Day Trip to Maui

As this was our 3rd trip to Hawaii it was time to visit another island and see what it had to offer so this morning we’re taking an early flight to Maui, picked up at taxi at hotel at 7.42 am the fare today was $42.

Walking through Honolulu airport we spotted another case of a couple doing the ‘bobsy’. This couple was dressed in red shorts, white t-shirts, red caps, white ankle socks and red Nike running shoes.  Very well thought out….but I still don’t ‘get’ the concept I’m afraid.

The boarding of the inter-island plane was amusing. Around us sat a motley crew of passengers waiting for the flight, definitely interesting people watching here. One extremely large woman shuffled up, backed into a seat and proceeded to drink from the largest drink bottle I have ever seen. It must have held at least 3 litres of soft drink or perhaps, some form of alcoholic spirit to get through the flight. How rough could a 20 minute flight be? As well as the usual gaggle of fellow tourists there were many locals on this flight. How do I know this? The locals carried cardboard boxes, some tied with string, some with lids flapping open, groups of people were sitting on the floor chatting animatedly and several travellers were barefoot. Some of the boxes looked like chickens might pop their head out at any minute…..well, that was my image as another well used cardboard box went past.

When the call came for first class passengers to board the plane about 30 people joined the queue. “Ty, how big is this plane?” “Why” he asked “Well look at all the people in the first class line, those people with no shoes or carrying boxes are surely not first class passengers!” Not being elitist at all it was just quite obvious all these people weren’t sitting in first class seats. It was our turn to join the end of the queue and when we reached the aircraft lo and behold there were only 10 first class seats and most of those were empty!!! We both chuckled at the idea the gate crew probably weren’t game to stop the Hawaiian nationals from boarding whenever they wanted!!! I wouldn’t stop them either they ‘re much bigger than me, although the people we’ve met are all extremely friendly and helpful.

 It was hot but overcast with pockets of rain as we headed to the airport for the 20 minute flight to Maui. The day before when checking in on line we received TSA pre check which meant we could bypass the long lines for customs check. We had it for outbound and inbound flights. Customs person was surprised we both received it. She said ” You’re lucky generally Hawaiian only gives it to one passenger out of a couple.” Looking back at the ever increasing cue for normal customs entry we were very happy we had it! Thank you Hawaiian Airlines. Hmm, it probably won’t happen again.

We had booked a car through Hertz before leaving Australia which meant the would be no hidden charges or add ons as there had been yesterday.
The plan for the day was simple, head along the road to Hana, we had been told we shouldn’t miss it as views of ocean and plants were very good although the road was narrow and winding, then back into the centre by mid afternoon for a wander around before our early evening flight back. I had been told that Lahaina was also very pretty but it was in a different direction to Hana so we chose Hana. The best laid plans………

The weather took a turn for the worse as we travelled along the first section of the road, the wind became stronger and the rain bursts became more frequent. It was still hot and humid. The rugged coastline views, when we could see them between rain showers, were picturesque but short lived as the road very quickly veered inland. We drove for another hour and a half down and around slippery winding roads with several one lane bridges affording views of natural waterfalls flowing quickly over rocks and around vegetation. Unfortunately photo opportunities were very limited as every parking area and vantage point was already full. Unfortunately, we became uninterested in the scenery and the endless narrow winding road where concentration had to be at maximum capacity – I’m sure the weather played a large part in our decision to find a safe turning place to head back.

We were also hungry, there are no cafes along this part of the drive. Luckily we came across a turnpike with a sign to Keanae, so far we had travelled 15 mile all mostly downhill . It was an opportunity to turn around but Ty also decided to drive further along the Keanae road to see if a town might materialise and there it was, a sign ” best banana bread, drinks, hot food”. “Fabulous, love banana bread” I said.

We ordered banana bread and a drink, would’ve killed for a coffee but I’m very wary of american coffee so chose a soft drink instead.  The banana bread was actually banana loaf and it was still warm!!  We took our drinks and little loaf and joined 2 women and a man sitting under one of the 2 rain shelters.  The women were on Pride of America cruising the Hawaiian Island and the man, Robert, was their local guide for the day.  He promptly offered us a slice of freshly cut coconut, which we accepted with thanks!  It was delicious, he then handed me a rather large knife he was using to cut the coconut so I could slice our banana loaf. I noted the blade of the knife was substantially wider than the banana loaf and resolved not to disagree with this tall Hawaiian man!!

