Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Frugal travels, Costa Rica

October 10, 2015

Dear Readers, I am in the planning stage of my next frugal adventure.  I am planning a month long excursion  on a comfortable shoe string in Costa Rica.   I am working on my itinerary, now.  If you have any suggestions on any not to miss destinations, please share.  Happy travels, from Rene, the happy adventurous, travel frugalista.


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


What it feels like to have finally arrived.

October 11, 2010


views from Seattle/Tacoma Airport


It was October 6th we arrived.   Aloha Kauai.  Mahalo Continental Airlines/United and Alaska Air for my safe arrival but not for the very tight, uncomfortable seating and the luggage loss.  The flights were basically  uneventful except that the seats were so tight and that made each leg of the trip seem so much longer.  We were lucky and the Newark to Seattle leg of the trip was an hour shorter than advertised.  We enjoyed our 2 hour layover in the Seattle airport.  The airport had the fastest free WiFi that I ever experienced, the best views and vistas I’ve ever seen in an airport and the  long walk from arrival terminal to departure terminal was so welcome to stretch my economy seat cramped legs.

Of course I flew economy.  I spent weeks hunting and searching for the best deal.  I’d like to thank Airfare Watchdog and Yahoo! Travel Best Fare Tracker, both made the watching airfare prices easy.  This time we booked one-way flights to make our return time more flexible.  Last year we took the red-eye out of Kauai and absolutely hated it.  That flight was with US Airways.  The price was good but I had a seat that butted up against the bathroom wall that didn’t recline at all, 6 complete hours of torture.  From Kauai to Phoenix, then off to Newark.  I vow never again.  On the way back to New York we are planning to book a flight from Kauai to some city to be determined, that we’ll explore for a few days and then take our final flight home feeling refreshed.

The balmy breezes of Kauai welcomed us as we entered the open air baggage claim area.  The carousel entertained the flight weary passengers with anticipation.  As the mouth of the monster ejected the last bag.  We found that our only bag checked, our golf clubs, did not arrive.  I try to travel with carry-on only and that being only one small bag, but sporting equipment always a dilemma .  Prepaid and pre-checked it cost us $23.00 to be a little worried we’d never see our clubs again.  Luckily they were delivered to us 2 days after our arrival.

Living in Kauai is living in paradise.  We have arrived.

Travelling light has its advantages.  A whole new Hawaiian wardrobe, but another story.

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

Soon it will be time to say, good-bye, Kauai

March 26, 2010

Back-yard bird. I don't know what kind.

Only about 2 more weeks until this wonderful adventure in Kauai will be just a memory.   What great memories  I’ll have from this budget trip of a lifetime.  I’m living proof that anyone can do this.

monk seal rests at the salt pond park

6 months of sun, sand and adventure.  Playing golf 2 or 3 times every week.  Enjoying the ultimate scenery for photo opportunities.

just got wet

Seeing and experiencing the wild-life.

Getting ready to go for a swim.

last one in is a rotten egg

swimming away

say good-bye

Going on great hikes.  Eating and experiencing new foods.

suyo, chinese cucumber from my garden

The coconut sprout.

The coconut sprout.

Not working.  Hunting down the next bargain and the next adventure.

I'll miss the java sparrow.

Right now I’m expecting visitors from the mainland as my time here grows short.  So a little entertaining is in order.  I found some boogie boards and a skim board each for one dollar.  Found some water shoes for my guests to protect their feet from the reefs at 50 cents each.  Planned quick meals for 5 at budget prices.

Wild pig eats avocado.

Turned our 2 room ohana house into one with a second bedroom by converting a storage room into a sleeping area with a 10 yard bolt of 2 dollar material and white king sized hotel sheets for 1 dollar and strategically placed thumb tacks.

Storage room converted to island abode, cost 4 dollars plus tacks.

I'll miss you Kauai.

All it takes is imagination.  I’ll surely miss this adventure when it’s over, but I’m planning the next one already.

The Gatherers

March 20, 2010

The Gatherer

Gathering of food is a frugal endeavor.  I gather fruit.  If I was more knowledgable I would gather other foods as well.  I need a local mentor to take me under their wing and show me the way.  Any volunteers out there?

This morning the tide was low exposing pools for the sea to give up it's offerings.

A low tide exposing rock, perfect for collecting limu and 'opihi.

When I questioned the gatherers I was told they were hunting for limu, the Hawaiian word for algae or seaweed and ‘opihi. They are Hawaiian limpets with a dome-shaped shell.  They suck down and hold onto the rocks tightly so they can deflect pounding waves powerful enough to sweep an unwary collector out to sea.

