Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'VE BEEN...Doing the Hula!!!

You've heard the saying, "It's who you know, not what you know."  I've got to say, I'm pretty lucky to know some pretty great people! 

I got invited to go to Maui with my Manti friends.  I'm excited to blog about our trip.  It's been a long time since I've done a post and this is definitely worth posting about.

In February our friends, the Stevens family were going to Maui and since our friend Fred is from there they invited him to come and act as tour guide.  Since he and his wife couldn't leave their business at the same time he asked George to go along with him so they would be "third wheels" together.  I didn't have anymore days left at school so I couldn't have gone anyway and I was actually excited for George to be able to go.  Angie, Fred's wife, told me that we would do a girls trip in the summer.  I said, "for sure!"  But I seriously didn't think much about it happening. 

Then, just a few weeks ago George's phone rang and he said, "ya sure she can go.  That will be fun for you guys."  Then he handed me the phone.  It was Angie saying that she'd ran across a good deal on flights to Maui and wanted to see if I would like to go.  Who wouldn't?  So by morning the flights were booked and we were committed.  (it's at this point I want to thank my sweet and understanding grandson, Luke, for being willing to put off his baptism day so that I could be there)  The plans were made so quickly that I didn't realize that I would be gone for Luke's big day. I was sick!
This trip was planned to be low maintenance, rejuvinating and relaxing.  PERFECT! 

 Like I said about people to know, the Taukei'aho's are the family to know when in Maui.  Along with Fred and Angie they made are trip everything we were hoping for.  It started from the minute we arrived at the airport with three of them there to help take some of our bags.  I don't think we'd given much thought to the fact that there was NO WAY that we would have ever been able to fit all our bags in our rental car.

                                                  Una, grandma, Aneo, her husband, Angie
even if I did remember everyone's names, I'd never know how to spell them!

 A lot of Fred's family works at several different resorts around the island.  We got a good deal on rooms at the Royal Kahana Outrigger which is where Tongan Angie works.  We had a nice big condo that was perfect for all five of us.  The view from our room was great too!
Since we got there around 10:00pm we basically got ourselves situated and went to bed so that we'd be ready for relaxation and rejuvination the next day.

Since I'm naturally an early riser.  I got up and took a walk along the beach.
Then I went out along the road to scope out a good running route.  I was happy to see a lot of other runners out and about so I went and changed into my running clothes and headed out.  I kind of like running unknown places.  I ended up going all the way to the Ritz Carlton on the west end then looped up onto the highway to come back. I loved it, I was in Hawaii after all.

 Running along the Ritz golf course

We decided to start things off right, and that was by eating breakfast at the Gazebo.  It's one of our very favorite places!  A little out of the way place on the pool deck of some older condos.  You can ALWAYS expect to wait, but it's ALWAYS worth the wait.  They have the very best banana mac pancakes in the world!

After breakfast we were ready to hit the beach.  We parked ourselves on loungers and spent several hours just laying around and then cooling ourselves off in the ocean.  We even got to see a sea turtle.  It got us all excited for snorkeling.

That night we went to Front Street for dinner and shopping.
The waitress who celebrated with George and the gang (Karri was there too) in February as he celebrated three birthday's in one week at Bubba Gump's.  Finally by the third she figured things out! 

Friday morning I had made arrangements to meet a new running buddy I had ran into the morning before at 5:00am to go for a run.  Sadly I was stood up!  I never saw her again.  Hmmm, you've got to wonder??? I discovered that 5:00am is still pitch black.  So I sat in the lobby waiting for my Garmin to locate the satelites and for it to be light enough to dare run.  Finally at 5:40 both happened and I set out in the opposite direction.  This way had sidewalks and a shoulder to run on so it was less death defying. 

Una works at the Ritz and made arrangements for us to enjoy a FREE breakfast buffet.  George had also done this and he made certain that I knew to take my time so that I could enjoy everything they had to offer.  Sadly I felt stuffed after the first plate, but I have to admit it didn't stop me.  After the third or forth I had to give up.  Everyone there loves Una and so they all loved us too.  We were treated like true VIP's.

After breakfast Una took us on a private tour of the Ritz grounds.  First attempt failed due to a flat tire !

We spent the remainder of the day basically chilling.  We toured around town, and ate and shopped on Front Street again.

