Locals Weigh in On Tourists, Part Two

Aloha!
Here is the second half of my last post (“Locals Weigh In on Tourists,” July 23rd.) A couple posted to reddit.com that they would be coming to Maui, but didn’t want to be annoying tourists….and asked what not to do.

Here are the Maui locals’ answers:

(Stop) Stopping at the top of my driveway to take family vacation photos.

Try to avoid renting a convertible Mustang please. (Author intrusion: nothing brands you as a tourist faster than a convertible. Oh, and an ugly visor – – particularly one with a Hawaiian print. People think they’re coming to Maui and blending in by doing these things, when in truth they are picking up bad habits from other tourists, not the locals.)

Another answer: THINK before asking stupid questions! I worked on a sailboat and actually got these questions:
“What elevation are we at?”
“Where can I dive under the island to see the chain?”
“Is there a bridge to the mainland?”
“Is that a cane fire or is the volcano exploding?”
(Author intrusion: and my favorite question that I got as a hotel concierge: “Is that Japan?” ….as they pointed at the island of Lanai.)

John Card, a mauidailyescape reader, wrote after my last post about tourists who drive too slow (also from reddit.com). John asked,
“They say tourists drive too slow (the speed limit) – yet I see “Slow down! This ain’t the mainland!!” bumper stickers all over the place when I am there. So which is it? I’m happy to oblige either way…”
My answer: Well, John, that is both simple and complicated. I can only speak for myself and Mike, but if I had to wager a guess, it would be that it is the old – timers you see with the “Slow down! This ain’t the mainland!” bumper stickers. People who have lived here forever, and aren’t used to the traffic patterns from the mainland or even Oahu. Or road rage. And there’s a good chance that even THEY are driving too slow for locals who have to be at work on time. So there is the complication.

A few days ago we were in a road construction zone, and I pulled onto the road from a parking lot, only to have a Local in a big black truck lay on his horn, and zoom around me at the earliest possible opportunity. Maui is going through growing pains, there aren’t enough roads for the number of tourists, and drivers are frustrated by the road construction, which at times seems it’s being headed up by the Three Stooges.

The areas with speed limits that seem too low to the locals who have to be at work on time are Mokelele Highway (to and from Kihei), and Dairy Road (Kuihelani Highway) that leads to Lahaina from Kahului. There were sections of this road at 35 mph and then 45 mph for years, which frustrated people no end. (I did notice a new sign at 55 mph just the other day, so maybe they are testing it out!)
Then there is the whole “Pali,” issue, the road that winds through the mountain and tunnel from Maalaea to Lahaina. The problem with this section is that it scares tourists half to death to have a steep cliff on one side and ocean drop-off on the other, so they white-knuckle it. Then there’s the problem of tourists busily sightseeing instead of driving. (“Oh look, a WHALE!!!) This adds up to 25 mph in a 45 mph zone…and locals who are just really needing to get work are ready to kill somebody.

The road to Hana? Don’t get me started. An angry local who lives out there and has made his monthly trip to Costco and just wants to get back home before dark will ride your bumper whether you are local or a tourist. It’s like the wild West out there. They have no patience with people who are driving the speed limit, scared of the curves, sightseeing, or just enjoying the day. I would imagine people in convertibles are particularly vulnerable to their anger!

Back to an answer on reddit. com:

Avoid being rude/demanding/complaining. They’ll either act like they’re taking you seriously, then have all their co-workers start pulling pranks, or you mess with the wrong person and they’re ready to fight. Since you’re asking this question, my guess is that you will not run into this problem. Just be respectful. Maui is more fun if you don’t expect everything to go according to plan. Be ready to improvise. It is what it is.

Wise advice. Maui is particularly vulnerable to bad service. Many people who work on Maui just don’t have the mainland work ethic, and then there’s the whole “Surf’s up, dude!” culture, and the truth is that on any given night, there’s a high likelihood that multiple waiters and/or the chef himself did not show up at a restaurant where you’re dining, and that’s why your food is taking so long. So resisting or complaining is fruitless.

In Maui, the best motto is “Just go with it!” (Ironically, the name of the Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston film set on Maui).

So, if you are a Maui local reading this, what are YOUR pet peeves about tourists?

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

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