After devouring the loaf ( I did keep one slice for later) we bid goodbye to our table companions and decided to head back to Kahalui Bay and had a wander over the dunes to watch several kite surfers enjoying the waves whipped up by the gusty winds.

After that we headed for a large shopping centre to see what, if any bargains were to be had.  Oh, yes, there were bargains, luckily my husband had brought along his trusty backpack. The winning purchase on the day was a pair of dark red boots final markdown was  $11.99 at the register and a red dress marked all the way down from $80 to $4.99.

We stopped for coffee and to repack the backpack before heading back to the airport and the return trip to Honolulu.

On the return trip boarding the aircraft was much more controlled……the terrier that was the airline customer service person wouldn’t let anyone not holding a first class ticket across that line. A Japanese woman tried at least 3 times to sneak through but each time she was foiled by the terrier.

Would I encourage others on a day trip to Maui to head along the Hana Road? My answer would be “if you want to experience narrow winding roads, lots of vegetation with snippets of coastal scenery with views of waterfalls as you cross  narrow one lane bridges certainly do it; however it appears Lahaina and Ka’anapali Beach may be better prospects”.   I always listen to what people have to say about places they’ve visited and we’re venturing to but I also do my own research. It was a little remiss of me not to research the island properly to ensure the best use our time. We still had an enjoyable day and experienced part of the Hana Road.

When we returned to our room at the Outrigger Waikiki 2 bananas and a muffin awaited!!

Aloha and Mahalo for reading this…..

Hana Road

Hana Road

Two Bananas and a Muffin

Aloha from Waikiki again!!

The last couple of days seem to have passed in a blur….no, not from any wine or cocktails I may have drunk but from activities!!

We hired a car from Alamo Car Rentals, just wandered in to make the booking for the next day and not booking on the internet as we usually do so we know our exact charges. Walk in to book probably wasn’t the smartest option. The associate (customer service person) quoted us $74 on a compact car which was all we needed for the little drive. However when we arrived to pick up the car the price then became $130 with insurance added. Oh well, a lesson learned, doesn’t pay to be lazy…. We generally use Hertz, who include all basic costs into their rental and give the option to add extra insurance if you want, but they weren’t nearby and we didn’t want to organise a taxi to take us to Hertz rentals. So as they say and as I’ve been told on occasion “suck it up princess”.

We drove out of the rental yard around 7.30 am heading towards Hanauma Bay and a brief stint of snorkelling with the fish for Ty. I’m not a swimmer so I wadded into the freezing cold water very, very gingerly until it covered my waist. That was enough the fish were swimming around me, granted I didn’t see any amazing coloured or huge fish but the ones around me were a decent size, grey with yellow stripes and the occasional yellow tailed. The Bay is very beautiful, shaped by a crater millions of years old. Ty enjoyed the snorkel, swimming out to the edge of the crater, exploring in and around its ledges, spying all sorts of species of fish and fabulous colours. Did he take any underwater photos you ask? No, we weren’t that sensible, we had thought about it but that’s as far as it got, disappointing I know!!!! Ahhh well we’ll have to come back another day.

By the time Ty had finished snorkelling the beach was really filling up with people and all sorts of beach sitting items such as blankets, plastic tarpaulins; picnic baskets and plastic containers of oriental food for lunch, everything you need to settle in for the day. These families are amaze me as a picnic and all the organisation that goes with it leaves me cold, I wasn’t handed the picnic or camping gene. Poor husband you lucked out there!!! One group of people had ignored our towels, shoes and bag sitting under a palm tree setting up their very large plastic tarp, picnic baskets and all other manner of goodies on top of us. Not very polite of them and they seemed a little put out when I strode up from the beach to put my camera away!!

As we left the beautiful beach area of  Hanauma Bay we stopped at the top to take photos and have a cold drink before moving on to our next activity…..walking the Diamond Head trail. Before heading to the car we sat at an outdoor table to finish our drinks and had just sat down when some strange-looking creatures rushed out of the bushes and headed for a large rock. They looked like a ferret but fatter and a their tail was more bushy. One stood on its hind legs, like a Meerkat, to survey the area and check us out.  “Excuse me, what type of animal are they” asked Ty to the 2 American men sitting nearby “Mongoose” replied one of the men ” they had been imported to eat the rats”. I tried to get a couple of photos but the Mongoose wouldn’t let me get too close, they looked like mum, dad and baby. Very cute!!!

