traveling with baby: kauai, days five and six

On the morning of day seven, looking back, a little drowsy, trying to remember all the things I wanted to report here… This post will include my food and recreation recommendations if you ever make it to Kauai after reading this.

It’s unanimous: the majority of day five was a bust. We drove to Waimea Canyon. Let me be the first to tell you, even without a baby in the car, the Canyon is overrated. Okay, that isn’t fair for me to say. Maybe the Canyon is spectacular if you haven’t been driving on a windy seemingly endless road for ages with a baby screaming in the back seat which… at the top of the mountain I felt nothing but regret for the whole adventure, and fear for the downhill return drive.

Yes, okay, it’s a Canyon. Not my cup of tea. Hikers probably love it. We’d even brought our hiking shoes and the Bjorn, and lots of snacks and water. Color us optimistic.

Fortunately, at the bottom of the mountain was a roadside cafe called Shrimp Station. Even though we were all queasy and tired from the windy road, too much crackers and cheese, and the ice cold coconut and pineapple we’d bought from the weathered cigarette-wielding old man next to the lookout point, somehow shrimp seemed like a good idea.

And it was. Skip the shrimp taco though. Flour tortilla, lots of shredded lettuce, very little shrimp. And go straight to the coconut shrimp: deep fried deliciousness with some kind of tropical fruit laced tartar sauce and crispy french fries. That and a Coke and all nausea dissipated. Box that and sell it at Walgreens.

shrimp_station_kauai

(Yes, I had a Coke. Well, half a Coke. All part of my vacation-related loosening of food strictures. Boy seems to be fine. Or rather, no more spit-uppy than usual.)

That night’s dinner was take-out from Keoki’s. A good option in a pinch, but not a restaurant I’d pick as a destination, in case you’re wondering. They served that awful par-boiled fake “restaurant rice.” Really, is the real stuff so hard to cook?

From worst to best: The next day was a good day.

First, I looked up yoga and Kauai on the internet and found this page.

I must remember from now on that I enjoy traveling more when I look up and take a yoga class. Something about the combination of familiarity, participating in a normal activity with locals (in this case, at least the teacher was local), taking a self-care action, the actual salutatory effects of the yoga itself, two times out of two (the first time was when I was pregnant and we were in New York — thought I’d blogged this but can’t find it in my own archives) it’s been the thing that turned the trip around for me.

Started there at 8:30 a.m. Got the last parking space in the tiny 6-space lot. The yoga site was a grassy knoll overlooking the ocean in front of the Sheraton hotel. Scott walked around with boy in Bjorn (while I Ashtanga-d) and cleverly determined that the cabanas along the edge of the sand were for rent, even to folks not staying at the Sheraton. So, for 35 bucks, we had shade, cushiony lounges, and wait-service for the day, on a beautiful sandy beach with clear turquoise water. The 1/2 pound burger and fries were deeee-lish!

We were without grandparental help, as this was our day to ourselves, so we took turns swimming in the ocean and minding the boy. We had the bucket between us on the little coffee table in the cabana for when he needed to nap. He seemed happy as a clam. The breeze, and the wonderful patterns that palm tree fronds make waving in front of the sun, pure baby heaven. (No, we didn’t even try to take him in the water this time.)

On this night we dined at Plantation Gardens which was flat-out beautiful. The big plantation house, the insane all-blooming orchid garden. (Though best meal of the trip is still The Beach House.) Of all the items we ordered, from appetizers to salads to entrees and dessert, our favorite was not the seafood items but the pork potstickers. In fact, in watching the other dishes go by at other tables, I think next time I go, if I go again, I’ll stick entirely to meat options. The ribs looked incredibly dense, crisp, and sticky, and the rib eye with glistening goat cheese gratin almost made me fall out of my chair.

The boy was totally polite at dinner. Maybe all the beach activity had chilled him out. There were wonderful fans for him to gaze at on the veranda where we ate. He spent part of the meal on my lap and managed a minor recreation of the original restaurant blow-out experience. Only a small dab on my leg before I noticed what was happening and we quickly flew him across the restaurant, lifted high and horizontal so as not to spill, looking a bit like we were presenting him for coronation instead of rushing him to the bathroom. I hoped the other diners couldn’t smell it as we wafted by.

In other news, we’ve deployed the pump, which helped us have a bottle for the boy during my yoga class and will help again when we have bottles for him on the plane for take-off and landing, and the big phat digital camera beast got a few clicks in. Perhaps at the end of all this relaxation I’ll post vacation photos…

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