel sandwiches while driving, eventually got past the traffic and, a little while later, were about to see Ke’e Beach when we were confronted by an actual river flowing across the road. The road was submerged at least 2 feet deep by 5 feet wide, and we did not think our low-riding convertible would make it. The cars going through it towards us were all jeeps and 4x4s, but soon we saw a regular car make it and decided to try it. We drove through... and made it to the other side, b”h. We pulled into the parking lot and just sat there watching people run away from the beach soaking wet, with the rain seeming like it would never stop. Crossing the beach off our list was an easy, but unfortunate, choice.

I knew that the entrance to the Kalalau Trail was just up the road. I knew that the trail was the highlight of so many people’s trips to Kauai. I had only planned to hike until the Hanakapi’ai Beach anyway – couldn’t we just push through and do it? Alas, it wouldn’t be. Our pilot from the day before warned us to check the weather on the North Shore before heading up to Kalalau. We hadn’t, but it’s not like we had many days to work with anyway. We pulled out of the lot and headed out, away from Kalalu and Ke’e. We stopped for a second outside what must have been one of the Wet/Dry Caves (probably only wet today ;D), but decided not to get out of the car and just continue on. We went through the street-river more confidently this time and wrapped our way around the island, through the continuous, drenching rain. Finally, finally, somewhere on the East Shore, the rain let up and we had a comfortable drive until we hit the famous traffic near the airport as you bend towards the South Shore. It didn’t take incredibly long, and soon enough we were through the Tree Tunnel and back on the somehow-sunny South Shore.

We were already in our bathing gear, so we went out back to enjoy the beautiful lagoon for a while to dry off in the sun (and then get wet again in the water :P) until we got hungry. Tonight’s dinner was dairy. I Davened Mincha while the food was warming up (again, it took much longer than the instructions claim). My wife enjoyed the penne alla vodka again, while I had the cheese blintzes. They were great blintzes (much better than the classic frozen ones), and I only finished half of the huge portion.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/675/22081313635_b1884d11cb_c.jpg)

Maariv and some TV later, and it was lights out on another fun (albeit rainy) day in Hawaii!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: VacationLover on October 21, 2015, 10:05:55 AM
Mega Mega!! Keep it up!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: 3yummyboys on October 21, 2015, 10:08:25 AM
Wish I had time to read then entire thing, but I'm loving the first few posts. The details are super helpful.
I Know what I'll be reading tonight :)
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Marco Polo on October 21, 2015, 10:14:34 AM
The both looks similar to the Olivine Pools in Maui. Was one of the highlights there.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yaalili on October 21, 2015, 10:21:51 AM
Picture of the road submerged in water? Great tr!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: AnonymousUser on October 21, 2015, 10:54:37 AM
Awesome TR! Looking forward for the rest.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Joe4007 on October 21, 2015, 11:44:41 AM
Awesome segment once again!

I knew that the entrance to the Kalalau Trail was just up the road. I knew that the trail was the highlight of so many people’s trips to Kauai. I had only planned to hike until the Kalalau Hanakapi’ai Beach anyway – couldn’t we just push through and do it? Alas, it wouldn’t be.
FTFY.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 21, 2015, 11:54:29 AM
Mega Mega!! Keep it up!
Awesome TR! Looking forward for the rest.
Thanks!

Wish I had time to read then entire thing, but I'm loving the first few posts. The details are super helpful.
I Know what I'll be reading tonight :)
Thanks, glad I could give you reading material!

The both looks similar to the Olivine Pools in Maui. Was one of the highlights there.
Yeah, I've heard they're similar and both great.

Picture of the road submerged in water? Great tr!
Thanks, but getting a pic was the last thing on my mind at the time!

Awesome segment once again!
FTFY.
Ah, thank you! Fixed. So, now I'm confused about my Kalalau Beach pic from the helicopter. Is it Kalalau Beach or Hanakapi'ai Beach? I can't tell from comparing to Google Images.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/613/22081493695_6049e50d66_c.jpg)
Kalau Beach, at the end of the famous and treacherous Kalalau Trail
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Joe4007 on October 21, 2015, 12:00:22 PM
Ah, thank you! Fixed. So, now I'm confused about my Kalalau Beach pic from the helicopter. Is it Kalalau Beach or Hanakapi'ai Beach? I can't tell from comparing to Google Images.
Looks to me like Kalalau.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 21, 2015, 12:05:19 PM
Great segment! I agree with MP, Queen's Bath looks similar to the Olivine Pools on Maui, which were indeed excellent. I think one difference seems to be that the Olivine Pools have a lot more shallow water to stand in.

Too bad for the rain though! Having been on vacation in a place where all the activities are outdoors during a rain storm I know what it's like to not be able to do the things you want to do. At least you were able to drive to the sun, which wasn't the case with us in Rio.

Nice pics!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: stbaum on October 21, 2015, 12:25:41 PM
just spent the better half of my morning reading through the whole report (so far). your incredible details in this and your other reports makes me feel like i'm a part of your trip. thank you! where are we going next? :)
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Ergel on October 21, 2015, 01:18:52 PM
Ever consider investing in a real camera?
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: noturbizniss on October 21, 2015, 02:12:09 PM
Ever consider investing in a real camera?
Can't use arrival points for it and can't sell points to get cash to buy one and it's horrible use of MR or UR to buy on amazon or through their portals, so someone will just have to buy one for @@yehuda. :P
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Ergel on October 21, 2015, 02:14:32 PM
Can't use arrival points for it and can't sell points to get cash to buy one and it's horrible use of MR or UR to buy on amazon or through their portals, so someone will just have to buy one for @@yehuda. :P
And there's probably a puddle that you need to walk throught to get to the store, so...  :P
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: noturbizniss on October 21, 2015, 02:40:23 PM
Wow!!!!!! Great start to the TR! Looking forward to reading the whole thing, despite it being the size of a novella. Way to go!
+1. great shabbos reading!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 21, 2015, 03:50:22 PM
Looks to me like Kalalau.
Good, got it right. :)

Great segment! I agree with MP, Queen's Bath looks similar to the Olivine Pools on Maui, which were indeed excellent. I think one difference seems to be that the Olivine Pools have a lot more shallow water to stand in.

