Photos! From Hawaii! Without you in them!
That's right, folks, dinner is over and a plate of cookies is on the coffee table, and... what's this? Father is setting up the movie screen and getting out the carousel slide projector... OH MY GOD it's vacation photos.
Settle down. I've hidden the ipecac, so just forget trying to pretend you're sick. There's no polite way out of this.
We flew early Saturday from San Francisco through Kona, with a layover long enough to share a half a serving of airport food for about $73, thus getting used to the price tags in Hawaii. I had not known they used the Bob & Doug metric system (double it an add thirty) for prices in Hawaii. But now I know. Here's a photo of the boys sitting in front of a statue at the Kona airport.
Then, on to Maui, only a 20 minute or so flight. We cruised over Molokini, which was cool since we planned on snorkeling there later in the week.
Getting the rental car was easy, but after driving a half mile Maria insisted we swap it because the air conditioner "wasn't cold." Seemed plenty cold to me, but we swapped anyway. Three hours later (after Costco, Sports Authority, and Safeway stops), we were on the road and arrived at our room at the resort, the Ka'anapali Beach Club, around 8 p.m. Pizza from the onsite take-out window was actually reasonably priced and tasty, so it was a good evening.
The view from our room, looking northwest from the 9th floor:
On Sunday we attended the resort's welcome presentation (90 minutes of sales pitch for different activity vendors), got shaved ice in Lahaina, and walked the Ka'napali beach walk. While the boys ate their shaved ice under this enormous Banyan tree, a bird pooped on my shoulder.
And here's a photo of one little bit of our resort, part of the lobby:
And overlooking the beach:
And the boys having dug some giant holes in the beach. Two little boys came and helped for a while.
Tuesday we drove the Road to Hana. A couple people told us not to waste our time, but most everyone else said it was a must-see. It's like six thousand miles of road without one single straight section more than fourteen inches long. And it's about as wide as a twin bed for most of the way. We made many stops and saw several gorgeous waterfalls. I won't try to tell you what to see. There are dozens of excellent guide books. Here are some photos from that day.
After a hike up an access road used by hunters. I don't think the "no trespassing" sign was for us.
Sam and me scampered up the muddy side trail to the head of this small but very pretty waterfall. This was at one of the state park rest areas.
And another waterfall. If you're staying in Ka'anapali, you really want to come over to the windward side where it's all lush and stuff.
And there's a place where you can pull off the side of the highway, and you don't even have to get out of your car to take a picture of "old Hawaii, life the way it used to be." Just like going to Jamestown or Colonial Williamsburg, only... different.
But then we got to the very coolest place. A small cove with not only a black-sand beach, but with its very own cave-tunnel.
That's the sand. Here's the cave.
The next day we went snorkeling at Molokini. We got a great discounted rate (for promising to sit through the timeshare presentation), and the boat ride was fun. The guys at Blue Water Rafting were awesome and made the excursion well worth the time and money, but the snorkeling was, quite frankly, far far far superior at Black Rock.
The day after, we hit the beach at Kihei with two families from back home that were also vacationing on Maui the same week. It was awesome to hang with them for the day (waves at Leo, Karen, Gloria, and Jeff). I'd put up a photo of us all, but I didn't get them to sign the release form. Plus, Maria would kill me. Instead, here's a very cool silhouette of Ethan:
We did the luau at the Ka'anapali Beach Club that night, and although it was much smaller than the two luaus we'd seen on Kauai back in the day, it was incredibly fun and entertaining. Intimate and casual, it was less about big production and more about storytelling and the dance. Really enjoyed the fun family that played the music. Plus, they had gorgeous harmonies. I doubt anyone who is looking for a "luau experience" would ever bother coming to this luau. But if you're staying at the resort already, and if you want a cheaper meal that is pretty good with fun entertainment and you're not looking for a big production, this is for you. I loved it. A bit campy, a bit self-effacing, and cute hula dancers with lots of ink. What's not to love?
The day after that--when are we now, Thursday? Thanksgiving!--we hung at the beach at Kapalua with Gloria and Jeff for a while, then drove down to see the fancy shmancy hotel in Waileia. We also walked along the beach walk for a bit, but we didn't make it all the way down the coast to the nude beach, which Maria particularly had her heart set on. So, sorry lads, no photos. Our Thanksgiving dinner was seafood at the Hula Grill in Lahaina. While the food was good (a bit overpriced for home but not for Maui), the view was awesome and the service friendly. Maryann finally got her Singapore Sling--she'd last had one 45 years ago when she met Gary in Oahu when he was on leave, and she was dying to have another one.
On Friday morning we had a professional photo shoot done--the fee was waived and a free 8x10, just for attending the orientation on Sunday--and the photographer, Steve, was cool. He spent an hour with us, taking all kinds of photos. Our Christmas cards are starting to look like those pretentious families that have photos of themselves from all over the world... two years ago it was London, last year it was Central Park, and this year it's Maui. Haven't thought about next year yet. Anyway, we did it up right.
Until next vacation, your intrepid correspondent signing off. Wait. Wake up. The show's over. How much did you miss? Maybe I should just start over from the beginning...