Month: December 2011

Hawai’i – Day 4

I completely stuffed myself at breakfast this morning. I’m sure I looked like a piggy pig but I didn’t care. Croissant, some sort of danish, pineapple, melons, scrambled eggs, bacon, panclocks, sausage and the ground beef mash (no clue what it is). I found the sausage to be a bit spicy today. I was unable to eat the danish and croissant so I took them back to the room.

We decided to hop the bus to Lahaina but got off at the Cannery Mall, one stop early. There was a lady at the information booth who approached us with info and maps. She seemed very helpful…a little TOO helpful. Then she starts talking about how we’ll get this 100$ credit card and 40% off card if we go to this place and listen to their shpeel. She asked if we were over 28 and a few other questions. Then she asked if we make 69k a year. HA! We laughed and said no. She asked if we made that combined. We again said no. At that point she was done with us. Sorry, lady.
We walked out the back of the mall and found the Old Lahaina Lu’au. Mental note was made as we want to go there.
Then we walked to Old Lahaina. It reminded me … the buildings reminded me of New Orleans or Dawson City. It was pretty to look at the buildings but was otherwise unimpressive.
We saw an art gallery where they do some fancy stuff with their incredible photos. And the photography truly was incredible. However, the cheapest photo they had was 16 x 24 for $750. And that’s just not our cup of tea. The ones we saw hanging up and loved were 2700$. For an amazing painting? Depends on the painting. For a photo? Not likely. Don’t get me wrong, I’d kill to be able to take such incredible photographs. But I certainly wouldn’t charge that much if I could.

We walked to Banyan Tree park, which was filled with artisans, which was nice but made it difficult to really admire the tree itself. And boy! Was it beautiful! I just loved the way it grew. And the fact that each “tree” in the park was from the main tree in the middle. It was pretty spectacular.

But other than Banyan Tree park neither of us was really impressed by Lahaina. For me, I enjoyed the old buildings but I wouldn’t go back.
We did end up walking for … well we grabbed the 9am bus and caught the 2:50 bus home.
And everyone asks, in no particular order: where are you from? Are you here on your honeymoon? Most of the time I forget to ask where they come from. (and I feel obligated to ask, like it’s the tourist code of ethics, but I really don’t care to ask. It’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t care.) Oh well. After we got back we booked a few tours. The Old Lahaina Lu’au, a sunset sail, the Road To Hana tour and the Haleakala Sunrise tour. We’ve decided for the Hana and Haleakala that it would be best if someone else did the driving, especially since the sunrise drive is at 3 in the morning!

After we booked everything we went to the beach. The waves were strong and powerful. WE got a message this morning on our phone. The surf is dangerous from now until tomorrow evening but boy are those waves fun to play in!

For dinner we went to the Tiki Terrace restaurant here. I got the Pulau pork bruschetta and the ko’ala lamb chops. Mike got the caesar salad (which was HUGE!) and the tenderloin and shrimp kebab with teriyaki sauce. It was very tasty!

During dinner they have nightly hula and music shows. They’re really good and there was one little kid, he was pretty cute and fun to watch.

We were so completely stuffed that we got myc ake to go. There was no way I would be able to eat it, which sucks because it was free (we’d used the free 3 course dinner for one coupon). After dinner we came back to the room. I looked at all our photos so far (boy, am I glad I brought the laptop!). I didn’t take any that were award winning but I did get a few nice ones.

So our area that we’re staying in is Ka’anapali and it’s a whole strip, right up to Napili, of hotels. While this is the most, perhaps, popular place to stay on the Island, considering the number of people who are here, there are very few people at the beach. Except for today. There were a lot of people watching the waves. But it still wasn’t what I’d call busy. I’ve seen more people at the breakfast line than the beach.

Well, I love our maid Nelly. She always answers our (my) little notes. Tomorrow I’m going to ask her about music. We both really love Brudda Iz but wherever we go he’s the only person we hear playing so hopefully Nelly will give me some names. I’m sure she either loves our notes or completely hates us. Oh well, she gets a tup everyday from us and I love that she answers my questions.

