Monday, February 02, 2009

hawaiian holidays

Maui was great.

I left SJC Sunday the 28th and flew to LAX.

CA coastline

downtown Los Angeles

My four-hour layover pretty much flew by after having some lunch and doing some serious people watching (hello, guy with the Hollywood sign tattooed across his neck!). As they were already in Southern California for the holidays, Jewels, Cy and Sophie met me at LAX. When it became apparent the flight was way oversold (by 50 people!) I put us first on the volunteer list to fly on the next flight. (Certainly a recurring theme when I travel.) We were called up to the counter and asked to take the first flight the next morning (9-ish) and they'd provide accommodations at the Westin that evening, some meal vouchers and an $800 travel voucher. Jewels was hesitant to take it, thinking of Sophie, but Cy and I convinced her that the vouchers would pay for their upcoming trip to Spain, and we were set.

We met a father and daughter from Long Island on the shuttle to the hotel that gave up their seats as well. They were both horribly obnoxious: she was in her first years of college and wouldn't stop talking about her boyfriend, her father used every opportunity to mention the properties they own. I was glad my room was on a different floor than theirs.

I ordered room service for dinner, watched "The Sound of Music" and tried to settle in. Because our bags had gone ahead, I had the hotel bring me the very basics: a toothbrush and toothpaste. Despite the Heavenly Bed, which I normally adore, I slept like crap.

I met Jewels et al. in the lobby early the next morning. They all didn't sleep well either, so it was kind of a long morning for all of us. We had breakfast courtesy of the meal vouchers at the airport, then waited for our flight to depart. As we're boarding, a group of about 6 people push past us, suitcases hitting everything in their way, yelling about being in first class. I was thinking their behavior was more like "no class." Turns out it was Ice Cube and his family and the entire plane was buzzing with, "didja see Ice Cube?!" I can only imagine the scene had it been a notable celeb. (Although I really did want to say "today was a good day" to him. Seemed too cliche.)

Because I didn't ask anyone to pick us up, we took a cab to the condo. Turns out the driver is our age and went to elementary school in Hana with a classmate of mine (Maui really is a small world).

Jewels was anxious to get to the grocery store, Cy nd I were starving, so we compromised and headed to Safeway, situated next to an L&L Drive-In and Maui Tacos. I ended up getting ill from my food at Maui Tacos and was sick all night. I felt tons better the next day (Tuesday) and after lunch at Eskimo Candy we headed to town to give Cy a tour of the local spots.

On the 31st I was up early and went across to the beach to see the sunrise.

I rented a 10-20mm lens before leaving the bay area. I must buy one of my own now!

Jewels and I hit up the Shops at Wailea and went and picked up Cy and Sophie and headed to one of my favorite beaches. After several hours in the sun, we went out for happy hour and got kinda loaded. It was a good thing we walked to the restaurant, and that it was a short walk! Cy grilled our dinner: walu, bacon wrapped shrimp and mahi mahi. It was delicious, but he also plied us with very strong versions what I termed the poor man's mai tai: POG mixed with gold rum and a dark rum floater, and it did us all in. Jewels was in bed by 8p, and I fell asleep on their living room floor. Cy woke us both up at midnight, and I mumbled "happy new year" to both of them before walking back to my place (a mere four doors down).

The 1st started off well with us off to Big Beach. Cy said he wanted to body surf in some big waves, and it's one of my favorite beaches. We had been there for maybe and hour or so with Jewels and Cy in the water and Sophie and I hanging out on the beach, when I hear Jewels yelling about something. Cy got torn up by waves that were breaking super close to shore and got tossed on his head. There was a nurse randomly on the beach, and they urged us to get him to urgent care as it looked like he had a dislocated shoulder. Some lady offered to help us pack up all of our stuff, and another woman and her daughter offered to help us carry everything to the car. (Nice people, truly.) They helped Cy to the car, a good 5 minute walk,and we spent some time at the urgent care. We headed to lunch after his shoulder was back in place and he was doped up on painkillers. I like to say we started 2009 not with a bang, but with a pop. Yeowch!

Jewels decided they'd now be on the "geriatric tour of Maui" because of Cy's injury. So I decided we'd head to Ho'okipa for some great vantage points for photos, then cruise around Paia and eventually head upcountry to Makawao, which meant lots of walking but nothing too strenuous for Cy.

We went to Sansei for dinner that night and beasted on all kinds of yummy sushi.

We headed to Lahaina and Ka'anapali on the 3rd so that we could introduce Cy to the wonder that is Kimo's. We did drive-bys of Napili, Kahana and Kapalua, all three places I hadn't been to in about 5 years. They were getting the final touches ready for the Mercedes-Benz tourney in Kapalua, and it's the most buzzing I've ever seen the place.

We had lunch at the Hula Grill in Ka'anapali and did some walking around before heading to Lahaina for more walking and eventually dinner at Kimo's.

the distortion from the 10-20mm makes Sophie's chunky arm look even meatier

crazy shirts, front street

mai tai
ahhh. mai tai

On the 4th I had plans to meet up with some high school friends, but sadly it never panned out. Jewels, Cy and Sophie went whale watching while I went into town to do some errands (my father asked me to get some new things for our condo). While in town I drove around a bit, visiting old haunts and reminiscing. I drove by the Maui Mall, and saw a huge mall wall set up, touting the arrival of

so this is progress

Whole Foods. I occasionally go to WF for their produce, hard-to-find items or for a good sandwich, but they really are overpriced. I can only imagine their pricing scheme once they arrive in the islands. I have calmed down quite a bit since taking this photo, but nearly everyone I know has been treated to a diatribe about WF's place on Maui. (Which, as far as I'm concerned, they have no place being on Maui.)

