ALOHA from Hawaii!
Yes, using local vernacular already – exclamation point and all. First time to Hawaii for this guy, how could I not be amped?!
I have quickly discovered that Maui is awesome for a litany of reasons. Among others because you can see about fifteen different climates, or microclimates or whatever you call it, occurring all at the same time. Day one: we woke up to rain, then were on the beach baking in the sun an hour after breakfast, witnessed fog, mist, blistering wind, sun, and a tsunami (okay fine, correction, no actual tsunami). Meanwhile Mount Haleakala is at the center of the island and was still socked into a fog bank roughly the size of a freaking island. However with a bit of driving that we had to do anyway in order to procure lunch, we found ourselves relatively close to the park entrance and then we found ourselves forking over $10 and buying a pass to the National Park at Mount Haleakala. Blah blah blah, fast forward to us finding ourselves driving up the flippin’ 28 miles weaving in and out of meandering cows, and then all of a sudden: SUN!
And now let’s talk food. It is vacation and it is Hawaii, afterall, and I’ve discovered that the food is as fresh as the water is wet. Breakfast is the raddest meal of the day thanks to a farmers market down the road. I’ve been sampling all sorts of fruits (…err, singular fruit?) that I’ve never had before – dragon fruit, star fruit, papaya… true, I’ve never had fresh papaya before, in addition to all sorts of other breakfasty goodness like pineapple, persimmon, banana, and grapefruit that I pluck fresh from the tree seven steps from our front porch.
Plus unctuous Kona coffee by the gallon. I mean cup.
More food: poke? Yes, poke. Enough said.
Now to extrapolate on “enough said.” Poke is:
A) amazing and
B) the first thing I ate on Hawaii. Oh, plus…
C) the thing I have eaten the second most of since arriving to Hawaii behind an obscene amount of aformentioned fruit.
Ahh yes, another piece of fruit I earned was a coconut. Turns out these coconut tree dealies are everywhere on Hawaii and with them goes coconuts. Go figure. I found a pair of these ‘nuts on the ground and smashed them on the corner of a rock until milk – or coconut water or coconut juice – came out. I tried to get a spoon into the small rock created chasm in order to fish out some flesh, but that didn’t work. Our kindly BnB host obviously learned of my un-native ways and procured me his machette! After nearly – but thankfully never – chopping off many digits, I found my way inside of a coconut. Victory was mine! As was the inside goodness of a freshly fallen coconut.
Next day. A visit to the very remote town of Hana was one of the few things that I actually had on my to-do list (to appease your curiosity, the other things include 1) doing nothing and 2) sitting on the beach doing nothing). See, Dad’s memoir that is a dynamic work in progress shall be titled the Road to Hana, highlighting various pieces of his past, present, and future in order to showcase what sort of exploits one might encounter on the unconventional recovery process from a stroke.
If you ever want to see a sleepy town, go to Hana. Seriously. The sole restaurant has no walls and is roofed with a tarp. But the general store is as authentic as it gets, the beaches are serene, and the road to Hana is an absolutely dynamite experience. Yes friends, dynamite.
I chatted up this guy named Lance a few days before arriving to Hawaii and he asked if I was going to Maui to race. Race?! Heck no bro, I’m going for vacation. But I also had no idea what he was talking about. Race what I asked. Turns out the Xterra World Championships were taking place there. So we drove the northward, absurdly gnarly way around to Kapalua on fine morning to see these Xterra World Championships. I’m no triathlete whatsoever, but the world championships of anything – especially when taking place a short distance away – is bound to be worth scoping out, so we did.
Here are the giddy participants donning yellow condoms on their head moments before they’re set to swim joyously around the buoys. This palpable nervous enthusiasm so close to the unpredictable ocean reiterated to me how much I suck at swimming as well as how I have no interest in learning how to swim. I’ll stick to the bicycle.
And after a few more tranquil days on the beach and a few more freshly hacked hunks of coconut – yes, with all my fingers still intact proven below – it was time to hop into a plane and skip over to the island of Kauai. Hawaii vacation 2.0 coming up…
Oh and I bought this very most excellent authentically Chinese made straw hat. Behind fruit, avocados, and poke, this is definitely the best purchase of the year. Well, the hat and the plane ticket to Hawaii. Over and out.