Trip around Western Maui

August 28, 2006

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Here is a map that shows the structure of Maui. On Friday, Mark and I went up the mountain on the right (Haleakala Crater) and you saw the pictures we took and heard the story. Saturday we decided to go around the left mountain. We had been warned the the road on the northern part would reduce down to one lane in places and void our car rental contract. This sounded terrifying. We decided to check it out when we got there.

Western Maui’s beaches feature beautiful exclusive resorts and great beaches with plenty of surfing. Having read that more people drown in Hawaii than any other place, and that a lot of people were drowning this year because of unpredictable ocean currents, Mark went in twice, and I wussed out not going in at all. The main city on West Maui is Lahaina. If you ever go, check out this little tourist town: it’s great. We went into a cool T-shirt shop called RED DIRT that featured shirts dyed from Kauaian red mud. There was a group of senior women discussing the washing requirements of the shirts: “anyone knows to separate whites, colors, and darks, Mother” she looked at me “Sir, you separate your clothes before you wash them don’t you?” “Yes ma’am, but I’m gay.” The whole store roared with laughter. “Well straight men would as well don’t you think?” “I could not guarantee the veracity of that statement” I fired back. More laughter. We bought T-shirts and moved on.

McCartneyhofner2005[1].jpgThere was one other store worth mentioning: Célébrités, Gallery of Celebrity Fine Art. We saw amazing prints by John Lennon, photography by Grace Slick, Jerry Garcia, Ronnie Wood, and a list of other rock stars. My heart stopped when saw a huge print of the cover of the Beatles “Rubber Soul” [“only seven exist; $6000”], and you could get a framed album by the Beatles for only $60,000. I didn’t even ask about this one. [McCartney signed Hofner bass.]
I left my Amex card in my wallet and got out alive, but if anyone wants to start saving for my 60th birthday present in 7 years, you now know what to get me.

We piddled around the town and decided it wise to get going on our drive. The farther north we drove the less populated it became. And the more beautiful. The cliffs got higher, and the mysterious and ominous shape of Molokai lurked on the horizon. As we approached the northern-most point of the island, we came across an area covered in prayer stones, and saw a magical maze not too far away.

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For the next 20-some miles we, well, Mark, drove like a fearless explorer down the 2-lane highway that, sure enough, turned into a 1-lane road, sometimes having only a barbed wire fence keeping us from plunging down terrifying cliffs to our certain deaths. Every turn was a blind corner, and far too often nearly ran into some testosterone laden dude in an SUV zipping blindly towards us. We ran into little villages of people who seemed like lost survivors from a remote island in the Philipines. As far as we could tell, their livelihood came solely from selling “shave ice” to the few that dared traverse this road.

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We made it. We cheered as we saw a 2-lane road appear. After the drive, we celebrated by going to Nick’s at the Fairmont resort for a fabulous dinner. Now, we are back. Mark starts teaching today, I go back to work on CAGES, and the Aloha spirit slowly fades in the west.

Sigh….

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