Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Around The Head

If you look at a map of Maui, you might imagine the profile of a woman laying face down. So following that mindset, we traveled the head today. In more plain terms we drove Route 30 from our resort heading north to Kapalua and beyond. The driving guide handed out by the rental companies states “ The road around the north side of Maui is desolate, but ruggedly picturesque. It also has a very narrow section of road with a sheer cliff and no guard rail before you reach Kahakuloa when driving from Kapalua. “Drive at your own risk.” They weren’t kidding. In fact, after driving the road, Carl thinks it may have been worse than the road to Hana. It wasn’t as rough but it was even more narrow in many places.

Once we left the hustle and bustle of Lahaina and Kahana, we followed the rugged coast line finding numerous spots where the locals congregate for surfing. We stopped at a few of these places and watched as each took their shot at riding the 5-6 foot rollers. I have never attempted this sport. To me, it’s crazy dangerous and way too easy to get pounded by breaking waves or slammed into the sea floor. I understand it’s even common to reach the surface only to be pushed back down again. Competent surfers drown each year but not today.

Along this drive, even the beaches eventually disappear and all you are left with is the intense concentration it takes to maneuver the narrow twisted road. It’s all paved but that’s all the good I can say about the road. Would I recommend you drive it? I have to refer you to the driving guide handed out by the rental car operators.

The tiny village of Kahakuloa is nestled in a narrow valley literally in the middle of no where. From a high vantage point, we can count no more than 10 houses and 2 churches. One of these churches may fall down during the next big wind. We see utility poles and electric lines snaking their way up on rugged hill and down the other side so we assume that most homes have electricity. We see a few houses with solar panels on the roof but what is most prevalent  are the satellite dishes.

Carl has been keeping an eye out for an interesting food truck and finally found a small collection on the side of the road about 20 miles from our resort. We settled on the shrimp truck although I was glad they offered a steak plate in addition to the seven or eight shrimp offerings. Both of us enjoyed the food but just like everything else on the island, two plates of food was $27.00. No drinks.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Now, I'm A "Groupie"

No travel scheduled today so we lounged about until Happy Hour at the Beach House across the street. $5.00 well drinks, $3.00 beer and a selected bar menu of munchies. We each had a Pina Colada while I munched on three burger sliders and Carl had a hot dog and fries.

The bus to the Elvis tribute picked us up at 6:30 with “Elvis” himself, Darren Lee on board to greet us. He indulged us by answering a few questions, explained a bit about the show we would soon experience and spent a few minutes talking about how he came to be Elvis. We also found out his father looked the part but couldn’t sing while his brother was playing the part in Canada.

When we arrived at the Theater, Darren escorted us through the side door where we could wait while he went back stage to transform himself into the King. Our seats in the second row, center stage were awesome. While “Elvis” sang Teddy Bear, he tossed a stuffed bear to one of the ladies on our bus and during his rendition of the Hawaiian Wedding Song, another lucky lady from our bus was on stage with him holding his microphone. Afterwards, he presented her with a frangipani lei from around his own neck.

Towards the end of the show, Darren came off stage and shook hand with everyone in the VIP section and several others in the audience. All told, Darren sang 31 of Presley’s songs, made 11 wardrobe changes and told us little bits of trivia about Elvis and the 3 visits he made to Hawaii during his career. And when it was all over, Darren came off stage, sat down among us and asked if there were other songs he might sing for us while playing his acoustic guitar, answered questions about his life and what his plans for the future might hold. One of the cast members handed out Cds which Darren signed for all of us. And then our VIP night was over. The bus returned us to Kahana Falls, each of us quietly humming our favorite tune.  Carl was able to fall asleep immediately. It took me a bit longer.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Road To Hana

Yesterday, we enjoyed a continental breakfast during a brief orientation on the resort. It was meant to inform us on where to find necessities but it also described multiple activities designed to keep us entertained as well as separated from our money. After much deliberation, also known as salesperson’s pressure, we settled on a sunset dinner cruise after winning one ticket, a night out at an Elvis tribute called Burn’n Love, and an all day guided trip to Hana provided by Valley Isle Excursions in a 12 person van complete with driver/guide and stand up comic.

Normally we would pack a lunch, bathing suits and camera equipment and head to the car but this road is very different. It contains more than 600 wicked curves and fifty six one lane bridges. Each twist in the road so narrow vehicles need to be aware of the last or next place which might provide safety while allowing traffic to get by. Our driver, Tom, filled us in on all things Maui, enlightening us with such useless trivia as the Hawaiian word for beef which is Pi Pi (pronounced pee pee). He continued by adding Chinese appetizers are called Pu Pu which we had all heard of. What we didn’t know is that you will never hear of Pi Pi Pu Pus. I mean it just isn’t done and no one would have it anyway. Oh, yes, and the number of residents in Maui county which is 144,000.

It was raining hard when Tom picked us up at the hotel and it continued for most of the morning. Remembering that water and electronics should never mix, I was just plain miserable. I don’t mind getting drenched but I had to protect the camera. There were so many places where I would have loved to jump out, grab a few shots and continue on our way. But let’s face it, the schedule or the road just couldn’t accommodate 12 people piling out of the bus every few minutes. Carl assured me he won’t mind driving part of this road on another dryer sunnier day. We had a lovely lunch at Verge’s Flower Farm and then we were off once more only this time the sun played peek a boo with us until finally burning off the clouds and brightening the rest of the day for us.

With more than 100 miles behind us, the terrain changed from rain forest to tundra and just as quickly even that low grassy scrub turned into desert conditions. We finished our tour on the dry side of the island  after being shown the youngest lava flow on Maui. 800 years seems like a long time but lava is tough. Wind and rain must begin the breaking down process before seeds can take hold. It must survive  long enough to put down roots. Our last stop was at a farm stand selling Macadamia Flower Honey and Maui coffee which they wisely offered samples. And then it was all over. We were returned to our resort none the worse for wear with a small honey bear in tow. The camera survived. I dried out and we have lots of memories.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Arrival In Paradise

The first day anywhere new is always fun for me, not so much for my husband. I grab hold of the map, look out the window at the new scenery and wish we had time to stop for little photo ops along the way. My husband, on the other hand, must climb into a strange car and travel unfamiliar streets until we reach our destination, skillfully maneuvering traffic congestion which we later found out locals refer to as “whale jams” . When it’s time, regardless of how many hours we’ve been traveling, how many times zones we’ve crossed or how little sleep we might have gotten on the plane, he must be alert from that moment until we arrive at our home for that week. And he always does a great job no matter how often I wished I could yell “pull over” at a moment’s notice.

Our resort is not much more than a hotel room so the next order of business will be to find a grocery store. Safeway, we are told is the best option back in Lahaina. Having been to Hawaii several times, we have a really good idea of what kind of prices we are about to face. Or we think we are because when I reach for a 6 oz. Package of Driscoll’s Raspberries I immediately think a bit longer. The price is $4.99 here for the same amount back home of $2.99. Two Gala apples set us back $3.59 and a 12 pack of Coca Cola Zero is $7.99 instead of the usual $3.49 or even the sale price of $2.50. Breakfast for two days, lunch for three and one supper was $67.43. If it isn’t grown here, it must come in by container ship or plane.

No photos today. I’m still tired from the flight. I’m not as young as I used to be.