Tuesday, December 22, 2015
So once again Debby and I set out for three weeks in paradise. As is now our tradition, we stayed at the E-Coli Condos in Wailea, joined at times by my son and daughter-in-law (Matt & Kim) and daughter and future son-in-law (Annie & Jon). The weather was gorgeous, the sunsets breathtaking; no “vog”, no rain, and Roseanne was an island away.
Just like Captain Cook, our first stop was to Costco’s. Prices on the islands are ridiculously high. Is it any wonder that the biggest grossing Costco in the world is in Hawaii? Costco is the only reason locals are not trying to secede from the Union.
Matt & Kim picked up their car at the Maui airport, punched our Maui address in the Hertz NEVER LOST and was told it doesn’t calculate between islands.
I gave a dollar to Santa Claus. It turned out to be Mick Fleetwood.
It’s against the law in Maui to dance and drink at the same time. Not sure the punishment. Maybe a fine and they take away your shoes.
Spent a couple of days at the Grand Wailea Resort. Picture: Disney World without churros. A lot of Nashville songwriters were also on hand. The Grand Ole Opry Wailea. And as these tunesmiths checked in they were serenaded by this Hawaiian ditty: “My old man is a good old man/ He washes his face in a frying pan.” Game on, Nashville!
Sunrise at the top of the Haleakala Crater is spectacular. Every day hundreds of tourists drive ninety minutes up treacherous winding roads in the dark and brave freezing temperatures to take selfies.
Overheard at Haleakala: She: “ Don’t look directly into the sun.” He: “Then what the fuck are we doing here?”
Did not rappel down any waterfalls this trip. Why do stuff I do at home?
It is worth the trip to Maui just for sushi at Sansei. And I say that to residents of Japan.
Note to lounge singers at the Four Seasons: You are not Adele. At best you are Jewel.
There are no strip clubs allowed on Maui. But topless beaches are okay. So the law essentially eliminates tipping. There is also a wine bar that once a week offers “naked stand up comedy.”
Took long walks everyday along the beach (wearing hardhats to avoid falling sheep). Saw some whales so no need to see Ron Howard’s latest movie. At least we had an excuse.
Naked stand up comedy? Seriously? In a state where Spam is consumed in large quantities?
In Los Angeles, health inspectors rate restaurants with letter grades -- A, B, or C(anters). In Maui, where there are maybe 50,000 different geckos, water bugs, and exotic insects, it’s just PASS/FAIL. Who needs to rappel or do a monologue in the nude for thrills when 90% of the local eateries serve pork and raw fish?
Once you get Upcountry you start seeing some bizarre looking folks. It’s like tropical Kentucky.
In the spirit of aloha, the Shops at Wailea now charge for parking. Store sales have plummeted over 40%. Merchants picketed their own mall.
There are maybe six radio stations on Maui. A typical one plays 57 minutes of commercials an hour and a John Mellencamp record.
One of those commercials was for a gun shop inviting you to stock up for shooting deer, pigs, and home invaders.
Reading material: an extensive biography of Frank Sinatra. On every page he’s having someone roughed up, lying to a Grand Jury, or sleeping with his dying best friend’s wife. Meanwhile, Debby was racked with guilt because we parked at a golf course and went to the beach.
It’s always fun to study the local culture. My wife and kids attended a latka-making demonstration at the Four Seasons.
Inter-island flights are as high as $129 one-way. Flights take ten minutes. And there are no shuttle boats between islands. Kama’ainas (Hawaiian residents) are screwed. You either fly or ride whales.
I’m missing William Shatner! He’ll be performing his one-man show on the 30th. Wouldn’t it be great if he couldn’t get a hotel room?
Best fish tacos you’ll ever eat are at Coconuts. Two island locations: Maui and Dallas.
And here’s how amazing Mama’s Fish House is: Oprah AND Helen Hunt have eaten there.
Lahaina is a quaint 19th Century whaling village. Many sailing ships would anchor at its waterfront and sailors would stroll Front Street to enjoy its many art galleries and Crazy T-Shirt emporiums. The missus and I spent a day there soaking in the heritage and buying a pound of “Bad Ass Coffee.”
Happily, no one was brained by falling sheep or flattened by raw fish, although Annie was almost run over by a postal truck. As always, a fabulous trip. And when it was over I could still get into my pants!
Flew back on American Airlines’ new Airbus A321. Since Maui’s airport has a shorter runway, for the proper weight distribution, no passengers were allowed to sit in rows 8-11. That’s comforting. So if Tori Spelling sits in row 9 the plane can’t get off the ground? But the good side of the Airbus A321 is that it sounds like a leaf blower taking off and upon landing everything rattles. These may be sleek new planes but to me they’re flying Chevy Corvairs. Hopefully their navigation system wasn’t Hertz NEVER LOST.
But allow me to end on a soothing note and cling to the few remaining drops of “Aloha” I still have left after American Airlines and LAX. Happiest of holidays, and as they say on the islands while browsing Costco: “He kanapapiki mahalo 'ole keia mea inu Merlot ia'u” – This Merlot is an ungrateful bitch.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM