And then there is Maui. Beautiful Maui. No ka bi, or is the best. I will be here for a week, so let's see. First a few days with my friend, later alone. My worries about traveling in Hawaii by myself have already disappeared in the past few weeks. It is easy done here. However, how does it feel to be alone after such an intens trip so far. Well...
First we had a few days together. One day before we took the boat to Molokai. We spend it in and around touristic Lahaina. First we drive to a nice beach just north of it. Doing some snorkling, working on the sun tan. We see green turtles, again. Then we head back to town. It is a nice, happy village with all kinds of tourist shops selling the same stuff, all made by and probably sold by Chinese. And many, many restaurants. And a little bit of culture. The Front street is the place to be. Old buildings, reminding of the past, give the street it's cosy character. It is nice. We stroll down the street, buy some really nice cow bone carved necklaces from a Hawaiian man. Lovely. The carvings have a certain meaning, which we can find back on their website. Long lasting live, good luck, safe travels, family, etc. And if it does not work, it will look nice anyway.
After Molokai, we stil have two days together. The first we spend hiking in Haleakala National Park, the second in Kihei. My friend leaves in the evening, so we finish with a nice big hamburger with fries at some local restaurant. Kihei is a strip of a few kilometers along the coast, filled with hotels, condo's and shopping centres. Touristic again, but in a less cosy way. We find a nice beach south of Kihei, where we can snorkel again. I am surprised, the coral looks great here. Beautiful, just accessible from the beach. Again we see turtles and nice other fishes. At the end of the day I drop my friend off at the airport and head to Hali'imaile for my first 3 nights alone.
The b&b is called 'Gods Peace of Maui' and it is owned by a very nice couple. I have to be honest, I have only met Mika on my last day. I could enter, key was in the door, and they did not bother me any second in all the days I was there. I like it. I realise I miss my friend, but also I know I want to stay to see and do more things. I am not done yet. First day is hiking Haleakala and meeting some people on the hike. So I was not completely alone. Although, somewhere on the track I did see something very beautiful. I was so joyful and happy to see it, that I really needed to share it. Well, that is a bit tough when you are alone. I just made a picture to send it to the people I love. Modern technology, I sometimes hate it, but i these cases it is very convenient to be honest. As if people are right next to you. Earlier that day, an older guy was watching the sunrise next to me. He at that beautiful moment called his wife with some smartphone app. She was in a different timezone complaining he woke her up. But he was so happy to share the moment, it was somehow adorable to see. And I even understood. He just needed to share that beautiful moment with somebody he loved. Just because he can.
The next day I drive to Hana, where you can buy a t-shirt stating "I survived the road to Hana". It is supposed to be one of the nicest roads in Hawaii, and if you have to believe the Mauians, the nicest road of the world. Well, let's see. I start in Pa'ia, that is nice already, and drive to Ho'okipa beach. I remember my Hookipa XXL t-shirt from my youth, Hookipa beach is something different though. Huge waves, a big group of surf dudes and dudettes in the water, waiting for the perfect ride. And when they make a ride, it is awesome! These guys know how to surf, big time. Shaka!
But I have a road to survive. It is just about 45 miles or so, but it has 59 one-lane bridges and 617 (hairpin) curves in it. And that is just one way. I do plan to go back before dark. Off I go. First bit is ok. Nice views, beautiful bays, lush green forrests on the mountain side. And yes, there are the curves. I love driving curves, even thoug I am Dutch and not used to them. I find a nice radio station to go with the flow. Left, right, left, right... Halfway there is this small village called Keanae. I am just half way! I enjoy the scenery, wild lava cliffs, some Taro fields and a big rain shower. I find a nice coffee place where they also sell fresh baked banana bread. Hmmm... I have a chat with some couples. Again I notice that I am not alone on this trip. Even though the contacts are brief and I will never see these people again, the conversations are nice. I appreciate them.
Okay, done with the fun, we need to work, drive. All the way to Hana. It takes quit some time and around 2pm I am at my destination. What 2pm already? It took me close to 4 hours and I still need to get back. However, I feel rather tired and decide to just go to a beach for a picnic lunch and a rest. I do need to keep my attention to the road and the traffic when driving back. After a while I am ready to go. Left, right, left, right... I start feeling the muscles in my belly. Good workout! There is much more traffic on the road now. I stop a few times for some pictures, but it starts raining cats and dogs. Oooh, and I get really hungry. At last I arrive back in Pa'ia, greeted by a giant rainbow. I am exhausted. What a trip. 1234 hairpin curves, poor car suspension. I go for a nice Mahi Mahi (local fish) burger and drive the last few kilometers back to my b&b. I sleep like a baby.
Time to move back to Kihei. I park my stuff with my new airbnb host and go to 'Iao Valley State Park. A nice area according to the pictures I have seen. In the end I am a bit disappointed. The weather was not very nice, too cloudy to really see the rocky needle. But also the limitatiins within the park. Tourists are not allowed to go hiking outside the one mile pathway provided. That is a shame, as the area can be really nice to explore. I also feel the native spirit here. It is a sacret place to them and possibly that is why access is limited. Shame, but I respect it.
I decide to drive along the west coast all the way to Honolua bay. Little did I know about tourism (I just studied it 25 years ago). All of a sudden the traffic signs change, the roads are better, the environment is clean, the roadside is nice green with lots of flowers and amazing buildings. I am driving on a resort, or better, I am driving in a town, consisting of a few very luxurious resorts. It is on the roadmap, nobody stopped me, so I keep on driving. This is posh. Definitely not my style of holiday, but for a lot of other people it is.
Finally I find a small bay, with beach and picnic opportunity. As soon as I sit and unpack my lunch bag I notice two big green turtles sleeping on the beach and at least 6 more in the water. Nice! I enjoy the scenery and soon two more turtles, or Honu as tthey are called here, wash up to the shore for a nice afternoon nap. There could not have been a better picnic spot on this road. I proceed to Lahaina to just enjoy the cosy scenery and some local pork slider dinner. A nice day, without really meeting people. I feel ok with it.
Then there is a day of diving at Molokini and sun tanning. Good fun to be under water and not get sea sick. I enjoyed the flora and fauna, did see loads of fish, few nudibranch, a giant octopus and a white tip reefshark in the depths beneath me. Imagining me being under water in the middle of the pacific. Woehaaa...
Next day, surf lessons. Just because I can. It is great fun, I even feel like a surf dudette few times. But man, that is hard working. No wonder these guys are drifting for a long time to catch the perfect ride. Paddle with the arms, jump on the board, falling off, paddling back. I am exhausted after the 2 hours, but I return after lunch to give it another go. After I lost all the skin of my knees on the rough surface of the board I decide to call it the day. Veni, vidi, vici waves! The funny thing of surfing is all the other starting surfers giving you a cheer and the shaka hand sign if you manage to get up and stand for a few seconds. We are all one big family. I have a nice chat with a family from Ottawa and that is it. Again a nice day, again ending with a beautiful sunset. I am going to miss Maui, miss Hawaii, miss Shaka, miss not being worried. I start thinking on how to implement this for me in our Dutch society.
"He 'elele ka moe na ke kanaka - a dream is a bearer of messages to man."