March - April 2017
  • Day38

    Southdale - Home at Last

    April 10, 2017 in Canada ⋅ 🌙 -3 °C

    I slept the entire flight from Maui to Vancouver. At the boarding gate for my Winnipeg flight, Air Canada was asking for 2 volunteers to give up their seat as they were overbooked. I was first in line and received a travel voucher for $800 and meal voucher for $20. Was I crazy to do this as I now had to spend 11 hours in the airport until my 8 pm flight to YWG? After a nap in one of the deserted gate areas, I spent the rest of the day in the Plaza Lounge as I had a free pass from Mastercard. I ate lunch and dinner there and sipped on Pinot Gris while I had interesting conversations with other travellers....all for free! I also had time to reflect on the last 5 l/2 weeks in Hawaii.

    We couldn't have asked for better weather, with only 2 days of light, scattered showers. The Kauai weeks were 24-27 C and the rest of the vacation was 28-31 C. Trade winds are a godsend as it keeps the humidity down. The UV Index was 12 every day! The sun was scorching hot but only one of us got sunburned (the one who refused to use sunscreen)!

    Kauai continues to hold the #1 spot as our favourite island. The lushness and aloha spirit will keep calling us back. Waikiki had so much to see and do, with the beach just around the corner. The locals and Japanese tourists were all so polite. Despite all the pedestrians and traffic, nobody jaywalked or honked their horn and pedestrians always had the right-of-way. Honolulu continues to have a homeless issue but there were no aggressive panhandlers. There is so much more to explore on Oahu that we didn't get to see. Maui has a traffic problem and because many of the drivers are US tourists they rule the road, a stark contrast to Waikiki. I had to be cautious during my walks. The Upcountry area was beautiful and Maui definitely had the best beaches. Another great vacation for the memory bank!

    Arrived home at 2 am. Whew!
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  • Day36

    Final Day in Paradise

    April 8, 2017 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    When I returned home from the airport last night I found a gecko scooting around the mirrored closet door in the bedroom about 4 feet from the bed. I'm convinced he was waiting for John to leave. I know they are friendly critters who love a bug diet but I still didn't sleep well and had a long day ahead of me. I had to check out by 10 am and my flight home wasn't until 10:30 pm.

    My first stop was at a favourite beach walk....the Wailea Beach Path. This public path passes 5 idyllic beaches and several upscale resorts. The luxurious resorts were busy with people lounging by the infinity pools enjoying their mai tais and pupus (appetizers). I allowed myself a brief twinge of envy. At room rates starting at $600 per night I wondered how they could afford it, or was the expense just added to their credit card debt. I walked about 2 km and then realized I had overdone it as the temperature had soared to 31 and there was no trade wind or shade. Feeling faint, I headed back to the nearest resort and cooled down by using their beach shower. I considered going snorkelling as there were a lot of snorkelers in the water and I could see honu (green sea turtles). Disappointedly, I remembered that I had sent my gear home with John. So I went for a drive and then ended my day at an air conditioned mall for the temperature relief as I had no room in my luggage for purchases! After returning the rental car I reorganized all my belongings. Just as I was closing the luggage, a huge cockroach approached me! That was my first encounter with the dreaded bug and I made damn sure I didn't take home any hitchhikers!

    The airport was chaotic but I was upgraded to a preferred seat with more leg room and was ready for the overnight flight.
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  • Day35

    Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm

    April 7, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    There were more unique flowers and flowering trees than there was lavender, so it must have been off-season. There was no information provided except for signage on the different types of lavender. The other flowers were unmarked. Dad labelled the little critter a chameleon, so we'll have to believe him.

    Our afternoon plan was to drive to Black Rock Beach in West Maui so that I could do some snorkelling and then have fish tacos at an oceanfront restaurant in a touristy mall area called Whaler's Village. The drive down the mountain was quick. Then as we headed West we encountered the worst traffic congestion that quickly reminded us why we disliked Maui (at least this part of the island). This last coastal stretch of 30 km took us l l/2 hours of stop-start frustrating driving. By the time we paid for parking and made it to the beach we decided there was no time for snorkelling. So I quickly took one photo and we headed to the restaurant....only to find there was a 45 minute wait time and it was only 4:30! Since John had a 10:30 pm flight to catch we decided it was best to just head back to Kihei as the traffic was unpredictable while John is so predictable about wanting to get to the airport super early. It only took us an hour to get back so we joined the other condo owners briefly at their happy hour as they've been very welcoming to us. Sadly, it wasn't the best "last day in Maui" but c'est la vie.

    John arrived at the airport 3 l/2 hours early and the only anxiety-provoking incident was that I had to reshuffle some of the luggage contents to his backpack as it was 5 pounds overweight. A quick hug and he was relieved to be on his way home.
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  • Day35

    John's Last Day in Maui

    April 7, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

    Airport shuttles were presenting a problem for us so last night I took a bus to the airport to pick up a rental car for 2 days. Two buses, $4, and l l/2 hours later I was at the airport.