The tide was low but the waves were never really far away.

I took the risk and scrambled along the rocks to gather photos of what life can be found between the rocks now exposed. This is the place to find limu.

‘Opihi are a prized delicacy in the islands, and collecting enough for a meal can be a dangerous task.  Sure footing, a good grip, a sharp knife and vigilance with a constant eye on the waves are essential while gathering ‘opihi.

She gathers limu and 'opihi.

‘Opihi are eaten both raw or cooked.  I had some trouble finding out how to cook them as most are eaten raw and many right on the spot.  When the locals congregate at the beach they park in a line of pickup trucks wheels in the sand, tail gates tipped down toward the ocean, canopies set  for shade,  ready for fun, food and social activities.  Kind of a combo tailgate party/luau.  The men often go out into the water with snorkels and spears, while the women chat and children frolic in the water.  After they leave I often find piles of ‘opihi shells scattered about gleaming with mother of pearl, remnants of what seems a delicious good time.

Urchin lunches on limu.

I have never collected my own limu but I do eat seaweed both the nori for my sushi and this stuff called ocean salad that we pick up at the grocery store.  We eat the bright green ocean salad with rice, I don’t know if that’s proper way, but it sure is good. We also eat some ahi poke that has seaweed in it and like it very much.  And most of the Furikake (japanese rice seasoning) we use contains seaweed as well.  I read some articles about it that say it’s chock full or iron, and antioxidants and some believe it has extraordinary health benefits.  The following links have more information about seaweed for those who just need to know more.

Tire tracks in the sand.



More limu and fish too.

This blog segment contains frugal and free things to do when travelling to Kauai.  The location was near Salt Pond County Park by the Port Allen Airfield.

People are asking, what kind of camera are you using to take your Kauai photos

March 13, 2010

The Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z2 4MP Digital Camera

I’ve had this camera for several years now and I’ve been very pleased with its reliable performance.  Originally I chose this model because it was the most optical zoom I could buy in a digital camera without using separate lenses.  I wanted a camera that was easy to use but gave me lots of options.   I desired a high optical zoom for wildlife photography and the DiMage Z2 has delivered.  This camera is a good buy at $220.00.  Great camera for the creative hobbyist.

Flying high over Port Allen

Mauka Hanapepe

Misty morning makai side Kekaha

Wig out

Private swimming pool

Rainbow end to end

Red rocks at the Salt Pond County Park

View from the Port Allen Airport toward Hanapepe and beyond.

Waves carve the rocks.

The glow of rainbow light. I see a version of this almost everyday from our deck.

The tide pools in from under rocks.

Brace yourself for landing.

Wave watching, a free daily activity in Kauai

March 8, 2010

I watch waves almost everyday.  Sometimes the seas are rough and wild, sometimes calm but the sights along the ocean are always spectacular.  There are times I find the sight and sound of the waves breathtaking, but I find it difficult to capture the feeling with the camera.  Todays blog is a photographic study of waves.

All of the photos can be clicked and double clicked to enlarge, please do so to view.

The thought in this photo was to include a boat in the photo to help illustrate the roughness and size of the wave. I like how the boat image is bathed in mist.

Can you see the wind?

Misty wave. Is a small sliver of sky and earth enough.

Rock, sea, and sky. I wonder if the feeling of the wave is better expressed in the photo that contains water, earth and sky.

Sky meets sea. This photo gives the sky more prominence.

Rocks along the shore capture water from the waves.

Study of waves.


It's a double.

Rocks and waves.

More waves.

Small waves course rocks and reef.

White foam.

Wave good-bye.

Kauai filled with wonderful things to do.  I’d say Hawaii’s best beaches are in Kauai.  What to see, what to do, go to the beach and catch a wave.

Oh No, Not Snow Again, Lucky to be in Kauai

February 24, 2010

no signs of snow in this sky

Recent weather report from my northern home town in NY getting dumped on by snow today with more to come at the end of the week.

taking in a breath taking sky as banana leaves fray in the wind

Hurricane-Like Snow Storm Aims for Walton, New York.. Thursday, Friday

Feb 23, 2010; 4:10 PM ET

A powerful storm of historical proportions is aiming for much of the Northeast Thursday into Friday and will follow up to a foot and a half of snow through Wednesday over upstate New York and western New England.

This second storm will be nothing short of a monster. Even in light of the blizzards earlier this winter that targeted the southern mid-Atlantic, this may be the one that people remember the most this winter in parts of New England and the northern mid-Atlantic.

