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

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