Hawaii Trip Part 2
Posted on February 3, 2012
Disclaimer: I realize these posts may seem petty as I am pointing out things on the trip that did not go as planned or advertised. I am sure I am not eliciting any pity from you as I was in freakin’ Hawaii. However, I am not complaining, just pointing out things that were unusual. If everything went according to plan, I’d just put up a trip brochure and say” “we did that”.
DAY 3 – MAUI
On our first, full official day of the cruise we woke up in the Port of Kahului in Maui. Karina and I were ready to begin our cruise adventures with zest. Each of us had some specific goals in mind for our vacation: Karina wanted to get carded when buying a drink. She also made a promise to herself that she would ONLY use the stairs on the ship. A promise that I wish I was aware was being made at the time. I would have provided some subtle encouragement to bypass that goal (and if that didn’t work, I would have been prepared to beg!). It’s a vacation after all! And her promise to herself was going to directly impact me even though I did not care nearly as much as to whether she let herself down or not.
My goal was originally one-fold: to see a celebrity. I am ashamed to admit it but we do subscribe to possibly more than one celebrity gossip magazines: US Weekly and STAR. Although, let the record state I thought the first magazine was a patriotic tribute to our great country and the latter was an astronomy guide. I was wrong on both accounts. Being as cheap as I am, I would not let those magazines go to waste. So, I page through them periodically (no pun intended) and always run a across a picture or two of celebrities frolicking on a Hawaiian beach. So, I made it my goal to spot a celebrity, preferably frolicking. Once we got on board and looked at the boat’s entertainment schedule, my second goal was made apparent: winning the men’s sexy legs contest! I knew I had one main obstacle between me and my prize: a severe lack of melanin in my legs. I planned to remedy that on the islands.
Exhibit 1: Note 4pm on Day 7
Our plan for the first day on Maui was to rent a car, drive to the little whaling town of Lahaina, rent scooters and tool a round a bit, then visit the world famous Old Lahaina Luau. I had reserved a car through Avis intended just to get us the 30 miles or so from Kahului to Lahaina. As that was all it was to be used for and there were only two of us, I had reserved a small economy car (in the class of a “Nissan Versa” or “golf cart”). When we pulled up into the Avis parking lot the first thing I saw was a line of gleaming Chevrolet Camaros. Figuring I didn’t have much to lose, I asked the lady helping me with my rental what the difference would be to get in to a Camaro. She tinkered around a bit on her computer and finally said it would be about $100 more for the day. Despite being on vacation, I could not stomach the difference and sadly told her that’s ok, I’d be fine with the economy car. She asked me to wait one minute while she did one more investigation. Sure enough, she “discovered” she could get me in a brand new Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible for $2 less than I was going to pay for the Versa/Segway class of car. Trying to play it cool I said: “hmmmm, you drive a tough bargain, I guess I will take you up on your generous offer.” After we walked out of the building I calmly informed Karina that this was the BEST VACATION EVER!! Let my experience go to show you that 1.) it never hurts to ask for something and 2.) the lady I dealt with was a dirty stinkin’ liar originally, but soon proved herself to be the best stinkin’ lady on earth (besides my wife).
The car was amazing. Cherry red, giant 6.2L 426hp engine, paddle shifters on the steering wheel. It was crazy fast….I hear. Unfortunately the vast majority of island roads had a speed limit of 35 miles per hour. Let me tell you, I got up to 35 in a hurry!! I only wish there was a Hawaiian autobahn (or autokilimakihunowali as it would probably be called). The car was so nice in fact, we began to second guess our decision to rent scooters. Why pay for scooters when we had a sweet ride already? That and I began to reconsider riding around scooters without helmets. I felt hypocritical based on the instructions I give my kids on their bicycles. I could have rented a helmet of course but that didn’t have the same “cool” vibe being radiated from the Camaro. So, we passed on the scooter rentals.
Lahaina was a cute little down with some quaint shops. We ate at a little crepe restaurant off the beach a bit. The lime crepe I got was spectacular! It was made by a real Frenchman! Or a dude with a French accent at least. We did a little more exploring in the Camaro and headed over to the luau.
Here we are hiking to Honolua Bay. Part of the “more exploring” we did.
The luau was one of the big vacation must-do’s for Karina. She wanted a taste of the authentic Hawaiian culture as performed by Americans to a giant group of tourists. And when I say giant, I mean several hundred. It was packed.
I must say, the experience was very eye-opening. I learned so much about the traditional luau experience. For example, it was expensive. Thankfully the luaus apparently had an open bar to allow the patrons to attempt to get their money’s worth from the experience by ingesting as much liquor as possible. Second, the first hour or so of the traditional luau involved milling around with complete strangers. We took the opportunity to enjoy the beach views, saunter over to the artisans creating sculptures from wood, and peering at the sand pit within which our feast was cooking. The remaining 50 minutes were spent at the table people watching.
