Posts Tagged ‘Hawaii’

All New (to me) Hawaiian Wardrobe, and a little something more.

October 15, 2010


October in Kauai


I arrived on the beautiful Garden Island on Wednesday, October 6th.  While still shaking off the jet lag I was off to the garage sales by Saturday.  A very small carry-on is a gift in 3 ways, light to carry, arrives with you to your destination and makes it a necessity to buy new clothes.  As a frugalista I find garage sale shopping for specific items like a sporting challenge.  To win in this event, the first step is the plan of action.  I scour Craigslist and The Garden Island News classified online the day before the event.  I make a list breaking down the sales by town.  Starting with Kekaha and moving onto Lihue.


The ocean view from our new digs in Kalaheo


Live in Kalaheo so I usually only shop the west, south and east.  The north shore excursions are a special occasion that I usually plan with another activity.   I usually end my “garage sailing ” excursion in Lihue, as a conservation measure.  I get my gas at Costco, do my Wal-Mart stop, and pick up some fresh produce at the Kauai Community College Farmers Market all in the same trip.




I list the number and street address under each town category along with the time that the sale opens.  The earliest garage sales usually open here at 7am.  I scour the listing of items in the ads to see which early sales may have the items I need and plan to attack them first.  I also note next to the address if there are specific directions to the location in the ad. Then I peruse the list to see that I know the location of all the sales. If not, I google the addresses and make notes regarding their location.


petal soft


My daughter tells me I can just put them all into the GPS and  the GPS would map us the best route.  I believe for me that would be time prohibitive, as it take me forever to type things into it.  I like to just cut and paste.   Hey, is there an app for that?


contrasts for the senses


This was my first outing of the season so this time I opted not to head too far west, as there were only 2 sales in Kekaha and none in Waimea.   The initial approach was made in Hanapepe.


hot hot hot only one per pot


Hanapepe is a quaint artsy working class town that’ s just a little rough around the edges.  I find it a photographic treasure trove, but poor pickings for garage sales today.


just a taste of Hanapepe


The next stop was Eleele, residential working class community that loves their dogs.  Found the pot of gold in Eleele.


my new friend Kala


Two wonderful garage sales with like new clothing in just the right sizes for me and lots of wonderful maternity wear for my daughter.  I was able to purchase 4 complete island style professional outfits, comfy soft jammie pants, 2 tank tops for golf, a stylish and  cotton comfortable orange and white dress, 3 ball caps, 1 aloha shirt for Chris, a 50 ct of golf tees,  a few maternity frocks for my daughter, Erin, all for under $30.00.


woman's best friend


Next stop home to Kalaheo.   Two sales here and a quick check in home, then on the road again.  Kalaheo is rural to residential, upscale to working class, with houses carved into and perched on the hills to take advantage  of extraordinary views.  Breezy, green and beautiful Kalaheo is my favorite place to stay on all of the island.


slender trees arc in the wind near my Kalaheo home


Today we’ll skip Koloa, Poipu and Lawai, but make a quick stop at a moving sale in Omao.  I made a small purchase at a big sale 3 bars of dove soap, 7 candles, and a tiki salt shaker for $3.50.  I think there is mainly just one road in Omao with just a few offshoots.  This is hilly ranch land with mountain, valley and pacific ocean views.  The livestock seems to like it.


eggplant gleam in the sun


Last stop today for the sales is Puhi, working class and a comfortable commute to the big city of Lihue.  Puhi is also home to Kauai’s only college.  We found many nice baby items here.  Many people in this community are having keiki (pronounced “kay-key”) is the Hawaiian word for “baby” or “child”, literally meaning “the little one”.




