Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kayaking on the Wailua River

Aloha! Today we went on a long journey on the Wailua River to get to a waterfall called Secret Falls. The Wailua River is located in the Wailua River State Park, on the East Coast of Kauai. The river is 20 miles long, and the only river in the state of Hawaii that can be passed through by motorized boat. The river is fed by two main waterfalls and also by rain from Mount Waialeale, the wettest place in the world. Mount Waialeale gets 480 inches of rain per year! The river is surrounded by a lush green rainforest.

First, we rented 2 kayaks, which held one adult with two children.  Everyone had to paddle except my younger brother and sister. At first, I thought paddling was going to be fun but after we started it was very hard.When we got on the boat the wind was blowing us forward so we didn’t have to paddle as much.  It was a two mile kayak trip.  When we got there, our hands were very tired so we sat down on the rock, rested, and ate lunch before starting our one mile hike to the waterfall. 

Crossing the river
The hike was not very strenuous and mostly following the river. We had to look down so we didn’t trip on the many roots that stuck out of the ground. After walking for about 20 minutes, the trail ended right at the river and we can see that it restarted at the other side. That meant that we had to cross.  We all had tennis shoes on, instead of water shoes. We had to take off our shoes and walk in the water. The rocks were very slippery and also hurt our feet. When we got across, we noticed we made a big mistake. We should have kept our shoes on because by the time we crossed, we were all wet anyway.  Then we started up hill and walked more.  After we walked about, another mile, we still didn’t see the water fall and didn’t see anyone else on the trail, all we saw were some toads near the trail. We were lost! We continued a little further and then the trail ended. We had to start walking back until we found the right trail. Once we turned onto the right trail the waterfall was only a couple of minutes away. The secret falls was a huge waterfall, and the water was really cold and refreshing. We all went swimming in the waterfall and swam all the way to the falls. When we went near the falls, the water was falling so hard that it hurt and we swam away.
Hiking through the rainforest

Cane toad

Our trip back to our kayak went very smoothly. We didn’t get lost and crossed the river with our shoes on so it didn’t hurt our fee. When we got to our kayak, we were all tired, but we still had to paddle back to the dock where we left our car. In the afternoon the wind started to pick up and we had to paddle the kayak against the wind. We were paddling as fast as we could, but the wind was blowing so hard that we were going backwards and being pushed up against the bushes that grow alongside the river. The bushes were prickly so it hurt a little. We just couldn’t paddle any more. Luckily, we saw there was a dock, and we decided to stop and rest.  The owner of the dock let us rest and had a great idea. He told us to ask someone with a motor boat to take us back to the dock and then we can drive and pick up the kayaks. My mom went to get our van while we stayed behind. While we were waiting for her, we saw a man weaving baskets, hats, fish, and birds from coconut tree leaves. We asked him how he makes them and he showed us. It looked very hard. He said that he has to climb the trees to get the coconut leaves.   After that, he gave all of us a fish on a fishing pole that he wove right in front of us. Finally our mom arrived and we loaded up the kayaks and went to a a restaurant to eat dinner. When we finally got home, we were all very exhausted and went swimming in the pool to cool off. We had a very exciting and adventurous day.

What interesting place have you hiked?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tropical Fruits from the Farmer's Market

While on vacation on the island of Kauai in Hawaii, we went to the farmers market.Every day there is a farmers market located on a different part of the Island. On Friday, the farmer's market is near where we are staying, on the east side of the Island.  At the farmers market. we saw many different kinds of fruits and vegetables.  We took some of them home and tasted them. Last year, Miriam did a similar post with fruits we found on the Big Island.

Mountain apple
 Mountain apple- This tropical fruit doesn't really tastes like apples, it tastes more like a pear. It is white on the inside, and dark red on the outside. This fruit is very sweet and juicy. It was everyone's favorite. 

Chiku- It has a very hard shell, but on the inside it looks like a grape. It is much sweeter than a grape, and it also has a small black pit. I didn't really like this fruit because it was too sweet. 

Longan- It has a brown skin that you peel before you eat the inside. Longan is extremely sweet and it kind of tastes mushy. In the inside it has a few black oval shape pits. Miriam was the only one who liked this fruit. 

Passion fruit- This tropical fruit is very sour. You cut it in half and then you only eat the inside. There are many small seeds inside that you eat.  The seeds are somewhat slimy, but delicious. 

White pineapple- It  looks like a regular pineapple but it is white in the inside instead of yellow. This pineapple is low in acid which makes it extra sweet.

Soursop, This tropical fruit is related to the Cherimoya family. The outside of this fruit it is very prickly, but it has a very sweet and sour taste inside. It doesn't taste like any other fruit I tried.  The inside is also kind of hard to chew because it is high in fiber. 

Sunrise Papaya,  This papaya is smaller and milder in taste compared to the maradol papaya that is found in California and Mexico.  This fruit is very sweet, and it tastes like a melon. 

Sunrise papaya


Passion fruit
White pineapple

When we were at the farmers market it was very hot, and one of the farmers was selling coconuts.  He cut out the top and put a straw inside so we could drink the water. It tasted like sweet water, but it wasn't my favorite.


Some of the farmers were also selling colorful tropical flowers that were red, yellow, pink and green.

Cooking bananas vs lady finger bananas

At the farmer's market we saw 3 types of banana, apple banana, lady finger banana, and cooking banana. The apple banana looked just like a regular banana except it smaller and fatter. It is also a little more tangy than the regular banana. The lady finger banana are tiny and are also called sugar banana because of their sweet taste. Cooking bananas are also known as plantains. They were really big and thick, but we never tried them to see how they taste. 

Other fruit that we saw at the market were  mangoes, lichee, bitter melon, squash, and jack fruit.

Hannah holding a humongous and heavy squash

Have you tried any of these fruits? 
Which was your favorite?  
Have you tried any other exotic fruits?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Playing Piano with my Little Sister

Hannah and I recently learned a few new songs that we wanted to share with you. They were written in different periods of music. The first song we recorded was played by Hannah. It is called Nocturne by F.Chopin. Frederic Chopin was born on 1810 in Poland, and died in 1849 when he was just 38 years old. He composed music in the early Romantic Period (1820 to 1850).  The music in the Romantic Period had more feelings and emotions to the music. To read more about Chopin, you can visit my earlier post. Another famous composer that lived in this period is Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. My little sister Hannah played some of his pieces.

The next song was played by me. It was called Sonatina Op. 36, No. 2 Movement III by M. Clementi. Muzio Clementi was born on January 24,1752 in Rome. He was an Italian composer and pianist, and was the first to write specifically for the piano.  He was born during the classical period 1750-1820. The classical period composers were the first to write for the piano and are best known for piano music.  Most of the pieces Miriam and  I play are from the classical period.  To learn more about Clementi, you can visit Miriam's blog. Other important classical composers that I play are Beethoven and Haydn. Miriam also plays pieces by Beethoven and Haydn.

The next song was played by Hannah. It is called variations on the Russian theme by  N. Lubarsky. He is a Russian composer, but I couldn't find what year he composed in. In fact, I couldn't find anything about this composer. Can you find any information about him?

Finally, the last song I played together with Hannah is a waltz called "Waves of the Danube" By  I. Ivanovici. "Waves of the Danube" was first published in Bucharest, in 1880.

Here is the video of all the songs we recorded:

Which one was your favorite?