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May 07, 2015

Lanai, Hawaii

Once upon a time (November 2014, to be exact), Eric and I went to Hawaii. Why has it taken me five months to blog about it? Oh, just the matter of being sick as a dog for three of those months (refer to my last blog post about being pregnant).

All of the trips we've gone on have been fantastic, but it was a nice change to have such a relaxed, unscheduled vacation, entirely dedicated to being lazy bums, one of our favorite things.

I went to Hawaii twice with my family when I was younger. We stayed on Oahu and Kauai one trip, and Oahu and Maui the other. Eric had never been to Hawaii before. I think it's safe to say he's now a fan.

Eric and I stayed on the island Lanai, the smallest publicly accessible inhabited Hawaiian island. It suited us perfectly. A tiny city, so tiny, in fact, that there are no traffic lights; a population of only 3100; two lovely Four Seasons hotels that both doted on us; non-crowded beaches; and the top rated thing to do in Lanai is -- wait for it -- taking a visit to the CAT SANCTUARY!


We stayed at the smaller, less crowded of the two Four Seasons hotels, Koele Lodge. Koele is located by Lanai City, more towards the middle of the island, and up higher towards the mountains. This resulted in the temperature often being more manageable and nice and misty.

Because we were staying at Koele, we still got to use most of the services and amenities of the second Four Seasons hotel, Manele Bay. Manele was located right by the ocean. There were shuttles between the two hotels. So access to the beach was free and very convenient. 

Abby doesn't like when we pack bags.

Can I come too?



Ugh. Such a long flight. I suppose it's worth it.

Eric and I didn't even get to sit by each other. Boo.

But because I let the airline move me to a different seat, which was actually closer to Eric, they let me use a portable movie thing for free. And then gave me a little cheese and fruit tray, again, for free. It was pretty swell.

Don't mind if I do.

Yay! Palm trees and sun! This is at Honolulu Airport. We had to get on another plane from here to take us to Lanai.

Because we were staying in a Four Seasons hotel, we got to go in one of those fancy waiting rooms that makes us seem very superior. "Seem".






Delicious, free refreshments. I do like free things.

The first of many macadamia nuts.


It was sprinkling a little when we first arrived in Lanai, which made it so pretty and misty.

At Koele, we were greeted with warm washcloths, fresh pineapple lemonade, and leis.

Our cute, quaint room. We got upgraded to a bigger, fancier room than our original booking. My guess as to why is that we were staying for eight nights, whereas a lot of other people seemed to be visiting for only a couple days from different Hawaiian islands.














View from the balcony.

Gym/pool (pool is obscured).


Lawn bowling court and misty mountains.


Homemade marshmallows and chocolate dipped pineapples awaiting us in our room.

At around 6 a.m., we were awoken by the gobbling of wild turkeys.

It was too hilarious to be mad about. And besides, with the time difference, it was already 10 a.m. for us. I so much prefer switching time zones back rather than forward. We were early to bed and early to rise like most normal people.

Stairs to our floor.


The foyer at Koele was so nice. It was very open with lots of natural light, tons of seating, and two huge fireplaces that made it smell amazing. And there was often live music.



It was so awesome sitting in the dining room in the mornings, with the patio doors open and fresh tropical juices. 

Unfortunately, as sad as it is for us to report, because we absolutely loved Koele, we found that the food was sometimes rather mediocre. Manele had amazing food, though.

Eric's yogurt parfait was, sadly, quite bland.

I definitely liked my pancakes with coconut syrup, though.

Chicken mango sausages were also very good.

We spent a lot of evenings playing pool, foosball, and shuffle board in the games room.

So many areas for lounging.

Front deck at Koele.


Thar be a kitty around here somewhere!

Koele pastures. One of the really cool things about Koele is how varied the landscape is. Hawaiian jungle-ness, prairies, pine trees, beaches, red rock desert...

Tall pine trees that line the drive to Koele.








"Backyard" of Koele. There were so many pretty places to walk around.

















Executive 18-hole putting course, just right outside the hotel. There are other world-class golf courses on Lanai, but (a) golf isn't our thing, and (b) they were being renoed while we were there anyway.

Putting is more our speed, though. So we definitely took a turn on the putting course as well as the croquet course. Did I mention that we're 80 years old? As were most of the people at Koele. We were in good company.














The covered things here are seats and fire pits.





The pool. It and the gym were open 24/7. We actually only went in the pool once, at night. It was empty and so nice. But considering the pool is heated and was even kind of warm at night, I can't imagine going in in the hot daytime anyway.


White, pasty Canadians.

Wild turkeys roaming about.








Here's an aerial view of Koele (not great quality) so that you can compare how small it is to Manele.

Manele. Boom! Huge, at least by comparison. And right by the ocean.

Manele sitting area (ocean in background).





Manele had lots of gardens and prettiness.



Rescue birds.

Pathway to the beach from Manele.

Said beach.



Because we got to enjoy the amenities of Manele, we got the beach service; beach workers would set up beach chairs with towels, an umbrella (or two, if you so wished) and tables. Then they would periodically come around and bring us things like water refills, pineapple, and even spritzing us with water. So much pampering.

Floppy hats don't cooperate in the wind.



Some sun for our ghostly skin.

Beach chilling.



So much reading on this vacation. It was glorious.



Shield your eyes! You'll be blinded!

We went on a horse trail.

T'was a lovely way to see more of Lanai.

It was only Eric's second time riding a horse, and apparently the first time didn't go well. But he did swell this time and enjoyed it.



