Kauai: When Chores are a Luxury in Lihu'e

Alternate title: The Costco of Your Dreams

May 17, 2015

I woke up in the middle of the night in that frantic oh-my-god-I-can’t-sleep-I’m-so-jetlagged state. You know the kind. But this time, not only was my mind racing but the critters out of doors (mostly) were in full swing and it didn’t cross the line to charming just yet. I found my earplugs, popped them in, and was out until the ripe old time of 4am. Later, Luke emerged from the bathroom and the first words out of his mouth were Please don’t be scared…(who starts a sentence like that?!)…but I just killed the biggest bug I’ve ever seen. The conversation unfolded as you’d expect-me asking loads of questions and looking around the floor promptly thereafter- only to find out that it was, in fact, the lone bug that you should fear…the centipede. I did everything but play it cool, including Googling, searching the room with my flashlight, and coming up with ways to block points of entry…city girl. For those of you researching how common is it to see a centipede in Kauai the answer is not common so don’t be scared. We were just lucky!

Up so early, we ventured into Lihu’e the closest thing to a “city” this island has to offer after exploring the property a bit more. My god, in the daylight it was a perfect Eden-fruit trees, flowers, palm tress, total isolation. And chickens. Lots of chickens. We gathered our things, piled into the car, and were off.

Thirty minutes or so we arrived at Walmart along with the other early birds. We toured the aisles and emerged with a sun hat for L, sunscreen, a few food items that we certainly didn’t need in bulk, and other toiletries we didn’t anticipate needing. It should be noted that Walmart in Lihu’e is honestly wonderful. Perhaps it is, in fact, the chain you said you’d never go to… but it has everything you might possibly need and is insanely convenient. And on vacation, that’s what we are looking for. Approaching our car, we were suddenly surrounded…by chickens! They were completely unafraid and we couldn’t help but test their limits ans we attempted the perfect picture. We were unsuccessful.

We had a bit of time before heaven (aka Costco) opened its gates to us, so we headed over to the closest beach: Kalapaki. Coffees in hand, we strolled along, our first taste of island life on a perfectly sunny Sunday morning. The beach was incredibly calm so likely one preferred by families. We relaxed a bit, watched the classes of beginning level paddle boarders, and when the time was right, set off.

We parked our car, looked up, and there were those green mountains again. How is this real? We wandered inside and grabbed a cart and promptly filled it with the first rows of items. We were overjoyed! Not only did they have most everything we buy, but specialty items from the local area such as, you know, macadamia nut everything and prepared food items. I told you, heaven. We piled the car high with snacks, fresh produce, and once in the meat and fish department we noticed a shining star: they had a liquor store. We must have looked like maniacs, snapping photos and literally skipping about, but who could help it? We snagged a bottle of Champagne for our special day a few days away.  Especially with my sensitive-belly self, this was an absolute gift. That, and there really isn’t anything as charming as making a house a home by cooking each night with your husband (to-be at the time).

On our way home, cruising down 56 North with Shaka radio (103.1 FM) playing in the background (find it! The best!) we attempted to find the Anahola Farmer’s Market, known for its wild boar I’m told. We drove up and down the street numerous times with no luck. Is it closed? We couldn’t find it the following weekend either.

We arrived back at our cabin, loaded up the fridge and set to work on lunch and much needed coffee. We created the first of our Costco Gourmet meals and were pleased at salad in front of us. We willed ourselves to keep moving, knowing there was no chance of revival after settling into our bed with the perfect cross breeze and call of uninterrupted sleep. We slipped on our bathing suits and set off on the dirt road to Aliomanu Beach. We arrived after a journey that was part-wonderland part-terrifying-one-lane-road and found ourselves among local families enjoying their Sunday afternoon. Grills were lit, dirt bikes were started up, and whips were cracked. Literally. It was bizarre but a pleasure, especially to get a peek into life for some residents.

We settled in at an isolated area a bit away from the action and enjoyed the waves and afternoon light.After some reading, dozing, and reflecting, we wandered “home”. Along the way we spotted properties rich with sustenance of all kinds from mangoes to goats. Arriving back at the cabin L gathered up precisely one mango, lime, and pomegranate respectively from the farm.

We assembled dinner in the perfect little kitchen and opened our first bottle of wine. We become spoiled shortly thereafter as every meal was  basically the greatest food you could eat, as far as we’re concerned. I think we’ve finally found the ticket to long-term travel: cooking your own meals (within reason, and depending on location, obviously). We set up our dining area that would remain so for most meals for the next two weeks: two cushion chairs on the lanai. And yes, I checked for centipedes first.

Resources and Recommendations: 

Costco Costco, Costco, Costco If you’re going to Kauai a $50 membership will more that pay for itself. Think gas that’s $.20 lower than anywhere else on Kauai, a wonderful selection of organic products, cheap booze, and specialty items from all over Hawaii (in fact, the dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts I found here were my only souvenir)…things like coffee and prepared foods, and macadamia nut everything. They even have a local granola. And fresh leis! I’m convinced that if you were just whisked off to Hawaii on a whim, you could get everything you need here.

M-F 10:00am – 8:30pm
Sat. 9:30am – 6:00pm
Sun. 10:00am – 6:00pm

4300 Nuhou St
Lihue (Kauai), HI 96766-8002
(808) 241-4000

Walmart While no Costco, Walmart is a great option. Especially if, say, one does not want 20lbs of rice or four bottles of sunscreen. Walmart to the rescue! They have pretty much anything you could need and at the prices you’re used to. Not to mention specialty items like chocolates, leis, coffee and all sorts of cheap souvenirs. Oh and their hours are insane.

M-Su 6:00am-12:00am

3-3300 Kuhio Hwy
Lihue, HI 96766

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