I left my heart in Maui. Part I.
It’s true. There’s another version of me that’s 10 pounds skinnier and five shades tanner, lying on the beach somewhere over there under a double rainbow.
I had the opportunity to go to Maui for the first time back in November of last year, and I honestly didn’t want to come home. It was absolute paradise. The weather was perfect, the beaches were beautiful and the food was … I can’t even. It was fantastic. If you hate me already, it’s only going to get worse, so you can stop reading now. Bye.
I started writing this post and it ended up being forever-and-a-day long, so I’m splitting it up into two. Commence part I.
I’d been to Oahu a few years ago, but this was my first time on Maui. The people that are fortunate enough to visit multiple islands in Hawaii and say that each one is different? Yeah, I believe them. I flew out of LAX on a Tuesday—election day. So I woke up early, did my civic duty and headed to the airport. By the time I landed, our president for the next four years had been decided. It was also pitch black outside. Luckily, this image let me know, “Everything’s gonna be alright.”
I was staying at the Honua Kai Resort and Spa in Lahaina, and met up with the group I would be traveling with for the next few days at the Duke’s that’s right on the resort, and also right on the beach. Cue groans—because Duke’s is everywhere, right? But this one is actually perfff. And I’m spelling that with three Fs, because that’s exactly how it felt. It has a perfect view of the beach, and it provides food and drink service to the pools that are also right next to it. So again. Perfff.
So we had some grub and some drinks, and I found out our server happened to have gone to my high school. Totally weird and random, because I went to high school in the middle of nowhere. Anyways, it was a nice dinner, but I was exhausted from the trip. So I went back to my room and posted up in the huge tub, which has been my M.O. on these trips.
The next morning, I woke up extra early because my itinerary looked something like this:
9 a.m. Eat breakfast
10 a.m. Tour
11 a.m. Go somewhere
12 p.m. Eat lunch
2 p.m. Go somewhere
3 p.m. Eat more
5 p.m. Go on a boat, drink and eat more
8 p.m. Eat dinner
10 p.m. Go back to your room and eat cookies while contemplating your body image issues
OK I may be taking some artistic liberties, but that’s what it felt like. So I got up early and hit the gym in preparation for the week’s worth of calories I was about to consume in a day.
Breakfast was beautiful. We joked, “Cue the dolphins,” as if sea life was going to spring out of the ocean at our beck and call. And I wouldn’t have been surprised if it did. If only every day could start with this view.
We went into Lahaina and walked around for a couple hours. This is a life I could definitely get used to.
Shaved ice. The bomb.com. (Yeah, I realize no one says that anymore. Do not care.)
Checked out Fleetwood’s on Front Street, but didn’t eat or drink there. Pretty sweet rooftop and beautiful view, but that’s a given in Hawaii, right? Still a cool venue for drinks and tunes.
We met up with the whole group again at the huge banyan tree, the centerpiece of the town. This was the first time I had ever seen a banyan tree in real life. Apparently, the one in Lahaina is one of the most famous in the world. It has 12 trunks in addition to its core, and shades more than 2/3 of an acre.
The other trunks are actually aerial roots, which sprout from the tree’s branches and grow down toward the ground in order to support the branch from which they spring. If you don’t find that beautifully poetic, I don’t think we can be friends anymore. I mean, there’s just something so awesome about that.
Then we ate at Mala Ocean Tavern. And drank. And if that’s not enough for me, we got a table right next to where the rocks met the ocean. And if THAT’S not enough, there were SEA TURTLES. Sea turtles. Sea turtles. Sea turtles! Apparently they frequent this area because the algae on the rocks is mighty tasty. So they were swimming around getting their grub on and they would pop their heads above the water every so often which would prompt, “OHMIGOD A TURTLE! DO YOU SEE IT DO YOU SEE IT?!” from everyone sitting at the tables closest to the water. (OK mostly us.) Wish I had a picture, but I swear it happened. I swear. I’ll just show you this picture of a grumpy sea turtle instead.
I’m on cloud nine already, and about to slip into a deep food coma. But we head to Whaler’s Village to walk around and shop a bit, before hopping on a catamaran.
Open bar and impossibly beautiful sunset views on the boat. You know, the usual. (I wish.)
After the cruise and many beers, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up. As tired as I was, I was (probably too) stoked for what was to come. A van picked us up and drove us to Star Noodle, which I had heard a ton about. Well, I’d mostly heard that 1) the restaurant’s chef was on this season’s “Top Chef,” 2) I MUST try the garlic noodles and 3) the restaurant does not accept reservations and there’s always a crazy long wait to eat there.
We pulled up, and lo and behold, there were tons of people standing and sitting around outside, waiting for a table. We walked in and the staff greeted us warmly, and showed us right to a table that was all set and ready for us. Needless to say, I felt like a G.
Dinner was redonks. We ordered almost everything on the menu. As evidence of how good the food was, even after a day full of eating and drinking, I tweeted this that night:
I wish you could see and taste how beautiful this food was, but I didn’t want to be “that girl” at the restaurant. But here’s just one picture of the malasadas, which are essentially balls of dough that are fried and covered in sugar.
But c’mon son. You know I was all over these. They’re served with chocolate and butterscotch caramel sauces and peanuts. Everyone was really full from dinner, and as full as I was, I have a second stomach reserved for sweets. I didn’t want to look like a heffer so I restrained myself, but seeing some pieces of these leftover just pained me. Sadface.
We went back to the hotel and I had some of the best sleep of my life. Part II to come.