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Paradise at the Right Price

Remember when we went horseback riding on Maui?Well, Mom and I thought we'd try it again—a 1 1/2-hour "country ride." The guide, Gubby, actually expected us to know what we were doing. All I came away with was that when your horse wants to urinate, you have to stand up a bit in the saddle to relieve the pressure from his kidneys.

We've had better luck with meals. At Dali Deli, we bought terrific sandwiches to take to the beach, and we had a great dinner at Postcards Café, in Hanalei. It was precious in a good way: bamboo chairs, old postcards under glass on the tables. We started with taro fritters-surprisingly tasty, but heavy-then moved on to fish tacos. Mom, evidently tired of talking to me, started up a conversation with the couple at the next table.

They mix the most amazing mai tai—your favorite drink!—at the Living Room bar at the Princeville Resort. I don't understand why you'd want to feel that you're in an English country house while in Hawaii, but it is impressive. A pianist and a singer played the "Hawaiian Wedding Song," and Mom told me how the Presbyterian church in Bel Air wouldn't allow it at your wedding. We toasted you.

Love, Erik

Thursday
To: wtorkells@hotmail.com
From: etorkells@yahoo.com

Dear Wally,

It's me, Sue. Erik let me sign on to his E-mail account. We're having fun. The weather's been good. When did our son become such a penny-pincher?

Love, Sue

Friday
To: wtorkells@hotmail.com
From: etorkells@yahoo.com

Dear Dad,

Hanalei town has a hippie chic that Mom and I both liked. We had run out of fruit, so we ate breakfast at Old Hanalei Coffee & Co. Mom ordered a chocolate-chip muffin, even though she subsequently remembered that she hates chocolate in the morning. I had the Bali Hai breakfast burrito.

I bought a snazzy bathing suit, and we both loved the vintage Hawaiiana at Yellowfish. Mom found a woven box purse at a place called Sand People, but it cost $64 and she said you never take her anywhere interesting anyway.

We've checked into Opaekaa Falls Hale, a house up in the hills with a suite that they rent out. The owner is nice; the amount of food she gave us for a two-night stay is remarkable; the facilities and amenities (washer/dryer; TV/VCR with movies) are terrific; but it just doesn't seem right for a B&B to be in the middle of a housing tract. I feel as if Neighborhood Watch is keeping tabs on us. A lot of the messages in the guest book mention God, which makes me uncomfortable—sorry, I know my atheism is a sore subject—but you have to agree it's not very Christian to charge guests $20 to use the pool.

There's so much to do on Kauai that's free. We hiked up the head of the Sleeping Giant, the mountain range that looks like a man lying on his back. At one point, when I'd stopped to take it all in, Mom broke the silence: "I'll never get all this mud off my shoes." I guess I wasn't much nobler, as the whole way down I was thinking how good the hot dogs were going to taste at Mustard's Last Stand, famous on the island. They were indeed fantastic, real big dogs with a whole spread of toppings. The tables are made of surfboards.

Then we headed over to the Wailua River to go kayaking—had to work off those dogs! We went up a creek that resembled Vietnam (I guess, anyway, never having been there). Mom didn't do much in the way of paddling. Now I know why you two refuse to play mixed doubles.

Since it was our last night, we splurged on dinner at the Beach House, one of Kauai's top restaurants. I had mahi mahi in a garlic-sesame crust and lime-ginger sauce; Mom, pistachio-crusted snapper and ancho linguine. The food was as fabulous as the view of the sun setting over the ocean. Boy, I wish you'd been with us. You could have paid.

Love, Erik

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