May 1-7 Our Kauai Honey-Moo!
Sara and I are fast approaching 3 months since our Wedding of the Century, but in those 3 months we have packed Lots of Life! Perhaps my only friends to travel more are Fei & Nicole Cheng. But who knows, all they did was the far east, before that Israel, and Rome, and Greece (during the riots), and some random mediterranean stops, oh yea, like Turkey. Anyways, we have most the couples we know beat for traveling in the last 80 days with exception to Señor Cheng’s. And so we begin our story:
On Sunday morning, the day after our wedding, Sara and I got up and went through all the wedding cards, seeing what all our loved ones had said to us! We felt lots of love from all the sincere messages that our friends, from different epics of our lives, wrote to us.
Sara and I were tired, but we didn’t have all morning to just relax in the perfect bed at our hotel, we had a plane to catch! So we made ourselves coffee with the hotel coffee-maker and we got ourselves moving. We received an amazing gift-basket from Kathy, the coordinator of our catering, and thank God she gave it to us, too. That way we could eat in the privacy of our hotel room! We certainly didn’t have time that morning, between the wedding and the plane to catch for our honeymoon, to go looking for somewhere to have breakfast! Our gift basket had pretzels, Sabra hummus from Israel, a cheese to dip the pretzels in, baby-carrots, strawberries decorated like a tuxedo and wedding dress, a chocolate dip for the strawberries, bottles of water! I can’t even remember all that Ranch Catering put in there for us! It was the nicest gift basket I’ve ever received! I guess that the occasion was pretty good too!
Sara packed up her wedding dress and I packed my tuxedo. It was sort of sad and happy to put those two items away. The whole morning, as we did everything together, was very nostalgic, but then again, it was the first day of the rest of our lives together. We got a little cart from the hotel and took our stuff down to the lobby, where the valet went to fetch our SUV. It was pretty hilarious when he had to drive it up to us! My friends had painted on All the windows “Kauai or Bust”, “Just Married”, “Bang bang” all kinds of funny stuff all over the windows! They put a plastic champagne glass under the front and back windshield wipers, and put streamers from the antennas to the wipers too! So when the valet pulled up our car the next day, it was still pretty hilarious that the guy had to drive it with the letters “Sara + JD” written all over the windows! It was funny for us getting into it too, and driving home, now that we were changed out of our wedding clothes! We drove quickly back to Sara’s house and unpacked our gifts and wedding clothes, and packed in our stuff that we already had packed for Kauai. One thing that I forgot though, was my camera. So Sara and I had to do with her camera and my disposable under-water camera. We had fun with those pictures though. Our first night into Hawaii we were pretty tired and we found out that most of the restaurants close pretty early on the island, so I just ordered something from the hotel lounge, which was still open. On the screen the Lakers were playing Dallas, it was the beginning of the Lakers exit from the playoffs when I saw them losing to Dallas in the hotel lounge. There were two native Hawaiian men, both well-fed, playing their native songs which had a beautiful rhythm and tone. I loved how the words were chalk-full of vowels. Hawaiian is a very pleasant language to listen to. (Now that I am back in Seville!)
Monday morning we remembered that a man in line at Disneyland had told us to eat at Eggberts at the Coconut Plaza. We asked about it, and it was very close to our resort, just a couple blocks up the highway in Kapa’a. We enjoyed a tremendous breakfast and our appetite showed as we down banana and macadamian-nut-pancakes and steak and eggs! Even the coffee was great!
We managed to see the Grand Canyon of Hawaii, Waimea Canyon, on the Southern end of the Island after breakfast. It was passed Poipu and Eke-eke, and almost so far south that the island began to turn north again. We especially liked the roosters in the parking lots for Waimea Canyon. I thought that there was a trail to a special lookout to the canyon, but it was really a trail down the side of the canyon. I also dragged my poor bride down this trail too, so I learned a lesson that day: Listen to your wife the first time that she says “Let’s go back”. We raced around the island to get back in time for our luau and Smith’s Tropical Paradise. When we got to Smith’s on the Wailua River, I loved the royal grounds there! It’s the site where the kings of Kauai lived in the Wailua River Valley in the old days, and it’s like the Garden of Eden. Sara and I had a blast getting our pictures taken with hula dancers, with an Easter Island head, with peacocks and even more roosters! It was a barrel of fun! We loved how the Smith family really did run the show, hands on, and how they asked everyone to respect their tradition of praying for the Luau food. I was so happy seeing the Smiths bless the food for the luau! It made me that much happier to dig into the to-die-for-buffet! I filled two plates of food, Sweet Mahi-mahi, Teriyaki Beef, traditional Hawaiian plates like Talo paste, pineapple upside down cake, there was so much good stuff, I can’t remember it all! There was so much to enjoy at the Smith’s buffet, and the Smith brothers, the general managers/ owners from the brochure, were actually serving me coffee and dismissing tables and helping the lines of tourists flow smoothly! Theywere pros and definitely showed a Christian character in how they treated all the tourists! I was really impressed by this family operation! Even after we dismissed for the Hula Polynesian Show, there was rain and thunder and lightning lighting up the mountain tops in the background, and it just made the show that much better! The show must go on!
