= = =
Day 1 - Saturday, Feb 11
Confession: my expedia-fu ain't as 1337 as my other intarweb skillz, so I wasn't able to find us a nonstop to Maui from PDX. Well, that, and I waited till the last minute to book -- in high tourist season, no less -- er, um, because I really want to support the suffering US commercial airline industry. Thus, I chose an airline that sells you the food.
Anyhoo. Our trip there was in two jumps, PDX to SEA, then SEA to OGG (OGG is the airport code for Kahului, Maui; I have no idea how they came up with it). We arrived about 7:00pm Hawaii time, and walked off the plane into a beautiful, clear 75-degree night. Aw yeah.
Our rental car was a Chevy Aveo (4-door, not hatchback), light turquoise. Thus, it was christened "Turq."
The drive to our condo in Kihei took about 20 minutes from the Kahului airport, right through a valley full of sugar cane fields between Maui's two volcanoes. We passed two Starbucks on the way, and a Wal-Mart! Hot diggity!
Here's a map of the short drive:
Our accomodations for the first several nights was a rented condo in the Kauhale Makai ("Village by the Sea") condo complex. Here is a view from the lanai ("mad pimpin' deck") of our unit:
This is looking roughly northwest. Visible in the distance, through the palm trees, is the coastline of Ma'alaea Bay. Further off is the smaller of the two volcanoes that pretty much comprise the island of Maui. The larger one is Hale'akala ("House of the Sun"), and the smaller one is known by several names, including:
- Halemahina ("House of the Moon"),
- Puu Kukui ("Candlenut Hill"), and
- The West Maui Volcano ("We don't speak your crazy moon language").
All of the units at this property are privately owned ... and we discovered that ours, #530, is currently up for sale for a cool $600K. The photo above is actually from the realtor's website, which has a bunch more pictures of the unit. Like many condos in Kihei, most are managed by a separate companies, such as the one I booked through, Ali'i Resorts (their website has even more pictures of the unit ... they must've raised the rates recently, because I didn't pay what's indicated there).
Another note: the folks at this company were fantastic to work with, and I highly recommend them ... they also manage properties all over the island, at several different rates. It was our first time staying in a condo, and we much preferred it to staying in a hotel.
For dinner, we had sushi at Isana, a Korean restaurant, which was the first place we saw in Kihei on the way to the condo. I had a sashimi platter, which turned out to be about 25 pieces of probably the tastiest sushi I've had in several years; The Hang had tempura veggies and sake. After dinner, since it was about 1am Portland time, we crashed.
Day 2 - Sunday, Feb 12
Didn't sleep too well, not because the room wasn't perfectly comfortable, but just because we weren't used to the weather there, or the noises (we had a palm tree right outside our lanai, and it tended to get a little windy at night). So after getting up late, we went to Marco's South Side Grill in Kihei for breakfast on a friend's recommendation. Although the building was really nice, with a wide, open veranda, it faced the main road and was pretty noisy with traffic ... so we sat inside.
And the food wasn't too good. Well, let me rephrase ... the food was prepared just fine, but wasn't really distinctive. I think I had an omelet. We asked our server for suggestions on good beaches, but he wasn't that much help ... probably because just about any beach in Southwest Maui is, well, pretty stunning.
After breakfast/brunch, we drove around to familiarize ourselves a bit with Kihei, and realized that it's pretty centrally located relative to a bunch of stuff we wanted to do (hiking, drives, beaches, restaurants), and comparatively low-priced and non-touristy. The main street runs north-south maybe 1000' from the coast, and one of the mail highways runs parallel to it, about another mile inland. We grabbed a bunch of glossy activity brochures, then found a Safeway and stocked up on some groceries.
We also found a souvenir store, thank GOD, because it's just about impossible to find any cheesy Hawaiian gifts there! Dang!
It was interesting to note, when we parked Turq back at the condo, that it (he?) was one of perhaps a dozen Chevy Aveos in the lot. The one in the space right next to ours was light blue. :)
The rest of the day consisted of several naps, some lounging by the pool, and, oddly, a lot of TV. HGTV, in particular, which is probably the most unexpected addiction I picked up while in Maui. The Hang talked a bit with the concierge on the condo staff about some activities we were thinking about, and prices for each, and got some ideas about restaurants and beaches to check out.
On the recommendation of another friend, we called a French restaurant, Chez Paul, and made some reservations for dinner, then wandered out to the beach to watch the sunset. Although it looks further away in the view above, the beach was only about a 100 yards due west of the condo.
Here's a pic of the sunset:
And a gratuitous shot of my sweetie:
Chez Paul is in Oluwalu, a teeny little town roughly midway between Kihei and Lahaina, about a 20-minute scenic drive up the coast from our condo ... but, unfortunately, we were really underwhelmed by dinner. The place was ... nice, the staff was very attentive, the clientele was good-looking (and older than us; a recurring trend we noticed during our stay), and the menu sounded absolutely delicious. I had what was supposed to be seared Ahi, but which was actually a previously juicy slice of fish that had been quite thoroughly cooked all the way through. They threw in a free dessert, though, which was very considerate, but in a place where the after-dinner cup of coffee was $6, I guess we kind of expected a little more.
It wasn't terrible, by any means. The little dish of vichyssoise they served us before dinner was incredible ... my veggies were tasty, and the six-buck java was really good.
But what cause had we to complain? We were in Maui, on vacation. It was hard to really be upset at much, we realized later, while soaking in the hot tub. :)
End of Day 2, and just planning about what to do the next day seemed ... just too much work.
= = =
Coming up next in Part 2: public nudity, a treacherous drive, and a lot of rain!
= = =