Yes, sadly, we are back to normal life once again. Our 6 days in Maui almost seem like a distant memory already, though it was only a mere few weeks ago when we set foot on that sun-kissed isle. Every time I arrive on Maui, or any of the Hawaiian islands (and yes – I know I’m incredibly lucky to be able to say “every time”) I am instantly transported by the tropical sun, palm trees, white sand, and bronze-skinned locals, to a timeline that could have been. Once there was a girl who dreamed of a carefree life not her own; if only she had the guts to make the leap, the confidence to turn wishful thinking into reality. I entertain these thoughts quietly upon each visit, wondering if we could make it work even now. I could get a job at a luau shakin’ it for the tourists and R. Darling could spend his days at the beach spearing fish for supper and pretending not to look at the local hotties while working on his tan. But under the mystique of island life and the glossy tourist facade, lies a place rife with poverty and an astronomical cost of living. So we settle instead for an exotic sampling every few years or so and then make our way back home with happy memories, gaudy beach towels, and smatterings of sand packed in our bags to remind us of time well spent and much enjoyed.
Given that I was just over 5 1/2 months pregnant during our trip, and that it was our second time in Maui, we didn’t plan anything too strenuous for ourselves. We had chosen to stay in a condo this time instead of a hotel and were instantly pleased to have made the decision as it was quite like staying in an apartment but with many of the wonderful amenities that come with staying in a hotel. Because our digs were so cozy, we found it easy to laze away our mornings and even our afternoons just dozing, sitting on our ocean-view porch (so glad we paid extra for that!), or reading inside when it got too hot outdoors. The weather was somewhat uncooperative when it came to swimming as the winds were rather high while we were there, but the intermittent rain didn’t bother us at all. With temperatures in the mid to upper 70′s and low 80′s, the rain was actually kind of a nice contrast to the heat. We were rewarded with rainbows the first 3 days of our visit due to the showers and the one pictured above especially fascinated me. It was situated directly over the surface of the ocean, quite close to the shore, and I can say I have never in my entire life seen anything like it. Truly spectacular!
One lazy mid-morning after breakfast on our balcony, there seemed to be a quite a lot of commotion going on down below on the grounds of the building. Peering curiously, and vertiginously, over the edge we spotted several workers beginning their ascent of the assorted palm trees surrounding the pool area. We watched them climb fearlessly up these palms, swaying in the somewhat stiff breeze, with nothing to keep them safe save the spikes on their boots and a single chain attached to their waists. I watched, both fascinated and increasingly queasy, as each man swung his giant machete lopping off huge limbs and tossing them down to the velvety grass below. Over and over they climbed up, chopped and hacked, then made the trip back down. And on each return trip I sighed with relief knowing that they would be safe on solid ground and their families would be able to welcome them home that night with laughter and a warm meal. Until, there was one remaining palm. The palm directly in front of our balcony, 9 stories up. It swayed more heavily than the others, its rubbery trunk set in motion by the winds that picked up throughout the day. The picture above shows the poor man whose job it was to trim this beast of a tree. Did they draw straws to choose who would have to wrestle with this leviathan? I could see him almost directly in front of us as he casually went to work sweating in the sunshine. And once he made his trip back down I remembered how to breathe.
As I mentioned, we spent a lot of our time lazing, but we did make it to the beach several days for some swimming and snorkeling. Maybe you can tell by the face I’m making in my photo up there, but I was absolutely miserable this day. It was the first day we went swimming and I was wearing a new maternity swimsuit that we purchased in Maui seeing as it wasn’t exactly the best time to find a swimsuit here on the mainland. Without going into any TMI gross-me-out kinda detail, let’s just say my skin is uber-sensitive these days. And what doesn’t feel so bad to the fingertips can be excruciating in other places. I thought I could live with an itchy swimsuit, but it turns out, I really can’t. I tried everything and frustrated, finally resorted to cutting out the lining on my tankini top. Ah, so much better. Who woulda thunk it?
Our best day of snorkeling came with an early morning and some crappy weather. This pretty much guarantees the tourists will stay home. But not us – we love adventure! By just before 9 AM we had found ourselves a nice parking spot in one of ten public parking spots near the Sheraton (where we stayed on our honeymoon). Black Rock in front of the hotel is one of the best snorkeling spots on the West side of Maui, or so we’ve been told, and we’re inclined to agree. The wind made it difficult to spread out our mats and towels, and the lack of sun wasn’t exactly picturesque, but the water felt just fine and the fish rewarded us with plentiful attention.
The most wonderful part of the day was being able to swim with a turtle. It made the whole $36 snorkel gear rental completely and totally worth it. We had the good fortune to swim with one for quite a while when we were in Kona a few years back, and we felt incredibly lucky to get to do it again here on Maui. Later in the day he apparently made his way back, quite close to shore, and the resultant swarming horde of snorkeling tourists made us feel rather sorry for Mr. Turtle. We were glad to have had a more private glimpse of him earlier on.
On our last day we treated ourselves to a lovely dinner and show at the Hyatt called Cirque Polynesia. We decided to splurge a little and pay for the show package that included dinner and, honestly, I almost enjoyed the dinner more than the show. Though the show was quite spectacular, it really wasn’t nearly as glamorous and big-budget as the Vegas productions we’ve seen. Perhaps if we hadn’t been spoiled with the “real” thing, it would have been a wee bit more exciting. But having dinner on the veranda in front of the Hyatt with my sweetheart, while watching the sun sink into the ocean, was possibly one of the most romantic things we’ve done in a long time. A fitting end to our Babymoon.
Though our traveling days aren’t over forever, the time with just the two of us is fast coming to an end. It’s bittersweet because, as much as I cherish the trips we’ve taken and the time we’ve had as a couple, the arrival of our little one is going to be a journey that will outstrip everything else we’ve ever seen and done in our lifetimes. And it will be wonderful! But best of all, it’s a journey will be taking together, one step at a time.