I believe that's another Hawaiian island you can see in the distance. Probably Maui.



High tea (herbal) with sandwiches, scones, and desserts after our horse ride. Does our fanciness know no bounds?


Room service burgers. These were one of the better meals we had at Koele. But we had a burger at Manele that was one of the best we'd ever had.


So much freckles and frizziness. 

Freckles and Fizz, you might say.

The cute little LDS chapel. And it was just a nice jaunt over from Koele.


I love being able to find such kinship and camaraderie basically anywhere in the world.

Everyone was so nice and welcoming. Hawaiians are some of the most amiable people around, and pair that with LDS cordiality -- we were welcomed with open arms!

And food! We scored big time because there was a potluck after church. Home cooked Hawaiian food!

Walking back from church to Koele through some of Lanai City.







Pretty pastures.



Loved these big pine trees.





Eric compared to the big pine trees.


Trying to get used to wearing hats. I always feel like I'm putting on airs.

Silly, curly hair. Eric said this was my "Michael Jackson look". *Ah hoo hoo*

Breakfast at Manele. My crepes were so good.

Eric and I need to smarten up with our posture. Look at these two slouches.

Yummy crepes.

Yummy waffle.




View while eating breakfast.

Dat view.


More beach time.





My Kindle case had an apropos Hawaiian theme.

Mmm, so much lazing.

Oh, you know, just some SPINNER DOLPHINS!!!

People were actually swimming amongst them, they were so close.


Sitting by the fire before dinner.


This guy in Hawaiian garb came and blew a conch shell and lit all the torch lights.


All lit up.

View from Nobu, the best sushi we've ever had. Not even just best sushi, one of the best meals we've ever had. We ended up going to Nobu a second time because it was so darn good.


One of many fresh fish dishes. There were so many delicious local Hawaiian fish to choose from.

This was one of the big reasons we had to return. Shaved ice with ice cream, coconut, sweet and condensed milk, and fruit. They were amazing! 


I found the hotel kitty! His name is Garfield. And I would fawn over him every chance I got.

Ready to go for the hike that's right in Koele's backyard.











More wild turkeys. They're everywhere!


Scary prickly things.

Part of the golf course.











Big water tank.


There were markers so we wouldn't get lost. Very helpful.

Paige amongst the foliage.




































All done the hike, and here's the gorgeous view. It was a very quick, easy hike, with a great pay off.













In the distance is Molokai to the left and Maui to the right.






Panoramic view. Gorgeous.





More Garfield!

I love me a good kitty.


CAT SANCTUARY!

I was very much so in heaven. Yes, I was.

You walk in and the kitties swarm you for love and pets.

They're all rescue kittens. Our hearts were much warmed to see all these little kitties being taken care of in a loving environment.

Kathy Carroll is the founder of this wonderful place. She was kind enough to even drive out when we were visiting the sanctuary and show us around the enclosure. Such a fantastic person.



Kitties for days!









And every single one of these kitties has a name! Kathy told us lots of them. One of my favorite names was "Jamie Lee Curtis"




Pure joy.

Can I stay forever?


This is Dizzy Dean, one of Eric's favorite kitties.




Sadly, many kitties come to the sanctuary in rough shape. But happily, they get taken good care of once in the shelter. They receive frequent vet visits in the shelter. Some of the poor little guys have had to have some of their teeth removed. Dizzy Dean is one of those, which resulted in his tongue lolling out of his mouth when Eric brushed him.



Daw, he loves the pets!







Kitties galore!


As far as the eye can see.


This is Mya, one of my favorites. She was very feral when they brought her in, but now she lives for pets upon pets.

She'd paw at you if you stopped petting her.

Cat nip time!

That's Kathy giving them cat nip. Her husband, Mike Carroll, has an art gallery in Lanai, another top rated attraction in Lanai, but unfortunately we didn't end up seeing it.





Happy kitties.

Mya wanting pets again.

The kitties lounge all over the place.

This was one of the kitties with immunodeficiency disease. These little guys are more susceptible to infection, so they have to be isolated away from the other kitties.

Sigh. Bye, kitties. We wished we wouldn't have left this until later in the trip; we would have gone ten more times!

At least I had Garfield to keep me company.

Trying out some of the local restaurants. This is from the Poke Market. Poke is fish salad. Very good. Also had some yummy pork.

Juice/smoothie shop.

Cafe 565 had great calzones. And an amazing dessert Reese calzone. Mmm.

Park downtown.

More downtown.

Little gecko on the window.

So teenie.

On departure day, we had to fly back to Honolulu, but the timing worked out so that we had about 12 or so hours to spend in Honolulu before our flight for the Mainland took off. We originally thought we'd do something adventurous like zip-lining or even just the Polynesian Cultural Center. But we would have had to rent a car, and we'd have to worry about getting back to the airport on time. So instead, we took a taxi to a mall and spent our time in a nice air-conditioned theater. Three movies in total! Hunger Games, Interstellar, and Big Hero 6. That's how we roll.

We got more shaved ice with coconut and sweet and condensed milk during one of our movie breaks. We loved it so much that we even bought a high-quality ice-shaver when we got home.

And then we took the long flight home and have missed Hawaii ever since. Sigh. At least we had our own little kitty to return to. And pretty soon after returning, we were surprised by little Fizzlet!

We do indeed hope to return to Hawaii and Lanai one day. Considering Hawaii was a send off to our lives as a family of two (and Abby), though, it may be a while...