Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hawaii Days Pt. 1

Jacob and I have wanted to go to Hawaii for pretty much our entire relationship but could never dig up the vacation time or the funds to go. This year, with Annalee, Jacob and myself all turning 40, we decided that even if the trip had to go on the credit card, we'd be going.

Luckily the funds are not that tight and splitting the cost of everything definitely helps. We are on Maui in a town just north of Lahaina. I'm writing this on what we've decided is day three, since Saturday was an all-day travel day and shouldn't count as vacation. Luckily our group is fairly like-minded and we have decided to have everyone list the 'one thing' they want to make sure we get done before leaving.

Each day has included quite a bit of swimming - either in the ocean or in the pool at the condo. This has been either the greatest or Vaughn's worst nightmare depending on how he's feeling (today we swung from "I'm done with water for the rest of the trip!" to "I still have five whole days to go swimming!" in a matter of hours- ahhh, the tween years).  We're still in search of the perfect boogie boarding spot and snorkeling was a bust for my relatively new swimmer (Jacob's not a fan of breathing through the tube either). I had a bit of an incident myself the first day when I misjudged a wave and got tossed under not once but twice, smacking hard into the ocean floor and getting a sore rump.

Yesterday we went in search of a hike that was highlighted in the guide book. We wound our way up a narrow, hilly road; past packs of tiny stray dogs and even a random goat leg in the road with the hoof attached. Unfortunately, we reached the entrance only to find the park gated shut with no explanation, only a warning that trespassers would face a $250 fine. Undeterred, we made our way over to Iao Valley State Park with the famous Iao Needle. It wasn't much for hiking but it made up for it in beauty and history.

Later that evening we went into Lahaina for a trip to the famous banyan tree and dinner. Gluten free (Annalee) and vegan (us) isn't easy but we surprisingly found a little mediocre something for everybody at Paradise Burger. A gray-haired crooner with an electric guitar delighted the crowd with predictable hits like Escape (the Pina Colada song) and Purple Rain. It turned out our server was from Gilroy (up until a month ago) and while it was fun and novel to run into another alum (although 7 years younger), I was completely caught off guard when he started pressing me to name high school teachers I could remember (not many, as it turns out - at least not after a Mai Tai).

We closed out the evening gawking down from the restaurant patio at a woman blowing a conch shell at the water's edge. A nightly visitor, she arrives every evening at sunset to the same spot to blow her shell and then wade into the ocean to perform a solo water ballet of sorts. The waitstaff at the restaurant rolled their eyes and scoffed at her. One server pointed out that she was swimming in 'harbor water', the most polluted kind. Still, I have a feeling that they'd miss their odd little mermaid if one day she stopped showing up to honor the spirit of the island in her own awkward way.
Vaughn and Sten at Iao Needle

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