Sunday, November 20, 2011

Maui: Happy Birthday Karran; Road to Hana

Today Karran is celebrating Freedom 55 and what a way to celebrate – in Maui! I woke up about 5:45am but it was too early to get out of bed so I laid there and enjoyed the motion of the ship in the water. It was a relatively calm sail to Maui. About 7am, Bena and I went for a walk around the 6th floor deck. We only walked for about 30 minutes and then came up and had a shower, went off for breakfast on the 11th floor outer deck and then went off the ship to the Alamo car rental site. We left Kahalui about 10am for Hana which is only about 50 miles away but we heard from several people that it takes a long time to get there.

We heard anywhere from 1 hour 15 minutes to 4 hours but it actually took us about 2 hours following the speed limit of about 35 miles per hour for short stretches but mostly about 10 miles per hour (the posted speed limit on most sections). At 10 miles per hour, it should have taken us almost 5 hours and really no one could do that road in 1 hour 15 minutes. There are almost 600 turns on the 50 mile stretch of highway and over 50 one-lane bridges. Several of the turns were hairpin turns so those were totally blind corners. We had a GPS but there was really only one road to get there – the Hana Highway.

We decided that we would drive all the way to Hana and then see what spots we wanted to stop on the way back to Kahalui. We took two hours and there were some spectacular places that we saw. The drive was through a rain forest or more accurately, a cloud forest. It was rainy and drizzly for part of the way and the sun would come out for other parts but the vegetation was so very amazing. There were huge trees with blankets of flowers on some of them that we felt like we were driving through a very large flower forest. Other parts had orchids hanging from the trees and we saw many, many guava trees with the ripest guavas only to pass them by because the roads were so narrow that we couldn’t stop to pick them.

Road to Hana

Road to Hana

Road to Hana
 We arrived in Hana about 12:45pm and took a little walk to a lookout point by the ocean. Some of the waves were huge and even little kids were surfing. The beach at Hana is black sand so that if you don’t look carefully, you would think that the little kids were making mud castles rather than the sand castles that they were making. We had another nice little picnic lunch of fruit, rolls and cheese (brought from the ship) and then set off for our drive back to the city.
Beach at Hana

Black sand beach at Hana

Mother & son enjoying birthday lunch

Family celebrating with birthday lunch
Along the way, we stopped and took some amazing pictures at various lookout points and Karran even stopped at one place where Bena could finally pick a couple of guavas (and I mean a real couple as in two not a Guyanese couple as in anywhere from 4 to whatever number comes out of your mouth). At one place that we stopped, the waterfall was rushing over the rocks but I couldn’t remember that it had looked that way earlier. The woman at the little roadside food stand that we stopped to take the pictures saw me taking some pictures of some very unusual flowers so she said “do you want to see something? Come with me” and she took Bena and I to see a thunderous waterfall that cannot be seen from the roadway. We saw a magnificent fall overlooking the home that was on the property. We asked her if she lived there and she said she was not the owner; it belonged to her boss. She said that half an hour before that, the fall was just a small stream but will all the rain in the higher elevation, the water came gushing down in torrents. It was pretty amazing and worth the rain and bleak weather that we drove through earlier. Had it not rained so much, we would not have seen such a spectacular site.
Gushing waterfall

Gushing waterfall

Ginger flower?
In some places, the earlier storm was so bad that it downed trees in the roadway, making it a bit dangerous to drive since some of the fallen trees were on blind spots on the road.
Fallne tree
We came back into town about 4pm and headed to Walmart to buy some things to bring home – things like about 18 pounds of macadamia nuts in all flavours! They grow plentiful on the Hawaiian islands and Subhadra made me promise that I would hunt down some for her because the kind she likes can only be bought on line or in Hawaii. Dare I mention that I found some or should I take all of them to Orlando when we go there for Christmas? Maybe that could be my Christmas present to everyone. Yes. Macadamia nuts for Christmas. Who could want anything more perfect than that, unless it was macadamia nuts covered in Kona coffee? They even have that. I bought about 3 pounds of coffee for less than half the price that I would pay for it in Winnipeg. I’ll have to calculate how much weight I can bring back beside the 40 pounds in my suitcase. I can bring back two hand luggages at 22 pounds each plus my suitcase which can be as much as 50 pounds so I think I still have about 30 pounds of coffee that I can bring back. And I can use mom’s weight allowance too so that’ll give me another 30 pounds of coffee. I’ll be in coffee heaven for about a year with 60 pounds of coffee. Anyone want some?

We got back to the ship and as my luck would have it for the last few days, my calling card wouldn’t work so I tried to use Karran’s which he had used earlier but that wouldn’t work either. So I tried my credit card but I had to go through such a long menu of options, that I finally gave up. What call was so urgent that I had to try multiple means of calling? I was trying to confirm a volcano bike ride that we are doing tomorrow morning (more about that later). I finally used mom’s cell phone and made the call. Then I tried to get back on board the ship but do you think my ID card would work? Nooo. That would be too easy. My card was demagnetized for the third time since yesterday. They had to check my ID manually and the crew member said that I must have a "magnetic personality" to be demagnetizing my card so often. As if he had to state the obvious! I went to the concierge and he fixed the card. I asked him why my card was demagnetizing so often and he said that maybe I was "special." Once again, it was overstating the obvious but what the heck.  I'll go with that. These are a whole new set of people so they wouldn’t know what is so obvious to so many people – that I am “special.”

We went for Karran’s birthday dinner in the Cadillac Diner (a 50’s style diner complete with music and all). As we sat there, we watched the news and saw that there was an earthquake on the Big Island of Hawaii – where we are heading in two days! Sophie is not thrilled about that because earlier today, I was joking that everywhere I go, a natural disaster seems to follow in my wake – Indonesia a few years ago, Iceland about two years ago (most of you will remember the volcano shutting down most of the airports in Europe). She said as long as the disasters happen after I leave, she is fine with that, so imagine her anxiety as we watched the news tonight that we’ll be sailing right into the earthquake zone in two days. Okay it’s late and we have to be up at 2:30am for the Haleakala sunrise tour and bike ride down the volcanic mountain. That should take about 9 hours in total. I’ll let you know how that was. Good night for tonight. Wish me well or wish me a safe ride down.


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