Daily Archives: December 1, 2008

Back from Maui!

This was an AWESOME trip — the coolest way to spend Thanksgiving! 
  • Number of books read: 1
  • Number of times we played volleyball: 1 (and maybe a handful of bumping the ball around on the beach)
  • Number of Eggs McCracken: 3
  • Number of turkey meals: 5
  • Number of mosquito bites: 7
  • Number of pictures taken: 1,126 (3.98 Gb!)
  • Number of pina coladas: not enough!
  • Number of times "Bananas!" was said: too many to count!
  • Things I learned:
    • You can cook eggs in the microwave
    • One bad tan (from an overcast July day) is really hard to correct even after hours on the beach
    • 7 people and 1.5 bathrooms didn’t turn out to be so crazy afterall
    • Shreaded turkey in BBQ tastes nothing like turkey
    • I love my friends and trust them with my life (quite literally)
Here’s a synopsis of the week:
Day 0
  • Dinner at Lu Lu’s — a bbq place.  It was a nice place but the puffer fish hanging from the ceiling were sad.  Apparently the puffers are intentionally frightened so they puff up and when they die they do so in that puffed state.  and then they were turned into celing decorations
  • Poker til the wee hours
Day 1 (Wednesday)
  • Big Beach
    I intentionally avioded Little Beach — basically a nude beach.  I heard enough storieis to know I wasn’t missing anything worth seeing.
  • Night volleyball at Kama’ole III Beach
    This is what seattle needs!  I think this is the only lit sand vball court in Maui and it was only a 10 min drive from us!  We didn’t take advantage as much as we should have.  Kind of a bummer.  We did meet up w/ B, who was on his own vacatin through Hawaii for a few games and dinner in the park.  It was like a summer weekend in Seattle… all of us on the sand playing volleyball…except it was 9 PM!
  • Steaks on the grill… mm mm good!
    We made an awesome dinner at the park.  Steak, ceasar salad, hummus and pita, and sweat rolls.  Mmm.. steak… so juicy and yummy.  it’s been a while since I’d had steak.
Day 2 (Thursday)
  • Kama’ole I Beach
    Snorkling!  For a non-swimmer, hanging out in the big big ocean is a little scary… even if you’re attached to a foam board.  Thanks to the superb coaching and patience of N, I got to go snorkling for the first time!  It was pretty freakin’ awesome!!  Before we could go, N gave me a primer on floating on my belly w/ the board as well as some survival techniques… like doggie paddling, kicking, etc.  It’s tiring work when you’re kicking probably the most inefficient way possible… as a non-swimmer like myself would do.  After a while of that, we were off on our journey!  It was a hella lotta work (especially for N who dragged me along Open-mouthed), but it was totally worth it.  It made me miss the 33 gallon tank @ and I used to have back in college.  It also made me really want to learn how to swim!  I do have to admit, it took a while to get used to floating and trusting the board and having my head in the water and breathing through my mouth.  And there was more than 1 occassion I had to remind myself to just breathe to calm the nerves (in particular when we were over coral and I knew I couldn’t just stand up if I panicked).  But afterwards, seeing a school of silver fish and some yellow stripey ones, it made me realize I was missing out on something really cool.  Big, huge thanks to N for literally dragging my a$$ around out there.  =) 
  • Thanksgiving Dinner!
    We made the most wonderful Thanksgiving meal!  The menu included: 22 lb turkey that turned out super juicy, moist and yummy!  Stuffing… actually stuffed in the bird! Yams in lime butter — this was just "eh"… not something I would make again.  Green beans with garlic and oyster sauce.  And the best part… cranberry chutney with an extra little kick of cayenne.  YUM-MY!!!  M made Senator Biden’s favorite oatmeal raisin cookies… so SO SO good!  I can’t describe how soft and chewy these cookies were.  S and I made the mistake of glimpsing over while he was putting in the butter… it’s a LOT of butter… a LOT.  This is why I don’t cook.  If I knew what all went into all the things I love to eat so much, I probably couldn’t eat them anymore… or having learned how to make them, I’d make it all the time and get fat… either way, ignorance is bliss.  Desserts 2 and 3 were pumpkin pie as well as apple pie a la mode!  M and I even made passion fruit cocktails for everyone.  The best part of cooking is not having to clean! =)
Day 3 (Friday)
  • Haleakala at Sunrise
    So… after stuffing our faces silly with turkey… we struggled to stay up until 3am to head to Haleakala — an active volcano — to catch the sunrise.  We didn’t make it… that is, we didn’t pull the all-nighter, but I took out some insurance and at 2:30am, my cell phone alarm chirped loudly and an hour later we were on the road.  An hour and a half after that, we were freezing our tushies off 10,000 feet above ground.  One thing I LOVE about Maui, is without the city lights and smog, you always see the stars out at night.  I spotted Orion’s belt all on my own!  Oh and I saw a number of shooting stars! 

    Finally around 6, the sun started peaking out.  It was a glorious sight.  It’s amazing to see the transformation from stars in the black sky to a golden sun emerging from a sea of puffy clouds.  M and I further froze our a$$ off by capture all this on our cameras outside while the other 5 huddled for warmth in the observatory… oh how I wished I was huddling with them.  At one point, I think I stopped feeling my hands.

    I was grateful for the oatmeal raisin cookies N packed for the car ride…mmm.

