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I'm currently reading two books: "Rick Steves Italy 2011" and "Dirty Italian".

One gives lot of great info on Italy and the other...helps with the language barrier.

Heading back to Italy (Rome, Siena, Florence, Cinque Terre, San Gmignano, Pisa) in a few weeks, so it's another advance prep thing.

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Finished the Keith Richards autobiography (AWESOME, by the way).

I'm already about halfway through The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey. It's half about freak wave history and research, and half about big wave surfing. Great read. Laird Hamilton is the alpha male of the ocean, and I can't wait to get to Hawaii for my 11th visit.

I was on the fence regarding the Keith Richards autobiography. So I'll give it a shot.

We were thinking about a first trip to Hawaii. Any recommendations: hotel or house rental, which island, with 11 trips in, no doubt you believe it is worth the jacked up prices. I was thinking of the new Disney resort hotel there, but at $7000 for five days......I'll keep thinking.

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I was on the fence regarding the Keith Richards autobiography. So I'll give it a shot.

We were thinking about a first trip to Hawaii. Any recommendations: hotel or house rental, which island, with 11 trips in, no doubt you believe it is worth the jacked up prices. I was thinking of the new Disney resort hotel there, but at $7000 for five days......I'll keep thinking.

Gracious! $7000?

It can actually be very reasonable if you do it right. That will always mean avoiding resorts.

Where you go and what you do depends almost entirely on how much time you have and what kind of crew you're traveling with. How much time do you have? Who all would be going?

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Gracious! $7000?

It can actually be very reasonable if you do it right. That will always mean avoiding resorts.

Where you go and what you do depends almost entirely on how much time you have and what kind of crew you're traveling with. How much time do you have? Who all would be going?

A week, 10 days tops. Family of four, with a two and four year old. Hate huge crowds, always like to avoid if possible, though I doubt it will be possible with this. Hoping for an nice place with around a 300.00 a day budget for lodging (less would be nice)....nice view is most important thing to my wife, on the beach if possible......I don't mean to treat you as a travel agent, but I know next to nothing about which island is preferable for scenery and nature, the amount of crowds on each, etc.

Thanks

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A week, 10 days tops. Family of four, with a two and four year old. Hate huge crowds, always like to avoid if possible, though I doubt it will be possible with this. Hoping for an nice place with around a 300.00 a day budget for lodging (less would be nice)....nice view is most important thing to my wife, on the beach if possible......I don't mean to treat you as a travel agent, but I know next to nothing about which island is preferable for scenery and nature, the amount of crowds on each, etc.

Thanks

I can talk about it all day. No worries.

I have always found Maui and Kauai to be the easiest islands to handle. Oahu is a bit of a two trick pony, with Honolulu dominating one scene and North Shore surfing dominating the other. The Big Island is pretty varied, but the beaches are a little more rocky, some of the cities a little more methed-out and you always run the risk of being there when the volcano is gushing vog, a nasty stinky blend of fog and sulfur. That said, if you want to see a volcano, go to the Big Island.

I'd suggest the north shore of Maui. You can fly into Kahului and rent a car, then drive 20 minutes East to the Paia area. It's slow, has a nice grocery and liquor store and you can find plenty of 2 BR houses for rent for less than $300. I use www.vrbo.com and have always had great success. In September, we'll have a 3 BR, 1 BA for $192.50 per night, and it's walking distance from the beach and town. You can always drive to the nicer resort areas down by Kihei or Wailea if you want to shop, have fancy drinks, or see the nice hotels and their manicured beaches. Paia is far more DIY, and I prefer that.

I also HIGHLY recommend Kauai. It's very rural and not touristy at all. There are countless things to do there, and they all involve nature. At your immediate disposal are: hundreds of hikes, paddle boarding on rivers, Na Pali boat tours, helicopter tours, scenic drives, Waimea Canyon, volcanic tubes to swim in...the list is endless. The resorts are generally in Poipu, down south, or in Princeville, up north. I suggest going past Princeville and into Hanalei up north. You can find even better deals on houses in Hanalei than in Paia, and it's a similar speed.

