Hello everyone! Suma the Puma here.

I love being the beautiful face of the Westlake Porter Library’s Youth Services department, but sometimes I wish for a little more adventure in my life. So when I heard that Jessica, one of the silly human employees, was going on a trip to Hawai’i, I knew I’d better stow away accompany her and offer my services as bodyguard and travel companion.

To prepare for the trip, I read Fly by Nathan Clement. Flying in a plane is easy when you’re a fierce cat like me. I wasn’t scared at all. It’s important to read the safety pamphlet. I read it twelve times to make sure I knew what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency.

We flew from Cleveland to Seattle, and it was fascinating to see the different types of landscapes that make up America. My favorite view was the mountains. After a boring uneventful layover, we “hopped the pond” to the island of Kaua’i.

We went to historic Hanapepe Town, the home of Lilo and Stitch! I bravely crossed the Swinging Bridge and ate some tasty treats. Proud pumas like me are usually carnivorous, but I bent the rules for a pineapple soft serve cake cone with li hing mui drizzle from Pineapple in Paradise. Mmmmm.

Speaking of tasty treats, Hawai’i cuisine has its own special flavor. The warm climate is perfect for growing bananas, coconuts, mangoes, avocadoes, oranges, lychee, starfruit… the list of fresh goodies goes on. Local specialties include kalua pork, mac salad, and ahi poke (pronounced po-keh—it’s raw tuna!). The Hawai’ian word for delicious is ‘ono, a useful word when you’re surrounded by so much amazing food!

Please note the spray bottle on the table, for the purpose of shooing feral chickens in search of an easy meal.

Talk about an easy meal! Chickens on Kaua’i are like squirrels in Ohio: they run around wild. At least chickens are delicious cute. They were so cute that I tried to sneak up on one and… hug it.

The islands are full of natural beauty. The beaches, of course, are lovely, and inland we found forests, rivers, and waterfalls as well. The humans were very sore after a particularly long hike, but for a tough and strong cat like me, navigating mountainous terrain is child’s play. Riding along in Jessica’s backpack made it easy. Kaua’i is the second-oldest of the main eight Hawai’ian islands, which means I didn’t have to worry about active volcanoes. We saw the gateposts from the original Jurassic Park, but no dinosaurs, unfortunately.

You can’t go to Kaua’i without visiting Hanalei, home to the famous Hanalei Pier and Puff the Magic Dragon. In the photo below, you can see the dragon’s head in the mountain behind me. The blue tent in the background marks just about where his eye should be. If you’re not already familiar with the song, check out WPPL’s Puff the Magic Dragon kit! The song’s fictitious land of “Honah Lee” was not originally related to this corner of Kaua’i, but the dragon in the mountain made it easy to adopt. It should be noted, however, that Hanalei is pronounced Ha-na-LEI (rhymes with bay), not Ha-na-LEE, as you’ll hear in the song.

Why do silly humans like the beach so much? Sure, the view is nice, but at the end of the day, it’s just sand and water. Cats don’t like water. Sightseeing is one thing, but I did not enjoy paddleboarding. I made Jessica do all the work. She kept saying things like “What a beautiful morning!” and “Look, it’s a humuhumunukunukuapua’a, the Hawai’i state fish!” The water was so clear you could see straight to the reef. Shifty-looking sea turtles were everywhere, probably plotting to tip us off the board and into their clutches. Sea turtles are so tough they can eat jellyfish. No thank you. Terrifying. Zero stars. Would not recommend. I was glad to get back on dry land.

The trip went by in a flash, each day more dazzling than the last. When Jessica started packing up to go, I considered sneaking away to become an island jungle cat. However, I knew the Youth Services Department would fall apart without me (silly humans always benefit from the presence of a cute kitty), so I returned to Westlake with Jessica. I only read the safety pamphlet eight times on the way back because I’m such a confident and experienced flyer. I’m back to work now, but I will always remember my special Suma Vacation!

Aloha a hui hou, Kaua’i! Until we meet again!