We stayed up late tonight. We were in bed at 1045. If we were home we’d be in bed around 1am. Then again, 1045 Maui time is 3:45 Toronto time.


Hawai’i – Day 3

Happy Remembrance Day! We woke up at 5 something. We get 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. It’s fairly confusing for us and our bodies haven’t fully adjusted. We went for a smoke this morning at a different designated smoking area (a new one each day!). So we got to see the sky light up over the mountains. It was too cloudy to see an actual sunrise but it was beautiful none the less.
We left our maid Nelly a note yesterday with a tip. We said Aloha and Mahalo for the service. She left us a note which I’m keeping. Today I’ve left her a note asking her what her favourite Hawai’ian saying is. I hope she again leaves us a note.

So the hotel gives you vouchers for breakfast as well as a voucher for a breakfast where they tell you about all kinds of Island activities. We’re currently planning some activities. Some things I can’t do because I’m a boob, such as snorkel in deep water or ride a flat bottomed raft. But other things, such as the Lahaina Stables and a sunset cruise. They also have submarine rides! How cool will THAT be?!

So at this fancy breakfast they were raffling off some free things such as a 2 hour cabana rental, 2 free drinks at the Tiki Bar. The gentleman started off by saying the first prize was 2 free hours of beach time. ha ha
Anyhow, we won a free dinner for 1 at the Tiki Terrace so that’s awesome! (a 3 course meal, to be exact)

When we got back to the room there was another message. Due to high winds the rip current is dangerous and they strongly advise you NOT go in the water. You can hear the wind outside and the palms are swaying in the breeze. The lawns are covered in plumeria flowers, which are picked up the tourist ladies and placed in their hair. Which I, of course, have also done.

When we went to the Ohana Centre (a desk where they’ll book trips for you, free of charge) for info on all the activities we are hoping to do, we had a whole list of planned activities. We wanted to ask her all kinds of questions. How far in advance do you have to book them? Who is the best? What company is better? Nani (who was a real charmer of a woman and the only local we encountered that we didn’t like) told us we shouldn’t do the Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours. Oh yeah? Why’s that, Mike asked. Because one went down yesterday. All five people were lost.
Well knock me over with a feather!

Needless to say we scratched that off our list and went to the coffee/sundry shop on the grounds and bought the paper. The helicopter crashed into a mountain on Moloka’i. The weather conditions were fairly intense yesterday. We can see Moloka’i from the beach and yesterday it was surrounded by heavy clouds for most of the day (not to mention the wind speeds).
Suffice it to say we have decided that sticking to land activities is now our thing. However, if we were gamblers, now would be the time to take a tour. What are the odds of another crash, so soon after yesterdays? However. I, nor Mike, are gamblers.

When we got back to the room and sunscreened it up (I firmly believe I’ll come back to Toronto as white as I was before and no one will believe that I came) Mike saw an envelope addressed to Michael and Lindsay Dallaway. It was a card (our second) from the hotel and a 2012 monthly desk calendar. Neither of us remembers it being there yesterday. It was a nice surprise.

We just got back from a glorious time at the beach. The waves were very powerful and lots of fun! I now have sand in places I’ve never had before. I don’t know how long we were at the beach but this is why I’m here. The beach, the waves, the sun.
When we got back to the room there were two messages. One from Nelly, thanking us for her tips (her favourite Hawaiian saying is Aloha). The other message was from my mother. Automatically I assume someone’s dead. Nope, just me.
So she started off her conversation by saying, You really need to get on facebook fast.
Lady, I’m on my honeymoon. I’ll be getting on, but certainly NOT facebook.
They heard about the helicopter crash and can I please message someone or facebook or call and let them know we’re okay.
But first I decided to shower. I am covered in sand. As I’m showering I get a little confused. There are thousands of people here. They haven’t released the victim’s names so why assume it’s us that’s died? I get out of the shower and Mike is on the phone. His mom has called. Turns out one of the couples are from Toronto.
Oh man. NOW I get it!!

