Over the past months we've been regularly seeking recommendations from Americans we've met of places to go and stay for our week in Hawaii. In all our conversations, one piece of advice has been universal. Leave Honolulu immediately.
So it was that within two hours of landing we found ourselves on a small plane bound for the least touristed of all the major Hawaiian islands, Kaua'i.
Despite it's diminutive size, we found plenty to do in our eight days here, from the soft sandy beaches perfect for surfing and snorkeling to the rugged interior with it's spectacular scenery and hiking around Waimea Canyon - dubbed the grand canyon of the Pacific.
Kaua'i is a superbly laid-back island with a genuinely unique character. Since the decline of the sugar cane plantations and their regular burning of the fields, the islands feral chicken population has been steadily increasing. Then in 1992 when the island was flattened by a hurricane the prized fighting cocks of the local Phillipino community were released into the wild - having testosterone charged roosters (or at least the avian equivalent) rampaging over the island numbers has sent numbers spiraling out of control.
When they're not dashing out into the road bringing the local vehicle of choice, the monster truck, to a screeching halt, they seem to delight in crowing at all hours of the day and night. It gets even more confusing when this is also the ring tone on your cellphone, our joke of the week is simply "can you get that ...". Repeat several times daily.
One aspect of island life you won't read about in the guide books is the local radio station, Island Radio, playing a mix of reggae and local pop. The lyrics of the local pop songs are so literal that I've often found myself listening to songs assuming them to be adverts before realising they are in fact genuine tracks by local artists. A local version of the 12 days of Christmas is easily confused with a supermarket advert (8 tins of tuna, 7 pounds of pork) until it reaches items like 5 hunting dogs, 4 remote controls and of course an Irie Island Reggae CD.
After our initial chuckles we've grown rather fond of it - it's so refreshing for music to provide such an honest reflection of everyday life.
One track though stands apart in it's continued ability ability to have us laughing like lunatics as we drive around the island, we call it the toilet paper song and I think you'll enjoy it too.
After the first verse (imagine a reggae pop style) which describes stocking up on essentials in readiness for an approaching hurricane, the chorus kicks in as the singer reflects;
Your love, is like a good toilet paper ...
It never falls apart when the going gets tough ...
This is only surpassed by the "rap" in the middle of the song;
If you ever why that I say what i say,
The good toilet paper keep me clean every day.
It stay by my side, it never go away,
It never running out, that I hope and I pray.
Your lovin' is so fresh and so clean and so strong,
And like a roll of Charmin your lovin' lasts long.
Finally today is the last day of Movember and my new moustache is complete. A big thanks to all my sponsors who have raised a total of 125 pounds so far.
The Prostate Cancer Charity is a great cause and there's still time for those who'd like to donate - just click here and use my unique reference of 160527.