  • Po’olenalena Beach
    After catching the sunrise (possibly my first), we head home… to nap.  After a quick nap, we rummaged for food… what do you know… there was turkey!  I made some turkey soup (turkey meal #2) from the leftover vegies and the giblet broth M made the night before.  It didn’t need any seasoning at all and it turned out decently edible.  I have low standards though… always been an easy eater.  Some folks had a quick turkey dinner plate (turkey meal #3) which was basically a replay of dinner the night before.

    Then it was off to no where else but the beach!  This time Kama’ole I for good snorkling.  After having a small taste of snorking, my interest was piqued and I was easily talked into trying it again.  This time, it was from the safety net of D’s wetsuit which keeps you afloat… no board needed.  Of course, I still can’t control where I go when I’m on the water, so N had to drag me around still (what a sweetie).  After getting some water in my snorkle, which I couldn’t manage to clear from my tube underwater, I got a little nervous.  M dragged back to shore — good thing he’s a good swimmer.  Tongue out  The waters were a bit too murky to really see anything, so that was the end of that…. if we’d gone earlier with D & M, we would have seen turtles!

    Since I already had the wetsuit on (and it’s an ordeal to get that sucker on!), we went boogie boarding.  I didn’t really need the wet suit since we boogie board in from waste deep water, but it’s nice to play in the ocean when you know you can’t drown and for a non-swimmer, that means wearing a life vest or as it turns out wetsuit.  N and I caught a few awesoem waves that pretty much pooped me out for the day.

    The rest of the gang got in a few more waves and I learned my camera can shoot continuous photos!  So, I got a ton of freeze frames and videos of everyone body surfing into shore.  All the screaming, laughing and side commentary in the videos are hilarious!

    We stayed until sunset, which was amazing.  It was probably a first for all 7 of us to catch both the sunrise and sunset of the very same day!

Day 4 (Saturday)
  • Road to Hana
    When in Maui, you must do the Road to Hana.  Well, that’s what we were told anyhow.  As a last minute replacement for the guidebook we were going to use to know where to stop along the road, we got a self-guided CD to listen to along the way.  It actually wasn’t so bad but I don’t think w went during the right time of year… the waterfalls were kind of weak.  What made the experience memorable was the fun we made for ourselves along the way… spotting fruit trees… trying to knock down coconuts… fruit tree picking… watching old men relieve themselves in the bushes in front of us while we tried to enjoy our turkey and cranberry sandwiches (turkey meal #4).  I would do Road to Hana again, but probably a different time of year and with a good guidebook.  As it was, it wasn’t a complete loss since it turned out to be rainy even on the beach, so not the best beach day anyhow.
  • Lahaina
    This is a quaint, sweet town with lots of little shops and a TON of art galleries.  If you’re into art, you can’t go a block without seeing an art store.  We also saw the larget banyan tree, which is pretty amazing.  I’ve never seen such a tree before.  It looks like it’s multiple trees because there are multiple limbs that look like trunks.  All the limbs connect back to the main trunk but they grow out and then back down into the grown.  The tree was huge and noisy with birds.  I wouldn’t have sat under there like some people… very high potential for getting pooped on. 

    After a leisurely stroll, we had a nice reprieve from turkey at the Lahaina Fish Co. for some seafood.  Yum!

    Then back home for some poker!  I was SO hot to start!  I slow-played a set of A’s on the flop (on the first hand) and ended up with a house of A’s over 5’s.  I kept getting awesome hands all night and was probably at one point up to 5 or 6 bucks from a $3 buy-in.  But as is my MO, I started strong and then my lucky streak came to an end.  Easy come easy go.

Day 5 (Sunday)
  • Maui Prince Beach
    It was sad when N and J left in the morning of my last day.  Especially since it turned out to be such a beatiful day.  So… what did we do?  We headed to the beach for more sun and more fun in the water.  It was hot hot hot!  The cool water was a relief.  It was also still enough for S to continue my lesson on floating on my back.  S is a REALLY good teacher!  I’m guessing maybe she walked me through how she learned to swim when she took her freebie A class in college (like my bro).  We started with me holding onto the board behind my head so I could still hold onto something I knew would keep me afloat.  Then she had me float and let go of the board to get used to just floating w/o holding onto anything.  And the final lesson… getting into and out of the floating position on my own.  And I actually did it!  Step by step and w/o any traumatic moments!  =)  Now I can float… well or at least I know I can under close supervision.  heheh.

    Got home in time for a shower, a pina colada and a shreaded bbq turkey sandwich on toasted chabatta… OMG this was the best use of turkey!  I wish we’d made this earlier (and by "we" I mean M who is a cooking genious) so I could have had more.  It was delicious and tasted nothing like turkey!  It was like a pulled pork sandwich.  I almost want to roast another turkey so I can just make that sandwich!

There are a couple of things I haven’t mentioned that were pervasive to the entire trip:

  • Bananagrams.  A new game we learned how to play and boy did it catch on.  D went from reading the rules and determining it sounded boring to playing it until 5am!  This was morning to night our filler activity.  There was almost always someone playing banagrams… we were so used to hearing calls of "bananas" (I modified the rules for laziness and simplicity) that when we didn’t hear it, it felt like an awkward silence.
  • Coffee… yummy Chocolate Macaamia Kona coffee fresh brewed every morning.  Nothing better to start the day with.
  • Pina coladas… D’s specialty.  It was mm mm good. 
  • Pineapple… in the pina colada… on the beach… after dinner… after lunch… can’t get enough

Then it all came to an end and I was dropped off at the airport.  <sigh>  The end to an absolutely amazing, fun-filled vacation!  I had a TON of fun.  Since I live on the opposite coast as my family, Thanksgiving has become a holiday with friends and this is definitely one to go down in the record books!