Tuesday, January 11, 2011

first time in Maui

After Christmas, D and I flew to Maui to meet up with my sister and her husband, who were coming from Taiwan. None of us had ever been to Maui before, so we did quite a few touristy things.

D and I didn't arrive until early afternoon on the first day (due to Alaska Airlines jacking us and rescheduling our flight for three hours later), so we only really had a few hours of daylight after stopping by Costco to pick up food supplies, including my favorite sweet potato and taro chips.

We decided to drive up the coast past Kapalua, and made it to the Nakalele Blowhole before turning back:


The next day we drove up to the Haleakela Crater and hiked the Sliding Sands trail:



It was pretty and not strenuous, but very very windy, so we were glad we'd brought our windbreakers.

We were all hungry by the time we started heading home, so we stopped by Da Kitchen on the way home. Their specials board was covered with different variations of "moco", and in the end I went with "chili moco" (with beef chili) and D ordered "katsu moco" (with chicken cutlet). We topped that off with an appetizer of fried spam musubi. Initially we'd ordered four dishes for the four of us, but luckily the waitress forgot one, as each order was probably enough to feed three regular people (or two Hawaiians).

On day three, we drove the famous "Road to Hana". It was very lush and beautiful with lots of waterfalls and other sights to admire. However, one of our favorite parts of the drive was all the little food stands selling tasty snacks like coconut candy, homemade beef jerky, and really good banana bread. We decided Twin Falls had the best taste (not too sweet) but Halfway to Hana had the best texture, with big chunks of gooey banana. Yum.



We were going at a pretty leisurely pace so we didn't make it past Hana, but we did get to hang out for awhile at the Waianapanapa black sand beach. We were completely fascinated by the sand, which varied between black pebbles and very very fine black sand:


We also amused ourselves watching people jumping off rocks. It seems to be a common pastime in Hawaii:


For dinner we went to Lahaina Grill, which is one of the nicest restaurants in Maui, but of course there were still people in flip-flops. Ah, Hawaii. The food was pretty good but not super impressive, and the noise level was quite high, especially by the bar area, but the Mai Tais were delicious.

D and I went on a whale watching trip with Pacific Whale Foundation on the morning of on the fourth day. It was an amazing trip; in addition to several whales, we also spotted a 10 or 12-foot long tiger shark:


One of the whales got so close (within 100 meters) that the captain had to cut power to the boat:




We met up with the other two for lunch at the nearby Pacific'O Restaurant, where the food was again fine but not spectacular, but the view was very nice; we could even watch the beginning surf classes as we ate.

The rest of the day was pretty lazy; we had planned to go to a beach to hang out, but it was really hot outside and really comfy in our condo, so we mostly just sat around snacking on pounds of Foodland poke, occasionally venturing out to downtown Lahaina to check out the art galleries or to eat shave ice. D had two large orders of shave ice from Ululani's that afternoon, and he paid for it by having a terrible sugar crash afterwards.

We were all leaving around noon on the last day, so we only really had time to have brunch. I chose the Gazebo Restaurant, which is a tiny place inside the Napili Shores condo complex that has a fabulous view overlooking the water:


I was actually quite impressed with the food too; my sister and I split pancakes with bananas, mac nuts, and white chocolate chips (yummy), plus a "half portion" of fried rice (again, enough to feed two), her husband had a burger, and D had a crab melt (delicious!).

Afterwards we hung out on the shore, and discovered the water was teeming with sea turtles! We watched them riding up and down on the waves for quite some time, before we were forced to leave for the airport.

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