Nothing Doing on Kaua’i

The woman at Yumi’s smiled, a lot, and she was so welcoming. I was thinking I’d take my breakfast to go, but the room was lime green and orange and even though it was too hot in there, I wanted to stay. I got coffee, which was better than I’d expected it to be given that I poured it myself into a Styrofoam cup. A group of utility workers in orange shirts with yellow reflective stripes came in and the woman at the counter smiled big at them too, and one of them kissed her on the cheek. A big guy waited for his friend and they both had loco moco when he arrived. I ate my French toast and a few strips of salty bacon and while it was too hot for a diner breakfast in a too hot diner, I was happy to be sitting there.

At the pier, a dark brown Pinoy couple rolled their fishing gear down the boardwalk. I said good morning, and the man said something to me. It took me four times to understand him, he was speaking pidgin, the local island dialect. “You alone,” he was asking, and it almost seemed like he was concerned. “You stay at the cottages? My wife, she housekeeper there.”


I asked about the fishing, he told me he’d got jackfish, aku, in Hawaiian. He was the color of dark old leather and he had a bright smile, and his wife did too, she smiled under her pink hoody and wheeled a little blue ice chest to the car.

The beach was empty. I picked up the sand and surf blasted partial skull of a cow, then I walked  to the pool at the resort. It was empty until a couple of guests showed up, a talkative husband, a smiling wife, and then their friends including a woman with brassy red hair and a rattan visor. They’d been coming here since the 80s and Steve, the friendly husband, said that’s it gotten much nicer. “It was funky once. I mean, it’s funky now, still, but it’s a nice kind of funky. Then it was… you know, funky.” I laughed, I did know. “You know, back near Lihue, I met a woman who told me she prefers this side. She said it was more mellow. How could it be more mellow, I thought, but now that I’m here…” Steve laughed and his wife, Carol, smiled, and they got out of the water.


They were going shopping for fish and I sent them to Ishihara’s, the market where I’d got wasabi poke the night before. “Go early,” I said. “It looks like they have nine kinds, but by the time I got there, around 5:30, it was all gone.”  My neighbors cleared off and I floated in the clean blue swimming pool and looked up at the tops of palm trees, tall in the gray blue sky.

I’m a grateful guest of the Kaua’i Visitor’s Bureau. Lord knows why these people keep inviting me back, but a big mahalo for their ho’okipa (hospitality).

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6 thoughts on “Nothing Doing on Kaua’i

  1. Very nicely written, Pam – such delightful attention to descriptive detail (without waxing into trite travel platitudes/cliches). Just goes to show, that even the simplest “nothin’ doin'” moments – even in a arguably highly-touristed corner of the globe – can be deliciously entertaining and thoughtful.

    Oh and, great pic too!

    Just sign me – another lass from Seattle (now expat in Vietnam and missing the Emerald City muchly.) 😉

    • This:

      …even the simplest “nothin’ doin’” moments – even in a arguably highly-touristed corner of the globe – can be deliciously entertaining and thoughtful.

      is what I strive for. Thank you so much for noticing.

  2. I’m rather jealous that you’re enjoying yourself on Kauai and I’m working on Oahu. 😉 In all seriousness, hope you are enjoying yourself and keep sharing these moments. Good stuff.

  3. Your stories are great. I know why they keep inviting you back – you’re the best guest.

    I loved Kauai. I only spent 1 week there, but I drove every inch of the island from Polihale to the Kalaulau trail head. When I left, I cried like a baby in the airport. I felt like it was unfair for Kauai to exist and for me not to be there.

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