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A highlight day

Kalapaki Bay, Kauai, July 2009

Kauai, July 29th, 2009

Today we went on a lovely little day trip. We arrived at Kilohana Plantation for a train ride at 10 a.m. and rode around the old plantation, one of the last working sugar plantations on the island. They are currently using most of the land that still remains as part of the Plantation to grow crops to see what grows best, which they will then sell at a Farmer's Market that will be run from the Plantation. Sounds like a good use of the land to me.

In the middle of the trip we stopped to feed some wild pigs and goats and one sheep. Some of the train riders continued on their ride while a small group of us stayed with our guide, Kai, who had us spray down with bug spray (wish I'd brought my own!), grab a walking stick made from mango wood and head down a rainforest path to the valley of the island. Along the way we saw several lovely kinds of ginger. One was a honeycomb ginger that when you rubbed your hand on, made your skin smell of ginger...sweet! 

There was beautiful plantlife but Kai said 95% of the growth on the island was non-native, and he pointed out one example, a huge mango tree that was becoming strangled by a banyan tree. Despite the sadness surrounding the idea that much of what we were looking at was not Hawaii but more an idea of Hawaii, and that native plants are going extinct, it was a lovely, lovely hike. Along they way there was fruit on the ground that I'd never seen...orange in color, the shape of a papaya but smaller. I asked Kai about it and he said it was called a papaya passionfruit. He was able to pick a ripe one hanging from a tree for me. When I opened it it looked just like a passionfruit (which is like a watery, jello-y orange mass with dark seeds all in it, kind of just sitting in the middle of the cavity of its shell...it looks a little strange but it is delicious) and tasted slightly different but had the same texture.

We ended our hike where it began, where the train left us, and had a picnic lunch provided by the tour. Kai then took us across a meadow into the orchard, where we got to sample several exotic fruits: lychee, longan and fresh pineapple. We also saw many mango trees, sugar cane, some citrus (which I was surprised to see...doesn't it need to be cold sometimes in order for citrus to grow well?? And when we sampled it, it didn't have the right texture...too hard) and cashews...which you cannot eat until you boil because it is in the same family as poison oak and ivy. It is attached to a red fruit that is edible, but we didn't get a chance to sample it. We foraged for ourselves and came home with several of these, including a contraband pineapple that Hoss snuck into my backpack...we'll eat it before we leave here though! 

After this little adventure we headed to the big Farmer's Market of the week in Kapa'a. Fueled and inspired by our orchard visit, we stocked up on mango, papaya, passionfruit, limes, basil, greens, small purple onions, tomatoes, puree (like a mango), figs (!), finger bananas, apple bananas, coconut fresh from the shell (drinken with a straw straight from the shell and then chopped up for eating)and finally bread from a local bakery. All the produce is Kauai grown and very fresh. We will be eating from our room for the last few days of our trip. We go a little nuts around fresh fruits and veggies. Especially my hubby...mainly my hubby.
Any leftovers will go to our taxi driver, Bill, who has been carting us around and telling us about the island since just after we arrived. He is a New York native and moved here with his wife recently after having visited Kauai many times since their honeymoon here in the early '70's.

For me at least, today was the highlight of our trip. Tristan did great on our little hike (out of three children on the hike, he was the youngest and the only one who didn't cry!)

This was a great trip. Something about being in Hawaii, or at least Kauai, loosens your muscles and relaxes you.  The hunched shoulders I get at home disappear, as though the ocean, wind and beautiful views just massage them right out.


I posted several more pictures to my flickr account...if you want to see them.

(there were no leftovers save a few yet to ripen passionfruit! I can't believe how much produce we consumed in such a short period of time. Especially mangoes. Counteracted by lots of bread ; )


SE'LAH... said...

fresh tropical fruits...yum!

sweet post.

nicola said...

thank you for taking me on a virtual tropical vacation!

kyndale said...

It's the island way of life. Just so relaxed and free. I love hearing the story of your day. Smiles, Kyndale

Michelle said...

What a lovely, lovely treat this is. I've never been to Hawaii, but this post is a mini-trip for me now :-)

Thank you for sharing all of your gorgeous photos & I look forward to reading more adventures from your trip!!


gardenmama said...

Ahhh... thank you for sharing such beauty Genny!! : )