Here in Kauai, so many are growing keiki.


tropical mixer


Everyone loves keiki, their mothers and the mothers to be.  There seems to be no better place to grow and give birth to them.  I am so glad my own daughter gets to experience her pregnancy here in this wonderful island place bathed in love and the spirit of aloha.


blue skies in paradise



I’ve found a wonderful place to live this winter season in Kauai

September 6, 2010

It was so simple. I placed an ad on Craigslist Hawaii, specifying where I would want to live, a little about me and what me needs are and the people who had the rental found me. It couldn’t have been easier. Things are going just as I hoped, I have a job and a place to call home. Next I look for wheels. Last year I bought a wonderful car that still is being used daily. If anyone knows of a used car for sale in Kauai, please let me know. This winters big decision is whether to buy or rent a car. I heard that Kauai has some inexpensive privately owned rental companies that offer some great deals. I will explore them and keep the blog updated on my finds. Until next entry, Aloha

Planning my next frugal travel….and I’m looking for volunteers

July 7, 2010

Ever dream about taking a tropical vacation for months on end?  Well it’s entirely possible and affordable.  I’m working on my plan for another excursion to Kauai and possibly one of the other gorgeous Hawaiian islands for the next winter season.  I love my home in the mainland north country but winters are long and cold.  For this reason I have been a “snowbird” or winter visitor to warm and lush places since 1995.  You don’t have to be retired to do this and you don’t need to be rich.  You just need to be creative and develop a plan.  During my last visit to Kauai I met many people who paid thousands of dollars for weekly rentals for a vacation much too short.  Honestly, I felt sorry for them, because they could have had and extended adventure for about the same price as it would have cost them to stay at home.  Fact: my entire stay on Kauai for 6 months cost less than $10,000 and that included both the rental housing and a car.

I am now at the stage of formulating my plan for the next winter season.

Are there any other couples out there looking for a frugal winter adventure?

Now is your chance.

Last season I found it easy to rent affordable housing in Kauai with a 6 month lease.  Home owners are happy to rent their homes rather than leave them vacant during these tough economical times and the unsure climate of vacation rentals.  As I visited all around the island you could see that many vacation condos were at less than 50 percent occupancy.  Tough times for all who invested but bonus time for the frugal traveler.   Just search the many ads on Craigslist and vacation rental sites to see exactly what I mean.

My plan: Find like-minded travelers who are willing to sign a six month lease with me on an accommodation.  I’ll take the first 3 months and they’ll take the next 3 months.  We would each split the security deposit and each pay our 3 month rent up front to the realtor.  I will be purchasing an inexpensive car on arrival and would pass it on for what ever I paid to the next lucky traveler.

I might also like to do the same plan on another one of the islands if anyone is interested in staying on, say, the Big Island for the first 3 months and then we would swap for the next 3 months.

I really enjoy my privacy so there would be no staying together with strangers.

Please anyone who may be interested in this read my blog to see what I’m all about and contact me.

Aloha, Rene

Tsunami warning is cancelled.

February 28, 2010

Tsunami refugees at Kukuiolono Golf Course.




2010 Kauai tsunami tourists ignore no parking sign.

The preparation and anticipation of observing a tsunami was both fun and exciting, but I am relieved this passed without any damage or loss of life.  My experience was a good one.  All of the people who I had encountered prior and during the event were wonderful.  I was at Wal-Mart in Lihue just after 6am and the place was bustling.  There were plenty of supplies on the shelves, it seemed that every cashier was open and everyone in the store was cheerful and friendly. The cashier told be they opened the store early because customers were waiting outside.  I commend them for excellence in customer service.  I watched the local news reports as the first evidence of the tsunami appeared in Hilo.  I was impressed at the great job, local authorities did with evacuation.  The news reports were concise, informative and accurate.

Onlookers await the 2010 Hawaiian Tsunami from Kukuiolono Hill, Kauai.

If this had been a major event, I would think the only lives lost would be those of fools, some of whom remained on and near beaches and one featured in the news wading in the waves.  These were not people who felt they needed to protect their property.  These were thrill seekers, who put themselves in danger and ultimately endanger the lives of those in public service whose job it is to protect them.  Their actions disgust me.

2010 Kauai Tsunami South Shore

Post tsunami.

Interesting flower.

Red and yellow, flower within a flower.

Prepping for Tsunami

February 27, 2010

First of all, let this be notice to all of my friends and family that I and Chris are very safe, high and dry, and plan to watch for the tsunami from Kukuiolono Golf Course which has a high elevation and a great view of the Pacific Ocean.  I plan to have my camera in tow.

No tsunami yet.