Flights range from $500 (the are really hard to come by and you have to be really flexible) to $950. Interisland flights are around $80. Housing can be easily obtained for $300 or less, per night. You'll also need a rental car in both places. If you shop and cook, it can be done pretty reasonably, though there are affordable options for dining out.

Don't be too freaked by some of the resorts for just hanging out. They're stupid expensive to stay at, but their bars and other scenery can be really amazing.

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I can talk about it all day. No worries.

I have always found Maui and Kauai to be the easiest islands to handle. Oahu is a bit of a two trick pony, with Honolulu dominating one scene and North Shore surfing dominating the other. The Big Island is pretty varied, but the beaches are a little more rocky, some of the cities a little more methed-out and you always run the risk of being there when the volcano is gushing vog, a nasty stinky blend of fog and sulfur. That said, if you want to see a volcano, go to the Big Island.

I'd suggest the north shore of Maui. You can fly into Kahului and rent a car, then drive 20 minutes East to the Paia area. It's slow, has a nice grocery and liquor store and you can find plenty of 2 BR houses for rent for less than $300. I use www.vrbo.com and have always had great success. In September, we'll have a 3 BR, 1 BA for $192.50 per night, and it's walking distance from the beach and town. You can always drive to the nicer resort areas down by Kihei or Wailea if you want to shop, have fancy drinks, or see the nice hotels and their manicured beaches. Paia is far more DIY, and I prefer that.

I also HIGHLY recommend Kauai. It's very rural and not touristy at all. There are countless things to do there, and they all involve nature. At your immediate disposal are: hundreds of hikes, paddle boarding on rivers, Na Pali boat tours, helicopter tours, scenic drives, Waimea Canyon, volcanic tubes to swim in...the list is endless. The resorts are generally in Poipu, down south, or in Princeville, up north. I suggest going past Princeville and into Hanalei up north. You can find even better deals on houses in Hanalei than in Paia, and it's a similar speed.

Flights range from $500 (the are really hard to come by and you have to be really flexible) to $950. Interisland flights are around $80. Housing can be easily obtained for $300 or less, per night. You'll also need a rental car in both places. If you shop and cook, it can be done pretty reasonably, though there are affordable options for dining out.

Don't be too freaked by some of the resorts for just hanging out. They're stupid expensive to stay at, but their bars and other scenery can be really amazing.

Honestly sounds perfect. Thank you very much.

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Honestly sounds perfect. Thank you very much.

It is. I've been to Maui twice, but Kauai ten times. If you do decide to book it, shoot me a PM and I can give you specifics on things to do and places to go. Do pay some mind to weather when planning your trip. Winter is extremely rainy on Kauai.
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He was a strange, strange man. Tales of Ordinary Madness is outstanding.

I finished The Wave and have downloaded Born to Run.

He was! I first became interested about him while listening to a song that had part of Dinosauria, we in it. Gave me some serious shivers, definitely one of the most dark and powerful poems I've ever read. My favorites of Bukowski's have to be when he writes about his drunk side. Hilarious work.

Think I'll do Tales of Ordinary Madness next. Heard it was brilliant!

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Anyone read Patient Zero? It was the first in a series and I've never read any books afterwards, but I remember liking it for what it was.

It's about a group of middle eastern terrorists led by a man named El Mujahid who employs scientists funded by a pharmaceutical company called Gen2000 to create biochemical weapons. Eventually they develope a strain of biochemical weaponry called "Sword of the Faithful" which is a pathogen that turns human beings into...you guessed it, flesh-eating zombies.

Made a note of this when you posted it (you and I seem to have similar taste in books) and finally got around to reading it once I caught up with A Song of Ice and Fire. It was an entertaining read.

I'm actually on the third book of the series now, both are more entertaining and well written than Patient Zero, IMO.

Each book is like reading an episode of 24.

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Just read Michael Crichton's "Pirate Latitudes" this past weekend at the beach. Breezed through it in 2 days. Has some of the usual meticulous Crichton research details, but seemed incomplete and oddly paced, which makes sense considering it was a manuscript discovered on his computer after he died. Still entertaining enough.

Just picked up a non-fiction called "The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey" by Candice Millard. About a doomed expedition to the Amazon after Teddy left office.

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