The fate of those on the helicopter remains in our minds. It reminds me of a part in Reading Lolita in Tehran. The author, during the war, walked about how when the bombs would drop, the relief you felt that it wasn’t you who had perished, yet at the same time you feel guilty because it wasn’t you, because you DO feel relief. Guilt in knowing your relief is at the expense of someone else’s loss.
So I called Mum, told her I was not, in fact, dead, so there’s no need to worry.
During one of our smoke breaks today I mentioned how I haven’t seed any lizards yet but that we probably will in Hana. Well, it seems God was listening. I happened to look at a rock behind Mike and there was, what looked like, a chameleon (from 10 feet away he looked like it but getting up close he wasn’t). I was able to snap a few pictures (okay, more like 30) but was pretty happy to see a lizard.

We also saw a wild parrot. I don’t know what kind he was nor will I until I go to PJ’s Pets.
We also saw what looked like a red headed blue jay. He/They had all the markings of a blue jay except their heads were such a bright bright red! So pretty!

I haven’t yet encountered any dumb Americans to convince them into doing stupid things (hello Crab Fingers!*) however it’s only my second day here so there’s still time (technically 3rd day here).
This morning we sat at a table with a couple from Illinois and a Canadian couple. He’s from New Brunswick, she’s from London. He’s a Habs fan, the Illinois man is a Chicago fan, Mike’s a Leafs fan and I’m an Oilers fan. Plus the Chicago man, as well as ourselves, are Pens fans. The Habs man said he went on this morning and Sidney will not play this weekend. Which brought up all kinds of questions that Mike and I have. Unless you’re a business man who runs a company, why are you going on the internet? NOTHING is that important! I magically died according to my friends and I STILL didn’t go on facebook to let them know I was alive. And even if you ARE a businessman running a company, certainly you trust your minions to survive without you for a week or two??
Tonight’s plans are the magic show and dinner theatre. Steak, baby! mmmmmm

We thoroughly enjoyed the magic show Kupanaha. And, as my mother always told me, I’m magic!

We went to the lobby to check in for the show and found we had time to look around the jewellery shop, Gigi. They had some absolutely stunning pieces, specifically a black pearl with mother of pearl flowers and some truly odd shaped pearls. I tried the black pearl/mother of pearl necklace on and it was stupidly beautiful! Mike and I took guesses as to how much it was. I was right. Anyway, Mike bought it for me and it’s stunning. I put it on right away, of course, for the show.
When we left the store there was a young man who was the warm up guy. He performed tricks for us and was quite entertaining. Finally we went in. When you go in they take two photos. One, a normal one, and the other where one of us had to put our arms out in the air (me) and the other had to look surprised (Mike).

Finally we sat down. The pork bruschetta appetizer was simply amazing. And it turns out? I can’t stand Mai Tais. Oh well.
The steak wasn’t that great but the shrimp that came with it were huge and very yummy.

I don’t know where to start with the show itself. There‚Äôs just so much to tell. The magician, Jody (a man – he complains about having a girl’s name all the time to his sister Bob…ha ha). So he asked if anyone in the audience was celebrating a honeymoon. WE put our hands up. He asked if there were any anniversaries. 30, 36, 54, 48, 60. Then birthdays. So he came over and asked Mike his name. I assumed he was going to take Mike up for some audience participation. Then he asked Mike what his wife’s name was. He answered Lindsay. Then the magician asked if he could borrow me. DAMMIT!

