January 8th, 2006

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

OK, today I have the time to go into some detail about our trip to Maui.

We went to Maui primarily to participate in Beth's wedding (a friend of forestcats). Neither of us had ever been to Hawaii before, so we viewed it as an opportunity.

We flew in on the 25th, arriving rather late. I guess I was disappointed that we weren't met with leis on arrival, although it was apparent that those passengers on our flight who were met by travel companies were leied. The rental car company folks were a bit lackadaisical; this is a theme that we discovered repeatedly through our stay. I won't go into it again. The hotel we rented a room from that night is undergoing conversion to timeshare; ick.

The next morning, we strolled Lahaina, and found our way to a small restaurant, open-air. We had a lovely breakfast, and I learned the joys of POG (Passion fruit/Orange juice/guava). Yum. We continued our stroll until we came to Hilo Hatties, where we were met with strings of free seashell necklaces. A nice touch. We found some items to bring home, and some clothing we liked, and then wandered on. Beth had made many of the arrangements with Expedia.fun, and we stopped at their office in Lahaina to meet Dan, the coordinator. He was a very pleasant fellow, a fellow beagler, and he took care of getting us our tickets to the various activities. He also offered us a large discount if we were willing to sit through a timeshare spiel. We took him up on that, and they gave us more POG, as well as a meal, and they did nearly persuade us. Very effective marketing, but we still don't want to be tied down to their systems.

Following that, we went to the house that Beth rented, thinking we could get in with the codes we were given, unload, and then go get some groceries to stock the house for the week. We were shocked to discover our codes didn't work. I placed a call to the rental service, who said that she was away from her computer, and that she would call back with the information later. Off we went to get groceries. Let it be known that food in Hawaii is expensive. On our return to the house, we had already received the code, just in time, as the folks from Ohio were arriving. We unloaded, groceries first, and forestcats got busy in the kitchen, expecting that after their long flight (and you do know that airlines no longer offer meals on their flights, right?) that they would be happy to have something to eat. She was right. Soon thereafter, as the sun set, the Ohioans slowly faded away. A hardy few watched a bit of Firefly with us as the day ended.

More on the next post.
Dead Dog Cat

Our Tuesday in Hawaii

During the night, which, by the way, was a bit uncomfortable because the air conditioning didn't work at all well, and our specific room didn't have a functional duct, forestcats awoke in the wee hours, and wandered out the back door by the pool. We could hear the waves breaking on the beach two blocks away, and just as we both stepped outside, a meteor fell to our south. Beautiful.

forestcats had the opportunity to join a horseback ride out of the Mendes Ranch on the northeast side of the island, which she enjoyed very much. They didn't have space for me, however, and forestcats admitted that I would most likely not have enjoyed the two times that they broke into a gallop.

I, on the other hand, rested. Sloth. Put my feet up, read a book, watched a bit more Firefly. Took it easy. Napped. Basically, I needed the downtime to really be ready for a vacation.

Tuesday night, much of the supplies we purchased, along with more that forestcats got (much cheaper) that day from Costco (she says that their prices were the same as in LA, plus $1, though not for everything...some were exactly the same. She brought me a fragrant lei that I wore the entire day, proudly.) were expended on a barbecue, where all the folks in town for the wedding were invited. Hot dogs, chicken wings, snack food. Enormous amounts of beer was brought in by the guests, along with the booze we already had, and the wine that forestcats was asked to buy at Costco; we had plenty. So much, in fact, that at least a third of it was still left when it was time to leave.

Unfortunately, the smokers took up station outside of our room, which we had to keep closed to keep the smoke out. Luckily, during the day, I was able to learn how to manage the air conditioner, so the rest of the house was comfortable, even though our room still had no flow from the air duct.

Next day on the next post.
Dead Dog Cat

Our Wednesday in Hawaii

Wednesday was the wedding. It was held in a golf course in Wailea. We drove with a woman and her stepdaughter to the site, and arrived with minutes to spare. A couple of guys got badly lost, and didn't show at all.

All in all the site, and the process were beautiful, and the bride looked wonderful. forestcats has, and will, post photos of the event.

We then broke to go back to the house, to await the evening's luau. En route, we stopped at a lookout point along the highway, high up on a cliff. From there, we saw humpback whales, spouting, waving tails, and breaching. Very cool. Also saw a variation of a cardinal, with a red head, and brown body.

That evening, we made our way to Kaanapali, to the Hyatt Regency, for their luau. My impressions: watered, tasteless drinks, bad food, cheesy entertainment. Good handicrafts on sale; I purchased a cute item for my beloved, and some items for the staff at my office. I think that the food there led to both of us having a common traveller's problem the next day.

In the evening, we watched a bit of Lost, while the others crashed.
Dead Dog Cat

Our Thursday in Hawaii

Thursday was the volcano.

Our friends were going to take their children on the volcano, but there were no bicycle tour companies who were willing to allow that with younger kids, so they only went halfway up the hill.

We went separately. We had the option of going up there to see dawn, but that would have required that we be up all night, as the pickup would have been at 2AM. Instead, I insisted that we get some sleep, so we were picked up for a later time, at 7AM, and missed the dawn. As it turned out, the dawn teams were just finishing vacating the parking lot at the top as we arrived, so it's most likely that we made the right choice, dawn breaking notwithstanding.

