I'll try to keep this short, it could be a long report. Saw a lot and had many lifetime 'first' experiences. We spent the whole week, except for our last day before flying out, on the island of Kauai. I think it is pronounced ka-wa-ee. My wife is always complaining that I pronounce it 'cowie'. Oh, well. Beautiful island, much to see and do. Major impressions of Hawaii: pretty girls, expensive, very-very expensive, beautiful scenery, friendly and courteous people. I really appreciated the courtesy and friendliness of everyone everywhere. There was a small town/family attitude wherever we went. Unexpectedly, it was also refreshing to see a lot of young people. As much as I love all my retiree friends, the energy of youth is not to be seen where I live. From the pictures I posted at Flickr you can see we visited the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. This was on our day out before flying home. Personally, the trip would not have been complete for me if we had not visited this sacred spot. I have only been to one other place that so moved me. That was Gettysburg battlefield.
We took a boat ride along the Napalli coast of Kauai and actually saw dolphins and whales. The scenery is indescribably spectacular. I highly recommend this trip if any of you ever visit this island. It is a must. You will note from one photo, we had a very skilled captain.
We also went to the Smith family luau. I mention the name because if you ever visit there, this is the one we recommend. Even though it is obviously geared to attract the tourist crowd, it is a quality event. The grounds are a 31 acre garden that is worth the visit by itself. Food was great and the show both entertaining and educational. (I can hear the comments now about the 'educational' part. Oh, well. )
As for the expense, well Hawaii is, I guess you could say, in a permanent state of inflation. We were told the poverty level for a family of four is $45,000.00 a year and many people don't earn anywhere near that. We did see what could be called an underclass of folks scraping for extra income any way they could. All were hard workers trying to offer something in an attempt to earn extra income. No beggars or anything like that were noted. Examples of prices: hard to buy a lunch for two under $40.00; eggs almost $7.00 a dozen; two lithium AA batteries $10.00 compared to $8.00 for four here; gasoline about $1.00 a gallon higher than mainland, etc.
I really liked the people, especially the pretty girls who came in a variety of skin shades and ethnic mixes. Standard day clothes were often just bikinis. I really hated that.
OK, some woodworking/turning content. Saw a turner at a farmers market. Bowls were nice. A couple were so thin and delicate I was really impressed. Those were Norfork pine. Found a shop that had many nice items made by the owners. They know about guys like us and have wood on hand to sell as well as made-up boxes for shipment. All of their wood is Koa. I bought a $12.95 flat rate box (he charges only $10.00 for shipping) of wood. It should arrive later today with our held mail.
This was the Koa Store, check it out at: www.thekoastore.com
Another store we stopped in was at the end of a long, rural dirt road. The owner didn't stay in the store, it was strictly on an honor system. He makes his stuff from found wood in the forests. All is very creative. To me, it looks like he releases the sculpture, or table, or whatever that is hidden inside. The store is on the honor system. He has a box for payment. You buy a $5,000.00 sculpture, drop a check in the box and take the piece. What passes for his workshop is open. I looked in. He has a 15" planer, a drill press, bandsaw and few other things, nuttin' fancy at all. I walked around his property looking for a bandmill. None in sight. Then I spotted one of those rigs that use a chainsaw for making planks. Didn't look like it was capable of making very long planks or slabs but he had some stuff that was more than 8' long. Dunno how he did it. You can check him out at Hawaiian Hardwood
I'll wind this up now. As much as I/we enjoyed the trip, my biggest joy is from the fact that my son has achieved success to where he, and his wife, were able to do this for us.
My pictures (over 400) are posted publicly, for now, at Flickr.