thursday - uneventful trip to the island, but shit went downhill as we got raped on rental car insurance, then my garmin charger decided to be broken, & we had trouble finding the highway due to a misprinted free airport "welcome to MAUI!@#" map. that wasn't the worst of it, though - the worst was the drive.
looking at a map we bought at a k-mart, we saw two routes from kahului airport to where we're staying in kapalua - the top route, 340, & what appeared to be a much longer trip down & around the west end of the island on 30. we figured the shorter road that hugged the edge of the island would be prettier, even at night... but what we didn't know is that it's not a real highway. it was an incredibly fiddly one-lane unmaintained & sometimes dirt road that allowed no faster than 15mph driving along its constant hairpin & blind turns, directly up against a terrifyingly sheer rock face with no shoulder and often no guard rail AT ALL - for FIFTEEN MILES. occasionally there was a wooden rail, or more commonly wooden posts strung with barbed wire, because THAT would surely keep you from plummeting to your death. we started on it at 9pm & didn't finish until around eleven. we later found out that driving on 340 invalidates rental car agreements, heh. whoops.
we finished Hell Highway successfully, but no restaurants were open by the time we de-stressed enough to remember we hadn't really eaten. we did find a grocery store still open at 11:30pm, & they had fresh, ripe apple bananas, & everything started to go right again. ahhh apple bananas, we love you so. we ate them & some pretty okay tuna rolls, & relaxed in our decently-sized suite to plot out the general plan for the week. the suite was about a third of the size of last year's enormous villa, but strong wifi live in the rooms obviously made it the winner for me. we'd opted to save a bit of money with a murphy bed, & it was comfortable.
friday - started the morning with an apple banana, which rocked. called & arranged ziplining & horseback riding, got an additional 5% off ziplining (on top of the website's 10% book-online special) & an additional 15% off the riding just for being persistent. called garmin & they confirmed i can trickle-charge the unit via usb, & fortunately i'd brought that cable. the car had an outlet jack, so i pulled the whole setup into the car - AC cable for the netbook -- netbook -- usb cable -- garmin - to keep it charging since it wouldn't do so in hibernation. but that was okay by me as i could then journal our trip while joe drove us to find lunch.
on the way, we found a place to get a snorkeling trip to molokini crater booked, & i talked them down on price too. drove to lahaina, ate at the aloha mixed plate grill & split the "alii plate", a sampler of lau lau (pork slow cooked in a taro leaf), kalua pig & cabbage (my favorite), lomi lomi salmon (tomato-based cold chopped dish, kind of like salsa with salmon in it), poi (gave it to joe, i can't get into poi), & haupia (a REALLY bizarre rubbery coconut dessert with a light flavor, which we liked). in the middle of our meal, we were approached by an older gentleman leaving with his wife - he came up to tell us he overheard joe & me talking to each other, & that we broke down his stereotypes today by being so happy & interesting. awesome.
picked up sunblock & spent the day tooling around the island. bought a well overpriced but outstanding fresh pineapple from a guy on the side of the road, & it was worth it. headed to wailea for shopping & found a neat little tattoo studio with a guy named jasn who's stayed with leo & kate of relic. i was even wearing my relic blue labradorite. we name-dropped & chatted about relic, onetribe, oracle, & esoteric - his little shop had a very decent selection of jewelry.
drove up to wailuku & got takeout from the zagat-rated ak's cafe - garlic-crusted ono with cucumber relish for me, with steamed purple sweet potatoes & exceptional sauteed veggies, & joe got blackened ono with mango-basil sauce, mmmmmmmm. we used my zen & rca connector cables to watch a movie in the hotel, & went to bed.
saturday - awakened by the wild roosters at a more reasonable hour today (did i not mention them yesterday? heh), joe was already out snorkeling. finished my delicious ono, had an apple banana, & drove out to makawao for piiholo ranch ziplining.
this shit was awesome. we went on eight zips on the big island last year, & only five this time - but they were much higher & longer. the last line, the longest in maui, was 2800' - just over half a mile! i took video for it (& finally put up last year's zipline video, too) - see below. joe carried my trolley for me & we had a fucking blast.