At the luau. From left to right: Karina, absolutely no idea, David
The second hour of the luau is my favorite! Unlimited food! We enjoyed some fresh-made pulled pork, Taro salad, Poi, and other foods. It was great. And served in the traditional fashion: dismissing folks table by table to get in line at the buffet.
The third hour was the one Karina enjoyed most. It was the hula show! I’ve embedded some video below. However, knowing some people are offended by exposed midriffs, I have tastefully edited the videos for family viewing:
What was my opinion of the dancing? Excellent question. I thought the dancers were incredibly talented. The music was cool as well. However, the point of the luau is the dancers were telling a story through dance. This is the part that escaped me. As with our viewing of La Reve in Vegas, I just don’t get the whole interpretive dance thing. One specific example had to do with the daughter of a god or something whose boyfriend was horribly burned. To convey her feelings, she shakes her hips in multiple ways. I would say personally that would be response 3 or 4 for me if someone important to me was burned. I would have followed along MUCH better if, instead of the whole dance thing, she ran around with her arms in the air screaming “MY BOYFRIEND WAS JUST HORRIBLY BURNED!!!” I could follow that.
DAY 4 – MAUI
For our second day in Maui we had our first planned, boat-coordinated excursion. As if vowing to herself to not ride an elevator on the boat was not enough, Karina also stipulated we must take a very active excursion involving 2 out of 3 of the following: sweating, panting in exhaustion, swimming. So our first excursion was called the “Waterfalls & Rainforest Hike”. Karina chose it because the description said things like “The hike is two miles round trip and footing can be tricky in the wilderness”. Additionally the hike was rated a “3” on the boat’s activity scale. The “3” rating was described as such: “Tours with this physical activity level involve physical exertion for extended periods. The terrain may be uneven or steep…Recommended only for the physically fit and adventurous.”
For the reasons listed above, I was looking forward to this vacation activity about as much as I’d look forward to a root canal. However, I thought I’d go along for the ride and have fun. I had visions of rappelling down cliffs and scaling high mountains.
When we showed up at the designated rendezvous point I was immediately concerned. It was clear my fellow excursioners hadn’t undergone the rigorous training I had in preparation for the experience. I thought to myself: “they are gonna be sorry…sorry AND sore.” Turns out I was the one in for a surprise. We were driven out to the site by our guide Roger who was actually quite informative. I saw all manner of folks taking a wide clear path as our guide led us along a narrow path into the “jungle”. It did not take a cartography expert to realize we were being led on the long way as demonstrated by this illustration:
Where A is our van, B is the route we took and C is the waterfall-fed lagoon. You’ll notice the short, straight path leading directly to the lagoon from the van. Apparently Roger did not.
Roger kept pointing out cool plants, such as bananas and pineapples then hurrying to let us know the ones we were looking at were probably planted there (as opposed to naturally growing there). As we walked out we saw the big M. Night Shayamalan reveal: we were on some dudes farm the whole time. I should have put the pieces together: private property, neat lines of pineapples, etc. So you are telling me I paid an amount of dollars I am not willing to share to be able to walk in circles on some dudes farm looking at many plants that aren’t even indigenous to the area? Say what?! Not the exotic locale I was hoping for. This is like offering a tour showcasing Sonoran desert wildlife and then going to the Tucson zoo. Sure, polar bears are nice to look at but they aren’t native to the area. Why would I want to look at a banana farm if that’s not even native to an authentic Hawaiian rainforest?! Now, at this point you may say “David, it’s a volcanic island that rose out of the sea. Nothing is native as all the flora and/or fauna was brought to the island by birds or humans.” And to that I say “whose blog is this anyway?” Stop interrupting me or I will have no other choice than to discontinue imagining your valid points.
Well, despite being slightly mislead about the adventure, at least there were mosquitos. And lots of them. I was disappointed as I saw my chances at the sexy legs crown fading away with each insect bite – although it would increase my odds at winning the coveted “looks like chicken pox legs” title. Thankfully Roger had some homeopathic “mosquito repellant” which everyone took. Apparently his definition of the word “repellant” is similar to the way I define “attractant” as mosquitos were all over us. He then offered his own concoction of after-bite itch relief. Which made me wonder why he bothered to make that in the first place if his repellant was effective. I assume he also had another miracle cream for when the after-bite cream inevitably failed.
I will say the entire hike was worth the time and money when Roger fluffed a very audible “air biscuit” as he was conversing with us. He did it with such confidence and carelessness that I can assume nothing other than he does it in conversation on a very regular basis. Afterwards Karina and I looked at each other exchanging knowing glances that said: “he did not just do that, did he?!”
Here we are at the exotic lagoon. Not pictured are hoards of tourists who took the easy way.
Karina doing about the closest thing resembling an activity level “3” on the entire hike. Our guide took incredible measures to ensure we avoided any terrain resembling the main walking path.
The rest of the trip will be chronicled shortly, and most likely in less detail. Stay tuned!!