So he takes my hand and we go up on stage. His son is his assistant (his wife is his performing assistant). So he says he needs my help and asks if I’ve ever seen on of these, as he has his son bring out a straitjacket. I replied that I’d rather not say (audience laughs). He puts it on and I strap him in. 4 buckles in the back (going down his spine), then he comments how I seem to be experienced in this. I tell him we shouldn’t talk about that. I wrap and buckle his arms. Then he tells me he’s going to swing the other strap and I’m going to catch it. The other strap happens to be between his legs. So he starts swinging and I go to catch it but he stops me. Then he starts swinging again so I let him continue his swinging and applaud him (because it looks more like he’s humping the air). Several audience members applaud as well. Then he tells me he can do this all night (typical man). So I catch the strap and slowly pull it tighter. He told me, at one point, to beware of his macadamia nuts So I pull tighter and tighter. Then I put my foot on his leg and feigned pulling even tighter. He asked if I was making a new hole. I was done and received a round of applause as one of the male Hula dancers helped me down the stairs and back to my chair.
On a side note, the five Hula dancers were amazing and one of the dancers reminded me of Rosario Dawson (and the dancer that helped me off the stage was rather yummy!).
When we were leaving one of the hula dancers told me I did a great job. Aww.
Mike got called up, too! He and one of the gentlemen at our table were called up to be assistants in the cutting of the woman. I was hoping the magician would cut Mike but he didn’t. It would’ve made it more authentic. But it was funny because Mike had to hold a leather strap so the magician joked with him about having some of his own at home, to which Mike replied he had them in a different colour.
After the show we sat on the beach and enjoyed the waves and a few shooting stars as well as some lightning to the south of the Island. We continued to have the helicopter victims on our minds. We figured we were at the beach when it happened and wondered whether we would’ve seen the crash had it not been so cloud covered.
At our table for the show we had 3 other couples. “Doug” was a bit of a douche. We were all talking about flight times, then weather. Doug said he and his wife met a couple from PEI and have kept in touch. Then he talked about how it doesn’t get cold in “Prince Edward” nor do they get snow. I laughed at him (not in a nice way) and told him they do. Then he said no they don’t. Finally I told him I was from there. It gets damned cold and a lot of snow (maybe not anymore but I wasn’t about to let this American jackass tell me things about my little province). He still refused to believe it so I gave up and didn’t bother talking to him after that.
After the beach we took a stroll. In all today we’ve seen 7 weddings, I think. Apparently 11/11/11 is hugely popular. Good thing I changed our proposed wedding date (I had several in mind: 9/10/11, 11/11/11). Today I am thankful, though, for being here another day. It could’ve been us on that helicopter. All we could think about was, how much time before the crash did they have before they realized they were in trouble?
My heart goes out to the families of everyone, including the fellow employees of the pilot. It’s a terrible thing for them, for the victims, for the families and for the Islands, even. I’m sure we’re not the only ones who’ve cancelled their air tours because of this.
OH! And the owner of our hotel? He lives in Vancouver and is a very young 105 years old. Insane.

* Crab Fingers.
I took Mike to PEI in 2008 and, at Peake’s Quay, they have this display of lobster, crabs, clams, starfish and other assorted things found on the Island. So I’d been picking up the lobsters and the little crabs (the lobsters had their elastics on) and starfish. Along comes an Amurrikin who wonders aloud if he can touch the things. I said yes. Then he decides to be macho and says it’s not difficult to pick up a crab, you just have to know how. Pick one up, I say. He did. And the crab snapped his little snapping claw on his finger and he jumped in pain, dropped the crab in the water (who scuttled away with a little smile on his face, I swear) and the guy’s wife shook her head and walked away. The guy walked away with his finger in his mouth looking dumb as hell. Mike and I laughed. I wanted to stay and try and get more suckers to pick them up but Mike figured I’d get in trouble.

Hawai’i Day 2

Mike set the alarm for 0830 hrs but it didn’t go off. That’s okay; we woke up just 0800hrs … why am I still writing in military time?!

Anyhow. WE went for breakfast. There’s nothing like pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, pineapple and meaty grits, all drenched in syrup, to get your day started.

I should mention, though. While the beggars are so adorable, they are persistent. The hotel asks you to not feed then, of course. No need to encourage them. However they’re great singers. I’m talking, of course, about the birds. Our restaurant is all open and the hotel leaves all their doors open so having a bird land on a chair beside you is quite common.

After breakfast…on the way TO breakfast we saw a local man sitting in the sun carving wooden statues out of koa wood, I believe. They were beautiful!