The next day we decided to go on the Smith’s Fern Grotto River Boat tour, since it was cheaper than other outings, and we got some discount for having already gone to the Luau. It was a nice little tour upstream on the Wailua River. We laughed at the kayakers struggling as the river boat passed them, little did I know that would be Sara and I getting our kayak knocked around in 48 hours!
At the end of the river, we docked at the Fern Grotto, which is a Hawaiian state park only accessible by river boat and kayak. Our Hawaiian hosts asked if there were any honeymooners, and I think Sara and I were the only honeymooners on our boat, so they all applauded us and the Hawaiian singers sang us a wedding song. On our boat-ride back, the Hawaiian man who was our main host at the Fern Grotto told us that he’s done the job there singing to the river-boat tourists for most of his life, he says he’s either quit or been fired from it 6 times, but that he or the Smiths always came around again. As he leaned his guitar on his shoulder on the boat, he said now that he’s older, there aren’t so many jobs that he can pursue on the island, so he’s sticking with singing to the tourists.
We saw our singing river-boat friend two days later when Sara and I rented a kayak to go for ourselves up the Royal Wailua River. We looked over at him as they passed us in the boat to see if he recognized us, but he didn’t notice us, or couldn’t remember every single tourist he sees everyday! The boat sent Sara and I rowing real fast to get out of it’s way. It was strenuous and team-work building for the two of us. Sara and I did lots of neat extreme activities together, which I think was good for us to grow in our relationship, especially doing sports activities out of our normal routine, which had been hectic, especially for Sara, who was still working her UCSD job, before our wedding. How wonderful it was swimming in the ocean at Tunnels Beach, which appears in the Soul Surfer Movie. It was so great feeling the warm water and the gradual waves lifting us up and over! They were big waves, but they broke close to shore, so we just went up and over without usually having to dive underneath them. We also went snorkeling the next day at Poipu. At Tunnels, the lifeguards said that there was too much current to snorkel well, so they advised going the next morning to Poipu, which is what we did. They were right, it was just perfect snorkeling in Poipu! Sara and I had so much fun, “under the sea”! The fun came to an end when all of a sudden a rain storm hit us and everyone went running to get their things off the beach. There were children screaming since the water was hitting them in the face all of a sudden! Parents were quickly escorting their kids to the picnic shelters at Poipu beach, to get out of the surprise storm. I guess and Sara and I could have stayed in the water, but our clothes and keys would have been drenched on the beach, so we also called it a day and loaded up our rental car.
During almost all of our fun outings in Kauai, May 1st -7th we got rained on, but it was warm rain.
Sometimes hards, sometimes soft. Sara and I began to understand why everything around us was so lush! We got rained on hiking the NaPali Coast on the Kalalua Trail. We got drenched during part of our kayaking adventure on the Wailua River near Secret Fall and King’s Bath. We had rain at the end of our swim at Tunnels Beach on the North Shore, and both times we went to the pool it began raining after a while. Doing all those activities was fun while it lasted, so at least we got to give all the activities that we thought of a go.
Sara and I don’t have much to complain about. God gave us a lovely wedding that couldn’t be beat, with so many people who we love from all over the world there.
We got a reception in Jardin Toscana in Baja, California, Mexico that was just beautiful. In all over 540 people celebrated our wedding with us! (220 in the U.S. and another 320 in Mexico!) What can we complain about?
Since we were married on April 30th,
Sara and I have been in San Diego, Kauai, Mexico (three times), we went on a Deputation tour of the Western United States to Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Iowa!
We have been honored and prayed for at so many Christ-honoring churches and ministries. What a great and awesome Heavenly Father we have to give Sara and I such a send off to Spain!