Now that I am packing up my three years on Maui and heading back to my home on the Big Island at the end of the month, I wanted to gather some of my thoughts on my stay, both good and bad…in no particular order.
I love the drive to Hana. Although the drive is only 56 miles from Kahului town, it is several hours drive if you take your time going around the 617 curves in the winding road and 56 one-way bridges. One must stop to see all of the wonderful sights–waterfalls, vistas, valleys, Hana Bay. I must stop at Waianapanapa State Park to see the beautiful black sands beach, the caves with crystal clear water. It’s fun camping here. Going around the entire body of Maui, stopping at O’heo Ponds for a swim under a waterfall, checking out the paintings at a roadside art stand, buying banana bread on the side of the road, continuing on around for an elk burger at Ulupalakua General Store and getting a bottle of wine across the street at the winery. This is such a satisfying trip.
I will miss the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, The MACC. It is one of things I will miss most on Maui. They have such an array of performances, art, concerts of all kinds. I’ve gone to hula halau ho’ike or shows, Hawaiian musical performances. I love the annual Ukulele Festival, the Slack-key (kiho’alu) Guitar Festival. I love the free family movie night sitting on the grass under the stars, the incredible works of local artists with painting, ceramics, woodworking, etc. Wonderful performances of symphonies, country-western artists, incredible ballet and modern dance troupes. I recently saw a concert of the Midtown Men (the original cast of The Jersey Boys) singing songs of the sixties. I’m going this Friday to a modern dance/ancient hula performance–“Pohaku”. The MACC has offered such wonderful opportunities to hear panels on subjects as “Language Matters”-keeping native languages alive. One of the places on Maui that really is No Ka’Oi.
People on Maui do not know how to drive in the rain. Why are they so adverse to putting on the wipers and flipping on the lights. Before moving to Maui, my Mauian ex-boyfriend use to drive me crazy as he would drive in the pouring rain and reluctantly turn on the intermittent wipers leaving about 10 seconds of driving blind. Now I know where he learned that. No one on Maui (except tourists or those that live with rain) uses wipers or lights. What’s up with that?
I love the spring in Kula. When the Jacaranda trees are in bloom it is incredibly beautiful. However, I really have a difficult time getting through the winters, especially in my apt. which is under a main house so gets no sun on the roof. The windows are only on the west, so no sun until it is going down. My inside temperature is generally about 10-15 degrees colder than outside. The other day when the lid slipped off, I inadvertently poured boiling water from the tea kettle across my hand…I didn’t even feel it because my hands were still not thawed out from the cold! Every morning at about 9:00AM, my fingers go numb. It makes sewing really difficult. It’s hard to thread the needles, I can’t feel pins to pick up. They usually thaw out by about 11:00AM unless I go down the mountain early for work.
I will sorely miss my neighbors Gary and Sundya. We have lived side by side for three years. They actually moved closer to the beach at the end of March, so I’m missing them a little earlier than expected. We have had some fun times together. Sundya is a vegetarian chef and makes delicious soups, salads, granolas, oatmeal. She delivers her goodies once a week and has a waiting list. I’ve never had lasagna like her mushroom/zucchini with a Béchamel Sauce that was so delicious. And her veggie enchiladas are to die for. Gary works at home so was always available to help with heavy lifting, etc. My cat Ariana is still going over to their house to look for him. She just loved Gary.
There are way too many tourists on Maui! And way too many mainlanders buying up the land, condos, houses, etc. They never seem to assimilate into the culture and try to change everything that makes Hawai’i Hawai’i. Rents are high. Houses to buy are astronomically high because they are priced for the influx of the rich. We have a very high rate of homelessness.
I love Paia. I think I love it because it reminds me so much of Pahoa on the Big Island near where I live. Paia is more of a surfing town. It has a ton of little boutiques, shops, cafes. There is a wonderful little café on Baldwin Av. (I forget the French name). It has crepes of all kinds from savory to sweet. The floor is course gravel. Although not entirely open, it still has a feeling of being outside on the sidewalk of a little French café. My Hawaiian church is in Paia. I will miss this congregation. They welcomed me like a local. I love singing the hymns, doxology, Lord’s Prayer, etc. in the Hawaiian language. Though I’m looking forward to going back to my Hawaiian church in Keaukaha, I will my miss church family in Paia.
I will miss my Maui hula halau. My kumu hula, Kahulu Maluo has had such great patience with me. It has been a trial for me to change styles of hula. I never really got the hang of it. It’s been fun and a great way for me to relax after a stressful week of working at the airport and trying to keep up with orders.
Speaking of the airport. It has been fun working with Roberts Hawaii. Since most the staff are under 30, I’m “the grandma” of the group. Sometimes they are soooo hard to deal with. The swearing is out of hand and no one seems to have a filter even when people are within hearing distance. Many are so under-educated this is the only job they could possibly find. I’m often astounding at the questions they ask me–“Where is Brazil”, “what does the work finance mean”. Some come in, open their phones, sit down on a luggage cart and don’t get up until it’s time to clock out. It’s amazing that this goes on every day without any consequences.
I’ao Valley is beautiful as is the summit of Haleakala. I’m not at all fond of Kihei nor Lahaina as they have been taken over by tourists. Both areas are hot and dry, but both have great beaches. During the summer months I occasional drive to Kihei to sink my toes in the sand and cool off in the waters.
Well, I think I have covers most of my thoughts on Maui. Though it’s been a veeeeery long three years, it has had some good points, some good people, some good times