When everything you love comes together.
The fact that I recently learned that I have reached the Pualani Gold Status for Hawaiian Airways when I wasn't even trying is testament to my obsession with Hawaii. I visited for the first time about 5 years ago and ever since it's the first place I think about when I think about a true escape. My go to is Maui (oh Maui...) but during the last trip we decided to explore the garden island, Kawaii and needless the say, it did not disappoint. Right out of Jurassic Park, Kawaii reminds you that CGIs are based on a version of reality that we can't really experience any more unless we manage to make it to places that have been saved from humanity. Crystal clear waterfalls everywhere, sugar like sand on the beaches with giant fingers of rocks rising behind them, the soil is red like velvet, in the Waimea Canyon birds nest and fly hundreds of meters below where you stand, the ocean is a deep blue where dolphins come by to say hello without fear. We went snorkeling and two sea turtles the size of small cars swam with us for hours coexisting like animals that we all are. They must have been hundreds of years old.
I am always the happiest when I have had my time in the water, but the day got even better as we stopped at Talk Story afterwards. I had read up on it before so I was excited even before we got there, but to be honest I hadn't expected it to totally exceed all my expectations. Right as you walk in the large sign proudly tells you that Talk Story is the westernmost bookstore in the US. Spic and span, the store is run with much flair by a stylish confident woman entrepreneur and is chalk full with rows and rows of books both local, of Hawaiian history and tales, and international, like The Immortals by Amit Chowdhury. A deity sits leaning against a bookshelf with a fresh garland of flowers around her neck. A resident cat, Celeste, snoozes in her personal basket behind the register but also keeps a careful eye on all of us. If you look closely at the store merch you'll notice a cat with identical body marks as Celeste, climbing on books, and that is no coincidence. As her Instagram account proudly proclaims, @celeste_the_cat_boss, she is the true boss.
Outside, the area is dotted with island art galleries that you can walk around to explore. Afterwards we drove 5 minutes down the road to The Right Slice and had some of the best pies I have ever had in my life. These are the days I hope I will always remember in my life.
Talk Story Bookstore
3785 Hanapepe Rd, Hanapepe, HI 96716
The Right Slice
2-2459 Kaumualii Hwy, Kalaheo, HI 96741