The Patchwork of Life

Aloha!

When people start writing to ask, “Are your okay?” I know it’s time to blog again.

Interesting question… are you okay? Having lost my mother, I have to say it’s hard to realize I will never again pick up the phone and have her be on the other end. She was 77 years old. That would’ve seemed old at one time in my life, but this was a woman who still went to water aerobics three times a week, who went to lunch and the movies with friends every single Friday of her life, no matter what. In fact, three of us went to the movies the evening of my stepfather’s funeral…nothing like a good comedy to ease a transition. Mom was all about enjoying life. (Which begs the question, where are all the good comedies? But that is another post.)

I want to write about the concept of chogak po. I am reading the book “Honolulu” by author Alan Brennert. (I don’t know how this one escaped me; it was published in 2009 and was the winner of “Elle’s” Lettres 2009 Grand Prix for Fiction.) It’s about a Korean woman who travels to Hawaii as a “picture bride” in 1914, but she does not find the life she has been promised, and instead must make her own way in a strange land. Chogak po is the Korean word for patchwork cloth, cobbled together from leftover scraps of material. They have an abstract beauty, but the protagonist asks her mother why she does not make more elegant creations, because she is capable. The mother replies, “When we are young we think life will be like a su po: one fabric, one weave, one grand design. But in truth, life turns out to be more like the patchwork cloth–bits and pieces, odds and ends–people, places, things we never expected, never wanted, perhaps. There is harmony in this, too, and beauty.”

I am trying to see harmony and beauty in my life, at a time when so many things I never saw coming and never wanted to deal with are expected of me. It has been four months since my mother passed away, and I am still wading through the paperwork and making daily phone calls in connection with her business affairs. Who knew?

One bright spot is my friend, Suzanne, who went through this a year before I did, and has been my mentor and guide. There was a time in my life when I was ahead of all of my friends in doing the important things such as buying a house, starting a business, etc. and they were constantly relying on me to guide them through the intricacies of those things. I used to think, “When is it my turn? When do I get someone to explain things to me?” I am just so glad that when it has come down to important decisions such as the timing on when to sell my mom’s house, I have had Suzanne to say, “Take your time…don’t let anyone push you or hurry you. As Executor, you are in control.”

Moving to Maui is much the same as that patchwork Korean cloth. Everyone thinks life here is going to be perfect (it’s Paradise, right?) and they have a grand design in mind when they come. But in truth, it turns out to be full of things no one can understand until they have fully lived here…not just part-timed it, or vacationed here. Vacationing in Maui means hanging out with other tourists and doing tourist things. Living here means reality: understanding pidgin and the local ways. Accepting that everything moves at a glacial speed.

Some things just can’t be fully understood until we’ve lived them ourselves.

A hui hou! Thanks for stopping by…If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the homepage.
Aloha, Jamaica

Aloha, Again

Aloha!

Yes, yes, I know, it’s been a while. Those of you who read this blog know that my mother passed away in December. And I’ve been a little busy. If anyone ever offers to make you the Executor of an estate and you’re thinking of it as an honor, word of advice: run screaming in the other direction. But I was given no choice, so there you have it.

Being the Executor of an estate (estate? puh-leeze) is a thankless, mind-numbing exercise in futility, and you spend months chasing your tail. To top it off, my parents were pack-rats (they had twelve of everything) and it’s up to the Executor (that would be me) to clear all of that flotsam (unimportant misc. material) and jetsam (material cast overboard in times of distress to lighten the load) out of the house, so it can be sold. The stuff and the house.

And let me tell you, there were times while I was there when I walked out to their over-stuffed garage and wanted to pick up one of the (twelve) hammers on the work bench and smack myself in the face with it. Because that would have been an excellent diversion from the two-foot pile of paperwork waiting for me inside the house:

IMG_1874

This was from just one drawer, in one of the four desks in my mom’s house.

Currently I am back on Maui because, well, because I actually have a life apart from being the Executor of an estate…however, being one leaves you no time for your own life. I had to get out of California while the getting was good, just to get my own taxes done this year. THEN I get to go back and file my mom’s taxes, and the estate’s taxes. And sell the house. Party-time!

I know that I am back on Maui, because that very first morning, a friendly little German cockroach decided to share my cup of tea with me:IMG_1819

Some things never change.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Hawaii Housing Ranked Most Expensive in Country

Hawaii Housing Ranked Most Expensive in Country

Aloha!

If you love to visit Hawaii and hope to buy a home/condo here in the future, better make it soon.

Coldwell Banker http://www.coldwellbanker.com/ just released a report that puts Hawaii’s housing costs the highest in the nation. An average 4 bedroom/2 bath home is more expensive than any other state, with an average listing price of $742,000.

