Elvis vs Dinocroc

Well thankyou to our guest blogger yesterday. You’re now back in the hands of moi. Today, we needed to be up v early (again) but there would be no time for turtles this morning. We were off on our movie tour of Kauai with Roberts of Hawaii. Jane and I like a good movie tour and generally the quirkier the better.

We were picked up by our shuttle bus at 7-15am and transported to our main bus at Lihue. I say ‘main’ bus but actually it was exactly the same as the other one except that this one had a TV screen at the front and Andy the tour guide to greet us with an Aloha!

We were handed an ancient photocopy of a map with various filming locations listed and also a list of 100 films that had been filmed in Kauai. Andy assured us that there would not be a test at the end of the day but swat that I am , I proceeded to take copious notes for the rest of the day just in case. I think my Mastermind speciality subject could now be ‘Film and other trivia relating to the island of Kauai’.

The little tour bus was filled with a quirky bunch of folk as you’d expect -from the two large and quite immobile American ladies who failed to get out of the bus at most stops, to a Japanese lady with her 103 year old Mum and weird looking American boyfriend. Then there was a family with a little girl , Ava, who was a whiney little thing all day long. There was apparently only one real film enthusiast, the man with a Jurrasic a Park t-shirt on.

Well off we went and Andy , to be fair, was a good tour guide. Very knowledgeable and witty and during the day we stopped at about 8 film locations and learned what had been filmed there. We watched old (mostly) black and white video clips so we could compare film with reality. There were some really lovely locations such as Wailua Falls (Castaway Cowboy, Firefly), Moloaa Bay (Pirates of the Caribbean, Gilligan’s Island), Hanamaula Bay (Voodoo Island, Donovan’s Reef)and of course Opaekaa Falls (Seven Women from Hell). So, yes I think you will generally get the picture here! Not all the films are recent and they’re certainly not all good!

The particular highlight of this tour is that you get to visit the Coco Palms Hotel which was the first major resort style hotel in Hawaii back in the day. It’s the only bus tour that allows this. It was also where Elvis Presley filmed Blue Hawaii. I have always loved this film since I was about 13 and all its exotiqueness. But the hotel itself was totally destroyed during the 1992 Hurricane Inniki and whilst there are plans to redevelop it, it hadn’t happened yet. We had to sign a waiver here to be let out of the bus as it is basically a building site. Some of our fellow guests would not sign the waiver so they had to stay on the bus and watch a clip of the film Dinocroc v SuperGator where a giant alligator sneaked up, and ate a Movie tour bus and its occupantsat Coco Palms hotel!

It was rather sad wandering around looking at the canal where the canoes delivered Elvis on his wedding day. Such a shame , let’s hope someone can restore it to its former glory.

As we were leaving we were entertained by Larry Rivero who had actually played music alongside Elvis in the film. He then went on to be the resident entertainment at the Coco Palms for the next 10 years. He is now 88 years old and still plays and sings in the bars near here 4 nights a week. He played his ukulele and made us join in singing his gentle songs. Larry handed out his business card which described him as Kauai Living Legend of Music. If you ask Larry ‘Did you know Elvis ? ‘ he replies ‘Elvis knew me!’ It was all a bit scary as he had an array of CDs ready for us to buy but we escaped leaving Jurrasic Park boy to do the honours!

Talking of which, another ‘highlight’ was seeing the fields where Jurrasic Park was filmed and we watched the movie , listening to the music as we drove past the fields where Sam Neill and Laura Dern first see the dinosaurs.

I also learned a lot of trivia about the island of Kauai. I won’t bore you with that now but please do just ask if there is anything you’d like to know. Oh one thing though…they don’t like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame much. He bought a $100million plot of land and built a lava stone wall all around it and just one house. They don’t like this…as it was originally thought that it could be two whole neighbourhoods.

Along the way we had a very pleasant lunch at a resort and chatted to a couple from South Carolina. Our final stop was the lighthouse at Kilauea (Lilo and Stich) before we made our way back to our sunny side of the island whilst watching Blue Hawaii.

By the time we got back we were both tired and a bit crotchety. All this having a lovely time is exhausting you know. But we did manage to drag ourselves out to the Beach House restaurant for a tasty meal watching the sun go down.

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