Travelogue Maui 2001
This Travelogue is Incomplete
3/2/01-3/9/01: Maui, Hawaii, USA
Friday March 2, 2001
Toto, I think we’re not in first class anymore. I’m flying to day from Denver to Maui, Hawaii on United Airlines. This is my first coach flight in a long time. To be honest, coach in this excellent Boeing 777 “Overwater” isn’t bad. I’ve got one of the coveted exit row seats – 30H – the aisle row seat right in front of the over-wing emergency exit door. The seat has at least 10 feet of legroom, which is great, but it does have a few downsides. First off, really tall people kill to get these seats. And really tall people tend to be relatively wide too; that means that the person sitting next to you is likely to be a bit big for their seat. Second, there is no seat in front of you, so there is nowhere to stow anything, and you share one diminutive side pocket for storing any magazines, books, headsets, etc. The net effect is that if you have a book or a walkman or anything, it has to slide down next to your hip making the already narrow seat even more confining. Oh well, you do get to chat with the nice stewardess sitting in the jump-seat across from you.
I was a bit late getting in to Denver International Airport this morning. Even though I got up before my bedtime this morning, it seemed like I was moving in slow motion. I also discovered that it takes about 20 minutes longer to get to the airport from my home in boulder in the morning than in the afternoon. The big problem is that most of the drive is eastbound directly into the rising morning sun. Everyone has to slow way down to read any of the highway signs. Fortunately I have finally achieved the coveted “Premier Excecutive 1K” status on United Airlines, so getting to the airport only ½ hour before flight time did not meet with the standard flogging.
Oh, here’s another downside to this seat, there is no window. We are now passing over the grand canyon on a spectacular clear day, but I cant see out. Hi ho.
Continuing on to Kahului Airport in Maui. I think this was the closest I’ve ever come to missing a plane. I was waiting in the Red Carpet Club, conveniently located next to gate 70. My plane left from gate 69, so I figured I would have no problem. For some reason the departures display never showed “Boarding”, and there were no boarding announcements. About 20 minutes before flight time I left for the gate. Surprise! Gate 69 is at least 10 minutes from gate 70 walking at a brisk clip. When I arrived at the gate it was about 11 minutes before departure; the flight was overbooked and they had given my seat to a person on the waitlist. After I refused $400 to go to Kona instead, they politely asked the wait-list person to disembark. I felt very badly about the trouble I had caused, but really wished that there had been a huge red sign at the Red Carpet Club saying “Warning: Even though you are next to gate 70, gate 69 is nowhere near here!” This is the second time in recent months that I have been the last person on the plane due to an unexpected epic hike through an airport.
Since I am in the “mileage plus premier” section of the plane, I was surprised to learn that the woman seated next to me had only flown once before in her life. We had fun joking about the joys of air travel.
My first trip to Hawaii.
Arrived at the airport 3 minutes before my friends Clif and Nelda and their two kids Dylan and Jack. Their gate was right next to mine, so I just waited there for them before we all headed to baggage claim together. For some strange reason the airlines unloaded half of the Los Angeles luggage, then all of the San Francisco luggage, then all of the luggage from some other place, before unloading the last half of the LA luggage. By the time my bag finally came out I had already filled out the lost luggage form. It was a very weird scene. Meanwhile Clif had picked up our minivan from Dollar Rent-A-Car – a very nice Chrysler Voyager. Very comfortable with room for 6 plus luggage! I see why families like these.
This week in Hawaii is a big group affair with 18 people, 10 adults and 8 kids. We’ve rented two separate places – a good sized guest house called the Ohukai Beach Estates (26 Ohukai Rd, Kihei) for the families, and a separate two bedroom condo just down the street at Luana Kai (940 S. Kehei Rd) for the two bachelors. It’s a little inconvenient that everyone isn’t together, but the separation has some merits.
Though it is a Friday night, we were able to get reservations for 8 of us at a very nice restaurant called the Five Palms Beach Grill. Everything on the menu sounded mouth-watering. In the end 7 of us chose to order the prix fixe “Leap of Faith” menu. The chef here does a very odd thing with their prix fixe: if more than one person at a table orders the “Leap of Faith”, each person gets a different dish for each course. With 7 of us all leaping together, collectively we got to experience virtually everything the restaurant has to offer. It was a lot of fun, though there were some awkward moments when one person got the scrumptious lobster tail and another got the awful “vinegar soup.”
My “Leap of Faith” menu started with a dish of “crispy spring lobster and Furikake rice roll with Chinese mustard and wasabi tobiko.” It was basically two slices of a lobster maki roll that had been deep fried. With the mustard sauce it was truly delicious. Other dishes that appeared at the table and were shared by all included an absolutely abysmal clam appetizer that tasted like old fish sauce, a nice lobster and avocado salad, a very salty and fishy tasting bouillabaisse, soft shelled crabs that were just OK, excellent crab cakes, a hot & sour duck soup which we renamed “salt soup”, and the standout highlight of the meal, rack of lamb over garlic mashed potatoes. Finishing off the feast were a variety of deserts, of which only the chocolate soufflé was noteworthy.
Got up bright and early for a dive trip with Dive & Sea Maui (808-874-1952, www.diveandseamaui.com). Dove the back wall of Molokini crater. Amazing whale song
Dinner at the house
Another dive trip, “reefs end” inside Molokini, then second dive at Makena Landing. More whales singing
Whale watching with Pacific Whale Federation (10 North Kihei Rd, Kihei, 808-879-8860, www.pacificwhale.org).
Hike Waihee Ridge Trail. Brynn declared it a “pain in the drain”. Hot tub. Midnight party on the beach.
Drive to top of Haleakala.
Got up late, farted around, then went shopping for ingredients to make Thai food for dinner for everyone. Had to go to 4 super markets with Asian departments before I found most of the things I needed (and gave up on a couple of the ingredients that I couldn’t find. Some staples on this island are ridiculously expensive; pork was cheap, but chicken breasts were over $6 a pound. Bell peppers were $4 and up. Wow.
Got back, hung out with Owen for a while, then started the lengthy process of preparing dinner for 10 adults and 5 children (separate dinner for the kids – pasta.)
<Drove everyone out of the house with the red curry paste.>
Diving, two dives inside Molokini. Incredible whales breaching, tail displays, fins, etc. Saw a monk seal sunning on rocks after dive.
Terrible traffic going for amazing shaved ice: layer of mango sorbet, shaved ice on top with wild cherry, lychee and green apple syrups. Wow.
Up, little breakfast, pack. Terrible traffic returning one of the cars, then more traffic getting to the airport. Thought we weren’t going to make the plane, but it turn out OK.
5 hours on a 767-300 to get to San Francisco. Then SF to Denver. Got in late. I had parked at the “pikes peak” economy parking. Getting the shuttle bus and riding to parking lot consumed 50 minutes. Didn’t leave airport parking until 2am Denver time. Parking at Pikes Peak saved $7. Note to self: Never use Pikes Peak parking again!