Kailua, on Oahu where Mike grew up (in a modest 3 bed/1bath home) and where President Obama and family plan to vacation this holiday season for the fifth straight year in a row, ranked 8th out ot the top 10 most expensive places to buy a home.

We are so glad we bought our house when we did (2002), even though we tore it down and built what we now have. Because building materials have just spiraled upward also.

Analysts say they expect prices to skyrocket even further in the future. I suppose the next thing they will rank is how Hawaii housing costs compare to the entire world.

If your dream is to live in Hawaii, better buy while you can. I wish you the best of luck.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Maui Real Estate Stats

Maui Real Estate Stats

Aloha!
For those of you considering moving to Maui, (and I hear from a lot of you!) here are the latest stats on real estate in the Upcountry Makawao/Pukalani area.
There were 36 properties sold in Makawao from April 1 to October 17, 2012
The highest selling price was $1,780,000. The lowest selling price was $210,000. That was for a three bedroom/1 bath, 820 square-foot house on a lot size of 6595.
This makes the median price $380,000.

In Pukalani the highest selling price was $1,085,000. The lowest price was $220,000. That was for a three bedroom/1 bath 1486 square-foot house on a lot size of 11,221 feet.

Be aware that these sales figures say nothing about the condition of the houses. There are some real stinkers out there. A house in Maui is in a perpetual state of returning to the jungle (rotting) from the humidity, red dirt, wind and rain. It takes a lot of time, love, and money to keep a house in tiptop shape. I couldn’t figure out why so many people let their houses go to pot, in need of paint, weeding and repair, until I owned a house in Maui and saw the kind of time and money it takes to keep one up. It’s like a continual battle between you and the jungle. Paint alone is much more expensive here than on the mainland. Don’t forget, they have to ship it.

National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun said 2012 is expected to be a year of recovery for housing. “First-quarter sales closings were the highest first-quarter sales in five years.”

A hui hou!
Aloha, Jamaica

3rd Shark Attack in 3 Weeks

Third Shark Attack in Three Weeks

Aloha!
We are three for three here on Maui. Three shark attacks in three weeks. It’s beginning to feel like we’re living in a small town on the eastern seaboard and Jaws is on the loose. There was also a fourth attack off Kauai.

For the first time in 12 years, I have asked Mike to stay out of the water. Usually I’m glad to see him go surfing. It’s kind of like sending him off to church; he comes back with a big smile and attitude adjustment. But this is worrisome, we’ve never seen this kind of shark activity, and Mike, who has lived here his whole life, says he’s never heard of this many shark attacks this close together. The news reports say it may have something to do with an increase in the turtle population, the shark’s favorite food.

30-year old Marc Riglos was participating in the 2012 Maui Roi Roundup, an invasive species spearfishing tournament. He said the shark took a bite of his ankle then tugged it from side to side. “I thought I was going to die out there. (It) was crazy,” he said. With the help of his dive partner he was able to get back into shore, but they were 300 yards out and it took 25 minutes.

Riglos says he hopes that doctors can save his foot. On KHON 2 news last night, they showed him in his hospital bed at Maui Memorial Medical Center. His right ankle is stitched the entire way around. Riglos said his foot was literally hanging by a tendon.

A marine biologist interviewed on KHON said that the best way to fight off a shark is to get your fingers into the shark’s eyesockets or gills and tug hard, and they’ll back off. Um, easier said than done while their jaws are wide open and headed straight for you. When Mike worked as a professional diver, he said that the divers would stay in a circle and if a shark approached they would take the respirators out of their mouths and scream at the shark, and that worked, too.

Seems to me you don’t need a degree from Harvard to figure out you should maybe just stay out of the water right now.

If you have ever seen the “Shermans Lagoon” comic strip, it is a microcosm of marine life and they all have human characteristics. The big, dumb shark Sherman, his wife and son, the crab and the turtle all talk and comment on what’s going on up top. They stake out Unsuspecting Vacationers floating on the surface and decide which ones will taste best for dinner. It sounds morbid, but it’s quite funny.

Given that, I began to wonder if the sharks have just been watching too much television down there… Too many paid political advertisements. They got so frustrated, they just had to take a big BITE out of someone.

At least today that will all be over! And if the shark activity calms down… Well, what can I say. I was right.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Be Safe

Be Safe

Aloha!
To all of my readers on the East Coast, I send out a heartfelt wish for your safety and a swift return to normalcy. I hope you are not without power. Be safe!

To those who have opened up a discussion about the tsunami warning in Hawaii, I offer the following thoughts. One reader, TC, happened to be on Maui during the tsunami warning and asked if the level of panic observed is normal here.

