(I’d spent my life in an agricultural community in Central Washington State).
She was enormous.
(from my five-foot-almost-one-inch point-of-view)
And she had a smile that just wouldn’t quit. She made you feel warm and welcomed – prompting that kind of ‘I-don’t-want-to-leave’ feeling and a desire to return soon when you finally did leave.
|Louise Hauata - Tahiti Nui, photo March 1983|
|The Scout - reluctantly posing - Princeville, Kauai, March 1983|
We were young back then – barely married three years -- and travel was doled out in brief 10-day-per-year-doses by our employers. Hawaii, a mere six-hour flight away from the Seattle airport, was a favorite destination for us. Kauai’s North Shore was of particular appeal; in part because of Louise’s Tahiti Nui.
|Tahiti Nui - March 1983|
|Scenes from the Tahiti Nui luau - March 1983|
Before we sat down to eat, Louise had us encircle our tables, join hands and she said grace. Then the feast and entertainment was on. The hula show provided by local talented young ladies.
|Hanalei Valley 1983 left, 2014 right|
The town of Hanalei has a grocery store now, a small (tourist-oriented) shopping development and several restaurants and bars from which to choose. However, prior to our return, we were delighted to read in the Lonely Planet’s guidebook, “Kauai” that the Tahiti Nui is run by Louise’s son, Christian and her nephew, William Marsten.
Although Louise had died in 2003, we were eager to follow memory lane back to her Tahiti Nui.
|Tahiti Nui, Hanalei, 2014|
So much for that warm welcome I remembered. . .
|The "Nui" now - 2014|
Oh well, not to be deterred, we were pleased to learn they still have a weekly luau. . .not so pleased to learn it was capped off at some hundred guests or so, each paying $75 a person. Maybe a regular dinner there would work, we reasoned. . .
We stopped by the one evening we were in town and the place -- with its cross between funky Tahitian and dive décor -- didn’t look much different from how we remembered it. It was, however, crammed with diners and drinkers thus making its interior stifling hot and stuffy.
But no smiles like Louise’s greeted us from the bartender or the wait staff.
There really seemed no room nor real reason to stay.
We took a final look around.
Then tucked those sweet memories away. . .
. . .and ate pub grub at Kalypso a bar/restaurant down the street where we were greeted with a warm welcome.
If You Go:
5-5134 Kuhio Highway
5-5156 Kuhio Highway
Foodie Tuesday – Inside Journeys