Castles in the Sand

Aloha!

Ultimate_Sand_Castle

Castles in the sand…castles in the air…I am daydreaming. Isn’t this gorgeous? They have sand castle contests all the time on Maui. My dad was quite good at it and I remember him making a mermaid when I was a kid that just blew me away.

I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in a while.We thought we had Mike’s foot all healed up and the blood poisoning under control, then BAM, it was back with a vengeance. This is not something you want to mess around with, especially  in the tropics. Friends write with well-wishes and since he’s a boat Captain, say things like “Pirates have peglegs, likely from trying to use crutches on a boat” and “We don’t want to have to call him “Hopalong.” Thanks, guys. :)Then there was the doctor friend who wrote to warn of flesh-eating bacteria in a case like this.

Wow, I hadn’t even GONE there in my head.

Anyway, I am still quite busy waiting on him hand and foot (har, har). I mean, the guy can’t even whip up his own breakfast. So until life calms down around here, this blog will most likely suffer.

Just visit among yourselves and I’ll be back soon!

A hui hou (til next time),

Jamaica

Advertisements

Lahaina Ranks in Top Seaside Towns

Aloha!

No one that I know actually stays in Lahaina. They just do the “Lahaina crawl”: shopping, dining, taking a boat ride out of the harbor. They stay in Kihei, Kaanapali, Kapalua. As for my years as a concierge on Maui, my favorite dining experiences in Lahaina are: Io Restaurant http://www.iomaui.com/, Gerards (it’s French, he was a master chef from France) http://www.gerardsmaui.com/cms/index.php, and was awarded five stars by Forbes. If you go, ask to be seated on the veranda; the restaurant is in a lovely old hotel. For luaus, my favorite is the Feast at Lele http://www.feastatlele.com/ because the food is fabulous and you can’t get any closer to the beach. It’s small and intimate (about fifty tables) you have your your own table,your own server, and the price includes champagne if you desire. I always told my guests at the hotel that it was a great last-night on Maui celebration place.Be sure to take a sweater or wrap, ladies, it cools down on the beach after you watch that spectacular sunset.

Lahaina Sunset

Here’s the AP article on Lahaina from  the Maui News May 17th:

NEW YORK – Lahaina was ranked 10th on Coastal Living’s 15 “Happiest Seaside Towns.”

The survey is a first for the magazine that covers life along the coast and is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Beach communities from California to South Carolina were ranked as the “best places to live along the coasts of the United States.”

In an announcement of the ranking, the magazine called Lahaina, “the charming gateway to Maui’s world-famous Kaanapali and Kapalua beach resorts to the north.”

“Its banyan trees add a courtly air to the downtown, and its brightly colored Front Street, busy with shops and galleries, keeps things lively,” the announcement said. “Lahaina has nearly perfect air quality, and when you add its dry, sunny climate in a tropical paradise, that makes life pretty ideal.”

There were no other Hawaii seaside towns listed in the survey. The No. 1 “Happiest Seaside Town” was Kiawah Island in South Carolina, followed by Naples, Fla.; and Sausalito, Calif.

“It’s wonderful news,” said Lynn Donovan, executive director of LahainaTown Action Committee, an organization that helps promote the west-side town. “Our reaction is that we are thrilled that this is happening and that we are lucky that we live Lahaina.”

She noted that the honor comes on the heels of being ranked 21 out of 25 island destinations listed in a TripAdvisor survey and Front Street being named one of the “Great Streets of America.”

The Coastal Living ranking appears in the June issue, which hits newsstands Friday.

…So folks, how do YOU feel about Lahaina? Do you look forward to visiting it when you come, or do you avoid it and its crowds?

A hui hou (til we meet again). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha! Jamaica

Afternoon Delight

Aloha!

