Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel
Aloha from Wailea, Hawaii!
We arrived in Kahului Airport on Sept. 19. Ingrid flew in on an earlier flight through LA and arrived an hour or so later than Neil, who left an hour later than Ingrid and flew in through San Francisco. Neil is here for work, and Ingrid’s tagging along, happily.
Ingrid learned a valuable lesson in LA: never tell the boarding desk that you’re asking for an emergency-exit isle seat because your leg is “bummed”. They won’t let you sit in the emergency-exit isle because you’ve admitted to being “disabled”. If you’re “disabled” you can’t perform the duties required of people sitting in the emergency-exit, whatever they are. So, if you see someone sitting there who clearly looks like they are in some way or form “disabled”, don’t worry, they haven’t told the boarding folks, so they’re okay to sit there. You see, it’s okay if you DON’T say anything, like you need space to stretch out your leg because it gets cramped after 4 hours of being bent. And even if you’re still a healthy, fairly active person who can otherwise do lots of things, and your leg just happens to need a little extra room to move, don’t tell them anything. However, Ingrid also learned that if you acquiesce, and then just ask the flight crew if you can sit in the emergency-exit isle and not say anything else, you’ll be fine, and you’ll be moved, and chances are you’ll end up sitting beside a nice couple who’ve just gotten married and are on their way to Hawaii for their honeymoon, and it’s all good.
Did you know LA Airport has been taken over by aliens? Here’s their space ship:
Both Neil and Ingrid experienced a bumpy landing in Hawaii. It was really windy when we landed, the wind seems to pick up around 3pm, and after a lot of dipping and lifting, some serious banking and sliding a bit on the runway, we arrived safely at the airport. It’s all good.
We were hit by a wall of heat when we stepped off. It was probably the nicest heat I’ve ever felt. It was so pleasant. We picked up our luggage in an airport that reminded me of the airport in Penticton:
and when I looked outside, the wind was blowing the palm trees, the sun was shining and there were a few big puffy clouds in the sky. Heaven!
Neil and I took a cab to the hotel, and the cab driver was very chatty and told us about the two mountains on the island. You drive between them, the larger of the two on the south side is a dormant volcano called “Haleakala”, which means “house of the sun” (Wikipedia/Haleakala). You can drive up there or take a tour to watch the sun rise early in the morning. I’m hoping we can go up there before we leave. The north side of the island is the lush, tropical side, and the south side, where we are, is the desert side. There is apparently one sugar cane plantation left on the island, but who knows how long it will continue to produce. It’s cheaper now to get sugar from Asia than it is to produce it in Maui. There was a sugar processing plant we drove past, that had billowing white steam/smoke coming out of it. It has some other purpose too, but I’m not sure what.
We arrived at our hotel, the Grand Wailea Resort and Hotel (http://www.grandwailea.com/) and were greeted with leis and a lot of attention, bellmen, reception people, lots of alohas and smiles. It’s an impressive and massive resort, and they’ve created a paradise for the guests.
Waterfalls, pools with carp, a gorgeous beach, 9 swimming pools, lots of glorious flora like different varieties of palm trees and jasmines, all sorts of different kinds of trees that bloom or produce weird nuts or seed pods, and the ubiquitous Plumeria. And there are birds, lots of them. They sing, chirp, caw; they come in all sorts of sizes. They have flashes of colour in them, but they’re otherwise not very colourful, not like parrots or tucans. But they’re delightful to watch and listen too. I found a nesting pair of birds this morning, in a tree. The male flying off to fetch sticks, while the female stayed tramping around putting it all in order. And geckos! Here and there you’ll see a little green gecko, climbing the wall or hiding in the leaves. They’re so cute.
The first night we were here, Neil and I took a stroll along the beach after dinner. We could see so many stars! And the water…. WARM! We walked in the surf, and I half expected to be hit with the same cold blast of water we have at home. But it was warm, like bathwater!! So we walked and held hands, and splashed in the water and noticed there were phosphorescence in the water. They sparkled like glitter off a magic wand. We’re planning to take a midnight swim one night before we go. Melissa, who’s working with Neil, is totally into it too!
Apparently this hotel has a Picasso collection, some Warhol, and there are sculptures by Fernando Botero all over the hotel. Ingrid will be doing a bit of exploring to find them and perhaps even take some pictures, if she can. We’ve noticed quite a bit of art in Wailea, and there’s an artist who paints using aerospace paint that he adds his own pigments to. Sometimes he even grinds his own pigments if he can’t find them already ground. His name is Élan Vital – I know, hokey – but his paintings are really interesting to look at.
Our room over looks the ocean and the tropical garden. Every morning we’ve opened the door to let the light stream into our room and the sound of the surf inspire us before Neil heads off to the ball room. Truly paradise:
Below us, through the canopy of palm leaves and the sound of birds singing, is a little water fall that feeds the ponds with the carp:
But paradise comes at a price. A 1 liter bottle of Evian water, that’s stocked in your room, is $6.25US. A pedicure from the Spa Grande (no, there’s no Spa Short or Spa Tall), is $70.00US. Crazy! Want to sit in a cabana? You’ve got to rent it. Want to go snorkeling? $8.00 for an hour’s snorkel rental. How about a poolside pedicure? $65.00US. Hungry? Want breakfast? How about ½ a grapefruit or papaya for $6.50US, or a bagel with lox for $21.00US? Oh, you want a vegetarian dinner with sautéed zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh herbs and marinara sauce. Sure, no probs. That’ll be $21.00US, please. And for the meat eater over there? How about a 12 oz New York Black Angus steak for $36.00US.
Us, we go to the General Store or ABC and buy salads, fruit and 99¢ water. Or the hamburger joint where they make a huge salad for $10.00.
The other day, Neil, Melissa and I went swimming in the ocean after they got off work. It was so great! We swam as the sun was setting. Bright yellow rays washed the sky as we hopped over waves and Neil dove to pick up handfuls of silky soft sand. Soft is a good way of describing Maui. The wind, temperature, water, sand, birds, even the people, are “soft”.
Today I’m going to “Big Beach” and then “Little Beach”. It’s not too far from here, and I can get a shuttle to Makena and then walk a couple of kilometers. I’ll take some pictures of the place and post them for all to see. Big Beach is apparently the last undeveloped sandy beach on Maui. Cool.
That’s all for now. We’ll keep you posted, and eventually finish off the entries from our European adventure.
Ingrid and Neil