We Guidi’s are a crazy bunch and like to have a good time. So when mom’s 75th birthday came up and she said, ‘let’s get together for my birthday, where shall we go?”, Kauai seemed like an appropriate place for a family gathering. It was also a good opportunity to meet up with other friends – friends that live there and friends who met us from San Francisco. And thus was born a 25 day warm tropical holiday taking us away from New Zealand winter.
Hailing from Florida, San Francisco, and New Zealand, the family flew in and spent two weeks together at the Bird Of Paradise home in Poipu. And yes, if you look at the photos, this house has a small swimming pool and a lot of nice amenities. The large lanais were perfect for hanging out, sipping cocktails (of which we did a lot), and watching the night-time stars.
Kauai holds a place near and dear to my heart. I have been there maybe two dozen times over the years and am not one to pass up an opportunity to go. Most of my visits to Kauai centered around being on the north shore (Hanalei or Hanea) which is more remote and lush than other parts of the island (though it is all amazing).
This was the first time I’ve stayed on the south shore in Poipu. The south shore is known for being a bit more family friendly, a bit drier, and the locale for some of the larger hotel chains. Bird of Paradise was located in a large condo/housing development but spaced such that it had a nice ‘neighborhood’ feel and a nice greenbelt for cycling and walking. The view from the deck was gorgeous.
My nieces certainly kept us all on our toes.
Along with my mom, we were a vortex of chaos, with everyone on different schedules with different needs and varying appetites. There was never a dull moment. Sienna (4 ½) and Haylie (18 months) were loads of fun and I did my best to be a jovial and entertaining Auntie.
Our days consisted of playing at the pool, going to the beach, heading to the Hyatt to feed the koi fish, napping, and eating. Throw in some afternoon painting sessions, bubble blowing, and daiquiri drinking, and that completes the day. Oh, and once or twice, we had a dance party with Sienna leading us on a conga line.
One of the best kept secrets on the south shore is the Makauwahi Cave Reserve. Not in our guide book (shocking), I read about it in a local magazine and decided we all needed to see it. A relatively newly found limestone cave, it is the largest on all the Hawaiian islands. And the good folks there also host and home giant tortoises which one can get up close and personal with.
Another favorite is Waimea Canyon located on the West Shore and touted as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’. Ten miles long and up to 3000 feet deep, it offers amazing vistas of Kauai’s flora and red dirt hues. Bruce and I managed to get in a few hikes and took mom there for a drive through the park.
We did our best to honor and celebrate mom since it was the occasion of her birthday that got us there. We managed to make it out to dinner twice and did dress ups once to try and capture some nice family photos. Not always possible with little ones.
Nonetheless, we managed to capture some nice smiles from all of us.
Alas, the time came to say goodbye. It all went so fast. Happy birthday mom, we love you.
PS: I want to give a shout out to our friends that we spent time with as well but sadly did not take many photographs of: Sola & Inayat, Pam, Manny, Roni, Ella, Lori, Susan, Harry, Keith & Acacia — it was wonderful to spend time with each of you! Till next time, aloha!