Wednesday, December 26, 2012

the house of sand and vog

Hope you had a great Christmas.  As my longtime readers know, whenever I venture out of town I return with a travelogue and rental car horror stories.  Here's my latest:

Aloha! Back from another three weeks in paradise – our annual jaunt to the magic island of Maui to pay tribute to the Gods and apologize for Walmarts. My wife and I again rented a condo and the various kids/significant others arrived in shifts.

Stayed at the lovely Tax Shelter Village in Wailea. 24-hour security is provided for your safety. Never saw anyone at the guard shack, but when we brought one ceramic plate down to the pool area, holy shit! It was the Raid on Entebbe. Note to burglars and terrorists: bring plastic.

Rented a car from Enterprise. Big mistake. They didn’t have the compact we had reserved so they gave us an “upgrade” – to a Mercury Grand Marquis that was the size of Molokai. It’s easy to “Remember Pearl Harbor” when you’re driving the U.S.S. Arizona. One thing I love about Maui – the perfumed scent of Plumeria that wafts along on the trade winds… until you got in our car. Then it was like being in Edward R. Murrow’s mouth. It reeked with smoke. I decided to trade it in. Considering the size, I wanted them to give me two cars. We settled for a Hyundai Elantra.

Then we learned a few days later my son reserved a car from Enterprise and was charged $1200 less for the same car. When we protested they of course would not change our rate. So our third car (much cheaper) was a Mazda 3 from Hertz. If you take one thing from this travelogue it’s don’t rent from Enterprise!

At the Longs Drugs in Kihei they sell Manischevitz wine. It's the only Hawaiian drink that wouldn't be sweeter with a pineapple slice added.

One great feature about the Kindle is that no one can see what book you’re reading. This was especially helpful when I was reading the sleaziest biography of Elizabeth Taylor EVER. By the time she had made NATIONAL VELVET she pretty much slept with everyone in Hollywood including the horse. She was twelve.

The first day we weren’t allowed in the ocean. One guy gets eaten by a shark and he ruins it for the rest of us.

December in Maui is always Roseanne watching season.

Lots of major league ballplayers were in town for Shane Victorino’s golf tournament – the “I Used To Be A Good Hitter Open” – and also the Ryan Howard wedding. The Phillies slugger got married at the nearby Four Seasons. Among the registered gift items he requested a set of wash clothes. I wonder which zillion-dollar superstar popped for those.

Best fish tacos in Maui can be found at Coconuts in a Kehei shopping mall right near the elegantly-named gourmet shop, Who Cut The Cheese?

The sunsets get more breathtaking every year. What am I going to do with 593 photos of them?

For a week the islands were enveloped in “vog.” This is volcanic smog that periodically turns Honolulu into Gary, Indiana. It’s caused by someone opening all the windows to that Mercury Grand Marquis Enterprise tried to saddle us with.

Oh my God! Elizabeth Taylor just had a three-way with Jack Kennedy and Robert Stack. I’m on Chapter 2!

And speaking of indiscriminate sex, Steve Garvey was staying at the Four Seasons. Expect Maui’s population to double come August.

The Cineplex in Kihei closed two weeks ago. What could possibly be worse than that Billy Crystal-Bette Midler movie? Answer: Now you have to drive 45 minutes to see it.

You watch HAWAII 5-0 and think the islands are just a war zone with umbrella drinks. Well, the lead story on the December 3rd KHON 10:00 news: a traffic light was being installed at a busy intersection near Zippy’s. “Book ‘em Dano for not slowing on a yellow!”

We found the only Jewish masseuse on the island. The tip-off was the soothing New Age Klezmer music.

Hawaii is the land of Spam and my wife got into the spirit by having her email hacked and then sending out spam to thousands of addresses. We called her provider. She wanted to know how to stop this. I wanted to know if we could tag each email with a plug for my book.

Part 2 is tomorrow.  And of course for more travelogues you can always go hereNote: all photos, even the one of wine were taken by me on my iPhone.  Aloha y'all.

18 comments:

Wendy M. Grossman said...

New Age Klezmer...

Ken, is it possible that you may never have tasted the joys of The Klezmonauts?

Go to www.klezmonauts.com and immediately order a copy of Oy! to the World, their classic compilation of Klezmer Christmas songs.

wg

gottacook said...

