Hard-won advice from Kaua’i

1)   If the guide book says there are lots of roosters on Kaua’i, really take this information in.  Read it again: “THERE ARE A LOT OF ROOSTERS ON KAUA’I.”  Think about what you know about roosters: among other things, they like to crow.  If there are a lot of roosters, then it stands to reason that a lot of roosters will be crowing.  Ask yourself, What might I need that I otherwise might not bring on an island where there are a lot of crowing roosters?  Ear plugs? A white-noise machine?  A shotgun?

2)  If you allow yourself for the first time in your life to order yourself a pair of prescription sunglasses, do not convince yourself that the ocean is gentle enough and you are savvy enough that you can wear the sunglasses while boogie boarding.  And if you wear them boogie boarding anyway, when your husband says, “You might want to take those off and put them in the beach bag,” listen to him.

3)  If a red-haired, 20-something hitch hiker dressed in shorts and a straw hat stands by the side of the road next to a pile of coconuts, give him a ride.  It will be fun.

4)  If someone you meet on the island says about Lydgate Park, “The snorkeling isn’t that great,” don’t believe her.  Any moment when you are under water and there are colorful fish swimming with you is an amazing moment.

5)  If you go to Jo-Jo’s Shave Ice Shack because the guidebook says it’s the best shave ice on the island, try not to get so bored waiting in the long line that you slump against the counter and accidentally knock over the tip jar – which happens to be an old glass blender.  Because if you do, glass will go everywhere and the sullen 20-something who is the sole worker there will use this as an opportunity to shoo all the customers out and close the shack for ten minutes while he makes sure he has swept up all the glass.  And ten minutes is just long enough for the one who made this mistake to feel so embarrassed that they don’t want to go in after 10 minutes because everyone will know the delay was their fault.  But, hey, even if you forget these details, don’t sweat it.  The island is crawling with shave ice places, and lots of them are pretty good – even if they aren’t Jo-Jo’s.  You’ll still be able to  find flavors like Hurricane, Buttered Popcorn and Dill Pickle, and you may even decide to eat all three flavors at the same time.



  1. martin said:

    and watch out for the roosters. don’t let your 6 year old try and go up and pet it… It will fly in the air,

    his leg and basically scare the crap out of him after you wipe off all the blood. miss you great post!!

  2. That was really fun with no pain at all. The safety
    of distance. But, the flavors of the place was all there,
    the waves, the heat that creates the longing for shaved ice,
    rural country side, and those psychedelic fish!

  3. pits47 said:

    We decided that JoJo’s has the best shave (finest grain) and best selection of flavors, but that the vanilla ice cream was better elsewhere. Take your pick 😉

    My favorite part of JoJo’s is listening to the people outside (and in line) and checking out the outfits (and tan levels) of the customers. Dreaming about teaching at the high school across the street was fun, too. (And Mira wins the prize hands down as slowest consumer of shave ice anywhere).

  4. Chris U. said:

    ” You’ll still be able to find flavors like Hurricane, Buttered Popcorn and Dill Pickle, and you may even decide to eat all three flavors at the same time.”


  5. This was such fun to read and really made me want to go there, and the only other person who has ever made me want to go there is Dee Packard who, I see, has commented above. Teensy tiny world. Itty bitty.

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