Preparation for disaster doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive.  We filled some empty bottles with drinking water, filled all of our trash cans with water for toilet flushing and bathing if needed.  We have plenty of food on hand that can be eaten without cooking.  Peanut butter, saltine crackers, canned meats, canned beans, cereal, peanuts all are pretty inexpensive and we don’t have to cook.  I’ve cooked up a big pot of rice as well, ah so Hawaiian I’ve become.  We also have our garden and fruit to fall back on.  I’m cooking up the ground beef from  the fridge and making Chris his favorite, meatballs.   Just in case we have no electric the meatballs will be made and we can simply heat them up on the car engine.  We have a cooler ready for the other things in the fridge.  I made sure we had plenty of gas.  We’re charging the cell phones.  I think the only thing we are lacking is C batteries for our radio, oh well, the car radio will have to do..

Grocery stores are limiting customers to 2 cases of spam per person.  Hawaiians sure love their spam.  Please check out this fun link about spam

Whale Watching Both Free and Exciting, Where to View Whales in Kauai

January 14, 2010

We’ve been whale watching over the past several days.  They have finally arrived in our area of Kauai.  We love it.  We parked above Glass Beach by the shearwater release site to view them with sundaes from Mickey D’s.  A grand excursion that only costs 2 bucks for 2.    Life is good.  This is the first time in my life I have ever seen whales.

Sunrise in Kalaheo

I’m loving it.  No good whale pictures yet I was too absorbed with just taking in the sight of them.  We’ve come across several pods of humpbacks.  I can watch them for hours.  The first thing that is visible is the large spout from where they breathe.  I find if I keep watching after they spout,  many times they  breach the water.  What a sight to behold.  We also went on a hike west of the Salt Pond County Park along the coast and found other great whale watching opportunities.  Hiking about one mile brought us to a high elevation rocky coast where the whales were well visualized, but I was without camera.  This area was beautiful and private,  perfect for an afternoon of whale observation.  Hopefully photographs of whales are soon to come.  Maybe next time I’ll bring my camera.

Another of my photos was featured in the Garden Island News on January 12th 2010, I feel very privileged.

I’ve been working on my garden here in Kalaheo.  I’m thinking having a garden is going to save a great deal of money by decreasing the amount of produce I have to purchase.

our new garden, just planted

I am currently harvesting tomatoes, avocados, grapefruit, key lime, oranges, figs and Hawaiian hot peppers.

Bowl of grapefruit harvested, cleaned chilled and ready to nourish and refresh.

Soon the lettuce, arugula and papaya will be ready.  I can’t wait.

marauder caught on night time camera

lettuce seedlings going in tomorrow, expecting lettuce in 2 weeks, hooray

Whales are a Kauai must see.

Moving on Up

December 11, 2009

We're Moving On Up

Before arriving on Kauai I found our first housing arrangement on Craigslist.  It was a simple process.  I posted an ad of what I was looking for, people responded.  I googled their names and their locations.  Made contacts, saw pictures and made a decision.  The day I arrived here my accommodations were ready at Aloha Estates at Kalaheo Plantation.  We rented from James Hargraves, stained glass artist, inn keeper, and ukulele player.  The dwelling is a 1920’s plantation house, architecturally charming, and seemingly well planned to take advantage of the local trade winds.  Our room was pitched to us as a studio but in reality is more of a room with a kitchenette in a closet, with a full bath, plenty of hot water, and no kitchen sink.  Requiring washing dishes in the bathroom and cooking with a rice cooker and hot plate.  We shared a small screen lanai with our neighbors, that had a small glass top table and chairs.

We spent most of our time out and about so the size of our rental was not a great factor for the 2 months we’ve been here.  When I made the rental agreement, I fully expected to stay here for 6 months, but I did make a month to month stipulation with the landlord in case either of us were not completely satisfied with the arrangement.  During our time here we did all of our living in the king sized bed, it was dining room, home theater and recreation area.

Home Sweet Home

Now it’s time to move on.  James was a wonderful host, our neighbors were quiet and friendly.  We were comfortable enough  and the price was great.  We love the location.  I think Kalaheo is the best place to stay on the entire island,  less rain than the north and east, close safe beaches , close golf, and midway between the resorts of the north shore and the canyons of Waimea.   Close to the art in Hanapepe, snorkeling, fancy golf and coastal hiking in Poipu, and the quaint charms of Koloa.  Oh and I forgot to mention tsunami safe.  James has rooms and apartments of many sizes available.  I highly recommend this place for frugal travel.  Please check out this trip advisor link for my review:

The Plantation House at Aloha Estates

If anyone has further questions don’t hesitate to contact me.