After breakfast we decided to go to the gift shop. I wanted a hat and we needed change for tips. In the lobby they had several local artists and artisans selling their wares. Apparently every day there’s a whole different group of people, but they rotate so it’s good. We’ll get to see new people and new potential gifts (for ourselves!).
We spent what felt like hours at the beach. I did get sun but I’m slathered in 60 SPF so it’s not as bad as it could have been.
The water is cool at first but incredibly warm when you get in. And you certainly don’t have to go far out till it’s deep. I think we maybe got less than ten feet out and it was up to our chests.
After we played in the water we went for a walk. We had previously gone to Black Rock where they have a nightly torch lighting ceremony and cliff diver. The King who ruled here a couple hundred years ago used to show his bravery by jumping off Black Rock. The locals believe that the souls of their ancestors jumped off from here. I’m not quite sure how it goes, exactly, but basically many were afraid to jump off of it. So the fellow who does the nightly ceremony, he lights the torches, honours the four points of the compass with his torch, throws his torch in, then honours the compass points again with his lei, tosses that in the water. Then he checks the water for divers, turtles and other creatures. When he sees the water is clear, he jumps…dives. He does a beautiful head-first dive in. So I’m looking forward to seeing that in person.
Then we walked South along the beach. Our beach sand is sand with crushed coral, lava and shells so it’s very large granules. Walking south there are large pieces of coral and lava rocks that make it onto the beach. I picked up some interesting pieces to take photographs. There’s what seems to be a red lava rock, which looks very heavy for its size but is quite light in weight.
After walking as far as we could we came back to our room and decided to go for a late lunch/early dinner, around 3.
We had previously…okay so I had previously wondered. Would they have poutine here? We went to the little fast food place on the grounds (Tiki Shack). WE both got the Teriyaki burger with grilled pineapple. And fries. I also asked for gravy on the side. “Gravy…what’s that?” the server asked. Well, that certainly answers my question. They definitely don’t have any poutine.

We have noticed a rather odd phenomenon. At breakfast, outside the tent, two feet to the left it was raining. Just a misting, really. Then two feet to the right it was dry.

WE decided to take our food back to our room. Every time we sat down at an umbrella-less table, we got wet. When we stood up – no rain.
It was a lot of food but very, very yummy! After we ate we watched a local documentary about a local Maui family and our hotel. Our hotel has been named the most Hawai’ian hotel. They all say Hawai’ian words, have Hawai’ian language and culture classes for its employees. They also have lei making, ukulele lessons and garden tours for the guests (as well as hula classes, Hawai’ian language classes for guests).
So the hotel managers decided they would, along with their 300 employees, build a traditional Hawai’ian canoe. On searching for a special tree they met the Lindsey family, whose eldest son “Sunny” (that’s his nickname – his real name is Ka’ilila’au) had died 7 years prior. Before he died he had asked his father, after placing his hand on the tree, if they could someday build a canoe with the tree. Sadly he died before it could happen. The hotel managers met with the family, who gave their blessing to give the hotel the tree (for free).
Each hotel employee, during their shifts, would work on the canoe and they all helped build it. They named it after Sunny and etched his Hawai’ian name into the canoe. They launched it, with Sunny’s ashes and the family all in attendance.
After we watched that we decided to buy some pop, alcohol and chips. We then took our cameras to the beach.
Earlier in the day we had gotten a voice message from the assistant manager Mitch. There were high winds expected of 50 mph so the surf would be dangerous. We took our cameras to take photos of the sunset (at 530 at night) and the waves. We were both amazed by the waves. Just their power. And we’re not even in an area that gets big waves! So we’re looking forward to seeing real Hawai’ian waves.
We came back and drank our Blue Hawai’i drinks. Nothing like a Blue Hawai’ian. This thing was more syrupy, more like a demented sort of medicine instead.
There are designated smoking areas on the complex, which is state law. We’re not allowed to smoke on our balcony, which I’m okay with.
We went to one of them, under our hibiscus tree and a woman came along, also a smoker. She had a pillow and an arm full of stuff so I asked her, Did you just get in? No, she’d been here for a couple of days, she said. She had just gotten back from Hana. She didn’t make it all the way. She stopped at the Garden of Eden to pee, paid 15$ to see the place, which in her mind was a waste of money. When they got back to the car it was dead. Of course, no one has jumpers because everyone is a tourist so she called the Garden of Eden management office but there was no one there. Eventually she got the car to work and continued on until she saw a sign that said SLIDE AREA. It had been raining heavily, her battery had died. The last thing she wanted was to get caught in a slide area with a dead car. So she turned around and came back. Well, it’s a story to tell everyone when you get home, I said.
She said she’ll just probably do it when she comes back next year.
Oh. Well, of course! Next year. I’ll be lucky if I EVER come back!
After we came back we flipped through the tv. We both nearly shit our pants when we saw hockey on! Vancouver at LA. We changed the channel, though. We’re in Maui. We can watch hockey anytime we want. But they do have this Maui channel where they take you around the Island and show you the sights so we watched that. It was pretty darned cool. However, at 8 pm or so, which was 1 our time, after getting so much clean and fresh air, after such a nice, albeit difficult walk in the sand, after all that sun, we were pooped.
OH. Sidetrack.
At the beginning of our Southern Beach Walk we went to the Whaler’s Village two places down, I think. It’s like an outdoor mall. Some great places to go visit. And then others are rather shocking to walk into. I fell in love with a few shirts. 210$ a piece. EACH.
Yeah, no thanks. But everyone is so polite. Not polite enough for me to spend THAT much, though. Insane. Rolex has a shop here. WE didn’t bother going in.
After Mike fell asleep on the couch (sorry, I fast forwarded to the end of the day) and I fell asleep on the bed, we had some strawberry coolers. Now…if only we could open them! Mike had one first. He tore the paper off and tried to twist off the cap. Then we tried to think of something to use to get it off. Lighter and a quarter didn’t work. So he used the blanket and it turns out it IS a twist off. HA! So I had a taste. Pretty darned yummy. We had a discussion. I called it a cooler, he called it a beer. I’m not sure how we got talking about it. Regardless, he looked at the label of mine and pointed it out: Flavoured beer. I then pointed out to him, also written on the label: Twist off cap —>