At peak the storm will deliver near hurricane-force wind gusts (74 mph) and blinding snow falling at the rate of over an inch per hour. For some people in upstate New York and eastern and northern Pennsylvania, this may seem more like a “snow hurricane” rather than a blizzard.

Cities likely to be impacted by heavy snow for all or at least part of the storm include: New York City, Albany, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, Scranton, Allentown, Reading, Williamsport and Burlington.

The storm will also deliver heavy rain and flooding northeast of the center of circulation.

The cities of Boston, Providence and Portland may have their hands full with coastal flooding problems.

The combination of wind, heavy rain and heavy snow will lead to extensive power outages and property damage. Where numerous trees and lines are blown down, the power could be out for a week in some areas.

Impacts on travel in the region may be severe. The effects of the storm will lead to flight delays and cancellations. Some major roads may be blocked by snow, downed trees or flooding.

Many schools will be closed or have early dismissal.

Blowout tides caused by strong offshore winds from New Jersey to North Carolina may pose problems for coastal waterway interests.

Exactly where this storm forms and tracks will determine whether you get all snow, all rain, snow to rain or just snow showers. A difference in track of as little as 50 miles will mean the difference.

One thing is for sure, most people in the mid-Atlantic and New England will have problems from this storm’s strong winds.

Keep checking in at for updates on snowfall and other impacts on this potentially very dangerous, destructive storm.

Story by Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski

begonia on the deck

The snow and cold weather at home isn’t affecting me much in Kauai.  The garden in flourishing except for some night-time  raids by wild pigs.  There has been a lack of rain here in Kalaheo, so we need to water.  Something we seldom have to do in New York because days without precipitation are rare.

white viola and royal purple petunia grow profusely on the deck

I’ve been saving money all winter long by not paying for heat.  Even though back home I was burning wood and snubbing fossil fuels as much as possible.

Basil, perfect in both Thai and Italian cuisine.

Winter in New York always seems so long.  The promise of spring used to have me pouring over seed catalogs.  Here in Kauai, I need not dream of spring.  I just embrace the year-long growing season.

Arugula grows right outside the kitchen always available for a tasty snip.

Peas climb the white lattice that I use to thwart the pigs.

This tomato plant offers the promise of succulent fruit.

This is how edamame grows.

Our Kauai garden is providing us with a wonderful fresh salad everyday.  I bought a salad spinner at a garage sale a few weeks back for a buck, so salad prep is a breeze.  I’m also making my own sprouts, both adzuki and mung.  They are great in salads, Asian dishes and even on sandwiches.

Bromeliad dazzling us daily on the deck.

I’m really trying to be as self-sufficient as possible.  I pick my own limes, figs and grapefruit.  We buy pineapple now at Costco for $2.99, because at the farmers market you can’t find them for less than $5.00 and the road side stands the pineapple quality just wasn’t there.  It sure seems strange that pineapple is neither cheap or plentiful in Kauai.

Rainbow in my own backyard.

I am patiently waiting for my papaya to ripen.  I watch the many mango trees when I’m out about in Kauai.   Waiting and watching  for the trees to set fruit and for sugary juicy sweet mango to ripen.  So far ripe mangos have eluded me.

Bird of paradise, enjoying the flowers inside and out.

We harvested two very large bunches of green bananas last week and they have been giving us about 6 bananas per day.

Banana harvest.

Banana harvesting is simple.  The whole tree needs to be felled, it is stalk-like and drops easily.  The entire tree needs to come down as each plant only produces one bunch, after harvest new banana plants will sprout from the base.  Assuring the next crop.  Cut off the large bunch and leave the flower intact, Be careful not to have your clothing and skin saturated with the latex that seeps from the cut stem.  I hung the bunches under the eaves of the house by wrapping a wire hanger around the stalk and then suspending the bunch on the hanger from a nail.  The bananas on the top ripen first.  Keeping them hanging on the bunch with good air circulation allows for slow ripening, thus providing just enough everyday.  One slight twist from the stem and experience banana perfection.

Living Kauai Style.

February 8, 2010

Kauai style graffiti.

Paddling out to catch a wave.

Caught one.

Taking a break from the surf.

More Kauai graffiti, oh those tourists.

Looking for lunch.


Pools at Salt Pond.

Observing the texture of the cocks comb.

Unusual plant.

Quarrel in the parking lot.

Paddling with man's best friend.

Spear fisherman going to get the poke.