More pictures of the yard, fruit and flowers can be found throughout my blog.


November 15, 2009

Poke (pronounced POH-kay) is the Hawaiian version of Japanese sashimi (combining the Hawaiian and Japanese taste for raw fish). In Hawaiian, poke means “cut piece” or “small piece.” It’s bite-size pieces of raw fish doused in seasonings. The fish for poke is served raw or sometimes lightly seared or fried. I like poke and it’s an adventure to try all the different kinds. Pictured is ahi poke, or yellow fin tuna.

seaside sushi and poke

seaside sushi and poke

November 5, 2009

We started of our adventure at Salt Pond County Park, close to home and easy to get to. I had noticed a small trail going up a hill and beyond from the parking lot, so in hiking boots instead of our regular flip flops, we went in and soon wondered if we should continue.

following a path from our favorite salt pond

the path less traveled

An empty creek bed, an overgrown cane field, and a red dirt road brought us to a field of magnificent cane, in rows over 12 feet high.

i went to a party down a red dirt road

the red dirt road

Inside the field was otherworldly, the sun trickled in, the sky was clear blue above and the stalks rustled loudly with each wind gust. Walking on, a more barren area, bulldozed with red dirt, spent cane, some junk and little vegetation.

heap of cast away cane

heap of cast away cane

Heading south toward the ocean, old car wreckage perched for an excellent view of crashing waves and rocky coast. These rocks along the coast have so many layers and textures, from centuries of lava flowing. Rough and pitted, smooth, round and cloud-like. You can imagine what it was like when the molten lava met with the sea. Just as we reached the water and began to explore the tidal pools, it rained and Chris found us a small cave where we waited out the storm. Soon we were exploring again and found an old prop with its whole drive shaft intact, from some old shipwreck. Tidal pools,  abundant with a variety of creatures, jagged, slippery rocks and crashing waves. This was a dangerous endeavor; Chris kept watch for giant waves while I explored and took photos. Rogue waves can sweep you away if you aren’t careful. It was well worth the effort to experience a place probably never seen by tourists.

the sea boils

the sea boils

tidal pool fish

tidal pool fish

tidal pool inhabitants

tidal pool inhabitants

Fantasy Island

November 3, 2009

Sprinkles in the air, we took a trip to Wailua Falls, from the opening segment of “Fantasy Island”. A twisty road brought us there, and some locals told me to look for (orange, bumpy) passion fruit here, but we found none. Too overwhelmed by the force of the falls!  Much larger than they appear in pictures, you can feel their mist from far away.

After the falls we went to our favorite salt pond, and stopped at a local produce coop in Hanapepe, where I received a lesson in how to eat liliko’i (yellow passion fruit.)  First you bite a hole in the fruit and look for a worm, because sometimes they get in there. Next, my teacher handed me the fruit she’d bitten and said, “now suck it out.”  Being the good sport, I did. The slimy, seedy mouthful was delicately sweet and sour, so I bought some, three for a dollar.

Next stop was the Sunshine Market, today in Lihue.  I found great fruits: rambutan, pomelo, pineapple and tomatoes.  The pomelo is an ancestor to the grapefruit: large and similar in flavor, with a very thick rind.  Rambutan are a bit more bizarre: round to oval with a cherry red skin with spiny tendrils all over them. To eat them you score the skin’s circumference with a knife and this translucent, pearly white globe pops out. It has a pit inside with a rough skin on it (a bit unpleasant on the tongue), but the fruit itself is lovely and delectable.

People worry about the cost of food in Hawaii, but tropical fruit and Asian staples are affordable and delicious. Be adventurous! Dinner tonight is Chinese fried rice, with the bounty of fruits for dessert, and of course, the 5th game of the World Series. Go Yankees!

Wailua Falls is a step off the beaten path. Located at the south end of Wailua River.

Wailua Falls, at the southern end of the Wailua River

rene's attempt at sushi, fun to make, tastes good too

delicious homemade sushi!

passion fruit