Now, the volcano, at this parking lot, is apparently 10023 feet high; climbing the last few feet to look down into the caldera was trouble for me, being asthmatic. I started to worry about how I was going to manage riding a bicycle for the next 40 miles, but the company had the van following us, so if I couldn't make it, I could always ride the rest of the way down.

We did find our guide and our driver to be pretty cool people. The guide was Hawaiian born; the driver a wise-cracking fellow in his 50s.

Finally, the got us equipped with motorcycle helmets, and bicycles that had drum brakes, extra-wide tires, and only one gear. Off we went, coasting nearly the whole way, with only a couple of exceptions. The ride was filled with switchbacks, wide vistas of the island, and the local terrain. We passed our friends on the road, with the father keeping close to his youngest; they later stopped at the same place we did for lunch.

After lunch we were much lower on the mountain and needed to strip down a bit, and the ride was more humid. We did have more beautiful places to see, and we seemed to arrive at our destination at sea level in no time at all. Our ride back was one of excitement and pleasure at the accomplishment, and the beauty of the lands that we had experienced.

That night, we went out on our own to the Lahaina Fish Market, where we had a fantastic meal. I'd recommend the place to anyone.

More Lost...somewhere in there, we finished season 1.
Dead Dog Cat

Our Friday in Hawaii

On Friday, we were on our own for a bit.

We went trolling on the other side of the island for a change. I found a chunk of koa wood for future use in carving, when my skill level improves. forestcats found a fabric store that had some really nice fabrics for aloha shirts that she will make in the future, and inexpensive prices.

We wandered, got lost near the airport, and then ended up wandering among some tidepools. We watched the molluscs crawling in the waters, and found some bits and pieces of coral to peruse, though we didn't take any. Then, suddenly, humpbacks appeared offshore, breaching. Very cool.
Dead Dog Cat

Our Saturday in Hawaii

I was up early, as the menfolk from the wedding party were mostly going on a deep-sea fishing trip. On the way outbound, we saw humpbacks playing in the waters, pilot whales, and then I saw a small school of flying fish break the water 5 feet away from the boat. The rest of our party missed them, because by the time I said anything, they'd all dived back into the sea.

However, two members of the wedding party were chain smokers. The aroma forced me out of the back of the boat, into the cabin, where I dozed the rest of the trip. During the whole 6 hours, there was only one nibble from a mahi-mahi. Yawn.

I will have to let forestcats comment on what she did that morning, as I wasn't a part of it.

In the evening, we were taken out to a restaurant called The Hula Grill by the woman we drove with to the wedding. The food was OK, the company good. In the complex, they have a Whaler's Museum, but I didn't have time to view it.
Dead Dog Cat

Our Sunday in Hawaii

Sunday was the road to Hana. We stopped at a waterfall, and at the only remaining black sand beach, but we had pressure from the wedding party group to make time and join them at the Seven Pools, beyond Hana. The road is dangerous, and very curvy, and couldn't be travelled at speed. A tiring day for our driver, forestcats.

Sorry, I forgot to mention in our post that the previous night was New Year's Eve, and our wedding party friends were celebrating with a party...most of them faded away when New Year's hit Ohio; a few were still up when midnight arrived in Hawaii.

On Sunday night, we started packing, to be out the next day, as the folks from Ohio were heading back, and the house had to be vacated. We calculated the costs of the food we'd purchased and divided by the number of folks in the house, and let the others know what it cost. Nastiness ensued, as some refused to pay any of it, and others grumbled that we should return whatever foods we hadn't used. In the end, we were only $38 behind, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but I do have to wonder where they thought the food was coming from.
Dead Dog Cat

Our Monday in Hawaii

Monday had us packing out our stuff. We were done loading our car faster than the others, and the youngest of the children asked us to take her to the beach for one last visit. Beth agreed, and so we were off. It's a slim beach, with hardpacked sand, and she enjoyed herself. Soon, Beth spelled us, and we were off. We wandered Lahaina a bit more (we'd done so, here and there, several times during our stay, but it's Front Street is mostly tourist traps), and had a Cheeseburger in Paradise.

Then, it was off to see some of the things that I'd missed.

We went to the Acquarium, which was very nice, then the Plantation, which was also pretty nice. Fed the fish and ducks there, and wandered a bit. It started to rain for the first time since our arrival, and we drove up into the hills, watching the rain's intensity increase as our altitude increased, and then drop as it decreased. Curious. We tried to get into Iao Valley, but the rain was too strong, so we drove down into Wailuku, and got a hotel room. That evening, we walked to a sushi bar for some mediocre food.
Dead Dog Cat

Our last day in Hawaii

In the morning, we packed up the car, and drove back up into Iao Valley. Gorgeous scenery. While we were on a bridge there, I had to turn forestcats around, just in time to see a native jump off the bridge into a pool in the stream. Cool.

We then made our way to the airport. One of our bags was overloaded; I was going to pay, but the young lady behind the counter was mad at her own company for messing with her on the same business, and she let us go with a warning. How cool!

The flight was terrible. We had the most senior flight attendant in American Airlines, and she moved with all the majesty and speed of a glacier. We felt lucky to get a single drink.

...and then, home...