Hawai’i – Day 1

I will be copying verbatim from my travel journal. Anything in italics will be my thoughts post-trip.

Day 1

So we arrived at Pearson three hours before take off. We weren’t sure what the lines were going to be like. It took us less than 20 minutes to check our baggage and go through security. Since it’s been years since I’ve flown, I don’t really know all the new rules, other than you may be strip searched at any time so bring some lube. I didn’t take my laptop out of my backpack. I figured the x-ray would be able to see that it’s a laptop so no big deal. My backpack and camera go through to the other side, they ask me if there’s a laptop in there (you already know there is so why ask??). I then take it out and it all goes through again, easy peasy. Mike was in the line beside me and the security agent looked at the two lighters he’d had and asked him which one he wanted to keep. Mike didn’t know what he was talking about and the man said, you can only have one lighter so which one do you want to keep? (because you can only start a dangerous fire with two or more lighters) Mike asked if he could give his wife the second lighter but she’d already gone through so we’re down a lighter.

We walked from one end of the terminal to the other. Mike was feeling anxious, this being his first time flying. I tried to make him feel better but I was anxious myself. I mean, what happens if the worst was to happen? There’s obviously nothing I can do for the kids at that point but I still worry.

Eventually we sat down in our waiting area around 1130 (after having eaten at the Tim’s and done our Terminal Tour). We didn’t board, or were scheduled to board, at 1300hrs. A young mother and her son had come along. He was an absolute cute and a joy to play with. He helped pass the time. His mother said our flight was delayed but she didn’t know by how much. Our plane was supposed to take off at 1330hrs. Considering the flight was delayed we were ready for take off at 1400hrs.
I slept through most of Ontario and all of Manitoba. Probably half of Saskatchewan, too. We were both super excited to get to Alberta and to get through it. We really wanted to see the Rockies. It didn’t happen. Well…not really. We were in BC and there was a LOT of overcast. Mike had the middle seat, I had the aisle and a gentleman with bad breath (poor Mike) had the window seat. It was amazing seeing Mike enjoy the view. Being above the clouds is amazing. Simply breathtaking, in fact. It was nice to see him appreciate that and enjoy it with him.

