Maui Overture

>> Monday, April 28, 2008

I didn’t know I could laugh underwater.

We (Michael, the girls, and myself) returned from Maui last week, and it’s going to be hard not to sound overly poetic when I write of it. I keep thinking of discoveries like the one above, and how I often found myself running for no good reason except that it felt good. (I don’t like to run normally, so this is pretty miraculous.)

But Maui is poetry, at least to a first-time visitor like me, and I’m sure I will use trite, clichéd words and phrases to describe it. In a way, visiting Maui is like falling in love for the first time -- every person feels it uniquely and I’m certain Maui never existed until I arrived. So I’m compelled to write love poems to it. I miss it already and each day I scheme to return.

Yes, I’m in love.

Maui is magical, too. So magical in fact, that now that I’ve left it, I almost completely forgot that there were rough times, too. Times when I thought I hate this grumpy, whiny family! Times when I thought, It’s too late to enforce super-nanny discipline -- I’m certainly not going to follow-through on any threat to leave! and Are we EVER going to relax? Shaka, shaka! (Shaka is the “hang-loose” sign surfers and Hawaiians flash to one another. At times I found myself flashing it desperately.)

But that’s how it goes with family, sometimes. Like most families, I suppose we have a little of the Griswold’s in us and like Clark, most of our problems revolved around control issues and unrealistic expectations. But it’s hard not to be a little unrealistic when you’re in Maui. We were in paradise, so we wanted to be as perfect as our surroundings. But it’s hard to be perfect in paradise and our imperfections stood out like bleached white coral in a sea of dead, black lava. (Well, that makes us sound pretty good, actually. See how magical Maui can be?)

Besides magical, Maui is ... what? A beautiful island in the Pacific? Home of warm beaches and fire dancers? A lush paradise? Windy? As I sit here at home, perhaps the best way to describe it is not with my fingers but with my feelings. It’s a faraway look; a wistful smile while I sit at my desk; a new fondness for Plumeria flowers and pineapple juice. It’s running joyfully through a forest, spotting rainbows on sunny days, and anticipating our next adventure.


Since I can’t seem to contain it all at once, I will attack my memory in pieces. Over the next few days/weeks I will write about specific parts of our trip in order to write more thoughtfully about each aspect of it -- the weather, the water, the food, the craft. But first, in order to put everything in context, I’ll begin with broad, sweeping strokes and present a very brief outline of our itinerary, for now eliminating all of the colorful details in between:

Day 1: Flew to Hawaii and drove to a condo at Kamaole Sands in Kihei where we stayed the first four nights.

Day 2: Woke up early and drove most of the Road to Hana; Hiked in a windy, "mysterious" forest; Got muddy; Waited for a peacock to cross the road; Fed feral cats and chickens; Made spaghetti for dinner.

Day 3: Spent the morning at the beach; Beach-hopped south through Makena; Drank (free) Mai-Tais by the pool.

Day 4: Spent the morning at another beach; Made a sand castle; Beach-hopped further south through Makena to La Perouse Bay; Visited a dead lava field and dodged a blowhole; Ate dinner at The (Fabulous) Grand Wailea Resort.

Day 5: Drove North through Lahaina to Ka’anapali by way of the Iao Valley State Park; Mike and Lizzy swam in a stream; Samantha climbed a rock; Saw our first big rainbow; Checked in at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel (“The Most Hawaiian Hotel”).

Day 6: Swam in the pool in the morning; Made Leis in the afternoon with our hands and toes; Went to a Luau for dinner; Learned how to hula; Discovered a nighttime rainbow.

Day 7: Took a Lau Printing class in the morning with the girls while Michael snorkeled; I snorkeled for the first time (life-changing); Drove North to Nakalele Point in the afternoon; Girls made a castle out of rocks; Followed a wandering rooster and discovered an enchanted forest; Ate dinner at The Whaler’s Village; Watched geckos wriggle on the ceiling of the restaurant.

Day 8: Received a farewell song and Kukui Nut Lei from our hotel; Flew back to San Diego; Looked out the airplane window; Sighed; Have sighed ever since.

Of course, there’s all the stuff in-between -- all those wonderful little details to ponder. But until then, I’m going to make our 2008 Hawaii Family Calendar (who cares if it’s already April!) while the girls continue to work on their Hula and Fire-Dance routine.



Bookdiva April 28, 2008 at 1:22 PM  

OMG! I am more convinced than ever that you and I are in fact living the same life. WE went to Maui for the first time last summer. WE stayed in Kihei. WE did almost all the exact same things you described. (Except driving to Hana - we got as far as the waterfalls, but knew we couldn't keep going due to a family-wide propensity for carsickness.) WE are in love, and have been missing it and scheming to get back ever since. * sigh *

Did you see sea turtles? Snorkeling with sea turtles was the closest thing to a religious experience I've ever had - it literally made me cry. Are you still wearing the jewelry and sarongs you bought there, trying to keep the island spirit alive back here on the mainland? Sadly, that will pass.

Rima April 28, 2008 at 1:50 PM  

So that's where you've been! It does sound magical. I've never been to any of the Hawaiian islands, but I have a feeling that your next series of posts will be quite the impetus!

Dating Trooper - Dating is Warfare April 28, 2008 at 2:33 PM  

It's so true, once Hawaii gets in your blood it is like a first love that never quite fades (but the tan does - and quickly). I've been to two islands (Maui and Kauai) and think it is the perfect place to vacation. Of course I've never been with kids so I can't wait to read about your experiences from that perspective! Sigh. I miss it too.

Dawn April 28, 2008 at 5:17 PM  

OMG! I am so hating you right now. I've been to the ER twice while you were gone....grrr.
But, I can't wait to hear more of your colorful details. Perhaps I should start planning a Hawaiian vacation myself...hmmm...

mimi of 'sexagenarian and the city',  April 28, 2008 at 9:49 PM  

cords and fleece AND LEIS.

Melissa April 29, 2008 at 10:08 AM  

Bookdiva -- Turtles? Yes. Religious experience? Totally. I don't think we'll ever stop sighing -- that is, until we go back.

Dawn -- I totally hear you. Is it possible to be jealous of my former self? Because I'm WAY jealous of Me from a week ago. You totally deserve a vacation like that I hope it's in your future!

Mimi -- No, I didn't tell anyone I was going on vacation. I had the silly notion that I would have the time and inclination to write while on my trip. Ha!

minnie April 29, 2008 at 8:10 PM  

ahhhh. so lovely! my husband and i went ther for outr honeyoon and it was fabulous. I just wrote a post about how we are going in june with our one year old. I CAN"T WAIT.

i loved hana! but i'm not sure we will make it over there with the wee one.

Can't wait for your more detailed posts about what you did there!

Michele May 1, 2008 at 12:14 PM  

My one and only experience in Hawaii was with my ex-husband on our honeymoon. It rained every freaking day and all he wanted to do was watch TV. Hmmm, now why did I divorce him? Your trip makes me think maybe I should try Hawaii again with a better partner : )

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