Too bad for the rain though! Having been on vacation in a place where all the activities are outdoors during a rain storm I know what it's like to not be able to do the things you want to do. At least you were able to drive to the sun, which wasn't the case with us in Rio.

Nice pics!
Thanks, can't wait to try out the Olivine Pools one day! Yeah, the rain was a damper on our day, but like I said, didn't detract too much from our vacation. Thanks, I'm glad I took many more than I have on previous trips.

just spent the better half of my morning reading through the whole report (so far). your incredible details in this and your other reports makes me feel like i'm a part of your trip. thank you! where are we going next? :)
Haha, thanks! I do try to bring the reader into the story. I wish I knew... you can come with me to my in-laws :P

Ever consider investing in a real camera?
Not really. While the better quality would be nice, I don't want to be carrying around another thing on trips, and we really like that all our pics get instantly saved to Dropbox and can be instantly shared to our friends and family on FB. The photobook pictures (our other use of our pics) are so small and low quality anyway that even when I've looked at other people's books who used a real camera, the pictures were just as grainy as mine. The only time I wish I had better quality pics is when I want to blow up a picture into a canvas. Nu nu, I'll live with the lower quality canvases.

Can't use arrival points for it and can't sell points to get cash to buy one and it's horrible use of MR or UR to buy on amazon or through their portals, so someone will just have to buy one for @@yehuda. :P
lol

And there's probably a puddle that you need to walk throught to get to the store, so...  :P
(http://i.imgur.com/BZ6gilU.gif?1)
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: AharonInIsrael on October 21, 2015, 04:27:30 PM
Wow, great TR! Thanks for sharing all the details! The hard work is appreciated :)
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Chapshnell on October 21, 2015, 04:38:40 PM
there was a sighting of lox.. from regal.. I guess they didnt want c"v to go away from the minhag from many generations
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 21, 2015, 08:54:34 PM
Wednesday, 8/19

In case you thought I might have caught up with the jetlag by this point, I woke up this morning at 5:30AM. My wife had been doing a decent job of sleeping in till a more normal hour, but not I. After Davening Shacharis and getting breakfast from the Grand Club, we were ready to head out for the day. The plan had been to go up to Waimea Canyon, but we decided we’d get in some beach time before going for the drive.

In less than 5 minutes from the GHK, we pulled up to Po’ipu Beach. There were a bunch of parking lots across the street from the beach, so we pulled into one and then checked with the store nearest to the lot to make sure we were actually allowed to park there. All was good, so we grabbed our stuff from the car and headed to the beach. The beach is made up of 2 half-moon/arch shapes, and we settled down on the Po'ipu Beach Park side.

(http://i.imgur.com/xW3EMCv.png)

Before 9AM, the place was basically empty.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5645/22145524096_d6b9e3bedf_c.jpg)
Left side of the left half-moon

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5697/21984875049_8165a3d37a_c.jpg)
Right side of the left half-moon

The sand wasn’t too incredible as it’s attached to a park, so the sand was interspersed with grass until pretty close to the water (as you can see in the pictures), but we weren’t there for sunbathing. The water was a bit cool at first, but within a few seconds, we were comfortable. With a lifeguard on duty and the wall of lava rocks on the left side to protect from the waves (see left of top picture), we felt very comfortable swimming here. The ocean floor at this point is not too sandy, so my toes got pretty cut up, but what we saw made it all worth it. The water was so clear, and with goggles, we saw some beautiful fish. A few minutes with goggles made us hungry for more, so we found the closest snorkel rental place across the street and rented sets.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5830/22068821272_d48f99bd3e_c.jpg)

While I thought we would go to a Snorkel Bob’s to rent gear (and we did pass one while driving), this one was right next to the beach and did a fine job for our first time snorkeling. It’s funny because I had done research into the type of snorkel we should rent, but we really just took whatever they gave us. The only specification they really gave was shoe size. Rentals were $6.25 after tax for the day, which was expected based on my research, and a great price in our opinion. I decided to pass on the float vest, which I had been planning to get due to my comfort level in the water (which, by the way, has changed drastically because of this trip!), and I’m glad I did, as I was fine. We walked back to the beach and got on our gear. After 2 minutes, we both threw off the flippers as we simply couldn’t understand how one is supposed to walk or swim in them. Even my wife (who is a good swimmer) hated wearing them. Lesson for next time, though, is to get water shoes to keep my feet from getting cut up on the rocks/shells below.

Snorkeling was an awesome, awesome experience. I feel like almost everything was a highlight on the trip, but snorkeling was definitely one as well. The lava area in the water provided great snorkeling, despite being shallow enough to stand up in. It was so cool to swim on the same level as the fish, and we saw huge schools and some stupendously colorful fish. We swam out to the right and the closer we got to the right half-moon of the beach (not in my pictures), the fewer fish we saw. There were also more people on the right side, so we quickly turned around and stuck near the left side.