I’ll warn you straight up, this post is not “G” rated. It’s about love between two Jackson Chameleons in my backyard mango tree, with photos included, so brace yourself. Okay, really, it’s more like they’re smitten with each other. He’s the one with the horns (duh) and she is black instead of green because she’s just not that into him. We had a Jackson for many years. Her name was “Lovebug” because she was shaped like a VW Bug, and she lived in a giant habitat on our back porch. She was also visited by a gentleman caller, so we’re fairly certain this is her grandaughter. Jacksons turn turquoise blue when they’re really happy, like when we were hand-feeding Lovebug grasshoppers from the pet shop. I think if I had to choose a color to be when I’m really happy, it would be turquoise blue also. Like the ocean.

Have you ever seen a Jackson? Gotten to hold one? Their little claws look prettty sharp, but they don’t hurt at all as they hold on. Also, they have AMAZING hearing. Lovebug got very excited when we got home because she could hear us, and would cock her head in the direction of the living room, waiting for us to come outside.

In the mango tree

The male is six to seven inches in the body, before his tail begins. Note how she has her tail wrapped around the tree, holding on. After the little mating ritual, Lovebug gave birth to about fifty babies. Only four or five survived. Such is nature, it’s the law of  averages. The babies were about the size of the fingernail on your pinky.

That’s a stalk of bananas that aren’t ripe yet, behind her. Pretty cool picture, huh?

Most people never get to see a Jackson, they are very shy. The only reason I saw this one was that I had gone out to hand-fertilize the vanilla flowers (lots of fertilization going on yesterday) and there she was, quite low on a branch. She was waiting for him. He was on his way up to see her. I intervened with my camera, so he lost interest.

Too bad it couldn’t work that way with human teenagers.

A hui hou (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, click the “Follow” button on the Home Page

Aloha, Jamaica

Stuff you probably didn’t know

Aloha!

I met my first fan. How cool is that? I was seated on an airplane when the lady next to me asked what I did and I said I was a writer…she asked, “what do you write?” and then she said, “I read your blog!” It was one of those warm moments that I’m sure Jennifer Aniston gets to have about 800,000 times per day (more on the embarrasing way I met her in another blog) and hopes to never have again as long as she lives. http://www.people.com/people/jennifer_aniston/0,,,00.html

I have been MIA from this blog because life intruded in the form of blood poisoning…Mike’s, not mine. I got on that plane in California and left taking care of my mom to come home to Maui and take care of him. The blood poisoning is not unusual in Hawaii. It’s a warm climate and cruddy stuff thrives. Mike’s a boat captain http://scotchmistsailingcharters.com/  and got a splinter in his bare foot off the dock in Lahaina. It festered and the blood poisoning moved to knee-high, as well as a strep infection in the foot. Not fun, and he’s been on crutches for over a week so far.

Another really fun thing that people get in Hawaii is Ciguatera poisoning: Ciguatera (say: “seeg-wha-terra”) poisoning: This happens when you eat a reef fish (any fish living in warm tropical water) that has eaten a certain poisonous food. This poison does not go away when the fish is cooked or frozen. The first symptoms of ciguatera poisoning include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms can then progress to headache, muscle aches and skin that is itchy, numb or tingly. You may notice a change in your ability to feel hot or cold temperatures. For example, you may think something feels hot when it is actually cold.

The lady on the plane was named Lisa and she asked lots of questions about what it’s really like to live in Hawaii. I also went to a BBQ while in California, and there was this guy there from Winnepeg. While not one person asked him “So what’s it really like to live in Winnepeg?”,they asked me so many questions about Hawaii, it got to be embarrassing that all the attention centered on me.

As our converstaion went on, I found myself sharing things like, “did you know that when they burn the sugar cane in Maui that they also burn the PVC pipe used for irrigation? Here’s a photo of the burning cane by Amanda Brightbill:

Approximately 32,900 children and 72,700 adults living in Hawaii currently have asthma.

• It costs Hawaii’s economy approximately $43 million each year to control this complicated disease.

• Each year approximately 4,000 people in Hawaii are rushed to the emergency department because of asthma.

