Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hawaii, April 17, 2008

Thursday we decided to drive south in search of a particular store I wanted to visit. While we didn't find it, we did see a 3,000 acre (and growing) coffee plantation and visited it's gift shop. We also found another place we were in search of, the Red Dirt Shirt factory. During the hurricane (i wish i could remember the year) the Paradise Shirt factory was flooded and all their shirts were stained by the red clay. So the red dirt shirt was born as a way to save the company from the ruin of losing all their shirts. We were directed out the back door of the gift shop and across the alley. Past a truck and a gaggle of smoking employees, this is what we found...

The walls are covered in globs of dried mud and words scrawled in mud "ink". We guess the employees have fun slinging mud while they work. The place is about the width of a single car garage and about twice as deep.
I was pretty miserable as we were driving. Exhausted and my head hurt. We'd been pretty short-tempered with each other the day before. Grand for this wonderful trip we were on. Did I forget to mention that Hubby was miserable with stomach pain and upset on the plane? He was pretty much recovered by Wednesday. This day we had scheduled an inner tube ride. A large sugar plantation that is no longer in operation allows guided tours including a ride down the old irrigation ditches. We thought this sounded like a blast so we reserved a spot well before our trip. As we finished at the coffee plantation and headed back north for our tour I was feeling feverish and my stomach began to feel very uncomfortable. I kept telling myself it was nothing. I did NOT want to be sick.

Here is Hubby with his helmet and headlamp, and wetshirt he bought the night before...

Our lovely guide (in the middle looking this way).

We rode up in these Swiss army truck thingys. They were open on the sides and very loud. Our tour guide had a microphone set-up, but we could still barely hear her. The rest of the folks in our truck had come off a cruise ship and were all friends. They were a fun crowd. We got to hear lots of corny Hawaiian word jokes from our guide as well as lots of interesting stuff about Kauai's sugar history. Also I guess almost all the plants there are not native. Every culture that moved in brought some trees and stuff with them.
This light green stuff is a fern and one of the only natives. It has a very strong and extensive root system that holds together the crumbly volcanic rock of the hills and mountains. The olive green is berry bush. Some fellow thought he'd make great money growing these berries and selling jam and stuff. I don't know what became of his enterprise but the bushes that he planted have spread all over the island and are crowding out the native fern. Experts are guessing the fern will be completely gone in twenty to thirty years.

There is a mountain here that is constantly covered in cloud. It gets the most rainfall of anywhere in the states (?) Definitely don't quote me on any of my facts here!! I think it is the second wettest place in the world?? I don't remember.

Our kind driver offered to take our picture :) He was really nice. I felt bad for him standing behind the truck every time we stopped with his hand held out in front of him in case any of the ladies wanted a hand. He was completely ignored. So, even though I did not take his hand, I smiled and said thank you every time I stepped down from the truck.

Once again, all the pictures of our water-y ride are not on the computer. So you can't see them. Unless someday I take the time to go to my mom's house and scan them onto her computer, then copy them to a disc, then... Doubtful.
It was fun. Most of the ride was through long dark tunnels dug under mountains (thus the headlamps). The impressive thing is that all these miles and miles of ditches and tunnels were hand dug.
So here we are at a waterfall at the end of the tour having our lunch/dinner. I'm being silly cause I'm trying not to mind having my picture taken...

A hundred-or-so-year-old mango tree.
I was very glad to take a hot shower and tumble into bed as soon as we got back to our room. I definitely had a good fever going by then and my stomach hurt really bad. I felt like I was going to throw up, but never did. I called my mommy and she prayed for me. We stayed in bed all evening. Hubby watching tv and me curled into a ball trying not to cry. Eventually we both fell asleep. I slept really well and the one time I woke up in the middle of the night the fever was completely gone (Yay!).

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