I had brought one of those waterproof bags for my phone so I could take underwater pictures, but that totally didn’t work. #1 my screen was too dark to see what I was taking a picture of, #2 the bag kept interfering with the clarity of the picture, and #3 I totally forgot that wet fingers can’t do anything on touch screens – and that principle applies to touch screen bags as well. I had to press 10 times to get 1 picture. Afterwards, I realized I could have pushed my volume buttons to take the pictures and couldn’t believe I forgot that at the time. Oh well. Either way, this was the *best* of all my pictures. Haha

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5644/21893094620_6094a7c6b3_c.jpg)

If you can somehow see the fish on the left side, it was gorgeous. We saw several of these, and they were beautiful. But yeah, my pictures didn’t work. It looks more like this in real life:

(http://i.imgur.com/Qq2UIwx.jpg?1)
Courtesy of Google Images and some random site

After 2 and a half hours, we were finally getting tired, so we packed up and headed out, taking our snorkeling gear with us in case we made it to another beach that day. When we left at 11:30AM, the beach was busier.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/597/21984204520_04823ce306_c.jpg)

I didn’t expect to stay that long, but we had a great time, so we didn’t regret it despite delaying our journey to Waimea. However, once we were in the area anyway, I had to delay Waimea for just a drop longer. We drove 5 minutes down the road and pulled up to Spouting Horn. We parked in the lot and walked past the little shops selling souvenirs until we got to the viewing point. I’m not quite sure where people can climb down to actually go to the water, but we had no interest anyway. Seeing the geyser from above for 5 minutes was fine for us. It got different heights on different blows and was a cool stop on the trip.

                                                                                                                                                                 
(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5770/21894378179_8312993d5a_c.jpg)(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/730/22068800872_03649e1060_c.jpg)

Back on the road for about ½ hour, we turned onto Waimea Canyon Drive. I expected a larger intersection, so watch out for it carefully. The drive up was very nice. The road is on the narrower side and has plenty of sharp curves, but it’s not too bad. My wife slept for most of the ride up, and I went slowly and enjoyed the views that change with every turn. There were plenty of convertibles throughout Kauai, but they were especially noticeable on this road. Any time a car got close to me, I pulled over and let them pass, so I could take my time comfortably. It was at this point that my phone battery/charger started acting up (it hasn’t been the same since) and within a few minutes, my low charge went to 0 and the phone wouldn’t recharge or turn on. I knew the drive was just straight to the top and back down, so I wasn’t nervous about that, but it meant no phone for pictures. We decided we would go all the way up the mountain to see the different lookouts and then stop for a hike on the way back down.

30 minutes after turning onto the Drive (driving slowly), we made our first stop at Waimea Canyon Lookout, which is about halfway up the mountain. There is a big parking lot next to the lookout point. The vastness that opens before your eyes is awe-some! The view of the canyon with its red and green mountains, jagged slopes and waterfall on the left side is gasp-inducing. It was a shame we couldn’t grab a picture, and I was quite upset, but thankfully that would soon change.

We headed back to the car and continued driving towards the next lookout. The mile markers were marked clearly, and with having looked at the book’s maps, I knew when to expect the lookouts. The plan was to head to the top where the book suggests to skip the more-popular Kalalau Lookout and go just 2 minutes further to the much nicer Pu’u O Kila Lookout. We arrived at the Kalalau Lookout about 30 minutes later (again, I was driving slowly), and decided we might as well just turn off and take a look. The main reason to normally skip it is because it’s crowded, but we could see the parking lot was nearly empty. There was a reason for that. The only thing we were looking out upon was a big cloud of fog. :( We jumped back in the car and figured we might as well try the Pu’u O Kila Lookout, but 2 minutes later, we found ourselves once again staring into a big cloud. I guess that’s why they say to make this trip earlier in the day before the clouds set in. While up here, it started lightly raining, so perhaps that also led to the cloudy afternoon. We ate our bagel lunch in the car and then headed back down the mountain. The whole time my wife was playing with my phone and charger and finally got it to turn back on and sort of accept the charge! With less than 10% battery, we decided to jump out at Waimea Canyon Lookout once again and snap some photos. Unfortunately, the clouds were making their way over here, so the pictures came out slightly dark.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5744/21460146393_c3da03df1d_c.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5657/21460144613_081929ba1c_c.jpg)
Panoramic view with waterfall (thin, vertical grey line on the left) in the distance and the vast red and green canyon below

We continued down the road for just a bit because the hikes we were considering were right nearby. I had picked out 2 options – the Canyon Trail to Waipo’o Falls and the 1st half of the Po’omau Ditch Trail – based on my tastes and the book’s recommendations, but when we pulled over we had a decision to make. The rain was heavier now than it was back up top, and we were really tired already from swimming all morning and driving for a long time. We weren’t sure how wet the trails were and whether we were up for it, but we knew that this would basically be our last chance to go for a hike in Hawaii, and it would be a shame to miss out on that experience. My kind wife left the decision up to me, but between being tired myself and the weather, plus seeing how she wasn’t really into it, I decided we would pass. Despite debating the pros and cons of the different water bottle options here (http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=54359.0), and deciding to create my own insulated water packs (just $10 each!) and put them in our already-owned backpacks, we headed back down the mountain.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5777/21902801808_efef92bfa8_c.jpg)
@YehudaBaks

On the way down, I pulled over to snap a picture when I noticed the island of Ni’ihau in the distance.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/694/22055088116_bc89caf08b_c.jpg)

