The Pact

You and your best friend each had two kids under the age of three and you were having a “playdate” at your house. The family room was a disaster zone, the kitchen was a splattered mess, and all four babies decided to meltdown at once. You and your friend almost started crying yourselves from sheer exhaustion until you looked at each other and burst out laughing. You laughed so hard the kids stopped crying just to look at you.

Your friend finally said, “Let’s make a pact. If we can make it through this crazy time alive, we are going to Hawaii together to celebrate — no kids.”

“Deal!” You shook her hand. Then the babies started wailing again.

That was twelve years ago.

Someday my Trip Will Come

Today, you, your best friend, and your spouses are indeed in Hawaii together to celebrate that your kids are doing just fine, thank you very much. You are staying in a spacious, ocean-view, two-bedroom villa at Koloa Landing Resort on the glorious South Shore of Kauai — and you like it here. You like it a lot.

This lazy afternoon in paradise your biggest challenge concerns choosing the yummiest appetizers for your poolside happy hour (or, to the locals, aloha hour). How to narrow down your choices from the selection of delectable-sounding pupus on the Holoholo Grill’s menu?

“Let’s order them all,” your husband sensibly suggests.

You all resoundingly agree.

Pupus, Drinks and the Sky

The soothing sounds of a live steel drum start to waft up from the bar below. Tiki torches flicker to life and tall palm fronds rustle against a sky that is. now fading to lavender with peachy streaks.

Your friendly poolside server arrives with your order on a huge platter. She says, “It’s going to be another spectacular sunset tonight.”

She passes around all your cocktails and goodies. The pupus are fabulous:

The Crab and Artichoke Dip comes with a squeeze of lemon and a side of warm herbed focaccia.

The Kiawe Smoked Pork Ribs are laden with a tangy guava barbecue sauce — juicy and oh-so satisfying.

The basket of Chicken Karaage Bites are crunchy and served with two dips: An island garlic sauce and a yuzu aioli.

Macadamia Nut Crusted Brie is warm and ooey-gooey, and pairs perfectly with its pineapple chutney.

Crispy Calamari lives up to its name and is tender and juicy inside. Ideal for submerging into the citrus aioli.

Post-Pupu Perfection

Your server returns to clear your much-enjoyed pupu platter and deliver your last round of cocktails. She leans in conspiratorially:

“If you really want to catch the best sunset view, I recommend you sneak down to the edge of our property and watch it from the world-famous Sunset Wall. You have plenty of time to make it for the horizon’s grand finale.”

You thank her for her tip — and she thanks you for your tip. As the sky turns a deep shade of fuchsia, you decide to heed her advice. You grab your drink cups and head down the pathway that leads from the pool to the little road below.

The Sun Sets

Moments later you gather on the rocks at the water’s edge, surrounded by other guests, locals with surfboards, after-school teens, and scattered joggers who have paused to witness this moment. You sip your drink. As the skies grow an even deeper pink and the fiery ball of the sun begins to melt onto the horizon, people murmur superlatives and high praises. Someone thanks God. Your spouse puts his arm around your shoulders. You breathe in deep and feel a swell of gratitude for him, for your kids, for your friendships, for plentiful pupus and for these glorious islands.

Then the sun disappears. Everyone applauds.


Ready to get away from it all and enjoy your own pupus and sunsets in paradise? Our resort in Kauai, Hawaii is just awaiting your arrival. Bringing the kids: optional.

— Erica Karlin