Saturday was planned as Kahalui shopping day.  We got up early so that we could be to the Swap Meet when it first opened.  I've decided that I'm not really much of a shopper.  After walking through, or at least passed all the booths twice and buying all that I wanted to.  I decided to find me a nice little bench and do one of my favorite things, people watch.
It's kind of funny because I sat there and visited with men who were patiently waiting for their shopper wives. One of my new friends was this guy,  Arthur Wong Duck.  He reminded me of Papa (my father-in-law) in some ways.  He knew everyone and everything and even carried important documents and check stubs to prove it!
After the swap meet we took a side trip up to the Iao Valley.  It was so pretty!

From there we were on to more shopping and of course eating. This is the results of the marathon shopping day. This is where everyone began to question where all of this was going to fit into their luggage.

Sunday was another really great day of our vacation.  We started it out at the Gazebo again (a person has to eat),  Then we went to church at the Lahaina 2n Ward (Tongan speaking) where Una presides as bishop.  It was so cool to be there amongst such sweet people and to feel the spirit.  We all had headsets to listen to a translator, but my favorite part was listening to the congregation sing hymns in Tongan without music.  It was beautiful!
After church the family invited us to Sunday dinner for Tongan food.  It was really good.  We ate a corn beef dish wrapped in taro leaves, bread fruit and tapiocca (which I know idea was a plant), chop suey, fish and of course fresh pineapple.

Monday we had a big day planned, Hana!  We set out at about 7am and stopped in a little town to get us a box lunch for our journey.  Karri and I had done what we thought to be the trip to Hana when we were in Maui a year and half earlier with our husbands.  It was only later that we realized that we never quite made it to Hana after all.  This made us very determined to get to Hana plus further.  Our goal was to spend good quality time at the Seven Sacred Pools.
We started out making really good time.  We still made all the required big stops and took MILLIONS of pictures along the way of all the beautiful scenery. We spent time eating our lunch and enjoying the black sand area and then drove on to the little town of Hana.  We loved it!  We were so impressed by the neatly manicured yards.  We knew that there was an LDS chapel there and was hoping to find it.  We actually gave up, but took a wrong turn and ran right into it.  So sweet!

If we thought to road to Hana was beautiful, we were in for a treat on the road past Hana. More stops and MILLIONS of more pictures.

Hamoa Beach

Some of the cute beach cottages along the way

Can't miss out on a roadside shopping stand!

I'm sad to say that I don't have any of the pictures from the Seven Sacred Pools yet.  I didn't pack my camera in.  Angie took a lot of the scenery but I haven't got a copy yet.  In order to have proof that we were there and swimming, some even cliff jumping, I asked a family that we had run into a few days earlier and then all along the road trip that day to take our pictures and then email them.  We're waiting... Hopefully they come through.
Here's a generic one until then...

We decided to make the full circle and do the back way. It was an adventure! One lane roads, gravel and dirt in some places.  You really had to be on your toes and always cautious of on coming cars.  The East side of the island was not at all what you would picture in Hawaii.  It was more like what we find out west, dry and baren.  By the time we got back to Lahaina it was dark and late.  We grabbed something to take back to eat at the condo, showered and hit the sack.  We had a great day!!!

We had planned Tuesday to be our big snorkeling day.  We started out snorkeling in Honoloa Bay.  Just the walk to the water alone was incredibly beautiful.  I wished we would have had underwater cameras because we saw some totally cool fish.

After we snorkeled there for awhile we went down to Black Rock, a popular place for snorkeling and a really nice beach.  Karri, Staci and I went out and snorkeled a bit.  There wasn't much to see, especially in comparison with where we had just come from.  I was getting ready to turn back but Karri yelled to me that there was a sea turtle.  I swam over and I'm not just saying it, but there was the biggest sea turtle I had ever seen in my life.  It was just the three of us and then one other guy.  The turtle kept swimming right up to and around us.  At first it kind of freaked me out but then I realized he was just a friendly OLD grandpa kind of turtle.  It was awesome!

Sadly the last day of our vacation came.  We just decided to take it easy and RELAX for the day.  Once again Una arranged for us to have an incredibly delicious breakfast buffet at the Ritz and then we just hung out at the pools there.  It was heaven:)

We had dinner at Whaler's Cove so that we could enjoy the last Hawaiian sunset that we'd be seeing in awhile.  A great way to end a wonderful trip.

What an awesome opportunity it was to go to Hawaii on a "girl's trip".  Thanks to George and to my great Manti friends, I had a super time!