A bit further down, as the sky was getting clearer ahead (again, the craziness of Hawaii), I pulled over to get a snap of the Camaro.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/662/21458423974_204d4e3fd9_c.jpg)

I also grabbed a sweet shot (if I may say so myself) of the scenery ahead.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/675/21460135833_66cd484835_c.jpg)

Once we reached the bottom of the Drive, we had another decision to make. The plan had been to make our first (and only) trip to the West Shore and swim a bit in Queen’s Pond and then check out the 12-mile-long Polihale Beach for what’s supposed to be a beautiful sunset. But, we looked at each other and knew that instead of turning right to the West Shore, we would be turning left and heading back to the hotel. On the way, we stopped by a souvenir store and picked up a Kauai shotglass – got one with roosters on it ;D – and less than an hour later, dropped our snorkel gear back off at the surf shop and made it back to the GHK.

As the books warns, it’s not difficult to get caught up in the beauty and comfort of the GHK and so we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the pool and saltwater lagoon.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5761/22068692612_fe665cd0b7_c.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5674/22205542771_f8b8aff9c8_b.jpg)
Once again, the lagoon was almost empty. This time, at around 4PM

After some fun in the sun, we grabbed some sodas from the Grand Club (again, nice to have that), went back to the room, Davened Mincha and warmed up dinner. Tonight’s menu was the chicken cutlet for my wife and the BBQ chicken nuggets for myself. The cutlet looked pretty standard but it was actually very good and the nuggets were fantastic. Splurging the extra $2 for the asparagus (which turned out to be of the white variety) was totally not worth it. Next time it'll be cauliflower and roasted potatoes for us for every meal. :P

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5651/21894292109_63f1568e66_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/710/22055015506_5fed50119d_c.jpg)

After Maariv, I called UA to see if they could move our seats for our return flight, since we were in the back row (because it was our honeymoon), and the rep said, "Sure!" and put us in row 7 – turns out that’s Economy Plus. :) I then Davened Maariv and we began packing up our stuff a little before it was time to call it a night on our last full day in Hawaii…


Thursday, 8/20

Believe it or not, I didn’t write down what time I woke up today, so I don’t remember. :P

After Shacharis, we packed up as much as we could and then headed to the Grand Club for breakfast before going out for one last trip to the pools/lagoon. Originally, the plan was to do Po’ipu Beach and Spouting Horn this morning, but since we had done them yesterday, a chill hour or two at the hotel pools would be fine for us and less hectic. As you can tell, we loved – and were really comfortable at – the hotel, which, combined with being tired most afternoons, limited some of our activity-doing. Nu nu, we still had a blast!

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/675/20681521050_72f636cd21_c.jpg)
One last goodbye to the pool…

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/655/20859626392_42b26a033c_c.jpg)
…and one last goodbye to the lagoon

Around 11AM, we cleared out of the room (it was weird leaving all our leftover drinks and a toaster oven – but what else are you supposed to do?) and checked out of the hotel. It was suggested to us to use GasBuddy to find the cheapest place to fill up the car, but the site was simply inaccurate.

(http://i.imgur.com/kWU3R2w.png)

While Costco was the cheapest option (but I don’t have membership nor was I interested in dealing with getting Costco gift cards just to save $4), the Chevron station we passed was actually $3.38, and on our own, we found a Shell station that was actually cheaper by a few cents (thought I wrote down the price, but I can’t find it). Gas cost $45 to fill up (it wasn't completely empty and that's definitely cheaper than the ~$60 we would have paid if we pre-paid) and within a few minutes, we pulled into the Dollar location. We dropped off the car and went to the cashier, where we had to wait a short while in line while someone ahead of us complained about the car they were given. When it was our turn, we changed the credit card on file to my A+ so we could cover the charge with points as mentioned above, jumped on the shuttle that was waiting and were in the airport 3 minutes later. Now that we no longer had our POM box to take with us, and since we were flying in coach, we opted not to use our United credit card to cover the bag fees and rather take our bags as carryons (not taking a chance of losing a bag again!). Without checking bags and with having TSA Precheck, we were through security in no time, with plenty of time for one last souvenir shopping trip in the airport. Shotglasses here were actually the same price as in the shop we got our first one, so this time we got a generic (but beautiful) Hawaii one.

Once on the plane, we realized our bumped up seats were actually the first (bulkhead) row of Economy Plus! Free extra space is always nice. :)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/666/22068723882_fb65246e85_c.jpg)
Economy Plus bulkhead legroom

Once we were up in the air, we asked the stewardess if she would mind warming up our last POM meals. I pulled them out to show them to her and she said sure, but not until she first goes through her service run through the cabin (which, of course, makes sense). Once she was done, it was clear that she forgot about us, so I brought the meals to the back, and she apologized for forgetting and had no problem warming them up. After what felt like forever (although that's what we’ve gotten used to with POM meals), our penne alla vodkas arrived and were as scrumptious as ever! We settled in for the 5.5 hour flight, and with that, said goodbye to Hawaii!

