First things first, my grandmother’s been in ICU for a few days back home in Louisiana. While I don’t necessarily believe in prayer, I do believe in positive thinking. So positive thoughts are nice if you have any to spare.
Now, some thoughts on Maui. I could go on about how amazing it is, but I’ll try not to because I think that’s a given. The first thing that struck me is the flora. I’m totally obsessed with Plumeria. They sell the roots that you can bring home to plant, and if I had more faith in my green thumb I would buy it. We drove to the condo at night with the windows down and the air smelled like burnt sugar and fruit. It was awesome. Found out a day later that we were driving by a sugar plantation and it just reminded me of home. I get really excited by the mangoes, guava, and papaya growing everywhere and it takes a lot for me to hold back from smashing my face up against the tree just to inhale all the sweet smells.
The Sun. It scares me. I have been lathering up on SPF 45 each day and walking around a big shiny skin cancer awareness ad with long sleeve shirts and refusing to walk certain places because I don’t want to be out in the sun at noon. But STILL my face is drinking it up. On the flight here, there were so many women with leather skin and saggy boobs and wrinkles galore and I turned to boy and said, “no way, not me, all these people have cancerous cells somewhere and they don’t even know it.” So I went out and bought an SPF long-sleeved shirt to snorkel in, but it’s the one factor I feel it’s okay to stress about while on vacation.
Snorkeling. It’s why we’re here. We got the equipment our first day and went out to a remote spot because the only time I’ve used flippers was when I was really little and I remember hating them. We snorkeled a lot in Pensacola, but I’ve never seen coral. And it’s so awesome and scary. The scary part is when it gets shallow and you have to sort of float (I’ve always had issues floating, it’s tougher than it looks) and you can’t flip because disturbing coral is a HUGE no no. But then the currents come and push you this way or that and it means your belly is inches away from scraping the coral and it’s easy to panic. I did a few times at first and disturbed a school of fish by jetting straight through them to get out of the coral and felt really bad about it. Our first morning venture was in Turtle Town and we saw 3 sea turtles. These guys aren’t scared of snorkelers at all. I realized swimming toward one that if I don’t stop I’ll run right into him. So I backed up only to realize there was a second turtle swimming 3 feet beneath me. I also ended up taking off after another turtle and followed him way out into the deep. When I popped my head up I was freaked that boy was about 40 feet away and shore was about 150 feet away. While I usually keep my mouth clenched around the snorkel in slight fear of being out in the open water, I can follow a sea turtle all day without hesitation. They’re beautiful. Today we went to a different area in turtle town where the waves crashed up against the rocks. The coral went on forever and at one point I had to point out that we were about 200 – 250 feet out from shore near the tour boats that drop people off to snorkel, so we high-tailed it back closer to shore. It was closer to noon, but we still saw 2 turtles resting in the coral. There were parrot fish, puffer fish, eels (the kind that open their mouth with sharp teeth), and something hiding that looked like an eel but had white rings like it was possibly a sea snake. While boy loves the wildlife and I love the turtles, the coral fascinates me. It’s so important to these ecosystems and so fragile that seeing everything how it should be, urchins and sea anemones and clown fish hiding in the coral, I could stare at it for hours.
Food. I’ve had trouble eating a whole lot. Everyone I spoke with before hand had suggestions of where and what to eat. But I’m surprised how much my eating choices revolve around how it’s going to make me feel later. I’ve passed up hawaiin bread french toast TWICE people (and I frickin’ LOVE hawaiin bread). Only because I didn’t want a sleepy carb hangover. We had mahi-mahi tacos once and it was so much fish that I haven’t been able to eat fish since, even when we went out for sushi. Yeah we did the Hawaiin Ice thing, but there’s a snowball stand called Cajun Snow back in Louisiana that tops it. We had sugar malasadas after a morning snorkle, and that has been my food highlight for the trip.
Waterfalls. We drove the road to Hana to see a 400 foot waterfall yesterday. It was a 12 hour day, so while it was great to do, I’m glad we got it out of the way b/c I wouldn’t necessarily want to do it again. We hiked 4 miles through a rain forest that turned into a bamboo forest where it became really dark with the bamboo closing us in overhead. We had already pulled off the trail for a dip in a waterfall and was thankful I brought a huge spray bottle of insect repellent (if you have been hiking with me, you know I am a mosquito magnet. and 2 things I don’t fuck around with are the sun and mosquitoes.) The waterfall was surreal. I couldn’t really capture it in pictures, but it’s one of those sights I’ll always remember in my mind. I have a few whelps on my legs from bugs and not to mention odd bumps here and there that look like preliminary rashes but I’ve been popping a lot of anti-histamines for my delicate uber-sensitive skin (warning to you Mrs. Trent, bring the allergy meds.)
Birds. I already have a tainted history with birds. The birds here have no respect for personal space. And because I miss Jack like crazy, and one hopped up on the chair at our table at lunch, I held out some bread and it took it right out of my hand. And what do you know but 2 seconds later as I lifted my sandwich to take a bite the little fucker flew STRAIGHT INTO MY FACE to try and get a bite of my sandwich while I held it to my mouth. Scared the bejeezus out of me and I dropped my sandwich to my plate and flinched to the side and the bird just flew back to the chair like “what’s your problem?” Fucking birds, man.
Jack. I’ve called a few times to check on him because they haven’t posted any pics of him. He’s made a 3-legged buddy and is in the active adult playgroup with the big dogs like I knew he would be. I even e-mailed a needy little plea to get some pics up of him. I miss him like crazy, and while I don’t usually buy souveniers to bring back for people, I can’t help myself when it comes to dog souveniers. I bought him a flower collar and almost got him some hawaii dog treats. The little guy’s always on my mind, much to boy’s chagrin 🙂