The Real Reason I Live on Maui

Aloha!
So here it is, the REAL reason, above all others, that I live on Maui. My sister, who still lives where I grew up in Indiana (and teaches at our same junior high), sent this to me this morning. My teeth chatter just thinking about it:

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To all of you in the Midwest and on the East Coast battling this type of weather, please stay warm, and stay safe on the roads out there.

Have a cup of hot chocolate and think of me…I will soon be deluged with letters from people asking me questions on “How to Move to Maui.” (See FAQ’s on Moving to Maui).

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Aloha from the Isle of Traffic

Aloha!
Did you know that the island of Oahu has the worst traffic in America? Seriously. Google it. It’s held that distinction for a number of years.

Maui is known as the Valley Isle, and Kauai is known as the Garden Isle. Oahu is known as The Gathering Place, which is pretty evident, as the most populous island. But having been here for a week, I think they should change the name to the Traffic Isle.

I LOVE Honolulu…it is probably the cleanest big city I’ve ever been to, and it has everything that Maui doesn’t, like a brand new two-story Nordstom Rack. And dozens of restaurants that we only wish we had on Maui (read: affordable), such as California Pizza Kitchen…which is the first place we head for.

But I honestly don’t know how these people do this day after day. We were on the freeway heading out of Honolulu by 3:30 in the afternoon, and it was bumper to bumper.

Sitting in traffic, spotted a popular new bumper sticker here, which I haven’t seen on Maui yet (thankfully): “Defend Hawaii”….(a picture of an Uzi) and then “Don’t mistake Aloha for weakness.”

Guess it’s on a par with that old stand-by: “Welcome to Hawaii. Now go home.” And: “If you don’t like Hawaiians, why did you move here?”

Yep, lots of reading material while sitting in traffic. I’d like to propose a new bumper sticker: “Peace, Love, and Aloha.”

That is what I’m sending you.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Only in Hawaii…

Aloha!

Let me just say, you chase your tail a lot when you live in Hawaii. Here’s my recent example: I got dinged with a library book fine for “having SAND in the plastic book cover.” You know, like I’d toted it to the beach.

Two problems: I never took the book out of the library. And, there was no way to pay the fine!

Yes, I checked the book out. But I was leaving on a trip… So I walked it from check out to book return, all within one minute. So how exactly did I get sand in this book cover? Yet a very formal (threatening) letter arrived from the State of Hawaii about this fine, and it was all of two dollars! As in, they spent almost in much in postage as the fine would be.

And here was the major catch: the book was from the Pearl City library (books are shipped for free interisland, it just takes a month or so to get them) and there was no way to pay the fine, because the fine had to be paid IN PERSON. I live on Maui, Pearl City is on Oahu, do we see the problem here? I could not mail a check, mail cash, or do it by credit card.

So I drove down to the Kahului library, and had a meeting with the librarian, who told me to write a letter in return and plead my case. For TWO DOLLARS?

I have to laugh, because this is one of those going-around-in circles things that happens when you live in Hawaii. For the most part, the government says no to everything….It was easier for them, back in plantation days, when people were illiterate, or did not speak the language well, to JUST SAY NO to everything! (way before Nancy Reagan jumped on the bandwagon.)
Just try to get a building permit here, for example. The immediate answer will be no, and they will make it about as difficult as you can imagine.

And so it is that they make it impossible to pay a library fine, (for SAND in the book cover) yet are perfectly willing to lend books to another island such as Maui.

Only in Hawaii…

For the record, that major fee was waived after they put an inspector on the case, and determined that YES! the book never left the library under my name. And how much do we think this inspector cost the State? Absolutely archaic. Shake your head and laugh so you don’t bang it against the nearest wall.

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Local Style Partying

Aloha!

So what do the locals do with all their STUFF–since they’re busy having parties in their garages? (Or maybe it’s that haoles just own too much STUFF.)

It was interesting when first moving here to drive around and see people partying in their garages. I mean, even just Friday night barbecues… They open up the garage door, put a picnic table inside, and BAM, a party. And my questions are always the same:

What about having it INSIDE the house? Hmmm?
And who was the first person who ever decided that the garage was an ideal place to get happy?
And where IS all their stuff?

We couldn’t possibly have a party in our garage…at least not one that wouldn’t depress everybody, as they squeezed between the pile of windsurfing boards and the broken vacumn cleaner that (somebody) in the household just can’t bear to toss.

If I have a party in my garage next Friday, will you come?

It’s one of those great mysteries of life….in Hawaii.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Life is Short. Play Hard.

Aloha!

I met my friend, world – class swimmer Suzanne Heim-Bowen, when she came to Maui to compete in the Maui Channel Swim (Lanai to Maui) a few years ago. Mike has served as an escort boat Captain for the teams every Labor Day weekend for twenty years, and Suzanne and I were seated next to each other at the awards banquet.

Suzanne has set three world records in swimming, all after the age of 50. Recently, Deborah J. McDonald made a lively documentary about her, called “The 50-year-old Freshman” (which keeps winning awards):

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What I find especially interesting is that Suzanne was also the first person to swim the Bay-to-Breakers in San Francisco Bay, a treacherous 10 mile swim in 56° water from the Bay Bridge, across the Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and beyond. She was the first person… And she was 24 years old.

So what this means, is that Suzanne has been setting amazing goals, and reaching them, her entire adult life. She just keeps raising the bar higher.

Suzanne was inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame, and has swum the English-Channel twice. She’s a polar-bear swimmer in San Francisco Bay, and I’ve sat in the nice, cozy Dolphin Club and watched from a large window as she swam toward Alcatraz in weather that had me wearing a winter coat.

Suzanne set the three world records for women 50-54 in the 200, 400, and 800 meter free. At 50 years old she swam 18:32 in the 1500 M, and broke her own world record by 13 seconds.

Suzanne is warm, funny, and crazy – smart. She is one of my favorite people. Her motto: Life is short. Play hard.

We’ve been talking about dreams here at Mauidailyescape.com. Check out “The 50-year-old Freshman” documentary on Amazon. If you’re a person who automatically thinks “documentary”: dry, boring… This is not. I think you’ll really enjoy it, and even if you’re not a swimmer, it will get your wheels spinning for the next dream in your life…

Note: This Sunday,on the OWN network, Oprah Winfrey interviews Diana Nyad, the swimmer who was 64 when she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage in under 53 hours. How’s that for a goal?

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along… If you would like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

What Are You Dreaming Of?

Aloha!
Do you have a dream? Maybe something small that you harbor in your heart, sure you will find a way to do it one day? Or do you try to remember what it even felt like to dream…as you put one foot in front of the other in your daily grind?

Meredith Novack, 37, just completed her dream of breaking the world record by swimming the Auau Channel between Lanai and Maui, twice. It took her 11 hours, 1 minute to swim the 20 miles, and broke the previous record by 44 minutes. A former US Masters national champion in the open water 3K, Novacks trained for 10 months to prepare.

She said she did it because “Number one, no woman had ever done it, and number two, because I felt I could break the men’s record.” She said she made sure to follow strict rules for the world record attempt: “You can’t grab onto a kayak. You can’t use anything for support and people can’t touch you.”

Novacks wore an electronic device called a shark shield that kept her safe from a 15 ft. Tigershark that her escort team did not tell her about, till after she finished. They did not want to let her know that the Tigershark had shown up with less than two hours to go, for fear she would not finish.

There is resistance in the water with each stroke. Steven Pressfield, author of “The War of Art” met with Oprah Winfrey at her beautiful Maui home for their interview on “Super Soul Sunday.” He says there is always resistance with a goal, no matter how worthy. The form the resistance takes is the thoughts in our heads: “I’m not worthy.” or, “It’s been done 100 times before, what am I going to say that they haven’t heard?”

Pressfield says we have to “Face the Dragon.” And then we will ask why we didn’t do this months ago…

Meredith Novacks faced her dragon and set a new world record.

“Tell me, what is it YOU plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Now THAT’S a Papaya

Aloha!
When was the last time you saw a papaya the size of a man’s head? These Tahitian papayas were grown by Mike, from seeds he got from a Tahitian neighbor.

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Here they are in close-up on the tree:

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And here they are in the kitchen. As you can see, they are the size of a butcher knife.
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The taste test? Juicy, and a bit like a cantaloupe. Paradise!
In an upcoming post, I will share a video of Mike stunting a papaya tree, which makes it bear fruit earlier. This was a secret technique he learned from a wizened Japanese gardener on the North Shore, Oahu. Stay tuned…

Hope you have a great weekend! Mahalo for reading along.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica