Just got back from a vacation in Kauai, Hawaii, which is about as different from NYC as one can get. That's mostly a good thing, but it did have its challenges for me.
For one thing, I sleep so much better in NYC! That's right, you heard me correctly.
For whatever reason -- and here is something no one writes about in guide books -- Kauai is overrun with roosters and chickens. They are everywhere, and while the chickens are harmless and kind of fun in that free-range kind of way ("Oh look, there's a chicken in the parking lot and in our room and on your head!!"), the roosters drove me a bit bonkers.
The roosters of Kauai are the devil. I mean it. They crow incessantly, as in all day and all night long. Sunrise means nothing to these birds. They were absent from school the day God instructed roosters to crow only at dawn. I was getting used to their screeching until they began announcing themselves right underneath my bedroom window. Luckily for the roosters, there is an absence of rocks within reach, or I don't know what would have happened. Give me car alarms any day -- at least they go off after 20 seconds.
And here's another thing -- it rains in Kauai. A lot! Yes, I have some beautiful photographs of rainbows and impressive waterfalls but those things are only possible because of the daily deluge. How much rain? Well, let's just say the word "torrential" was in heavy rotation while I was there. The only thing worse than the rain was hearing from New Yorkers about how beautiful it was here in the city while we were gone.
Finally, there is the parking situation in Kauai, which differs quite a bit from NYC. In Kauai, I discovered that, if you see more than five cars parked on the side of the road or bunched together in a certain spot, chances are you are onto something. I often pulled my car over when I spotted other cars, and I was nearly always rewarded with a secret beach, a waterfall, a scenic overlook -- something.
It got so that I ignored the guidebook and just began looking for cars, which did get me in trouble once. I found a whole bunch of cars on the side of the road, pulled over and eased my into a tight spot any New Yorker would be proud of. Only this time, it was not immediately apparent why I was there. I was basically in a parking lot looking for something to do when I saw a couple.
"Hey," I yelled, "Do you know what there is to do around here?"
Understandably, they looked at me like I was crazy. "You mean swim?" the guy asked.
I wasn't looking for just another beach. I wanted something SCENIC, man. "No, no, I mean why are there are all these cars here. I found a spot so I pulled in but what's happening here?"
Just when I figured I struck out and my parking lot tour of Kauai had failed me, he said, "Oh yeah, just walk over there. You'll find a cave."
Ah ha! So here's my advice for Kauai -- bring a poncho or umbrella or resign to get wet, watch out for parked cars, and wear earplugs for those damned roosters.
It sure is beautiful there -- just a bit challenging, kind of like New York.
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