(http://i.imgur.com/1cxUmIX.jpg?1)

We landed on time and found ourselves in a fairly large LAX airport. With not having to pick up any bags, we were outside in a reasonable amount of time where our wonderful host, Yehoshua, picked us up to take us to his home. Not too much chitchatting later and we were sound asleep – sad to have left Hawaii, but glad to have an LA extension to our vacation!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: tzifanya54 on October 21, 2015, 09:22:23 PM
In the future keep in mind, you don't need membership to get gas in Costco. It's for sure like that in the tri state area, I think it's all costco's though.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: coralsnake on October 21, 2015, 09:23:59 PM
In the future keep in mind, you don't need membership to get gas in Costco. It's for sure like that in the tri state area, I think it's all costco's though.
Depends on the state and sometimes the county.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: tzifanya54 on October 21, 2015, 09:28:06 PM
Depends on the state and sometimes the county.
That's funny I have been to like 10 different ones all over the tri state. I never needed membership.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 21, 2015, 09:37:55 PM
Wow, Wednesday and Thursday in the same post! Impressive! Too bad about the top of Waimea Canyon, but it definitely looks like you had a great time overall. I don't think I could've spent that much time at any hotel just relaxing if you paid me!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: coralsnake on October 21, 2015, 09:44:24 PM
That's funny I have been to like 10 different ones all over the tri state. I never needed membership.
You need to get out more:
http://m.costco.com/gasoline-q-and-a.html

"Q: Can anyone buy fuel at a Costco Gas Station?
A: The Gas Station is open to Costco members only. There is an exception: Costco Cash Card customers do not need to be Costco members."


ETA- sorry for hijacking the thread @Yehuda. Now back to your regularly scheduled TR
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: tzifanya54 on October 21, 2015, 09:48:34 PM
You need to get out more:
http://m.costco.com/gasoline-q-and-a.html

"Q: Can anyone buy fuel at a Costco Gas Station?
A: The Gas Station is open to Costco members only. There is an exception: Costco Cash Card customers do not need to be Costco members."


ETA- sorry for hijacking the thread @Yehuda. Now back to your regularly scheduled TR
I'm just saying it's funny bec I have never experienced otherwise. And T&C are meaningless, as we see in NY,NJ,CT it's not the case.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: efflpetzel on October 22, 2015, 03:28:29 AM
Quote
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5777/21902801808_efef92bfa8_c.jpg


Rofl ;D ;D
I haven't laughed this much in a while
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 22, 2015, 09:12:27 AM
Wow, great TR! Thanks for sharing all the details! The hard work is appreciated :)
Thanks, appreciate your kind words.

there was a sighting of lox.. from regal.. I guess they didnt want c"v to go away from the minhag from many generations
Sorry, don't get it...

ETA- sorry for hijacking the thread @Yehuda. Now back to your regularly scheduled TR
Hah, no worries.
Tzfanya - My research into this specific Costco was that you needed membership.

Wow, Wednesday and Thursday in the same post! Impressive! Too bad about the top of Waimea Canyon, but it definitely looks like you had a great time overall. I don't think I could've spent that much time at any hotel just relaxing if you paid me!
Hehe, Thursday was really short, so I figured I'd finish the Hawaii part in 1 post. We weren't just sitting around the hotel. We spent hours and hours swimming. But, I do understand what you're saying.

Rofl ;D ;D
I haven't laughed this much in a while
Glad I could entertain.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 22, 2015, 09:34:43 AM
Friday, 8/21

After waking up at the crack of dawn to go to Shacharis with Yehoshua :P (to his credit, he did tell me when later Minyanim were), I hung around the house while the Yehoshuas went to work until it was a more normal time to wake my wife. We walked just a few minutes to breakfast Pico Cafe where we got some awesome smoothies for a slightly pricey $6 each.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/621/20869268125_f51c190e3b_c.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5800/20876482741_f063528c99_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/721/20842988826_2263ec4044_c.jpg)
Interesting way to get people to help pay the CC fees, I guess…

After breakfast, it was time to sightsee. I hadn’t done much research, but that was because Yehoshua really just laid out the main touristy activities, and we decided that’s what we wanted to do. With plenty of Uber referral credits at our disposal, we grabbed one from the cafe and headed to Rodeo Drive. The free 11 minute ride priced out at $5.60. Pretty good prices in LA. We jumped out of the car and headed down the famous street.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5643/21688440814_36a07fe8f8_c.jpg)

The morning haze that LA is apparently famous for was out in full swing.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/596/22376347371_d01ea380b5_c.jpg)

I don’t know how busy Rodeo normally is, but we were confused by how quiet the street was. It was already after 11AM and every store was empty. Every store was also staffed with "sophisticated" employees by the doorway seemingly standing guard as if to say – Ha! You WISH you could afford to shop here. Of course, being LA, things had to be a little interesting…

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5766/20681228140_12990e7c81_c.jpg)

It was fun to browse through as we walked to the end of the street, where, just across the street, we found the park that houses the Beverly Hills sign.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/620/21742664304_44fd5cf327_c.jpg)

We continued to walk into the Beverly Hills neighborhood and really weren’t too impressed with the houses (at least on the streets we walked on). Most were smaller than 5 Towns houses – although just as boringly boxy. :-X :-[ Being LA, though, we passed some more interesting things...

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5716/20246674074_da29a2505a_c.jpg)
Everyone needs a Statue of Liberty on their front lawn, right?

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5813/20681221920_8e3ac982b9_c.jpg)
Dr. Seuss’s house? Yehoshua informed us it’s known as the house with no straight lines

After hitting up 2 of our touristy goals, it was time for lunch. I know LA is all about its food, but we decided to just go as close to our next stop as possible, so a free 15 minute/$9.15 (it was surging!) Uber later, we arrived at Pizza World.

(http://i.imgur.com/csPYHpc.jpg)

I wasn’t in the mood for pizza, so I took a chance and started with the nachos, which turned out to be DELISH!