the amusing thing about that last, long zip was that there was a hard headwind, & the lighter members of our group weren't making it all the way to the break block - the plastic block that your trolley smacks into with a loud CLAP & significantly slows you down. they were zipping to a stop about 40' from the platform, & the guides would have to come drag them the rest of the way by a foot. i decided i was GOING TO MAKE IT, DAMNIT, despite being the lightest by twenty pounds. so i took a running leap off the top to build up speed, & you can see it went well in the video. towards the end, i started to slow, & i went aerodynamic like they showed us, pointing my legs & bringing my arms inside the harness. they came out to get me, & i yelled, "NO MAN, I'M GONNA MAKE IT!@#" i went slower, & slooower, & ssslllooowwweeerrr... & my trolley ever-so-gently kissed the break block. there was a round of cheering.
bought some frozen yogurt, then drove out to iao valley state park to check out the iao needle. gave joe my camera & he traipsed around in his natural environment - the outdoors. (freak.)
we drove around wailea until we were hungry, then headed to zagat's marked ko restaurant for their "three course cultural experience" menu, a blindingly incredible deal - $39 per person at a restaurant where entrees alone are $40! we were brought a pre-appetizer of edamame hummus & house-made puffed rice crackers. my starter was the pork & shrimp spring rolls, with pickled papaya achara, chile-thai sauce, & garnished with tasty little pea shoots. at this point we were also brought a multigrain bread that went great with joe's portuguese sausage & bean soup app, & yeast rolls with surprising purple taro on the inside. for the entrees, we split the maui cattle paniolo rib eye (mid rare), which was so stunningly delicious that joe called out to a diety in shock of his first bite, served with pohole fern shoots (love those) & julianned tomato & onion that had delightfully taken on the flavors of the steak; & the walu, aka hawaiian butterfish, aka escolar, prepared with a spectacular macadamia/panko crust which crunched & melted away perfectly, in tomato/ginger butter & aside mixed veggies. both dishes also featured purple sweet potatoes whipped with coconut milk, something we're definitely going to try making back at home. coffee & tea were next, then our desserts: joe went back to portugal for the sweet bread pudding with lilikoi quark gelato, & i had the wailua estate baked chocolate custard, & it may as well have been flourless chocolate cake - omg. it had a macadamia nut praline bottom, & was paired with a scoop of kula strawberry sorbet in an almond lace cookie dish. (i've made those cookies, as they're a looooong-term favorite - they're basically just ground almonds, butter, sugar, & a bit of flour, baked as puddles & molded while scalding hot.) the richness of the pudding was washed clean & sweet by the sorbet after each bite, so glorious. the meal should've cost twice what it did, & we tipped much more than was polite.
we somehow made it back to the hotel with careful entree leftovers (& an extra scoop of the edamame hummus since the waitress loved us), & slept well.
sunday - up before the roosters & left the hotel at 6:30am for the molokini crater boat ride, which took off at a nice clip at 7:45am. they had sony cybershots in waterproof housings to rent for only $35, & at 12mp you could take about 200 pictures, burnt to a dvd for you right there on the boat. considering that waterproof disposable cameras are around $15 each plus developing for just 27 pictures, this was a great deal & we decided to return the two throwaways we'd picked up. the water was choppy & cold (hence the wetsuit you'll see) & conditions weren't great, but we saw plenty of fish, & were able to swim with a bunch of huge sea turtles & take underwater dread photography of each other. (oh shit, i never posted last year's. see below.) i didn't love snorkeling last time & kind of hated it this time, so i won't be snorkeling again. joe was a happy boy, though, & participated in the second 1.5h in the crater itself, which was too tumultous to stop at first, as had been planned.
decided to keep the day joe-centric, & drove out to kipahulu visitor center to see the seven sacred pools. hana highway is the good twin to the evil 340 we drove by accident on thursday - 360 is twisty with one-lane bridges, but plus constant pavement & minus the terror-inducing drop to immediate death just barely outside your wheelbase. lots of tiny waterfalls along the way, good views, & fresh guava that i plucked for joe. i hiked the quarter mile to see the pools with him, then relaxed in the car while he hiked something more challenging. & by "more challenging" i mean he took the half mile loop & turned it into a 4 hour hiking buffet of Barely Able to See Shit in the Dark. twenty minutes from park closure, & twenty-one minutes from me calling the rangers for help, he came jogging out of the near blackness feeling like a dumbass. well, i HAD told him to take his time & enjoy the park...