• Infants and very young children (0-4 years of age) in Hawaii continue to make up the majority of hospitalizations caused by asthma.

• The asthma death rate in Hawaii remains above the national average.

I have asthma. I did not have it before moving to Hawaii. Just sayin’.

And the people at the BBQ  were surprised that we don’t drink the water. “Why not?” they asked.  “Because all the chemicals used to fertilize the sugar cane and pineapple run-off right into our water table.””And people think that Hawaii is such a pristine place to live,” they said.

I was especially naive when I moved here because I didn’t even know they burned the sugar cane. How could I not know that? Well, they only burn ten months out of the year, skipping January and February historically. Guess which months I had always vacationed  in Maui before moving here?

Well, I have a guy on crutches to attend to. One thing about it, living in Hawaii is never boring.

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, click the “Follow” button on the home page.

Aloha, Jamaica

Stuff and Nonsense

Aloha!

All the guys I know on Maui who are homeowners, are hoarders. There’s something about living on an island that does this, and I kept trying to put my finger on it. Now, I know. THE BOAT MIGHT NOT COME IN!

When I first moved to the island and was living at the condo (see the previous “Moving to Maui” posts) I loved that I had brought only my bicycle and one suitcase. I felt free and unburdened from all my stuff back in California.I could really get used to this lifestyle, I thought. Then I met Mike.

I honestly think he kept it from me as long as he could. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” he was hiding from me wasn’t another woman, oh, no…it was his collection of “stuff.” A lifetime’s worth. The detritus of an adrenaline junkie’s sports equipment, to start with: About a dozen surfboards (google “Mike Turkington” or www.imdb.com and you’ll know why). He surfed professionally, and is an acclaimed board shaper. He co-owned “Country Surfboards”, the first surf shop on the North Shore of Oahu. Okay, so I’ll give him the surfboards.

But then he raised me the windsurfing equipment, enough to outfit six people. And the two motorcycles. And the two bicycles. AND a shop full (three bays worth) of tools, board-shaping equipment, and things I don’t even know the name of. I just know it takes up lots of room. What happened to my zen-like lifestyle? Gone, baby, gone.

When you’ve grown up on an island, you have lived through the reality of “the boat didn’t come in”  through dock-workers strikes, hurricanes, etc. You have lived through the infamous toilet paper and rice shortaages. You also know how expensive everything is to replace, so you never, ever throw anything away. In short, you hoard.

I had this illustrated to me personally during one Christmas, when I wanted to bake Christmas cookies and went to Safeway to get butter. I looked all over the store, and finally asked the produce guy: “Where’s the butter?” He answered in pidgin, with a straight face: “da boat tip ovah.” I just stared at him, expecting him to laugh. “No, really,” I said. “Where’s the butter?”

DA BOAT TIP OVAH!” he said, more loudly than necessary, like I was deaf or something, and mimed a big ship going over.

I blinked. So this was how it was going to be.

Then there was the empty shelf at Long’s in Lahaina when there wasn’t a single envelope to be had. And the Foster Farms chicken shipment that never came in when I had planned to feed Mike’s visiting folks honey-drizzled almond chicken. Lesson learned: always go to the grocery store with a back-up plan. The shelves could be empty, and they often are.

I think I’m missing a huge opportunity here. I should create a new reality show: “Hawaii’s Hoarders”. I’d be willing to bet that the stuff they hoard on an island would be more interesting than the stuff mainlander’s hoard, and the islander’s stuff gets passed down from generation to generation, because they all know that boat might not come in.

Do you know where your backup stash of toilet paper is??

