Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Maui Christmas

Levine family vacations are becoming more precious and rare. Damn those kids for having lives! Soon they’ll want to bring their boy and girlfriends, and my wife – kind hearted soul that she is – thinks our pool man, Chuckie, deserves a trip. But this year it was just the four of us. Annie flew in from Chicago, Matt from Silicon Valley and we all spent a week together at the Grand Wailea hotel on Maui.

Bumped into Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman at LAX. I thanked him for sticking up for the writers and he said, “No problem. That’s why I have to leave the country.”

Not to shirk my strike related duties I did picket the Four Seasons every morning.

As longtime guests of the Grand Wailea we were given preferential treatment. They wanted to put us in rooms on the ground floor right along a busy path. And for good measure one was a handi-capped room. Nothing says “parrr-tyyy” to two twentysomethings like wheelchair access showers. We were finally moved to better rooms next to a family of twelve.

The Grand Wailea caters primarily to families. The Four Seasons is the first four rows of the Laker game.

The weather was spectacular and we were verrrry lucky. The week before they had “Kona” storms – constant deluges. Power was out at the hotel for a day, two in nearby Kihei. And since they employed a card key system it must’ve been fun for guests trying to get into their rooms. Yes, the hotel did have a backup generator but that was used to keep the blenders going. This is high Pina Colada season!

The waves during the storm were ten feet high, went over the beach, past the garden path and landed in the kiddie pool. That must’ve scared the shit out of the little darlings. But the snorkeling was great. You just sat on your balcony and watched the fish fly by.

The art gallery at the Wailea mall still has that sign offering original paintings by Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, David Bowie, and in much smaller letters – Picasso.

Every time I return to Hawaii I am more convinced it’s the most spectacular place on earth.

Imagine the beauty of LOST without the polar bears, mysterious smoke monsters, the “Others”, abductions, explosions, killer force fields, flying spears, illegal medical experiments, and that annoying couple they buried alive.

Oh no! USA TODAY will no longer print its Hawaiian edition. How will the locals get their pie charts and day old scores?

My stomach thought it was in Mexico for the first two days. But the good news is – who loses weight in Hawaii?

Every lounge singer on Maui thinks she’s Norah Jones. I miss the days when they all thought they were Joni Mitchell.

“Mahalo” means thank you. But I understand that since it’s written on every trash can many tourists think “mahalo” means “trash”.

Celebrity citing at the hotel: C.C. Sabathia who just won the Cy Young award. He didn’t bring it down to the pool so I assume he’s married.

My Red Sox fan, Matt wanted to thank him for choking in the American League Championship Series but settled on saying “mahalo”. Of course, depending on what C.C. thought “mahalo” meant…

I also wonder how many vacationers think “Wifi” is a Hawaiian word.

Two weeks ago Jennifer Love Hewitt was at the Grand Wailea. Those now famous bikini shots of her were taken there. We got the New Jersey B’nai Brith women’s auxiliary league.

Went to Roy’s in Kihei on Wednesday night. Fabulous as always. Even better than my dinner the night before – a banana.

Now that it’s known that the Haleakala volcano is dormant the only way to lure tourists into its crater is to claim they can now get the NFL Network in there.

Someone had a tattoo of the Hawaiian islands on her back. Or eczema.

Did you know: Herman Melville was a pin spotter in a Hawaiian bowling alley in 1843? That’s true. Today he’s considered a great writer. Back then he was just “the Dude”.

The big local story was the U. of Hawaii football team. They’re off to the Sugar Bowl. They should be going to the Rose Bowl and their quarterback, Colt Brennan should have won the Heisman Trophy. They get no respect, even after an undefeated season and dropping Rainbow from their team name.

The Channel 9 weekend weather wahine advised any locals going to New Orleans to see the Sugar Bowl to be sure to bring their winter clothes. Expected high: 68 degrees.

You can’t walk ten feet in any direction without some jogger calling out “on your left!”

Hawaiian sunsets alone are worth the frequent flier miles.

As are the papayas. They taste so much better when not shot with Botox or whatever the US Agriculture Department pumps into them before shipping ‘em to Cleveland.

I stopped off to watch one of the many beautiful weddings at the Grand Wailea too-cute-for-words chapel. The gorgeous bride walked down the aisle, heard the organ music, the applause from her cherished friends and family, and a guy yelling “on your left!”

There is a vineyard on Maui that makes pineapple wine. Next time you’re in a really fine restaurant ask the sommelier which pineapple wine he recommends.