    For John's last day he wanted to go back to the Upcountry region (maybe because it's 10 degrees cooler up there!), so we spent an enjoyable 2 hours at the Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm. It's located at 4000 feet elevation on the slopes of Haleakala crater so the views would be fantastic except that there was a haze or light cloud cover that prevented a really clear view. At the end of our walk through the small farm we sat on the patio and shared a lavender scone with lilikoi (passion fruit) jam :)Read more

  • Day34

    Flowers Aplenty

    April 6, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    On my daily walks I come across so many beautiful flowers so I always carry my camera with me. Even Safeway had a display of local flowers for sale at very reasonable prices. The purple flowers are from the jacaranda trees that line the highway upcountry. The blue jade vines were in full bloom on the Maui Wine property upcountry. We have a mango tree on our property so we've been enjoying fresh mangos.Read more

  • Day30

    Makena State Park

    April 2, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Before returning our rental car we drove about 30 minutes south to Big Beach at Makena State Park, rated by some as the #1 beach in Maui. We leisurely walked the wide l km beach with the aqua green water. Adjacent to Big Beach is Small Beach....for nudists. I didn't inform John about that until we were leaving!Read more

  • Day29

    Kapulanikai in Kihei

    April 1, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Our new home has one bedroom (with a king-size bed!) and is located ocean front. There are 12 units in this small condo building which was built in 1974 by 3 Albertans who offered other Canadians an opportunity to buy a 2 week share in the property. Most of the group staying here this week are owners from Calgary who are very friendly, including us in their daily happy hour at sunset. The interior is very modest with older furnishings but the location compensates for that. Our lanai looks over a large lawn, banyan and fruit trees, and the ocean. We have our own private beach but John enjoys the small, heated salt water pool complete with pool noodles. Today I ate a ripe banana that was picked freshly from one of the banana trees....that's a first for me!Read more

  • Day29

    Island #3 - Maui

    April 1, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    I had arranged a one-day car rental, so on arrival in Maui we were on our way to explore the island. Our plan had been to drive to the summit of the Haleakala crater but it was obvious that the top was in thick cloud, possibly fog, so we abandoned that plan as it apparently is a treacherous drive on a clear day. Instead we drove to the North coast to Ho'Okipa Beach Park to check out the surfers, windsurfers and kiteboarders. Not as exciting as the action on the North Shore of Oahu but still amazing. From there we drove Upcountry around the base of the volcano. This area was so lush and green. We went to the end of the highway to visit Maui Wine for a free tasting of 3 of their wines, which we enjoyed so much that we bought a bottle of their Maui Splash (similar to a pinot grigio with a splash of pineapple juice!). The grounds were beautiful. Several cypress trees had been damaged by a hurricane so they hired a carver to create interesting sculptures from the remainder of the trees. The huge banyan tree was so smooth it almost didn't feel real.Read more

  • Day28

    More Waikīkī

    March 31, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    The state fish, humuhumunukunukuapua'a, was swimming with it's partner just off the dock on Waikiki snorkel needed! Throughout the city are bronze statues of kings, queens, and surfers. There is an ABC store or two on every block....think 7-Eleven on steroids.....and they are always busy day and night.

    I checked the statistics out of curiosity and tourists from Japan make up the 3rd largest market to Hawaii (US and Canada are 1st and 2nd) but are the biggest spenders. So it makes sense that there are so many Japanese restaurants. I was anxious to try their traditional food so I selected Marukame Udon because there was always a line-up out the door. It was very good but John wasn't impressed. The Ala Moana Mall just opened the Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, which is supposed to represent a traditional Japanese town. There were rows and rows of food stalls serving food with names that I couldn't pronounce. I played it safe and ordered vegetarian ramen from a stall that had won first place in a ramen food competition. It was delicious but I still haven't mastered the art of chopsticks, especially when it involves noodles! John wasn't adventurous and was happy with a burger from the Honolulu Burger Company, one of the few non-Japanese stalls. They also had $1 beer kiosks, which is how I lured John there in the beginning!

    Initially we were concerned about spending 2 weeks in Waikiki but surprisingly we both enjoyed our time there. Today we had to move to a one bedroom condo at the Royal Kuhio just for one night as we don't leave Oahu until the morning.
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  • Day28

    Waikīkī Wonderland

    March 31, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Nearly 6 million people per year visit Oahu and most of those are in Waikiki. The streets were always crowded with people but it did die down by 11 pm when the retail stores closed (except Ross stayed open until 1 am!), as well as most restaurants. I took long walks, about 5 km, most days and felt safe both during the day and after dark, even walking through a dark city park in the evening. John joined me on shorter walks but for the last 3 days decided to use the exercise bike in the gym instead of walking.

    There was entertainment around every corner, usually ending at 9, because most were sponsored by the shopping malls. The Royal Grove was my favourite spot. The Air Force Band played country and rock but there was also Hawaiian music and hula. The Ala Moana Mega Mall had entertainment from morning until evening. This high school jazz band and choir were from Wilmar, MN and it reminded us of when Garrett & Alyssa were involved in choir and band (but they certainly didn't get to travel to Hawaii). Buskers were on the main street but they weren't very good and don't seem to be screened by the city. One night John was enjoying a rock guitarist until I informed him that he was playing air guitar! I noticed that the guitarist stopped playing to talk to a tourist but the music kept on playing.
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