I Wish You Peace

Aloha!

Many of you have written to ask where the blog has been. Thank you!
To answer, this last half of 2015 has been stuffed full of stress, not the least of which was Mike’s mom being diagnosed with stage – four cancer, then passing away.

Because our plates have been so full, I have been trying to uni- task, instead of multi-task. Can you remember back when we all gave something our full attention instead of scattershot one-eye-on-the-ball attention? I do. I remember that feeling in the distant past… and I’m trying to find it again.

I also know (from taking care of my ailing parents and being Executor of their estate) that it really only takes one major incident for life to slide off the plate. The last five years have been like a fire drill for us, in that four parents passed away… and we really need to regroup. Interestingly, this has been the same time period since I started writing this blog.

I really appreciate all the interest you have shown in the blog. Thank you for writing, for asking, for caring. I will get it back up and running when life calms down a little.

Because no matter what, no matter what the movies would have us believe….no matter how beautiful the scenery is on “Hawaii 5-0”, life on Maui and on all the islands, is still REAL LIFE. A friend who lived here for six years, and then moved away, made this comment: “People really have themselves talked into believing that if they could just move to Hawaii life would be PERFECT. No more worries, no more stress, just a kicked – back lifestyle where life is just really good. But that’s not the reality. People still get really sick here, people still die here, people lose their jobs here, people get eaten by sharks here!” (I had to laugh about that last part!)

So wherever you are during this holiday season, I wish you peace. I hope that you can stop for a moment during this busy, busy time and truly appreciate what you have been given…particularly those you hold dear.

May 2016 bring you joy.

Aloha, Jamaica

I’ll Be There For You

Aloha!

The 20 – some things I know are obsessed with the show “Friends.”
The catchy theme song alone will speak to that age group, and since fashion has been stuck in the skinny jeans/pin – straight hair rut for-ev-er, they can see themselves up on screen – – but with one major difference.

I happened to catch the episode recently where Rachel gives birth and the Friends get to come see little Emma Geller – Green for the first time. There is a reverent moment as they stand around the hospital bed and watch Rachel hold her… then they begin carefully passing Emma around. (Joey, of course, breaks the gravity of the moment by saying, “But, she looks so REAL!”)

And then it hit me. The Friends were having a moment, and no one had a camera or a cell phone. They said, “Me, next!” to hold the baby, not to snap a selfie with her so they could post it immediately. They were PRESENT. You could feel their very strong bond as a group. And wouldn’t those selfies be all about them and their reaction to Emma, instead of the joy of Emma herself?

And that’s why “Friends” wouldn’t get made today – – unless they did it as a retro show. I submitted a Family script to a producer who complained that there wasn’t enough technology in it.”But the character is TWELVE,” I said. “I did that on purpose.”

What does this have to do with Maui? When I moved here in 1999, I didn’t have a cell phone (just like the Friends.) I had to pay per call to talk to my mother. Today if she were still alive, we could Facetime each other in our kitchens.

And that is what makes a move to Maui easier these days – – you don’t have to lose touch with friends and family back home.

But, what about touch?

My friend Becky in California’s 98-year-old mother just fell and broke her hip in Minnesota. Do we really think mom is going to be happy with a FaceTime chat from her hospital bed? Of course not. Becky is making a plane reservation as we speak.

Maybe the 20 – somethings are so enamored with “Friends” for a subconscious reason: the very lack of technology. The Friends go hang out in each other’s apartments. They go to Central Perk and actually talk to each other, instead of staring at their screens.

The theme song says, “I’ll be there for you…” It meant in person.

Has that gotten lost in translation?

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Reader Question on Housing Answered

Aloha!

A reader recently wrote with this question:

“I just accepted a job as a court reporter at the courthouse in Wailuku. Will it be any easier for me to find a place to rent because I am working for the State? I also am not a kid. I am 40 years old, and plan on living there for the rest of my life.”

Here’s my answer:

Well, the good news, Gerri-Jo, is that you got a job! (The second good news is that it’s with the State of Hawaii.) So here’s the bad news: it probably won’t make much difference as you hunt for a place to live.

Here’s a local example: I know a lady who is about 65 and has lived on Maui almost 30 years. The place where she lives is being sold so she must move out. She is trying unsuccessfully to find a new place to live. Her comment to me was, “None of the local people want to rent to a haole lady.” Now to be fair, this also works in reverse. The haole landlords may say, “I don’t want to rent to a local because they are loud and will have 10 family members over all the time.” So it’s a pretty delicate balance.

When people move to Maui from wherever, it takes a while to realize that none of the former rules apply. So people may think, “I have a good job, this will get my foot in the door for housing…” but it doesn’t seem to work that way. (Just as dressing too nicely can make people here suspicious.)

The proven method to get housing is always through a friend or word-of-mouth… which is easier said than done when you’re sitting on the mainland and you don’t know anyone in Hawaii. Your best bet might be to go through anyone you’ve had contact with at your new job. If they’re going to work with you or employ you, they will have a vested interest in seeing you housed.

Also, is there any group you are affiliated with currently, such as Toastmasters, a sorority, or a house of worship, where you could call ahead and contact members in that group, to see if anyone knew of anything coming available?

Be aware that the rental market is very tight right now. Start early and be relentless with follow-up. If you can afford it, you might even offer a little higher rent then they are asking, to show how serious you are.