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/633/20681310158_df99bf5d46_c.jpg)

I then stuck with my Mexican taste buds and went for the empanada, which was basically like more nachos just with guacamole, rice and beans. If only stores had pictures of their food (I know, it’s not so easy). Whatever, the nachos were good and so was this despite having to avoid the beans (not really my thing).
 
(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/741/20859656782_a4c7b9b004_c.jpg)

Total cost for the 2 of us was $31, which isn’t cheap for a pizza place, but we didn’t really get pizza. After filling up, we walked across the street to the Farmers Market in the parking lot of the Grove, where we spent a few minutes browsing.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/757/22177691200_0f13fb50d6_c.jpg)

We then turned around and entered The Grove. When I first heard about it, I couldn’t understand why people make such a big deal about visiting a mall, but within minutes, I understood why. It’s a really nice outdoor mall, with a great feel to it.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/704/22286171446_75f73a85de_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/644/20246694104_3252a82c66_c.jpg)

The trolley adds another special element to the atmosphere (although we did not ride it).

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5658/22376446091_5f1aba1fca_c.jpg)

After a while of browsing, we grabbed another Uber for our next destination. 20 minutes ($7.89) later, and we pulled up to Hollywood and Highland. This intersection, as well as the streets in the surrounding area make up LA’s Times Square.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5762/21744777253_41e7302780_c.jpg)

It’s also home to all the famous Hollywood stars.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5691/22286389456_bd2bc077d5_c.jpg)

We walked around, avoided the creepy costumed people that somehow made their way here from Times Square ;), found a huge candy shop and stumbled into another really nice open-air mall.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/629/22365936385_9e3a1010f9_c.jpg)

A few floors up, we got our mandatory view of the Hollywood sign.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/760/20842952996_18a6e12169_c.jpg)

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/757/22286482946_31df328328_c.jpg)
A little closer for you

As it was starting to get late, we grabbed our final Uber to head back to Yehoshua’s. However… once we got in the car, our driver – who informed us we were his first-ever Uber ride ::) – said his Uber account just kicked him offline. We checked my phone, and I, too, was locked out. He tried to get it working for 5 minutes, but then we all just gave up, got out, and unfortunately, requested a Lyft (couldn't get my Uber to login). Luckily, I had a $5 credit on that account, and we opted for Lyft Line (similar to Uber Pool) to save some money. There was already someone else in the car, so we were 3 altogether, and his stop was on the way to Yehoshua's. After we dropped him off, the driver tried picking up another passenger, but they were a no-show. Finally, after 28 minutes and $11.45 after the discount (including Prime Time surging), we got off… at the wrong place. Turns out we were a 15 minute walk to Yehoshua’s, and I put in the wrong address. :-[ We made it back in time to get ready for Shabbos and that was the end of a wonderful touristy day in LA!


Shabbos, 8/22

After meeting the Yehoshuas last year for a Shabbos in Venice and getting along so well, he kindly invited us for Shabbos in LA once he heard we would be there for Shabbos. Shabbos by their home was wonderful. We had a great time looking over all their Shutterfly books and shotglasses :) and enjoyed scrumptious meals! We checked out some of the Jewish neighborhood in the afternoon, and before we knew it, Shabbos was ending. After Havdala at around 8:15PM, we quickly packed up our stuff, said our goodbyes to the Misses and then Yehoshua once again graciously drove us to LAX for our 11:05PM flight. Without checking bags and with TSA Precheck, we were at the gate with plenty of time to spare, which was nice. We considered heading into the UA lounge, but decided we really didn’t need it, and within a few minutes, we boarded the plane. Turns out I hadn’t mentioned to my wife that we were flying J, so was pleasantly surprised. Even though it wasn’t lie-flat, it was still a nice, wide seat.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/570/20681255298_20c39f07a7_c.jpg)

We got some drinks and got ready for sleep.

(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/767/20248218593_d3dc208537_c.jpg)
No lie-flat and no glass cups :P

There’s no KSML option on LAX-EWR (although that should change once all the UA flights from NY to LA switch over from JFK to EWR), but we weren’t hungry, so we just drifted off to sleep. I always have difficulty sleeping on planes, and I probably got in just a couple of hours, so I’m not sure whether these J seats actually helped me sleep more or not, but the overall experience was definitely better than sitting in coach. Morning came, and we landed just around 7AM. Without any bags, and in my favorite-EWR, we were in an Uber in just a few minutes. One last free ride later ($20 – crazy how much cheaper Uber in LA is) to my mother’s house, and we got into our own car and headed home. We were glad to have flown Motzai Shabbos so we had a full Sunday to rest and recuperate.

And that’s all he wrote! What an awesome trip; thanks for reading!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: benjie1305 on October 22, 2015, 09:39:20 AM
*clap clap*
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: 3yummyboys on October 22, 2015, 10:02:27 AM
Amazing! Thanks for taking the time!
Our phones kept dying also, especially in Waimea. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with roaming.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 22, 2015, 10:54:54 AM
Bravo! One thing though: LA has fog/marine layer/low clouds in the morning. Haze is usually when it's sunny too, but what you saw was just fog. I'm glad you had a nice time though!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: stbaum on October 22, 2015, 11:07:45 AM
That profile pic is beautiful!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: tzifanya54 on October 22, 2015, 01:40:05 PM
Amazing! Thanks for taking the time!
Our phones kept dying also, especially in Waimea. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with roaming.
Roaming deffinetly sucks up juice way more than regular.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: tzifanya54 on October 22, 2015, 01:41:24 PM
Thanks for taking the time. Very detailed and helpful report. I gotta ask did you use cc at pico cafe and pay the $0.75 fee?  ;)
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: LoLo on October 22, 2015, 02:14:53 PM
*clap clap*
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 22, 2015, 09:07:26 PM
*clap clap*

That profile pic is beautiful!
Thanks

Amazing! Thanks for taking the time!
Our phones kept dying also, especially in Waimea. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with roaming.
Thanks, who knows? My phone's charging was actually messed up, and I just got a new phone because of it.