Ken, you must have meant "Mercury Grand Marquis." When I was with my family in San Francisco in '07, the rental company (not Enterprise) also didn't have what we'd reserved, and at first we thought the guy behind the counter was saying "grandma key" - it took a few repetitions to understand that we too were being "upgraded" to one of those barges. I had hoped to make the traditional drive down Lombard Street in something easier to maneuver. (Since we got the car for the purpose of driving to Lake Tahoe, we were able to trade it for what we'd wanted at the Sacramento airport along the way.)

Ford finally stopped making the Grand Marquis (and all Mercurys) and the mechanically similar Lincoln Town Car last year, so by next year no one is likely to get stuck with one as a rental. It wallows so much because underneath it's a new-for-1979 chassis.

Mr. Hollywood said...

The movie theaters in Kihei are closed? Oh no ... now I'll never be able to enjoy the odor of rancid butter from the old popcorn popper in the lobby wafting through the theaters ...

Jay Johnstone said...

A friend is related to Steve Garvey...and from what I've heard, he makes a young Liz Taylor seem chaste in comparison. Still.

David said...

Watch out Enterprise doesn't bill you for "hail damage." Yes, even in Hawaii. Google "Enterprise car hail claim" for some light, informative reading. Never, EVER again will I rent from Enterprise.

Johnny Walker said...

Ah, I love Maui. I hope I get back there one day!

I rented from Enterprise on my last trip to LA... I think it went ok. I got screwed for not already having any US insurance (being a foreigner), but the flip side was that, when they were through with me, I had so much insurance I could have returned it crushed into a cube and they couldn't have complained. That certainly made me feel a little better during the times I drove on the wrong side of the road. (Which was very rare. I mean, hardly at all. Honest!)

Maybe next time I'll hunt around for a different company and see if I get a better deal, though.

Cap'n Bob said...

Who wrote that Liz Taylor book? It's not the kind of thing I normally read, but you have me curious.

I forget who I rented a car from in San Francisco, but the $25-a-day rate for two days cost me $150. I never was good at the new math.

Ken Levine said...

The author is Darwin Porter. She probably slept with him too.

Mac said...

Liz was smart - that horse knew the writer and he managed to get her way more lines than she had in the first draft.

Anonymous said...

Oops, Who Cut the Cheese moved to Wailea and changed their name over a year ago!

Johnny Walker said...

Hmm. According to Darwin Porter, just about everyone has slept with everyone in Hollywood. I think there may be a reason he only writes biographies of dead celebrities...

Wayne said...

email hacked and then sending out spam to thousands of addresses... how to stop this? Change the password for your email. If it's the same as any other passwords, change them too.

HCarvalho said...

Funny story, the Ukulele is inspired by the portuguese Cavaquinho, it was introduced in the islands by the many portuguese expats who lived there.

Johnny Walker said...

Apparently Ukulele is pronounced "oo-koo-lay-lay". Or so I've heard. Anyone know if it's true?

Anonymous said...

I will have to read that Elizabeth Taylor biography! (Now that I am finished with your book, Ken, and enjoyed it thoroughly). Julie, Burlington, Iowa

YEKIMI said...

At one time Ford made a wagon version of the Mercury Grand Marquis, the Grand Marquis Colony Park. You could have fit two regular Grand Marquis' in the back of it. Bought a 1984 one for $300 from the estate of a dead guy where it had been sitting for a year and a half after he had died. Apparently he never drove it in the winter so it wouldn't get damaged by road salt, it was in beautiful condition [yes, I am in the midwest]. I chortled thinking "What a steal!" Till I realized it used more fuel then the battleship Missouri. I might as well have towed a BP station behind it to keep it fueled. Stomp on the accelerator and the fuel gauge moved faster downward then the speedometer went up. Took it to be E-checked [emissions checked to make sure it wasn't polluting the air] and the people were confused as hell as to what to do, found out because it was so old, it was exempt from having to be checked. So what if ducks were dropping dead out of the sky! Finally stopped driving it when gas went over 4 bucks a gallon for a while. Drove it to the south and was in heaven when I figured out it was getting 18 MPG. Only got 11 MPG in the city. Sold it about a year ago, but glad it's still out there somewhere still being driven around

Michael Hagerty said...

You can't spell "Grand Marquis" without "Grandma". Popular rental near Pearl Harbor because the average age of Grand Marquis drivers is....well, people who were licensed drivers in 1941.

That would be 87 and up.

Cap'n Bob said...

Thanks, Ken. I would have thanked you sooner but I've been at a remote cabin by Mt. Rainier since the 26th. No TV, radio, phone, or computer reception, and no newspaper delivery. I love it. Well, no running water, either. That's not so great.