May 16, 2010

Babymoon

Scott and I are very fortunate. We have each other, amazing family and friends, a lovable menagerie of pets and a baby on the way. We also managed to save enough money for a babymoon to Maui. We were engaged off the coast of Maui just over two years ago. That first Hawaiian trip was courtesy of Scott's parents, who booked the family cruise in celebration of their 40th wedding anniversary. To be honest, Scott and I never thought we would see Hawaii again, believing that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With the inevitable expenses of parenthood fast approaching, we knew that taking a big trip might not be the most financially prudent choice. Still, more than one person (parents themselves) told us that we should take advantage of this last period of time as just a couple. The travel industry and numerous pregnancy-related articles tempted us with the babymoon concept. Once we discovered that it was, surprisingly, possible to visit Maui on a budget, our minds were made up.


For this trip we wanted to do activities that we hadn't done the last time -- and activities that were safe to do while pregnant. We took a tour of the road to Hana, with its more than 600 curves and 46 one-lane bridges. We enjoyed several stops along the way. The economy in Hawaii is suffering right now, and many residents make a living selling goods at roadside stands. I couldn't resist picking up some macadamia-nut brittle for my parents at one such stop. I also gathered a few pieces of coral. Visitors are not supposed to remove lava rock or sand from the islands, but coral is permitted.



Part of our tour to Hana included exploring inside a lava tube. One type of hardened lava resembled chocolate. It felt like being in a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.



Hana is known for its black-sand beach, where we dipped our feet in the Pacific waters.



Beaches come in a variety of colours on Maui.



Hawaii is astonishingly verdant for a place that has very little dirt. Plants, both native and imported, manage to flourish growing on rock. We spotted several of these little ones sprouting right out of the sand.



Wind, wing and water are the vehicles by which plants originally arrived in Hawaii. The coconut trees you see on the rock in the distance were planted by a handful of armed-forces members who swam out on a lark many years ago.



Everywhere we looked we saw plants in countless shades of green, and blooms ranging from delicately tiny to lusciously huge.



Normally I would think that our loudly-patterned clothing was out of place in such a beautiful setting, but then again, Hawaii is the home of aloha shirts. And yes, Hawaiians -- not just tourists -- do wear aloha shirts. Our tour guide informed us that there is no such thing as formal wear in Hawaii. Scott and I caught footage of some sort of city or county council meeting on TV while we were there, and most of the politicians were in aloha shirts or T-shirts.



I don't know why, but my baby bump was showing a lot in Hawaii. Scott swears that it shrank once we returned home. Anyway, here it is upstaging a waterfall.



One of the most spectacular things that we saw on our trip was this type of tree, the rainbow eucalyptus.



There are many chickens running free in Hawaii. According to our tour guide, this is the result of chicken coops being broken open during a tsunami years ago. Since there are no snakes in the state, the chickens' only natural predator is the mongoose. Our tour guide made a special stop to call the birds ("Heeeeeeere chickie chickie chickie!") and give them a snack.



While on our tour to Hana we drove through Paia, a hippie town that is home to Willie Nelson. Apparently Willie sometimes plays waiter at his favourite local restaurant, Charleys, just to see the patrons' reactions. Speaking of hippies, we saw several of them on the side of the road trying to thumb a ride. Our tour guide claimed that many of them live in the jungle and have lice, so it's best not to stop for hitchhikers unless you have a pick-up truck. I took that with a grain of salt, although I noticed that he didn't stop to feed any hippies.



Not realizing quite how small Maui was, I had us staying in three different hotels during our one-week vacation so that we could explore different areas. Our first hotel was a modest place on the shore close to the Kahului airport.



On our way out of Kahului, we stopped at K-Mart to pick up a cheap back-pack, as we knew that there would not be sufficient space in our luggage for souvenirs. If Scott had any doubt that Hawaii was paradise, it disappeared the moment he discovered the liquor aisle.



I was less impressed with K-Mart when I discovered a bathmat that, sadly, closely resembles my Hawaii-inspired tattoo.



Following our sightseeing at K-Mart, we explored Kihei and Wailea. We shopped, strolled and swam in the ocean. Later we enjoyed dinner overlooking a sunset-lit beach.



Our next stop was Lahaina, where we stayed in a historic plantation-style inn right on the wharf.



Our outdoor space would have been far more enjoyable had it not been for the fact that most of the occupants of the non-smoking rooms on our floor were happily puffing away on their own balconies. Even Scott picked up a Hula Girl cigar to enjoy in the formerly fresh air.



Our room overlooked the famous old banyan tree, which occupies an entire park.



On the weekend artisans set up tables in the park to sell their creations.



On our second day in Lahaina, we took the short drive to Ma'alaea Harbor to visit the Maui Ocean Center. (As a Canadian, it was a struggle to type that last sentence with the American spellings of "harbour" and "centre.") The aquarium was a treat.



We moved on to Ka'anapali for the duration of our trip. Since we had a few hours before it was time to check in to our third and final hotel, we decided to drive up the coast and check out the sights on the north end of the island. The next eight photos provide a glimpse of the beauty that we observed.










Thanks to a friend with connections, we had a great rate at our last hotel, which was actually a resort and spa featuring fully equipped villas.



We bought some kabobs at one of the resort's markets and Scott put his BBQing skills to work.



On our last night in Maui, I surprised Scott with reservations for "date night" at a fondue restaurant. The ambiance was as romantic as expected and the service was impeccable. When I had originally phoned for reservations, a staff member had asked me what we were celebrating. I had told her that we were expecting. At the end of our meal, the waiter dropped off a congratulatory card signed by the staff. Nice touch!



After dinner I was almost too full to move, so I lay in our room like a beached whale while Scott roamed the resort to take a few final photos. He spied this little fellow in the grass below our room.



When I was mobile again, I waddled out to the balcony and called down to Scott. He took a photo of me and immediately dropped the camera, so this is the end of our vacation album.



The end.




11 comments:

Scott said...

Ahhhh Maui, we did have fun..... all three of us! I love you.

amelia said...

What a wonderful trip around the island. I'm sure you have some great memories to carry you through the next exciting time of your life!!

Thanks for the tour and the pics.

Mom said...

Loved seeing and reading about 'your' Hawaii. I know it will always hold a special place in your hearts.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful.
Dad

Rob K said...

What a fabulous trip you guys had. Looks like you had a blast--great, you deserve it.

Cat said...

Holy cow, that place is beautiful! It's one of the places I feel like I will never see but should.

I will admit that I laughed out loud and a lot when I saw the tattoo/bathmat photo. Hahahahah! Er, sorry. But.. hahhahaha!!

Glad you had such a great time. Looks very relaxing. I am envious!

Heather said...

So awesome!!! If I wasn't convinced that I need to go to Hawaii, I am now!

I really like the frog picture.

Heather said...

I read today that our temp is the same as Hawaii. Still wish I there though.

ryssee said...

Somehow I don't think that's your last trip to Hawaii!
Great photos. Glad you had such a great time.

panda said...

Glad you had a chance for a Babymoon! We loved Maui when we went, and can hardly believe we've been back from our Kauai wedding/honeymoon for almost a month now!

blushone said...

what's the hawaiian word for jealous? ;)