We ate dinner at Cafe O' Lei, which my father loves, but this was the second time I've been there where I've been less than impressed. This time it was a snafu regarding ordering sushi -- first we were told there was a 15 minute wait for sushi orders, which we were cool with, then went we went to place our order, all of a sudden they weren't taking any more sushi orders. Wtf? Our waiter was generally weird anyway, so we all ordered mediocre entrees, moaning about how we should have gone back to Sansei for sushi. I knew we'd want to get to bed early because the next day we were leaving for Hana bright and early.

We keep a car on Maui, but it's getting up there in age, so I suggested we rent a car just to be sure we made it to Hana without incident. Jewels wanted to rent a Jeep Wrangler, because part of the fun in going to Hana is the adventure in getting there. We tried our best to cram stuff for the 3 of us plus the baby into the Wrangler, but it was a no-go and we had to trade for a sedan.

couldn't forget the Lomo!

The roughly three hour drive to Hana was mostly uneventful, with the exception of one funny story. I drank waaay too much water and thus had to use the facilities. Because there are only two rest stops on the way to Hana, and I wasn't sure how close the next one would be, Jewels suggested we pull to the side of the road to, um, "let go." As disrespectful as it was, I couldn't see going any further without exploding and agreed. Waiting for the tour bus behind us to pass and checking both directions for cars had Jewels and Cy in stitches, and Jewels commented she would laugh if the rest stop was right ahead of us. Which, of course, literally right after we rounded the bend, it was. Even I had to laugh about this! It'd been about 9 years since my last trip to Hana, so the location of the rest stops had slipped my mind.


the best of the plentiful roadside stands

No trip to Hana is complete without stopping at Keanae.

Cy arranged to rent a house for a night right on one of Hana's famed black sand beaches. As check-in time wasn't until 3p, we used the three or so hours we had 'til check-in time (we were turned away by the cleaning lady!) to have lunch at Tutu's, a Hana Beach institution and then drive on to Oheo.



the pools were closed to visitors because of the recent rains -- the park service was worried about flash flooding

driving back from Oheo

driving back from Oheo

We arrived back at Hale Waikoloa in the late afternoon and decided to explore the beach right in front of us. I also spent some quality time reading in the lounge chairs just outside our deck. It truly was a perfect setting!

the beach in front of the house
hale waikoloa

my favorite view, ever.

I got a kick out of reading the guest book for the home, dating back to 1997. The very first entry was nice enough, but the last line was, "Something must be done about the grocery and restaurant situation in Hana!" A majority of the rest of the 10+ years worth of guest entries referenced the stupidity that was the first entry. Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone and added a "keep Hana Hawaiian!' plea after my own guest book entry. Because that's the thing I like best about Hana -- it stays the same. While I was in Kahului getting all worked up about the opening of a Whole Foods, things were status quo in Hana. And it sure was refreshing, calming even, to see that noticeably little, if anything, had changed in the nine years since I was last there, and in the 25+ years since I was first there.

So yes, there isn't much to do in Hana, there is but one restaurant open in the evening, and there are two general stores. But that is the charm of Hana, and I'm glad Cy and Jewels agreed with me. We got takeout from the Hana Ranch and played cards and they had a few drinks and we all went to bed early. I woke up in the middle of the night to a breathtaking storm -- it sounded like the house would be carried away! The combination of the heavy rains, wind and the waves crashing on the beach just steps from where we slept was amazing. And of course, when I woke up there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was about 80 degrees. Heavenly Hana, indeed. I truly didn't want to leave!

Wai'anapanapa State Park


We took our time driving back and stopped for lunch in Paia and headed to the pool when we got back. After a late dinner at Da Kitchen, we crashed early.

We were due to leave Wednesday night, so we wanted to make the best of the nearly full day we had before our flight left. We walked to breakfast, had a few cocktails (*hic* we were on vacayshun! *hic) at breakfast along with out mac-nut pancakes and then walked to the beach. I felt like such a sloth (in a good way!) and it was the perfect way to spend our last day. Jewels and Cy started to look pretty red after a few hours, so we all headed back and went our separate ways for a while, with me taking some stuff to a local thrift store. I have no idea where I found the time to clean out two of our closets, but it needed to be done!

I walked to the beach across the street to see the sun set, and it was spectacular. I took a few pics with the 10-20mm, but it really didn't do it justice.

We had our final dinner on Maui at a place my family used to love, but we weren't impressed with. (Although the poke I had was pretty darned good.) I ended up spending some time talking with some friends of my father that live in our condo complex.

I wish I could say I'm glad to be back, but, well, that'd be a lie. ;)


  1. Great post. I was reliving our trip while reading it......I loved being there.

  2. What a vacation. =) My best friend lived in Honolulu for 2 years while in college, Zach and I got to visit her for a couple weeks right after graduation. Heaven. We're trying to finagle a trip to Maui or one of the other islands sometime in the next couple years...

  3. What a treat to go to Maui with someone who knows so much! This was a great blog entry and now I'm off to plan my next vacation and hunt down some frequent flier miles so you can come with us!

  4. Love your writing Bianca, I almost felt as if I were there with you guys. Sadly, I was not. hee hee.... I am so jealous. I am happy to hear you all had such a great time, minus the shoulder incident. -- Paula

  5. Sounds like you guys had a wonderful trip. Your pictures are amazing!