Wowed by Maui

The boat that whisked us away to Maui

Molokai is a relatively small island with less than 8,000 people. It has a highway system that connects the various population centers together, but it is lightly used enough that there are no traffic signals on the island. Maui (especially in Lahaina) on the other hand has traffic, and parking issues. Molokai calls itself “the most Hawaiian of the islands”. What this means is that it is a low stress place to live and a great place to raise a family, but lacks a lot of the amenities that tourists expect. If you are looking for a tropical setting to relax in, Molokai is your place. If you are looking for lots of trendy restaurants and bars, and plenty of activities, Maui is more your speed.

Lahaina is an older town, most of the buildings date back to the early 1900’s. We stayed at the Pioneer Inn, built in 1903 and oozing with charm. It is in the thick of things,  with the harbor to one side, and bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops all around.
After 6 blissful weeks on Molokai, I was ready for some action. In fact, even though Lahaina is a small town, I was like some country bumpkin seeing the big city for the first time. I was like a kid in a candy shop. As we walked down Front Street for the first time, I was oohing and aching and pointing at everything. I could’t wait to try some of the really touristy stuff.

IMG_0722 Somehow, I talked Trog into going on the Submarine attraction, even though he had not quite recovered from the ferry ride from Molokai. It is an actual submarine, half a mile off-shore. It dives down to 130 feet below the surface. We got to see coral reefs, and lots of fish, and a submerged boat wreck. I found it fascinating and I think that Trog was not too traumatized by it.

Looking a little blue
Looking a little blue

That night we went to the Luau. It was a short easy walk from our lodgings, and set on a beach that, they say, was popular with the Hawaiian royal family, back in the day. They served a five course meal with an open bar. Each of the first four courses was representative of a different region (Hawaii, Aotearoa, Tahiti, and Samoa) and culture of Polynesia. These four courses were preceded by mai tais and some banana and sweet potato chips with a tropical salsa. All of this was followed by a dessert course, and each course contained three separate dishes. Lots of food (and drink). And each course was accompanied by a performance of the music and dance (and costuming) of that region. I am a sucker for any kind of folkloric dance performance, and had not gotten my fill of hula, so this was the perfect ending to my Hawaiian sojourn.






Here Today… Gone to Maui: LUAU!!!

We did the “Feast at Lele” luau. Again, this wasn’t our first choice, but the slightly-higher-rated one was ALSO booked solid for the two days (if you count the day where we could still rush over with me being seasick – what fun THAT would have been) we were going to be on Maui.  It is slightly more-expensive than the higher-rated one, but it is also a different format than the other (who, interestingly-enough, STARTED at the same location and basically “spun-off” the “Feast at Lele” when they moved to their new location – in fact, they still own 50% of the “Feast at Lele” show), with the current show featuring a “tour” of the tropical islands whose people at least came to Hawaii, and might have eventually became part of what evolved as the “native” population (Hawaii appears to have started without people, having pretty much just sprung-up in the middle of the Pacific one eon from volcanic activity – what culture ACTUALLY was – or contributed largely to – what became the “native” population has not been clearly determined – one account suggests that the island had a humanoid population even before the arrival of the Polynesians, the culture widely-believed to be the contributors to what became the “native” population).

(You Can’t Know TOO Much Trivia: the legend of the “menehune,” probably best-explained as Hawaii’s version of leprechauns, are thought to be, along with legends of “dog people” who had long tails, to be indicators that Hawaii HAD a human or humanoid population predating the arrival of other cultures and were driven into extinction by them. There is no anthropological evidence to support either claim. Yet. 🙂 )  Continue reading “Here Today… Gone to Maui: LUAU!!!”

Here Today… Gone to Maui: Things to Like

The Historic Best Western Pioneer Inn, Lahaina
The Historic Best Western Pioneer Inn, Lahaina. No one could be seen in the upstairs area. It could BE haunted…

Okay – I was a teensy-weensy bit cranky about the Pioneer Inn.  I have stayed in WORSE places, of course (that hotel in Phoenix next to the truck stop with the staccato of high heels and the thump of heavy soled boots apparently plying a very old business on the outside stairwell all night long comes to mind right away). If you’re walking Lahaina, like we were, it IS in the MIDDLE of everything.  There’s a restaurant downstairs (Pioneer Inn Grill and Bar) that isn’t bad at all (and it’s even sweeter with the 15%-off coupon you can get at the hotel’s front desk IF you are staying there – good on food only – no discount for getting you drunk).

I was raised on sticky white steamed rice that is nowhere NEAR as good for your body as the nice brown rice Pony prefers – but it’s an option with the egg items on the breakfast menu (as is Portuguese sausage, also a favorite of the locals). Two eggs was enough for me – first day, it was two eggs that might have come from wild Molokai chickens (they’re kinda scrawny, if you didn’t read earlier postings, and I imagine their eggs are as well) – second day, Pony opined that it looked like they had used duck eggs (larger, I am told) – I thought I had mistakenly ordered three eggs. Pony had bacon, declared it to be too large a serving, and I thought it tasted delicious (little goes to waste around me). Continue reading “Here Today… Gone to Maui: Things to Like”

Here Today… Gone to Maui: Staying There is Almost as Fun!

Almost as much fun as the ride over (that would be biting sarcasm, if you didn’t read the story about the ride from Molokai to Maui).

So we didn’t need the “resort” experience (or price). Just a simple place to stay in Lahaina to sleep-off what was an “adventurous” (Pony’s words) boat ride, that was within walking distance of the place where the luau was (and I sleep-off the “open bar” from THAT as well). A Motel 6 would have worked…

There are, by the way, no Motel 6’s in Hawaii, let alone Lahaina. Even the cheap hotels wanted close to $100/night – and judging by the comments on-line for those places, you might want to bring your own security detail… Continue reading “Here Today… Gone to Maui: Staying There is Almost as Fun!”

Here Today – Gone to Maui: Getting There is Half the Fun!

Maui is a lot like Molokai. Dining out costs the same – but there are more options on the menu. The streets are bustling. Bars are plentiful and open late. Gas is cheaper. A brazillion places to shop. Hundreds of things to do and dozens of options to do many of them with. Cell service is great. Streets lit at night.

Okay… Maui is NOTHING like Molokai… but that’s not necessarily a GOOD thing either…

On our way back to the Mainland, we spent a couple of days in Maui, seeing as we had to go that way to catch the plane back. Kinda like stuffing TWO islands into the SAME trip – bonus! 🙂 Continue reading “Here Today – Gone to Maui: Getting There is Half the Fun!”