When we were crossing the Rockies the gentleman looked out the window and pointed out to us, through the clouds, the Rockies. We didn’t see much, obviously, but it was breathtaking. Flying into Vancouver airport was incredible, seeing all the mountains and just how different it is from Toronto. It’s too bad the weather was terrible. But that’s okay. Maybe on the way back.

After a four hour and a bit flight to Vancouver we both really needed a smoke. We knew we had enough time for one. One very quick one. We also knew we had to go through customs. We had an hour and 45 minutes. We walked until the last security gate before customs and asked the gentleman if we had enough time. We should have listened to his words carefully: If you think you have time, go here, turn left, smoke and then go back through security. We went for a very quick smoke then quickly got back to the American flights. Because we had left the secure area we had to go through security again. Except this time we’re going through the American security so we have to take our shoes off. It just seems silly to me but I guess an odd security check is better than exploding shoes. So we get through security and finally get to customs. The line up was so scary. Mike and I, without saying it to each other, both felt we weren’t going to make it. When we had 45 minutes until boarding we were both positive our second flight was doomed. The problem was that when we first got to customs our line was relatively normal, long but moving smoothly. Then a boat load of Nexus people (whoever the hell they are) came and, with only 3 customs windows open, the Nexus people got priority. Eventually 4 more customs windows opened and we finally got through. The customs agent that dealt with us noticed that Mike hadn’t signed his passport. Thankfully he let us through! Luckily, though, we got through customs and our gate wasn’t far away.

After eating a breakfast belt at 1020hrs Toronto time and 2 packages of cookies on the flight, we decided we needed food. I picked up a wrap for each of us. Vegetables, cheese and meat have never tasted so good!

Halfway through our wraps the lady at the West Jet counter, which is directly in front of where we’re sitting, announced that she had a message for Lindsay Martin. “Oh Christ,” I said. “This can’t be good.” A few people laughed, as did the counter lady. All I could think of were the kids and that Bill and Marilyn had decided against taking them for two weeks. Nope, there was a gentleman in the seat beside me with a service dog and the dog would need the space so would I mind moving? Not at all! So Mike had the aisle seat and I had the aisle seat across from him. He kept asking me to switch seats with him and I kept saying no. I didn’t want to sit beside a dog. Neither did he! I don’t know how friendly or well trained the dog is! However, the lady beside me, who was perhaps in her 60s or 70s, kept creeping into my area and kicking me with her feet, elbowing me. Not to mention she sounded like one of those people who have their voice boxes removed. Sadly she wasn’t using a little voice converter. I slept on the plane sporadically. Though after sitting on a 4.5 hour flight and now another 6.5 hour flight, you tend to lose feeling in your ass and thus don’t sleep well.
I have doubts as to whether the service dog was actually a service dog. When the flight attendants were going through their shpeel the one lady did a great job of it (and because we were going over the ocean they had to do the life vest bit). Everyone applauded because the lady at the front was rather comical and then the dog gets scared, gets up and starts to run away. I’m pretty sure service dogs are trained to deal with noise. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong. If I am then I apologize.

Finally. Finally we land in Maui. Landing gear has touched tarmac. Which was a little scary, I have to say. So all through any flight, if you get nervous and are worried, all you have to do is look at the flight attendants. If they don’t look worried then you shouldn’t be either. However when we landed we didn’t seem to be putting on any brakes and just kept flying across the runway, wheels on the ground, to the point that the two flight attendants in the front (we were in the first row, by the way) looked at the cabin door with strange looks on their faces. It kind of felt like we were going to take off again, either that or end up in the water. We get our bags. Mine was one of the first. Mike’s, of course, was about 20 minutes later.

We walk to the area where the rental cars are.

Okay, slight deviation. The airport here is all open, 70s style, all concrete with very few windows. When we land it’s raining (not hard) and the damp tropical smell permeates the air throughout the airport.

