Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Maui -- The Best of the Rest

After finishing the road to Hana, I had just hours before my flight to Kauai. But the final hours had some nice moments! Here are the picks:

There was the final Maui sunset:

And I couldn't resist the name of this shop, where I got my decaf tea!:

Kimo's Restaurant, open late, with a wonderful meal and friendly staff:

Here is the link to Kimo's, which I definitely recommend:

And my final Maui meal the next day, breakfast at The Sea House Restaurant:

My meal -- eggs benedict with crabmeat, one of my favorites!:

A final Maui rainbow:

Waterside dining, of course:

And another friendly visitor:

Here is the link to The Sea House Restaurant:

I came to Hawaii with unrealistic expectations that could never be met. 40=50, the trip of a lifetime -- a lot of pressure. That said, Maui was full of wonderful experiences, as well as the hardships. Life happens on any trip. But there are enough treasures on Maui, and I am very happy it was part of my 40th Birthday celebration. A few hours later, I was off to Kauai

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Traversing the Road to Hana!

I got a nice night of sleep -- finally -- on July 4th, and woke up refreshed. My plan was to travel to Hana, one of the most hyped experiences on Maui. It was definitely an experience to remember! The first part of my journey took me to Paia, where I had breakfast at Charley's:

My yummy eggs benedict breakfast...first time I tried eggs benedict, and I learned that I liked it! :

Willie Nelson is a famous patron of the restaurant:

Charley's is the last, but certainly not the least, of eating places before Hana! :) Here is the link to the restaurant, a MUST EAT place...

The road to Hana is about 35 miles of winding twisting roads. It takes several hours if, like me, you follow the speed limit, which is often 15 miles per hour or less. There are many stops along the way to enjoy, including waterfalls, aboretums, and places for refreshments. There is a CD for sale to inform travelers of recommended places to stop. I chose not to buy the CD, instead winging it, and driving straight there, then making stops along the way back. The waterfall below is past Hana by several miles:

I also saw the O'heo Gulch and the Seven Sacred Pools, before going to Hamoa Beach, pictured below with it's black sand. I used a hat I had bought from the gift shop in Hana before seeing the waterfall, O'heo Gulch, and Seven Sacred Pools -- the hat was quite effective in keeping the sunscreen out of my eyes while I jogged on the beach for the second straight day! :

I had a pleasant lunch at the Hana Ranch, pictured below, after my jog:

The gift shop, where I bought the aforementioned hat, a t-shirt documenting my survival of the trip, and some other trinkets, two of which contained some black sand. The worker was very friendly, helping me pick out gifts I was lookng for:

Of course, I did not take any black sand from the beach. I was told the spirits would punish me for that!

Below is a picture of one of the one way bridges typical of the road to Hana -- speed limit 5 miles per hour:

I just stopped at pretty waterfalls:

Some depictions of the winding roads I traversed:

And the livestock I encountered:

After two difficult days, traveling the road to Hana was a nice change of pace. You can go fast on the road -- I saw many people do so -- but I prefer to go safe and slow. The views are nice, and the ride was peaceful, in my experience. Others told me they got sick with the twists and turns, but I found the slow ride soothing. Jogging on a famous, black sand beach was an experience I will remember, and I will also remember the very friendly people I encountered, such as the worker from the gift shop. The experience was not what it was hyped to be -- it was different, not necessarily better or worse. It should not be missed if you are going to Maui.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Authentic Luau On Our Country's Holiday

I had to do my luau with Old Lahaina Luau. They offered the only pure Hawaiian Luau, focusing on Hawaiian culture, with other local luaus giving a more broad experience of Polynesian culture. I was in Hawaii, and I wanted to focus on Hawaii.

The luau was absolutely wonderfully done! Keep in mind that as I say that, my personal experience was affected by two factors that had nothing to do with the company or the luau itself -- my focus on having my meal at the correct time and difficulties with the sunscreen, which, for the third time, dripped into my eyes. Both factors affected my ability to concentrate on the presentation. But the presentation itself was superb!

The night began with the unearthing of the pig. I don't eat pork normally, but I sampled it later that night...I had to..."When in Rome..." :)

Little trinkets were sold throughout the grounds...:

My server..."Kyle with a smile...":

Of course, the three most popular people at the sites...the bartenders! :) :

A beautiful with my lei:

Excellent choreography...two photograph which cannot do it justice...:

Me and Kyle:

And I have to mention Kalei, with whom I spoke about my dietary concerns, and who not only made sure I got to eat on my schedule, but also helped me know what was most healthy and what was most desirable in the buffet...which was scrumptious! Here we are together:

Here I am at the end of the night, outside the luau grounds:

And here is the link to the luau, which I HIGHLY recommend:

Like I said, I experienced some personal difficulties, which in no way reflect on this excellent company, and even with those difficulties, the experience was tremendous. For your authentic Hawaiian luau experience on Maui, definitely consider making Old Lahaina Luau part of your plans. Kind, excellent service, unforgettable food, and amazing choreography you will absolutely enjoy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Difficult Independence Day

I awoke early the next day, refreshed, and trying to arrange my meals around the luau I would attend that night, and still meet my eating schedule. I had breakfast at Java Jazz, the restaurant open earliest. Little knick-knacks were all over the place...

I love this chandelier!....

My waiter, the ex-husband of the owner, said the fritatta, pictured below, was "out of this world!" He was right! I loved it!

Here he is...:

And the restaurant...

Here is a link to the restaurant...check it out!:

I followed this up with a trip to the IAO Valley Needle:

A nice sight for sure -- over 2200 feet in height!

This was followed by my first jog on the beach, Big Beach in Makena! Unfortunately, I hadn't identified the sunscreen as problematic, and it dripped into my eyes as I exercised. I was in a lot of discomfort afterwards. I had a nice lunch at Gannon's Pacific View Restaurant. The food and view were excellent, but it was difficult to enjoy because of my physical pain. Nonetheless, here is the link to check out the restaurant, which is worth the trip!:

I contacted the luau company while I waited for my meal. I was assured they would assist me in keeping with my diet. This was the first indication that this luau would be the special experience I would hope for, in spite of my difficulties. The luau deserves its own entry, which will be next...