Bravo! One thing though: LA has fog/marine layer/low clouds in the morning. Haze is usually when it's sunny too, but what you saw was just fog. I'm glad you had a nice time though!
Thanks! And sheeeesh. lol

Thanks for taking the time. Very detailed and helpful report. I gotta ask did you use cc at pico cafe and pay the $0.75 fee?  ;)
I paid with CC ::)
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Ergel on October 22, 2015, 09:24:38 PM
And asked for the $.75 back?

To see the nice house in Beverly hills you have to go further in. Need a car to do that
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 22, 2015, 09:34:04 PM
And asked for the $.75 back?

To see the nice house in Beverly hills you have to go further in. Need a car to do that
You can walk, it's just easier with a car.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 22, 2015, 09:39:49 PM
And asked for the $.75 back?

To see the nice house in Beverly hills you have to go further in. Need a car to do that
No... lol
Ah, good to know.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: tzifanya54 on October 22, 2015, 10:02:39 PM
And asked for the $.75 back?

To see the nice house in Beverly hills
  you have to go further in. Need a car to do that
Nothing to write home about IMHO.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 22, 2015, 11:22:14 PM
No... lol
Ah, good to know.
Leaves room for a return trip.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 23, 2015, 10:47:47 AM
Leaves room for a return trip.
Ha! That is not why I would return.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Dan on October 23, 2015, 10:57:01 AM
Nice TR.
Moral of the TR: Everyone plans their HI days with tons of stuff to do, but forgets to factor the need for downtime in that planning...
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Marco Polo on October 23, 2015, 10:58:43 AM
Nice TR.
Moral of the TR: Everyone plans their HI days with tons of stuff to do, but forgets to factor the need for downtime in that planning...
Plus jet-lag usually has you crashing a lot earlier in the day then you imagined.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: tageed-lee on October 23, 2015, 10:59:46 AM
Moral of the TR: Everyone plans their HI days with tons of stuff to do, but forgets to factor the need for downtime in that planning...

Probably because everyone reads your TR's and thinks that they can fit what you've done over time into one trip... lol
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 23, 2015, 11:09:48 AM
Nice TR.
Moral of the TR: Everyone plans their HI days with tons of stuff to do, but forgets to factor the need for downtime in that planning...
Thank you!
Not sure who laid out my itinerary ::) :P
Still had a blast, and it just means I'll have to go back!

Plus jet-lag usually has you crashing a lot earlier in the day then you imagined.
Absolutely.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: zow on October 23, 2015, 11:11:56 AM
Just printed this out for Shabbat reading -- too bad I can't get all the photos to print. Looks great!

Quick question--I see you bought a toaster...I thought Dan left one in HI for us to use?  ;)
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Marco Polo on October 23, 2015, 11:12:57 AM
Just printed this out for Shabbat reading -- too bad I can't get all the photos to print. Looks great!

Quick question--I see you bought a toaster...I thought Dan left one in HI for us to use?  ;)
Think it got lost, plus may have been a different island.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 23, 2015, 11:16:13 AM
Nice TR.
Moral of the TR: Everyone plans their HI days with tons of stuff to do, but forgets to factor the need for downtime in that planning...
Downtime is boring. I get antsy.

Plus jet-lag usually has you crashing a lot earlier in the day then you imagined.
The benefit of being only 2/3 hours ahead: no jetlag.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Dan on October 23, 2015, 11:17:13 AM
Downtime is boring. I get antsy.
Not everyone needs it, but if you know that you like downtime you need to factor that and plan accordingly.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 23, 2015, 11:25:38 AM
Not everyone needs it, but if you know that you like downtime you need to factor that and plan accordingly.
True. I scheduled the morning of our last day in HI as "downtime" for DW (since she loves chilling in the pool/beach). I was bored out of my mind.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: tzifanya54 on October 23, 2015, 11:33:28 AM
True. I scheduled the morning of our last day in HI as "downtime" for DW (since she loves chilling in the pool/beach). I was bored out of my mind.
Bring a good book
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Yehoshua on October 23, 2015, 11:44:40 AM
Bring a good book
I had a book, yet I wanted to spend time with DW, so I wasn't reading then.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: solls108 on October 23, 2015, 12:21:30 PM
Awesome TR, @Yehuda!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Dan on October 23, 2015, 12:24:56 PM
Not sure who laid out my itinerary ::) :P
I took it from your original layout that you were Yehoshua style. Guess that was a bad assumption :D

When I honeymooned in HI for a month we were pretty much running around every day and it was great. On later trips when we mostly relaxed it was great as well. Don't think either way is wrong, just depends on the scenario.
Once you're with kids it's much harder to pack things in or even do most of the activities.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: AJK on October 23, 2015, 03:33:34 PM
Only up to Tuesday (who has time to read a Megillah everyday??) but what a detailed report! Thanks for taking the super long time to write it up.

