Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maui

"Looking out on an open sea / I think of home and what it means to me / Shores of Maui are so far away / Often wonder 'bout you every day"
Dusty, Diana, and I had a lovely time on Maui. We enjoyed eight glorious days of sun, sand, and sea. It was a rejuvenating vacation and we could've stayed a few more days. Alas, the real world, and more snow flurries, awaited us back here in Edmonton. Some snapshots of our Hawaiian holiday:
  • For the first time in 10 years of traveling together, our luggage is delayed. We swelter in long-sleeved shirts and jeans while waiting in line to talk to a United rep. Diana has been an excellent traveler, mostly sleeping or charming our fellow passengers, but it is WAY past bedtime at home. There is Wailing and Rending of Too-Warm Garments. United lends us an infant car seat and we pick up our rental car: yet another PT Cruiser. We drive straight to Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina for dinner. Succulent lau lau and kalua pork washed down with a $3 Happy Hour mai tai makes everything better. Diana's mood improves when she has her first taste of poi. Our vacation officially begins.

  • Marika, the sweetie-pie apartment manager at Hale Maui, picks a condo for us that has a great view of the ocean. We watch many sunsets from the balcony. Diana immediately charms the silver-haired groundskeeper, a spry and friendly gent who keeps calling her "Diane". She smiles at him anyway.

  • Our internet connection is spotty at best, forcing Dusty and me to curl up in the evenings with our books instead. We share the small couch, our entangled legs draped over the back, while we read to each other from our tomes. Dusty looks up from Guns, Germs, and Steel to ask me vocabulary questions and we marvel at how much we didn't know about the development of agricultural societies. I recite laugh-out-loud-when-I'm-not-supposed-to dialogue from Twilight and we feel grateful Diana is not yet its target audience.

  • The Kona coffee we got at Foodland was all crap, but we found yummy Passion Fruit Na Pali black tea and enjoyed some fine Kona Brewing Co. beers. We willingly paid $7 for a liter of milk. We unwittingly paid the same amount for a box of crackers. And those were the best daggone crackers we have ever had.

  • While waiting in line for breakfast at the tiny, 15-table Gazebo restaurant [great diner food with even better ocean views in Napili], we have a lovely chat with a family doctor from Seattle named Chris whose colleague went to school with Ray and Greg. It's a small, small world.

  • At Sansei sushi restaurant in Kihei, Diana makes friends with a sweet woman in the next table named Pixie, who is a peek-a-boo afficionado. Pixie's boyfriend reminds us of a nicer, friendlier Shrek.

  • One of my favorite afternoons of the whole week starts with a trip to the Honokowai Farmers' Market to pick up some amazing garlic olive dip, gorgeous fresh and candied papaya, and our fave eco-friendly g diapers. I walk home leisurely, cutting through Honokowai Beach Park. The sun is just about to set and my mind wanders as I watch the waves wash over my feet. I wish I could walk home from the grocery store like this all the time.

  • At the beginning of the hike in the Acid Warzone in Kapalua, we can find no discernible trail down to Nakalele Blowhole. Dusty suggests we climb down the cliff's rockface, assuring me that he could safely look for foot and handholds while balancing the baby carrier on his back. He starts going down the cliff and declares, "It's not that sheer a drop." The baby carrier teeters slightly to the side. Ok, hi. Yeah, no. We eventually find a grassy trail down to the shoreline and the blowhole. Since we came at low tide, the blowhole itself wasn't that impressive, but the surrounding tide pools were teeming with life. Crabs and sea anemones and fish, oh my!

  • We had the best takeout from the tiny holes-in-the-wall Okazuya Deli and the Fish Market Maui in Honokowai, located nearly next door to each other and both just one block from our apartment. Okazuya Deli had good-sized portions of delicious dishes from chow fun noodles to grilled ahi in lemon caper sauce. The Fish Market had boss mahi-mahi tacos with fresh guacamole and Dusty's favorite seared ahi sandwich with wasabi mayo. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

  • Watching the keiki hula performance at Lahaina Cannery Mall made me miss my old halau, especially when the keiki danced "Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai." Unconsciously, my toes tapped out the steps I remembered. I resolve to get back to dancing hula as soon as humanly possible.

  • Highlights of the Road to Hana:
    1. Driving through Honokowai at 7:30 AM just as the town is waking up. At the gas station, I spot a police officer putting a papaya in his backpack before getting on his bicycle to pedal to work.
    2. Making inappropriate comments about the Wiggles, who like to "make food [to put them] in the mood." Dirty buggers.
    3. Diana falling asleep a mile outside of Kahului and napping for a solid hour. We finally got to listen to something other than the Wiggles.
    4. Driving through bamboo forests. The smell of green, growing things was intoxicating. We drove almost the whole way to Hana with the windows down.
    5. Rounding a corner and catching a glimpse of the mighty ocean before us. Rounding another corner to see the valley open up and picking out the taro fields next to the beach. We exclaimed "WOW!" a lot.
    6. Touring Kahanu Gardens before the crowds got there. Nursing Diana in the shadow of the massive Pi'ilanihale Heiau.
    7. Getting the sea cave next to the black sand beaches at Waianapanapa State Park all to ourselves. Diana had much to say about the waves thundering into the cave.
    8. Discovering the Ono Gelato Company in Pa'ia, on the way back from Hana. The best flavors were liliko'i and Sea Mist, which Dusty describes as "tastes the way soap smells . . . in a good way."
    9. Enjoying the gorgeous Road to Hana, thanks to judicious ignoring of Preston and Drew [who both told us to skip the drive, as the carsickness was not worth it] and good planning. We left for Hana early and bee-lined it to the sites we had agreed upon as our only stops. As a result, we had an average of only two or three cars on the road with us, making the journey rather like a Sunday drive.

  • We spend our last afternoon on Maui relaxing at Honokowai Beach Park, our home beach. Aloha 'oe, Maui. Until we meet again . . .

"Maui" by Island Riddim Band
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