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Differences Too

Aloha,

Happy May Day, which is “Lei Day” in Hawaii. The origins of Hawaii’s celebration of May Day as Lei Day date back to 1927, when Honolulu Star-Bulletin writer Don Blanding advocated for the creation of a day dedicated to honoring lei-making and the custom of wearing lei. Blanding’s co-worker at the newspaper, columnist Grace Tower Warren, suggested holding the celebration on May 1 and coined the phrase “May Day is Lei Day.” (HawaiiMagazine.com) Hawaiians stay busy trying to keep all the holidays straight such as King Kamehameha Day, Prince Kuhio Day, Statehood Day ( ironic, since Hawaiians didn’t want to be part of the States to begin with). Employers go nuts trying to decide whether employees should get Hawaii State holidays or Federal holidays off work.

So on this May Day, when I went to put my tennis shoes on this morning, I stuck my foot in without hesitation. I did not pick it up and turn it over, trying to shake out whatever critter might have made a home in there. Critter, meaning the lizard that one time, and the threat of centipedes, always.  I have nightmares about sticking my foot in a shoe with a centipede in it. Don’t judge me till you’ve had one slither over your foot at the dinner table.

The reason for this shoe confidence is that I am in Northern California, not Maui. I’m here taking care of Mom after surgery. So I was reflecting this morning on some of the differences, so far away from home. Home being relative, because Northern California will really always be “home.”  Home is where the family is, and this is where I spent a pretty happy 17 years.

Difference One: stuff dries here in this hot dry climate, unlike Maui’s hot humid climate. I hung stuff on the clothesline at 9 am this morning and it was totally dry by noon. In Maui that takes until 5 pm, and you’re lucky if it’s dry by then.

Difference Two: Allergies. California? Zip. Happy camper. Maui? Whoa. I really should buy stock in kleenex.

Difference Three: Seeing the apricot and peach trees setting fruit on the tree in Mom’s yard. I can’t wait for my first juicy tree-ripened apricot for the first time in years. Don’t ever bother buying a peach or apricot in Maui. You’ll be supremely disappointed. The papayas on the other hand, no contest. One time my stepdad and I decided to do a swap. He sent me a box of apricots and I sent him a box of papayas. We were really hoping they’d get through the post office, but I’m still waiting on those apricots and it’s been four years.

Difference Four: Heat. I’m always in CA in the wintertime (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Vog season in Maui) so I almost forgot what it’s like be hot, yet not sweat. I tool around all day without soaking through my clothes once. Bliss.

Difference Five: A completely different social life. It’s very hard to “break in” in Maui. I wondered why for a long time until my first Maui friend finally explained it to me: “the mainlanders move here and you get close to them, and then they break your heart by moving back. Most people don’t last two years. It’s happened over and over. After a while people just stop trying.” She also told me she’d lived in Maui for 20 years and had NEVER been invited over to someone’s house for dinner. This just made my head spin. Why?? I asked her, as she sat at my dinner table, her first dinner invite. “Food is very expensive here. Maybe someone will do a barbeque pot-luck, but a sit-down dinner, no.” Since I’d been the queen of the dinner party and brunch in CA, this blew me away. But it has held true. The thing I look most forward to when I get back to CA  is getting invited over to my friend’s houses for dinner!

Difference Six: You can get your fashion on here! Women in Maui have no reason to dress up. It’s so casual you can wear shorts to the nicest restaurant, and I mean really, how many ways are there to wear a sundress? Jewelry is just hot and scarves are a joke. And the women all complain that the guys in Maui dress like dirtbags. Surf shorts and ratty t-shirts. When you live in Maui you can spot a tourist because they are dressed nicely. I can practically pick them out in Costco with my eyes closed. Expensive purses, matching ensembles, and nice jewelry (which they will then wear in the ocean and lose. People have metal-detecting businesses in Maui just to recover tourist’s jewelry.) It does get boring after a while that most everybody dresses alike in Maui. So I come to California and get my fashion on.

And lastly:

Difference Seven: Noise and Safety. Maui is so quiet.And safe. I truly love that. This part of CA is a cacaphony of sirens, the boom-boom-boom of car stereos, and even gunshots at night. I’m talking close by, too. Mike worries about me while I’m here. He’s afraid I’ll come home dead.

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the right.

Aloha, Jamaica