after declining to pay $4.65/gallon for gas, we nearly ran out trying to find a better price ($3.79 was average), & drove miles out of our way only to find multiple stations closed. finally located an open chain with fumes to spare. couldn't stand to have a real meal after last night, so we finished our ko leftovers & joe was asleep inside ten minutes. i stayed up & torrented dexter.
monday - rose early to head back out to piiholo ranch for horseback riding. had an apple banana catastrophe in that we'd passed the one place in town that sells them ripe, & had to hit four other places before finding them. holy shit, we love apple bananas. homphed down several (they're tiny) in order to be energized for the 3 hour ride we'd booked. joe was on a chestnut named parker, & i rode cheese, a palamino. (an amusing note: all of the dirt in maui is this pretty rusty red color, so all of the "white" horses turn a pale orange creamsicle from the dust.) this was a seriously awesome trail ride, showing us great vantages of maui on their 800-acre property. we picked strawberry guavas & saw wild boars & one-day-old cows, as the ranch is also a working cattle farm (no processing - just competition, rodeo & such). it started raining just as we reached the midway point for the lunch packed in our saddlebags - turkey sandwiches, pesto pasta, sunchips & a brownie - but we ate under a covered picnic area. the rain kept up for a bit when we resumed, but kara had packed rain gear too, so we were set. joe had his first taste of trotting & cantering, & cheese was very receptive to my requests for his smooth rocking-horse canter.
wandered makawao for a bit, had some shave ice & bought three island jellies - loquat jam, liliko'i jelly, & poha jam (listed in order of delicious, though they're all good). hung out while joe snorkeled at kamaole beach, then switchbacked up the haleakala crater to pu'u'ula'ula summit, maui's highest point at just over 10k'. ate the remains of our box lunches from riding, & stared at a metric fuckton of stars & the city far below.
returned to the hotel room late, discovered that the hotel wifi is actually NOT the internet they provide. theirs is pay-only. so thank you, guy with a belkin, for letting me drink deep from your internet well all week.
tuesday - left on time, but had trouble finding lunch for the plane because nothing was open yet. ended up at a whole foods buying the most island-y lunch we could find at the seafood bar. returned the car, shuttled to the airport. joe apparently had two bombs in his bag - one made of his food plus two ipods & an adapter cable; the other some handmade soap, a sticker, & his wallet chain - but we made it through security. walked all the way to the ass end of the airport for our gate & departed only a little off schedule. had perfect transfers on both the train & the bus in seattle, & made it home safely. another successful hawaii trip with no tan lines.
joe laughed at me for bringing nine kinds of gum:
i liked how the clouds crowned the next island over:
more misty clouds over the mountains:
we're very high up. please don't make fun of my leafhead, i'm sensitive:
vantage from the top of the half mile zip:
video of the half mile zip:
joe carrying my gear for me = <3
iao valley state park:
joe's bamboo travels at iao:
even i have to admit this is awesome:
the pointy bit is the iao needle:
underwater dreads pics, woo! joe first:
fuck yeah calves
stop touching that stranger's ass okay
& me. pardon my ill-fitting rented wetsuit. also pardon the noodle, the water was very choppy & i tend to flip over IYKWIM, wink wink. (for a dreads length comparison, see last year's underwater dreads pics. :) )
TRYING NOT... TO TOUCH... THE CORAL... ARGH
& the sea turtles:
found this driving along hana highway:
& this too, just hanging out:
let's play spot the hippie:
do you see him yet?
HIPPIE LOCATED; DESTROY
stupid gorgeous land:
at the seven sacred pools:
oh how'd that get in here
fuck you double rainbow!
haha this pony's coloring is all messed up. someone didn't bring enough dye.
our guide was unamused by my "hey look, veal!"
in hawaii, the high winds cause eucalyptus to grow all spirally:
on our trail ride:
note yet another clump of scenery in joe's pony's mouth:
the strawberry guavas we picked:
wild fucking boars! look close, i labeled it for you.
she lives here, man
what the hell is joe doing
now he sees me:
ride's over! don't talk about my leafhead:
& midnight at the haleakala crater:
so that was maui. i also went ahead & updated last year's post with the ziplining video & snorkeling pics on the big island. you can click here to go to the new stuff (& see lish in a bikini) now: http://lishd.livejournal.com/50280.html#cutid2