Food always helps in any situation in Hawaii!

Be patient and kind and always respectful.

If all else fails, start by living in a vacation rental. And call every realtor you find online to see if any do rental placements.

I wish you all the best and hope you find something soon! Congratulations on your new job and new life in Hawaii.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

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

Locals Weigh in On Tourists

Aloha!

First, I would like to thank all of our loyal mauidailyescape readers. We know there are lots of reading options out there, so we appreciate your hanging out here!

That said, we know that a lot of people are trying to limit their time spent online, which makes your readership that much more special. I am not an online junkie, and so things float into my airspace at a slower rate than some. For instance, I had never heard of reddit.com, and just found out it is in the top 20 of all social media sites. So for giggles, I plugged in Maui to see what came up. A couple posted that they would soon be traveling to Maui, but didn’t want to be annoying tourist-types, and asked what they could do. Here are some answers from reddit.com:

QUESTION: “Aloha Maui locals! What do the tourists do that drive you crazy?”
ANSWERS:
“If you’re at the beach and you see people body – surfing in the Shorebreak, even though you might want to try it, do not go directly to the exact spot they are – – something annoying tourists do – – go somewhere else down the beach. You can get hurt if they are in the wrong spot and it can piss people off if you invade their space or get in the way.”

Another person posted: “This has happened to me more than once, body – boarding at the beach. Watching the waves come in, go to catch it and have to bail because a tourist is standing directly in front of me. I had to give up for the day one time because an entire family spread out in the area I was riding.”

(Author’s note: BE EXTREMELY MINDFUL when skim boarding, particularly at Big
Beach. Our friend’s 20-something son is now a quadriplegic from skim-boarding at Big Beach.)

And then onto posted speed limits: “Annoying: tourists going the actual speed limit. 25 mph is for scooters in 1981, not a car in 2014.”

Another person followed up: “Pull over. Some people drive like psychos on the mainland ’cause they’re in a rush and get frustrated if someone is going slow. Locals do get angry if you’re not paying attention. The speed limits on Maui are very unrealistic.” (I concur!)

And another: “Making illegal U–turns to save driving one extra mile to the next intersection.”

More next post…!

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

Why Elevation Matters On Maui

Aloha!

People write to me all the time to ask where they should live when they move to Maui. This question stumps me. It would seem they would know if they are beach people or mountain people….or if they want to be surrounded by tourists, or live in the middle of nowhere. So here’s some food for thought….

Let’s say you plan to move to Maui and will drive an electric car. You get to live in a jaw – droppingly beautiful place and help the planet while you drive, right?

Not so fast. A friend did just that – – moved his family to Kula at around 3,000 feet elevation, and bought an electric car. Only one problem: he found he cannot go up and down the hill on only one charge. At flat – level driving, the car (a Leaf) was rated to make the mileage – – it just couldn’t handle the elevation (kind of like my brother-in-law who got elevation-sick while we were all visiting the lavender farm in Kula. Hi, Richard!)

(www.aliikulalavender.com/ “In the uplands of Maui, nestled along the skirt of Haleakala (House of the Sun) mountain lay the beautiful gardens of Ali`i Kula Lavender. Maui’s Lavender Lifestyle experience.”)

But I digress. Of course, that is just another thing to consider…will you suffer from elevation sickness?

So my Kula friend now plans his days around charging his car. One day he had a meeting in Kahului (flat-land), then another meeting right afterward in Makawao (1,500 ft.) He had to re-schedule the second meeting to build in charging time, so he could make it back up the hill. Not a happy camper.

We inherited a Prius when my mom passed away. She is named “Lulu” and is the first car I’ve owned on Maui that won’t let me run the air-conditioner up the hill to Upcountry without grinding and complaining. So I pat her and turn off the A.C., even though it’s 95° out. My insurance agent told me she has the same problem with her small – cylinder car, that is neither electric or hybrid. Just not enough power.

The beauty of living Upcountry is that you can get a view, you’re away from the tourists, and it’s a bit cool-ah in Ku-la. (I owe that one to my niece).

The downside to elevation is that it’s really hard on your brakes. I burned mine up as soon as I moved Upcountry, and my mechanic said, “Downshift the whole way down, to save your brakes.” To which I replied, “But that makes the engine grind – – what about my transmission?” He just shrugged and said, “Choose.”

Everything in Maui comes down to choice, just like life. Beach or mountain? Hot or cool? Flat or views? Close to work, or a commute?

I leave you with this: your ears will pop every time you go up and down the mountain. I’ve always wondered this about airline folks too…is that an okay thing?

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

Maui Voted Seventh Best Island in the World

Aloha!

In case you haven’t heard, the readers of Travel and Leisure magazine have once again named Maui the best island in Hawaii, and the seventh best in the world.

image

Readers voted in the magazine’s annual “World’s Best” awards, based on the ratings of five characteristics: natural attractions/beaches, activities/sights, restaurants/food, people/friendliness and value.

The island of Kauai followed at the number eight ranking.

Here are the 10 best islands in the world, according to Travel + Leisure:

Galapagos Islands
Bali
Maldives
Tasmania in Australia
Santorini in Greece
Moorea in French Polynesia
Maui
Kauai
Great Barrier Reef and
Malta.

So, mauidailyescape readers, how would YOU vote? Where does the beautiful isle of Maui rank for you out of the Hawaiian islands…and in the world?

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