What a shock it is to travel from Oklahoma, USA to Hawai’i, USA.
Will and I landed in very sunny, non-flat Maui last Thursday (celebrating 5 years of sweet and spicy marriage), and, to quote a local radio DJ, “Maui is wowi.”
I know, I know. I cringed too just writing that.
But speaking seriously here, Maui is staggeringly beautiful. Its waters are the bluest blue I’ve ever seen, its trees the greenest green. You know those obscure Crayola crayon colors? Probably came from here. I think I spotted some “Unmellow Yellow” and “Razzmatazz” on a couple of hikes.
We relaxed and ate too much in Kihei for the first few days then moved on to the more active part of our trip – The Road to Hana. I was particularly nervous about this because every time someone described the road to me, they’d do a slithering snake move with their arm as a way of demonstrating the road’s swerves and curves. As I’ve written about many times, I get seriously motion sick on any and everything that moves. Sometimes I even make myself sick by walking too fast. So why would this road be a good idea for a notoriously motion sick person? Well, it’s probably not, but I did it anyway. I drove the thing, which helped immensely. Poor Will yearned to drive at least a little bit as he loves driving on winding roads, but I gently reminded him that one dip or turn could ruin our entire day as well as the clean car, and he wasn’t for that option, so he continued to let me drive. That’s sacrificial love, folks.
On our drive we saw jaw-dropping waterfalls, beautifully violent waves, Keopuka Rock – the huge rock viewed from the helicopter carrying our favorite dinosaur enthusiasts from Jurassic Park (YouTube “Jurassic Park helicopter arriving scene”). We saw lush green vegetation turn to dry weeds and ash in a matter of minutes. We ate ice cream entirely made from coconut milk which was served to us by a young smiley guy from Boston who had moved to Maui’s rainforest 3 days prior because of an ad he saw on Craigslist.
After hiking through an enchanting bamboo forest, we finished the drive Monday morning and spent the day in Paia, a place where man-buns are all the rage and the “no shirt no shoes no service” policy isn’t really a thing. We watched surfers and boogie boarders either glide on or get absolutely pummeled by the late afternoon tide before we left for Lahaina, from where I write to you now.
- Hawai’i is home to the nicest people on earth, probably because they’re all brimming with Vitamin D, and everyone’s license plate sports a friendly rainbow.
- The prices here are breathtakingly high. Like Whole Foods high.
- I could live on Hawaiian banana bread and be perfectly content.
- I’m unsure of where the line between kitschy tourism and real Hawaiian culture is located. Do locals really say Aloha? Do they really do the hang loose sign – the “Shaka”? Do they really wear flowers in their hair and on their shirts? Insight please.
- Hawai’i is all about organic. Like Whole Foods organic. What I’m staying is Hawai’i is basically a giant Whole Foods store.
- Plastic bags are banned here, which is cool.
- I never thought I’d think this, but it’s admittedly strange to not be surrounded by bare man-thighs and children running around in fabric-less freedom like I normally am in Vienna when it comes to all things water. Instead the men wear swim shorts below their knees and kids are decked out in entire sun-protecting outfits. Feels weird.