A week of fun in the sun does good to everyone. For someone who loves pictures of mountains, cozy hill trails, adventurous hikes and that refreshing dip in cold rivers, Hawaii broke all that mindset and proved me wrong. Even after growing up in a city by the ocean, I have never been a humungous fan of beaches and sun tan. Beaches were mostly hangouts that meant long walks, getting chatty with friends and lots n lots of beach side food namely salted-masala roasted peanuts, grilled masala corn, hot potato-onion-chilli fritters and loads of freshly squeezed cane juice. All of this coupled with the occasional dipping of feet in the receding ocean water. Even though going to the beach meant good times, I hated the humidity, the sweat and the undesirable tan for my already brown skin.
Growing up in a conservative part of the world meant enjoying life in the most dignified manner possible to avoid degrading and perverted stares from other conservative citizens. Most of us (girls) would head to the ocean in Madras for that crunching your jeans up to the knees or wearing bermudas/short skirts to dip your feet in water up to the knee level. I have never worn a swimsuit to the beach in all my life at Madras. My mind was instantly trained to act conservative the day I was born.
This straight jump from conservative in Madras to carefree in the US got me doing things I have never dared to do back home. I was starting to live life the way I would like it. To celebrate our first anniversary, my husband wanted to take me somewhere honeymooney and romantic in a laid back way. We zeroed in on the island of Kauai – the most laid back of all Hawaiian islands. We wanted our experience to get completely cut off from the hustle and bustle of city life to get closer to nature.
Kauai – the most beautiful island I have ever seen. Not that I have travelled to many places… It is still the most beautiful place I have been to yet. And what was amazing about the trip was that Kauai was closer to India than I could have imagined. Not in terms of distance but in terms of culture and way of life. Especially the southern part of India. For example, their staple food being rice and served coconut water and pulp the Chennai style. I was drinking coconut water like it was my last chance to see coconuts ever and tried a lot of food created by the Hawaiians.
Kauai meant a lot of things to me. It was fun, dangerous, adventurous, subtle and romantic, of course. The seas along Kauai are known to be pretty choppy and rough especially before a swell. And the island is also known to be the rainiest part of Hawaii itself – all islands put together. And the city we were staying in – Hanalei – the rainiest part of the island. I’m pretty sure we got super lucky as during our 7 day trip, the only time it ever rained was on the second day of our arrival and after that it was 5 whole days of fun in the sun.
Hanalei – the prettiest part of the island is a quaint little town or city as the Hawaiians claim it to be. There is not too much night life in Kauai except for island bar and grill restaurants you will find all over the eastern part of the island. These mostly have karaoke nights and loud music during evenings which is by far the closest you will get to good nightlife in Kauai.
Hanalei is more like a retired person’s haven that gives you an atmosphere as good as resting in a bench on a pleasant evening by the sea. Even though we hardly people of our age, it was perfect in its own way for us. Our vacation turned out to be relaxed during the evenings and adventurous during the day time. We spent most of our playing rough in the Hanalei Bay Beach which is by far one of the best beaches I have been to. I liked how the sand level is pretty flat and you can go deeper into the ocean before it gradually gains depth.
The best part was boogie boarding on boards that weren’t exactly our size but was twice the amount of fun. Draped in swim wear I could never have dared to wear in my own country except for maybe Goa, we spent a lot of fun, not getting tanned, but slow roasted in the sun with water temperatures perfect and nothing I can ever dream of here in the Bay Area.
I also loved how I could wear clothes of every colour which is such a huge minus here in the Bay Area where people would stare if you wore something chirpy on a summers day.
On the whole, my vacation in Kauai was memorable and with all the elements I could ever want in a place. Mountains, cozy hill trails, sandy beaches, chilled and blended cocktails lazing in a bar… Just perfect. I am definitely high on island fever.