LUST, CAUTION just opened in Hawaii, only three months after its mainland release date. Too much caution, not enough lust.

Attention bargain hunters: One can of Diet Coke at the Grand Wailea cafĂ© – only $3.61. Hurry! Before they come to their senses!

On Saturday I finally bumped into someone who looked vaguely familiar. Turns out its my lawyer.

As Christmas approached the Grand Wailea got more crowded. The traditional holiday knife fights over chaise lounges didn’t begin until the 21st this year.

Santa himself was in the lobby taking pictures with starry eyed little children and drunk frat boys from TCU who just got out of the hot tub. At least the wee kinder dried themselves off before sitting on Santa’s knee. That heavy woolen suit must’ve smelled like a dead raccoon by the time the tattooed Samoan elves mercifully sprung him.

All in all it was another wonderful week in paradise. My two New Years resolutions for ‘08 are (1) to move to Hawaii and (2) look good in shorts. At least with the first one I’ve got a shot.

Happy New Year and may Hi’iaka, the Hawaiian God of Spirit and Dance always be “on your left”.


Anonymous said...

"On your left" comeback, textbook.
Your takes on these things almost persuade me I'm also having a good time here. Please keep it up. Secret to staying svelt on a Hawaiian vacation: Stop after the first mahi.

Anonymous said...

Could be worse on the waves and the power -- today is the third anniversary of the SE Asian tsunami. But if Santa's taking post-Christmas R&R there, it must be safe.

USA Today must have never hear of Wifi or that other exotic word, PDF, if they can't figure out how to get pages with same day scores to the islands. Though in a place where the Sugar Bowl is going to start at 3 p.m., it's not like everyone can't get all the scores before the 10 o'clock news is over.

(As for me, thanks to the damn mainland weather in the Southwest right now, I expect to be driving through 65-75 mph winds and a dust storm on Thursday on the way to Los Angeles. And if I end up stuck in a Motel 6 somewhere on I-10, I want the handicapped room, which at least have those coiled extended shower massage nozzles. More than makes up for not being able to use the designated parking space right outside your door.)

Alto2 said...

Glad you got away on your well-needed break. Maybe there will be a breakthrough in the talks after the New Year. Otherwise, we're looking at months of crappy reruns.

blogward said...

Ken, your sense of humouir is so dry I think you should make yourself available as a global flood recovery resource.

Anonymous said...

Nice to read about how you're enjoying your stay there. I still dream of getting to see that place someday, and perhaps one of these days I'll just quit being happy about dreaming about it and go there. Happy Christmas!

yoo hoo said...

It's sounds cliche', but we are so moving to Hawaii. No really!

Anonymous said...

Gee I was hoping to hear an anecdote about the birdman of Lahainia...maybe he’s flown the coup?

Children used to be dazzled by the colorful birds playfully performing tricks on his head and shoulders while the adults were absolutely disgusted by the the amount of bird crap on the guys back….ah showbiz.


Anonymous said...

Your travelogues are always a joy to read. Mahalo, Ken, for all the enjoyment you've provided to your adoring public.

Anonymous said...

If you go into the art gallery on Front Street in Lahaina that specializes in music collectibles, you can get John Lennon's original artwork. As in many areas, Lennon's work puts McCartney's to shame.

Anonymous said...

I moved to Maui a few months ago. I live in Kihei and the truth is... it's as awesome as you imagine it to be.

Come back soon my haole friend...

John Leader said...

You want to move to Maui because you've never been there longer than a week or so, I'd bet.
Next time stay for two weeks. You'll be so homesick for L.A., you'll be ready to swim home.
I can't imagine living somewhere you could circumnavigate in your car in a couple of hours.
Thanks for the travelogue. Your yearly Hawaii visits remind me how much I love spending time five-day increments.

By Ken Levine said...

Thank you Glen. I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

and my wife – kind hearted soul that she is – thinks our pool man, Chuckie, deserves a trip.

I've seen several movies that start that way.

LouOCNY said...

I have been meaning to ask this ever since the entry about your book - when did little Diana of the book become Annie? Was it a Kafka-esque metamorphosis? or something that happened in her rebellious teen years? Just being nosy!

LouOCNY said...

and my wife – kind hearted soul that she is – thinks our pool man, Chuckie, deserves a trip.

I've seen several movies that start that way

Before or after the stripper?

Anonymous said...

amazingly funny and so true. don't know how we found your comments on the web but it created a lot of laughter as we are regulars to Maui.