Back to the rental car.
So the booth is closed. As I’m rebelliously, and a little furiously, walking back to the airport (merely steps away), Mike asks me where I’m going. To look for a phone, I say. I’m going to call the hotel. Why, he asks. To have them pick us up, of course. (insert me huffing and puffing in anger) Well, cooler heads prevail. Mike read the sign on another car rental booth. There’s a shuttle bus that picks us up and takes us to the rental agency. Oh. Okay.

On a side note, how can so many families afford to take their kids to Hawai’i??

So we get to the rental agency and we get a Dodge Calibur. Pretty fancy. Not an SUV but not a regular sedan. And it needs an oil change….not our car so who cares.

So two lefts and one right takes us to Highway 350. We see a sign that says Kaanapali (they don’t put all their apostrophes on their signs so it should read like this: Ka’anapali) is 26 miles away. We’re both kind of shocked that it’s only 26 miles away. I knew the Island was small. Looking at it on a map or google earth is one thing, it looks big because you don’t have proper perspective, but to get there and read that the airport, which LOOKS far away, is only 26 miles away from our hotel.
It is roughly 1115 Maui time and I am awed by the sights, albeit dark ones. Haleakala looms to the left of us. Looms isn’t the right word. As we’re driving to our hotel we drive through the dormant volcano (the older one which is called the West Maui Mountains). Winding here and there. It may only be 26 miles but the speed limit maximum at one point is 55 miles per hour and for very good reason! Not that I have any idea what that is in kilometres, but it’s probably going to take awhile to get to the hotel. Before and after the volcano the highway, reminiscent of PEI highways (at one point one lane each way), is framed by trees. They hang over us with trunks that show their age. You can smell the green, too. The trees, the clean air, the Pacific ocean. It smells like clean, green air, untouched by a hundred or so years of pollution.

I cannot describe what it is like looking and driving through a mountain, especially when that mountain is actually a very dormant (possible dead?) volcano. And the size of it! I’m sure anyone who’s seen the Rockies would laugh at me. I don’t know which is higher but it made it more special for me knowing it was a volcano and not just a mountain (though I suppose technically, all mountains are probably dead volcanoes).

During our Vancouver to Maui flight, while the flight attendants were going through their shpeel, the lady said of the life vests: pull the cord and your life vest will inflate. If it doesn’t…then too bad. That made everyone laugh, of course. She was just kidding. There are two tubes that you blow into in case it doesn’t inflate. Chances are, though, that if I require a life vest AND the pull tabs don’t work, I’ll be too busy hyperventilating and in general panicking my butt off. I’ll just drown.

So we get to our hotel and check in. Walter tells us that there’s a bottle of champagne in our room because we’re on our honeymoon. Awww. It was some sort of upgrade our travel agent got us. We also got a free room upgrade.

We weren’t expecting much for our room. Standard hotel room and a queen size bed. Yeah, no. Our room is HUGE! Our bed is a king size. I don’t know, the room is huge. Our bathroom has a tub and a shower. I’ll have to draw a layout of the room. Mike took a video of it. Honestly, this room is better than any we’ve seen in Niagara Falls. And is bigger than most condos in Toronto!

So we changed into shorts and sandals and went to the beach. The water was like bath water. Ocean water! I love it! The stars were out and we could see the smaller Island of Moloka’i, though to say it’s small is wrong. It’s small in comparison to Maui, I suppose, but is actually huge.

When we were at the car rental place the lady said we had 3 cars reserved. Uh, we’ll just take the one, thanks.
So we came back to our room and drank our champagne. After being awake an untolled number of hours, champagne hits you rather hard. Especially when all you’ve consumed is a breakfast bagel belt, coffee, cookies and a wrap.

Day 1 of travelling is over. The moral of the day is do NOT, under any circumstances, believe you have enough time for a cigarette. Because believe me, you don’t!
Oh, and liquid pens explode on planes, as I found out on our Toronto to Vancouver flight.

*** Edit***
So Mike’s parents drove us to the airport. Previously I had posted to facebook a helicopter tour that we were going to take, a full 65 minute Maui tour. On the way to the airport Mike’s Mom told us not to take any helicopters because they aren’t safe. We dismissed her comments. Why do I add this? It’ll be important later.