Thursday, August 14, 2014

Maui 2014

"Tell me about your trip," says a polite friend.
"It was pretty fun," I stammer. "We had a really good time."

Ugh. My new goal is to eventually write about all of my experiences and thoughts on this blog so that I can avoid conversions like that. I want to have more conversations like this:

"Tell me about your trip," says a polite friend.
"No," I reply. "If you're really interested, you can read about it on my blog."

That would be so awesome. When asked about vacations or Obama or the Ryder Cup, I would cut conversations short.

"Do you think the U.S. can win the Ryder Cup this year?" says a polite friend.

If everyone did that, we could have blog parties in which we all sit in the same room with iPads and read each others' posts on social media. Commenting should be encouraged. And headings!


We had a great Maui plan. Wendy used her hotel points to get a free hotel near the airport for a couple of nights so that we could do some things on that side of the island, buy stuff at Costco, and then head over to our condo on the west side of the island.

In the Marriott Courtyard, the boys learned how to use their new snorkel equipment in the outdoor pool while Wendy and I worked on converting our skin color from pasty white to golden brown without going through the awkward peely pink phase.

The morning after arriving in Maui, we booked a horseback riding session that started at 9:00 am. I figured that since we'd still be on Seattle time, 9:00 AM wouldn't feel early. It would feel more like noon. As always, I was right.

We drove up a highway to the dude ranch, got our horses and verbal instructions for how to ride them, and started our way down the trail towards the ocean.

Notice that this picture is taken from atop my steed, Mikey, who was a disappointment in many ways. What's the opposite of a trusty steed? A trustless steed? An anti-trust steed?

I am obviously a skilled enough rider to take a picture while riding a horse, yet the horse didn't seem to understand my prowess. I tried to get him to raise his front legs by shouting "Hi-yo Mikey!" and driving my sandals into the beast's flanks, but he just kept following the horse in front of him. Hey, I thought, maybe he'll gallop in a tight circle if I pull the neck cord thingie one way and dig in with the opposite heel. Nope, not even when I yelled, "Spin, you stupid idiot, spin!"

During the horse ride, Luke and Max were talking to each other excitedly, and Wendy had a big smile on her face. As we worked our way down the hill and saw the wide expanse of the ocean, I have to admit that I got a little emotional. I love my family. OK, that's enough sentimental kerfluffle.

After the horse ride, we went to I'ao forest. That's where a mighty battle took place between two Hawaiian tribes and made the creek run red with warrior blood. Nowadays, Hawaii is a calm place with no bloody battles between war lords, but it's expensive. I suppose peace always has a cost, but paying $5 for parking in that obscure area seemed unreasonable.

While climbing a tree, Max and Luke spotted a three-horned lizard.

After doing a few more touristy things on the east side, we loaded up on supplies at Costco. Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to take pictures there, so you'll just have to imagine the Costco aisles in your mind's eye.

[Imagine picture of Costco]

We headed towards our Napili condo on the west side of the island. Over the next ten days, our activities blurred together.
  • Swimming in the two resort pools
  • Snorkeling
  • Beach time
  • World Cup soccer
  • Lahaina shopping

The first time we went snorkeling, we walked five minutes from our condo down to the cove. Sea turtles didn't seek us out, but they didn't shy away from us either.

Wendy and I got up early (6:00 AM) a few days and snorkeled at a nicer reef a few miles up the road. We used a laminated card that listed the most popular critters in the area to put a name to things.

"Did you see the needlenose ferretfish?"
"Yes, it was right next to the butterfly gullscoy above the rakeling coral."

Without the card, I would have had to make up the names of the various critters we saw. That would have just given Wendy more ammunition that when I get into an unfamiliar situation, I make stuff up.

When the U.S. played Portugal at 9:00 AM Hawaii time, Max and Luke were outside playing catch with lacrosse sticks on a big grassy area between all the condos. At the same time Max made a difficult catch, the U.S. scored a goal to tie the game, and Max momentarily thought the loud cheer erupting from the surrounding condos was for him. A few minutes later, when Max was sitting on the toilet, Max again mistook the loud cheering for his well-timed success.

There was a great area for cliff diving near our hotel. Locals hang out on the rocks or on flotation devices in the water below while people jump from various heights. Here's a picture of me.

It looks like I'm diving but I was actually jumping. Deep down, I'm bothered by the fact that I didn't dive off the cliff. I consider it to be a mild act of cowardice. In younger days, I would have dived, and then I would have done a spin dive, and then maybe a back flip. Now? A jump. I suppose there is a lesson to be learned from this, like maybe when you get older, your courage and your imagination fade away.

I would prefer learning that I should not look a gift horse in the mouth or count chickens before they're hatched. I don't want to learn that fear and regret settle in as you age.

Max and Luke learned how to ride waves on boogie boards. Great feeling. When I think of alternate lifestyles I could have led, one of them involves being a jobless surfer, sleeping on the beach and eating food from trash cans. I never obtained a surf board, so my life went in a different direction.

One day, an on-shore wind was knocking the waves down and killing our thrill. I saw nice long breakers on one side of the bay near a protected area, but no one was swimming there. I assumed it was off limits. I walked over there with my board to check it out. Lots of rocks. I didn't see a "No Swimming" sign, so I made my way through the shallow rock-filled waters trying hard not to stub my broken toe. I saw a set coming in so I made my way out to what I thought was the right area. I skipped the first wave, jumped out a few more feet after feeling the strong undertow and seeing the larger next wave, and pushed hard off my good foot to catch the wave. Ah! Down the face, bank turn, down again, turn. It wasn't surfing, but it was close to that great feeling you get when you catch a wave.

And no, I didn't chicken out of surfing, you idiot. I'm not afraid to surf. I just wanted to stay at the beach with the family.

Here's a picture of the boys hanging out at the amazing Banyan tree in Lahaina. The boys were disappointed that they weren't allowed to climb the trees. At least there was shave ice nearby.

We also went to a luau (no pictures) and went on a submarine ride. 

That's it for our two-week trip to Maui. I'll write about our Yellowstone trip soon.