We drove out of Hanauma Bay car park just before 10am and the parking area was full so if you’re contemplating a visit go early!!! It’s well worth it.

Now to Diamond Head, we had tried this walk on an earlier visit but we started our trek from the bus stop below, way below, not realising the entrance to the park was a couple of miles up a very steep hill and through a mountain tunnel. By the time we got to the park entrance there was no way we could continue climbing for another 2 hours and trek back down the hill for another hour. We aren’t Trekkers I’m afraid so we had an icy cold water and rested for a bit before heading back down the hill. This time we had prepared in advance, the car had been hired so we would drive into the park, we  had purchased 2 bananas and 2 muffins to sustain us on the trail and 2 bottles of water for rehydration, all set to go!! Until we reached the park entrance and the woman in the booking office said “Sorry but the car park is full, you’ll have to go back to the bottom and park”. Oh no we aren’t, I am not trekking back up again…my knees won’t survive we’ll have to come back later. Hmmm, we had planned the last activity of the day would be the Waikele Outlets centre, that is if our legs held up after the multitude of stairs to the top of Diamond Head. So Ty set the GPS to the Waikele Outlets and our day was reset. We’d head back to Diamond Head around 3 pm. The bananas and muffins would now become afternoon tea on the trail instead of morning tea on the trail.

Arriving at Waikele we found a great parking space, it was still early and the shops had only just opened. It was surprising to see so many people already in and around the shops, some wandering around looking in shop windows with just as many others striding through the retail stores with purpose. It didn’t help that the centre has renovations happening in the centre quadrangle but this would not deter us from shopping. I had a small list of purchases I might like and Ty had a couple of stores he wanted to visit. “This shouldn’t take too long” I said remembering my last visit to this centre, “There wasn’t much that caught my eye last time”. Those words were uttered at 11.15 am – we broke for lunch at 1.45 and as part of the discussion over lunch the possibility of getting back to Diamond Head before last access at 4.30 was a little remote. We still had Walmart to visit as well, it’s where I pick up all my lipsticks, toiletries etc….so much cheaper than home!! Why is it that our goods are almost 3 times the cost, such as my Revlon lipsticks cost $5 plus tax in US but between $20 and $25 at home. That’s an awful lot of taxes and tariffs applied to one small lipstick.

Anyway, I could go on but I won’t probably because I’ve already ranted in an earlier blog written whilst in US.

We finally dragged ourselves away from the Waikele outlet stores around 4pm and headed to the nearest Walmart. The trip had been successful with both of us purchasing new shoes and several items of clothing. Once we’d picked up the necessities of life from Walmart it was back to the hotel, dinner and bed.

The 2 bananas and 2 muffins joined us back in the room…..they wouldn’t be eaten tomorrow either as we have an early flight to Maui.

Oh, before I sign off I must mention something that happened whilst we were at the Ala Moana shopping centre (not a DFO just a huge shopping mall). On my shopping list was underwear….I knew exactly what I wanted but it was hard to find in Honolulu this time. Could find the brand but not the particular design. There was one store left – as we entered the store a top caught my eye, checking the price tag for this very plain garment and seeing a woman with her Maltese terrier dressed in a glittering pink and white tutu made me realise I was unlikely to find the items. As I headed for the door Ty met me with an incredulous look on his face, not because I hadn’t spent any money more that he had been to the menswear and spied a polo shirt he liked with a very hefty price tag. What was the price? $175.00.

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Hanauma Bay

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Hmmm, looks like shopping bags!!

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Mongoose in there somewhere

Aloha from Waikiki

This blog comes to you from our balcony at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach hotel in Honolulu. Yes, we’re spending Easter in Hawaii this year. An extravagance, to say the least, as we also have a European trip in July!! Who could resist those airfare specials with photos that tease with those 2 words starting with ‘s’ ? Sun, Sand and Shopping! Yes, that’s 3 but shopping has to be included. As I was saying, one day late last year an email popped up with relatively cheap fares so I did what every impulsive (or perhaps nutty) travelling shopaholic does….purchased 2 tickets. Even better was the fact Easter public holidays and Anzac public holiday fell in the same week giving extra time off work.

