Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Aloha #3

We were picked up at our hotel at 4:30 AM by a bus which took us to the airport.  There, we caught a plane to Maui where we were shuttled to a little market place for a continental breakfast.  Afterwards, we boarded a small bus with twelve others and headed out on the road to Hana.  Our guide and driver for this trip was Larry….unless we didn't like the trip, then we were to call him Bruce.

Tight Roads!
From the outset it was quite evident that Larry loves Maui and he knows an incredible amount of detail about Maui, including the flora, fauna, folklore, history and inside information.  He’s also a damn good driver which is REALLY important on this trip!  The road to Hana has over 600 turns and the road is often a one-lane two-way highway.  There were numerous times when we would have to stop and back up to let another car pass or vice versa.  Traffic was bad and many drivers were clueless.  In fact, we were hit by a guy on an ATV.  He bent the bumper of the van but apparently he wasn't hurt because he quickly passed us and was pumping his arm…in victory perhaps?  More likely stupidity!

One of many many waterfalls
The beautiful scenery along the road is constantly changing and the weather changes seemingly from one mile to the next.  That’s because there are over 20 micro climates along this route.  Factor in the altitude changes and you end up with an incredible diversity of plants to discover.  I couldn't tell you how many different varieties of wild ginger we saw nor how many species of exotic trees Larry pointed out to us.  There were giant varieties of common house plants wrapping themselves around huge trees and I bet Larry pointed out over a hundred different kinds of wild and beautiful flowers. Pictures don't do it justice but that's the best we could do. 

I was SO glad I wasn’t driving!  Not only was the road treacherous, but also I would have missed seeing so much.  Instead, Larry was driving and he pointed out all the neat and beautiful things to see.  He’d even spontaneously stop alongside the road if he saw an interesting blossom or a creature feature like a Holy Kau (wild goat) in the desert.  And all along he was filling us in on the Hawaiian folk lore and inside stories of the celebrities who have homes here like Willie Nelson, Sammy Hagar, Oprah, Pat Benatar, Jim Nabors, etc. etc. etc.
Part of the 7 Sacred Pools

We had lunch at a hotel in Hana and I was looking at the map wondering how we were going to get home.  I noticed a road that continued around the perimeter of the island, but it was flagged as being unpaved and sometimes treacherous.  Well, you guessed it, that’s the road we took!  The road was gravel and that by itself wasn't bad.  But, there were steep inclines and steeper declines, coupled with twists and turns and a distinctive lack of guardrails which made for more excitement than Six Flag’s Batman ride!  Rental companies won't allow you to take their cars here and pregnant women and people with back problems are advised to not travel here!

We ended the tour with a stop at Maui’s Vineyards where we tasted pineapple wine…surprisingly good!  Larry then played contemporary Hawaiian music for us on the way back to the airport which we made with ten minutes to spare before boarding.  Whew!

We ended our evening on the Moana Terrance listening to a former Miss Hawaii sing Top 40s hits while we dined on fish tacos.  Another great ending to another day!

Tuesday was another water day. No surfing today as I had already shown the locals my stuff and I wanted to give them time to recover.  We spent several hours on the beach across from our hotel and then a couple more hours in the hotel pool.  Just a simply relaxing day!

We ended our day by walking to House Without A Key.  This is one of our favorite nightspots along Waikiki.  It’s a great place to sit outside, with Diamond Head to your left and the sunset to your right, while watching Hawaiian musicians play traditional songs as a hula dancer dances in front of them.  “Idyllic” seems to be the only appropriate adjective!

We closed our night with more live music at the Tiki Bar across from our hotel.  We finally tired out, went to our room, opened the balcony doors and continued to listen to the Tiki Bar music until it was finally time to say: Aloha!
Sunset at House Without A Key

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