Brings back some fond memories, especially:

Quote
After the club, we made our way outside to the beautiful grounds and pools. It was already dark, so it was actually hard to tell what was a pond or a pool, but just listening to the ocean and walking in the serene setting of the grounds was awesome. We passed by an area that had torches lit up around a Hawaiian dance performance and stopping for a minute really hit the Hawaiian spot.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 23, 2015, 04:29:21 PM
Just printed this out for Shabbat reading -- too bad I can't get all the photos to print. Looks great!

Quick question--I see you bought a toaster...I thought Dan left one in HI for us to use?  ;)
Aw, thanks. Hehe, I couldn't find the toaster :P

Awesome TR, @Yehuda!
Thanks!

I took it from your original layout that you were Yehoshua style. Guess that was a bad assumption :D

When I honeymooned in HI for a month we were pretty much running around every day and it was great. On later trips when we mostly relaxed it was great as well. Don't think either way is wrong, just depends on the scenario.
Once you're with kids it's much harder to pack things in or even do most of the activities.
Hah, I aspired to it (and was able to do it in Europe for the most part), but the jetlag really got us + my wife wanting to relax at pools/beach. I imagine it's harder with kids. We'll just have to play each trip by ear and definitely go back! (Although, I might need a new Psak.  ::))

Only up to Tuesday (who has time to read a Megillah everyday??) but what a detailed report! Thanks for taking the super long time to write it up.

Brings back some fond memories, especially:

Haha, glad I could keep you busy. My pleasure, thanks for reading. Good part to quote. Boy, was it special.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: E R K on October 23, 2015, 04:37:50 PM
[/i](who has time to read a Megillah everyday??)

Especially since I'm sure you're so busy working on your part of the Island Hopper! 😜
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: AJK on October 23, 2015, 05:08:33 PM
Done! A great TR. Thanks for churning it out.

But a Kauai trip without Polihale and Kalalau is not being yotzeh...

Can't use arrival points for it and can't sell points to get cash to buy one and it's horrible use of MR or UR to buy on amazon or through their portals, so someone will just have to buy one for @@yehuda. :P

lol

And there's probably a puddle that you need to walk throught to get to the store, so...  :P

lol

The cutlet looked pretty standard but it was actually very good and the nuggets were fantastic. Splurging the extra $2 for the asparagus (which turned out to be of the white variety) was totally not worth it.

. . .

While Costco was the cheapest option (but I don’t have membership nor was I interested in dealing with getting Costco gift cards just to save $4)

You need to figure out what type of person you are... either you're "splurging" for $2 and going out of your way to save $4 on gas or not  :-X

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5813/20681221920_8e3ac982b9_c.jpg)
Dr. Seuss’s house? Yehoshua informed us it’s known as the house with no straight lines

Aside from the window sills, you mean?  ;D


Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: AJK on October 23, 2015, 05:09:29 PM
Especially since I'm sure you're so busy working on your part of the Island Hopper! 😜

98% done.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: D93 on October 24, 2015, 03:01:42 PM
Great stuff! Thanks for taking the time to write it all out!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: elya on October 24, 2015, 06:27:50 PM
A really enjoyable read! Thanks for taking the time and effort to write it up. I'm pretty sure this tops my bucket list right now....
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: shlonx on October 24, 2015, 10:57:40 PM
Wow, this is the perfect trip report: Descriptive, detailed, entertaining and full of great pictures.
Love it!!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: ygygold on October 25, 2015, 12:09:41 AM
Thanks for the awesome TR!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: yitrap on October 25, 2015, 01:00:04 AM
Amazing, definitely on the list to read when I plan my own iyh.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: googwallet on October 25, 2015, 08:31:13 AM
Nice TR. Enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 25, 2015, 03:17:45 PM
Done! A great TR. Thanks for churning it out.

But a Kauai trip without Polihale and Kalalau is not being yotzeh...

You need to figure out what type of person you are... either you're "splurging" for $2 and going out of your way to save $4 on gas or not  :-X

Aside from the window sills, you mean?  ;D
Thanks! I appreciate you understand the effort involved.
Got me on the $ issue...
Nice catch on the window sills, although they are rounded at the edges FWIW.

Great stuff! Thanks for taking the time to write it all out!
Thank you! I know how much you put in to read it, so thanks for reading it.  :P

A really enjoyable read! Thanks for taking the time and effort to write it up. I'm pretty sure this tops my bucket list right now....
Thanks! Appreciate that. Go for it!

Wow, this is the perfect trip report: Descriptive, detailed, entertaining and full of great pictures.
Love it!!
Aw, shucks! Thank you  :)

Thanks for the awesome TR!
YW, thanks for reading. Enjoying yours a lot as well!

Amazing, definitely on the list to read when I plan my own iyh.
Thanks, read it beforehand to whet your appetite. :)

Nice TR. Enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! My pleasure.
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: cholent on October 25, 2015, 04:15:23 PM
Really enjoyed this tr! At least I can enjoy Hawaii vicariously, doubt I'll ever get there
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: Sholom123 on October 25, 2015, 05:46:01 PM
@yehuda thank you so much, fantastic job!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: @Yehuda on October 25, 2015, 07:14:55 PM
Really enjoyed this tr! At least I can enjoy Hawaii vicariously, doubt I'll ever get there
Thanks! Maybe one day...
@yehuda thank you so much, fantastic job!
Thank you!
Title: Re: A DDF Dream Fulfilled: @Yehuda’s Trip to Kauai
Post by: 3yummyboys on October 25, 2015, 07:35:18 PM
Really enjoyed this tr! At least I can enjoy Hawaii vicariously, doubt I'll ever get there

That's what I said a few years ago , but we made it there this past summer!
#GotTheHawaiiBug