Musings on Maui

Posted on 3rd Dec 2012 by ian under Travel Tales | No Comments »

One of the upsides to having this infuriating disease is meeting like-minded travellers – those on both the MS journey and those getting out and exploring the world.  One such journeyman is Andy from Canada, who has written about one of his favorite spots on the planet, the island of Maui in Hawaii… More on Andy here… and more on Hawaii here.

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I like Maui because it’s easy to get to, has nice beaches, has relatively inexpensive booze, and I don’t need to speak or be abused in Spanish or French.

We’ve travelled to Maui twice before.  It’s only a 6 hour direct flight from Vancouver to Kahului. It’s an easy place to get to.  Maui isn’t travel so much as a nice destination to enjoy time off.

What’s the weather like in Maui? It’s sunny and warm followed by sunny and warm.

Maui has public transit but it’ll only get you so far, so we opt to rent a car.  This time we went with a used Camry with only 300,000 km’s on the clock.  I turned the rental car agreement in, and noted the many various scratches and dents on the body.  The rental agent, who might have also been the mechanic and salesman, laughed and told me that I’d missed the dents on the hood and roof.  It ran like a top, and no one gave us a second look.

Maui has several distinct resort areas, and one main Town, Kahului.  All are beachfront places; some offer the hotel restaurant scene, while some have condos.  Some are very expensive and others are ones that I can afford.  Me, I like about one meal out per week, so we opt for a condo, with a decent kitchen.  There are grocery stores in each area, and their prices are about 10% more than what I pay at home.  Maui has a Costco and a Wal-Mart. Whereas the Costco at home has a large selection of fruit and veg, the Maui one has a large selection of wine, beer and scotch. ‘Yeah, Honey I’ll come into the store with you.  Yeah, get the large buggy; I’ll just be over there by the liquor’.  Luckily the rental car had a good size trunk.

Last trip we rented a condo in Kihei, across the road from Kamaole 2 beach.  The beach is busy with boogie boarders, families, walkers, and great people watching.  Like many of Maui’s popular beaches it has lifeguards.  Some of these guard stations have beach wheel chairs- large cartoon like wheels. There are several restaurants along this strip plus grocery stores.  Get a loyalty membership using your home phone number and qualify for slightly better pricing.

We try to have a day on the beach, and a day sightseeing.  One day we drove up the Haleakala volcano, the crater was clouded in one moment and clear across the next.  With an elevation of 10,000 feet, the top is ‘nipple check cold’ and the air is getting a wee bit thin.  My W went for a walk with local volunteer’s to see the local fauna.  I was happy to wait near the car.  Several tour companies offer bike ride down from the edge of the state park.  We’ve done this on past visits.  For $60 -$100 bucks you can go downhill for 23 miles and 29 switch backs.  Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean that you leave your brain at home. Wear a helmet and be very cautious.  This trip is considered dangerous. It’s not the cycling that will get you, its meeting immovable objects that will.

Another day trip we like is to take a boat charter out to a sunken cinder cone called Molokini.  The trips leave from both Kihei and Maalaea.  Kihei is closer to the snorkeling/dive site.  The fish, turtles, whales and beautifully clear water makes this a great trip.  The trade winds can pick up on the trip across, so when you go to heave make sure that you feed the fishes and not be stuck having to wash your breakfast off the boat.

Taxes are a nice thing about a destination like Maui, – so that they have roads, sidewalks, police, water that you drink out of the tap.  I think that this is part of a worry free trip.

I love live music and Maui has the nice Arts & Cultural Center.  On our last visit we saw Maceo Parker- the grand master of funk.  The food is catered by local restaurants, the seating was comfy.  Maceo was a touch loud but that was likely because his sound guy has hearing problems.  Maceo drew a mixed crowd including folks who are one toke over the line.  Friendly but annoying when they dance directly in front of the stage. With an indoor outdoor style stage, this meant the tropical breezes were part of the set,

Using a snorkel/dive guide we drove to several beaches.  Tropical fish, nice sand, reefs, more reasons we like Maui. Our favorites are mile 14 towards Lahaini, and near the Wailea Fairmont.  If the waves are right there can also be some boogie boarding near Wailea.  Last time there, two young amply endowed bikini babes were having a tough time of it.  An older guy in a banana hammock came along and offered them a lesson.  It was straight case of quid pro quo.  They got a lesson and he got to hold them while they got the hang of it.

And Luau, I hear you ask?  The first time to Maui, I said, no, that sounded too touristy for me.  A bunch of sun burned, over refreshed tourists being entertained by bored locals in plastic grass skirts and coconut bra’s.

On the last trip we went, and I was right but also very wrong.  Several places offer Luau’s.  Prices range from $90 to $130.  We chose the Grand Wailea because it was close to where we staying.  With a beautiful site right beside the beach and facing west.The evening starts at 4pm with check in and Lei’s for the Ladies.  Ours included an open bar, and locals selling a variety of crafts.  The meal was served buffet style and included foods I knew and ones I’d only heard of. Poi anyone?

After dinner and as the sun goes down, the entertainment starts.  This included a live band, emcee, and many men and women dancing traditional stories.  Their costumes were colourful, their moves practiced, and the narration superb.  Towards the end of the evening they included fire dancing.

The total time runs about three hours, and with the food, drinks, and entertainment we had a great time.

We’re heading to Maui in January 2013 and I hope that my research will turn up more on snorkeling, driving around the Island, and possibly a hotel recommendation.