Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hawaiian aisles

Maui has been voted the “Best Island in the World” by Conde Nast Travelers Magazine, thus beating out Tahiti, Elba, and Shutter.

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.

Shark attacks aren’t enough? Spotted at a beach, a sign that read: WARNING! SHEEP DROP -- PROCEED WITH CAUTION. And now with cloning the threat is so much worse!

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?”

Overheard at the Grand Wailea pool: Mommy asks her four-year old “Where’s Daddy?” and the tyke says, “Daddy’s at the bar. And Daddy says he’s not coming home until five in the morning.”

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.

Every day was more stunningly beautiful than the next. I could live on Maui if they had a major league baseball team. Hey, how about the Hana Rays? Yes, to get to Hana you have to drive on a 52-mile two-lane road with 617 hairpin curves, 56 bridges, and flash flooding could cause closures at any time. But the Rays would still draw way better than they do in Tampa Bay.

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.

How perfect for a strip mall – a store called “Panties in Paradise.”

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.


opimus said...

But is it more popular than the Isle of Lucy.

KenNYC said...

"Note to lounge singers at the Four Seasons: You are not Adele. At best you are Jewel."

At worst you ARE Jewel.

JW said...

It would have been 1997 that I saw Gabe Kapler play in Hawaii Winter Baseball. I know it's come and gone since then, and I'm not sure if they currently operate.

Stephen Marks said...

LOL "...it was Mick Fleetwood" Even the Don Ho's are overpriced in Hawaii. Yesterday's Mike and Molly post and today's are the best back to back posts I think you've done. You didn't get a perm like Mike Brady did before he went to Hawaii did you?

Anonymous said...

Hana Rays?
Have to change their name
The Lulus?

Steve said...

When my son and daughter-in-law visited Hawaii, she reported to me later that she thought his primary goal was to see the beach where GILLIGAN'S ISLAND filmed its pilot episode. That'd be my kid, all right.

Jeff Maxwell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
crackblind said...

I Was recently recommended The Stench of Honolulu by Jack Handy. I've heard great things about it and figure it must be right up your alley - a book by a TV writer about some interesting experiences in Hawaii. Have you read it?

Unknown said...

Living in the midwest, going to Hawaii is a life time dream. Wouldn't mind seeing Jewel with a cold if it meant being on the islands.

Jeff Maxwell said...

My wife and I were excited to visit the Seven Sacred Pools on Maui. We'd been told they were nothing less than the "eight, ninth and tenth wonder of the world" and "the most beautiful tropical setting ever." We drove hours (one per pool round trip) on the narrow Hana Highway, winding past gorgeous scenery and a lot of Hawaiian cows chewing their poi.

We finally arrived at the pool location and were greeted by a park ranger who asked if we'd come to see the pools. I had several answers, but decided on yes. Looking at his feet, he told us that unique weather patterns (or something like that) had, except for a tiny trickle, left the pools "completely dry."

I'll call ahead next time.

The only sacred pools we saw that trip were in our condo complex. But the drive was unforgettable, the cows were cute and Maui can't be beat.

Johnny Walker said...

Man, I love Maui. I hope I get back there one day.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Aside from the weather, I note a lot of similarities between Hawaii and Alaska: both are outdoor cultures, held together by flying. In Alaska I was told 20% of residents have pilots' licenses, and only 10% of the state is accessible by road.

This picture from Fairbanks seems appropriate here:


H Johnson said...

Since it was brought up and I have read it, "The Stench of Honolulu" by Jack Handy carries it's own stink. Not funny. Just stupid. But don't let me stop you.


YEKIMI said...

20 FM stations, 12 AM stations on Maui. If they could be weighed, the combined commercial spot loads of all the stations [and PSAs and "sponsors" of the non-commercial stations] could possibly out weigh a black hole at the center of our galaxy. And I would have thought the Hawaiin stations would just be playing a Don Ho version of "Mele Kalikimaka" all the time instead of a John Mellencamp record. [And for shits and giggles I had an FM station on when I went to the mall recently and the song ended just as I was pulling out onto the road and by the time I got to the mall, 17 miles away, the commercials were still going on when I shut off my car. So your 57 minutes of commercials comment doesn't seem that far off the mark.]

Anonymous said...

My last stop on Maui is always COSTCO, to fill up the rental car with gas...

tb said...

I'm reminded of one of your previous visits where your poolside book was the eyebrow raising Liz Taylor biography. Maybe you should start doing book reviews

Todd Mason said...

Kama’aina has (or at least had) an implication that one was of the white settlers (or invaders, to be less friendly about it) who felt they had every right to consider themselves Hawaiian citizens with roots in the islands. As someone born in Fairbanks, AK, and who lived in Hawaii for five years in the late '70s/early '80s, living in New England for a decade in between, the notion of trying to feel at ease when held at a sort of distance by default was pretty familiar by the time I lived on Oahu.