Our balcony overlooks Waikiki Beach and the views are not too shabby either. Listening to the rush of the water as it breaks onto the beach whilst lying in bed is very relaxing. Watching the sunrise from the balcony is pretty good, as is the people watching. How does anyone living with these views go to work every day? Working from home would definitely be my option.

Sitting on the balcony, sipping wine with iPad resting on the ‘book seat’ one of my sisters gave me as a gift is a great way to write this blog. I glance down every so often to marvel at the turquoise colour of the water, see what the beach goers are up to, muse about the surfers sitting patiently on their boards waiting for that big wave in the flat ocean as I go back to my writing I am serenaded music and singing that emanates from entertainers in the hotel bar. Ahhh, the joy……

The first day was spent wandering around Waikiki, the only money spent was on food and drinks. Day 1 of 7 called for restraint, there would be plenty of time for shopping and , anyway, this was also to be a time for relaxing and catching up on more chapters in my book. Hmm, this blog is being written on day 3 and not a line has been added to my book, let’s not write it off yet, 4 more days to go!!!

What has been interesting on this trip to Hawaii is the new fashion trend among tourists here. What do you think the new trend would be? Perhaps a haircut, nail colour, a type of swimming costume? No, wrong on all counts, it’s……wait for it……couples in matching outfits. Admittedly this is not a new phenomenon but these past few days we’ve seen many of these couples. It may be the Hawaiian dress and matching Hawaiian shirt for him or Hawaiian dress and matching shorts for the gentleman; one gentleman, without partner, had the matching shirt and shorts….a very attractive look. Ty calls this fashion statement (used lightly) ‘bobsy’ as in the bobsy twins. Several other couples have everything matching right down to their shoes. Not sure about you, dear reader, but I wouldn’t leave the house wearing the same patterns, colours or shoes as Ty, unless it was a fancy dress Hawaiian themed night ……hmm….even then I might draw the line.

Break for a minute whilst I’m entertained by a group of hula dancers.

Ok, back to the task at hand……

The weather is hot although when those trade winds really blow no amount of hairspray will keep the hair in place. Today was one of those days when a shaved or bald head is a blessing. Fingers crossed, the trade winds stay away or lessen for rest of the week.

Breakfast at Duke’s is something to experience at least once during the stay. An interesting item on the breakfast menu at the moment is Piña Colada Bread Pudding. Probably should’ve tried it but decided against it. I’m not that adventurous with food and Ty doesn’t like bread pudding!

After a day spent splashing in the surf, lying on the beach and watching a few surfers catching waves, with a little shopping thrown in, we decided to try out the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. On our previous trips to Hawaii this place has been on our list but the line has always been huge. This time we waited till almost 8pm thinking the lines may be shorter……not so! Well if we’re ever going to do it now is the time. Ty had to weave his way between the groups of people milling around outside to get to the desk. The must have accessory for the 50 or so people waiting was the Cheesecake Factory buzzer and soon we would have ours which came with a l hour and 20 minute wait time. Now, for the next decision, where do we wait? People were sitting, standing, crouching outside on the street, in the entrance to the Hawaiian Village walkway and along the undercover walkway. There were no vacant seats, or indeed space to stand. A walk was in order and would pass the time. After 45 minutes we headed back to the area beside the restaurant, miraculously finding a seat. Finally, exactly 1hour 20 minutes after booking our buzzer light up with a shrill. Was the wait worth it….yes it was, the food was very good. As is generally the case in the US the wait staff were extremely friendly and polite. Some statistics on The Cheesecake Factory – I know you’re eager to hear them! It has 171 tables, can seat 580 and opened in 2003. Their menu is extensive, not necessarily healthy as the portions are large. I ordered fillet of baked salmon thinking I was choosing wisely and received 2 fillets….unfortunately one was wasted ‘cos I prefer small meals…..the salmon was tasty. Importantly they had the wine I liked on the menu so that was a plus for them. Did we get to try a slice of cheesecake? No, by the time we finished the main we couldn’t fit in dessert, unfortunately. Another time……….

For now it’s time to struggle, I mean stroll back to the hotel and collapse into a chair or onto the bed, an end to what has been one busy day in this laid back, relaxation type holiday!!

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