When you live on Maui for a while, the enormity of being a spec in the middle of the ocean grows. It feels a bit like being a flea on an elephant. We are the farthest from any landmass of any Archipelago. (Not just Hawaii, but Maui.) For those who have lived through dock strikes, or a hurricane, or a tsunami, it becomes readily apparent how dependent we are on the outside world for absolutely everything, from toilet paper to rice, to bottled water.

A fire alone can shut down the whole west part of the island. I’ve seen it happen. There is no getting in or out, because there is only one road in, and they now close down the northern route so it will not become clogged with people and cut off emergency vehicle access. More than once I had to get a hotel room and sleep on the west side when I couldn’t get home from work, due to a disaster.

People are very attuned to this when authorities say a tsunami is coming. They immediately picture no electricity, no food, no ships getting in with supplies for God knows how long. The thing about a tsunami is that there is essentially no warning. An hour or two maybe, and then it’s a call to evacuate. Tsunamis travel at 500 mph plus-the same speed as a jet. There is little response time, no planning ahead.

Mike was a fireman on Oahu for 12 years and amazingly, spent less time fighting fires than he he did rescuing people from the ocean, and on occasion, from big waves washing over people’s houses. That’s just what the North Shore is like in the winter time. He says the level of panic of people fleeing during a tsunami warning also has to do with responsibility. Responsible people realize that if they don’t act, they are jeopardizing the life of someone else (such as Mike) who must then come in and rescue them.

One disconcerting fact that came out during the news reports on television for this tsunami warning: there are no buoys between Hawaii and the mainland. None. So when the earthquake struck Canada and reverberated out, they had nothing to look at to check the rising tide between us and them. So we had to prepare for the worst.

The following facts are from this good website: http://ptwc.weather.gov/faq.php#6

1. How fast do tsunamis travel?
Tsunami wave speed is controlled by water depth. Where the ocean is over 6,000 meters (3.7 miles) deep, unnoticed tsunami waves can travel at the speed of a commercial jet plane, over 800 km per hour (500 miles per hour). Tsunamis travel much slower in shallower coastal waters where their wave heights begin to increase dramatically.

2. What does a tsunami look like when it reaches the shore?
As the leading edge of a tsunami wave approaches shore, it slows dramatically due to the shallower water. However, the trailing p art of the wave can still be moving rapidly in the deeper water. This results in a “piling up” of the tsunami energy, and the tsunami wave height grows. The wave looks and acts like giant river of water on top of the ocean that floods the shore.

3. Where and how often do tsunamis usually occur?
Major tsunamis occur about once per decade. Based on historical data, about 59% of the world’s tsunamis have occurred in the Pacific Ocean, 25% in the Mediterranean Sea, 12% in the Atlantic Ocean, and 4% in the Indian Ocean.

Stay safe, and treasure each day. If you are a reader on the East Coast, please let me know you’re okay!

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Fall for Maui

Fall for Maui

Aloha!

It doesn’t seem like there would be much change in seasons in Hawaii, and it’s very subtle, but it is there. Especially in Upcountry Maui. On the mainland I always enjoyed the change of seasons… Getting out all of the fall decorations, the Halloween decorations, the Thanksgiving decorations… And the places to buy them were of course, endless.

Not so on Maui. Stores such as Walmart or Kmart only bring so much in to the island per season, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. So if you go to Ben Franklin Crafts and see something you like, you’d better buy it now. You also learn to improvise with what nature provides on Maui. In the same way that I might have gathered Fall-colored leaves in California, here I gather Fall-colored shells to make my dining room table centerpiece:

Our mango tree in the backyard also provides a clue that fall is here on Maui. If you look closely in this photo you’ll see that we have older yellow leaves dropping, healthy older dark green leaves, light green brand-new leaves coming in, and to top it all off: it’s flowering with new fruit (that’s the brown  fuzzy-stuff).

Mango Tree on Maui

What this means is there’s never a good time to prune a tree in Hawaii. Our citrus tree in the front yard does the same thing. It’s a tree that’s been grafted with tangerines, tangelos, and oranges on the same tree. The tree has become enormous because there is constantly a cycle of new leaves and new fruit. When the heck do you prune, without losing fruit?

It’s also a season of harvest here. We have more apple bananas (the very sweet ones that taste more like a pear) than we know what to do with. This morning I grilled bananas on the griddle when I made the french toast. Every morning we have smoothies with two bananas in them. We hang the bunch from a rafter in the garage to keep the rats out of them:

And why yes, that IS a surfboard hanging there in the rafters too. Thanks for asking. And that second refrigerator in the background is not a “beer frig”, because in Maui almost all dry goods have to be refrigerated or use lose them to bugs. So that frig has flour, sugar, bread crumbs, bread, cornmeal, etc. in it. If you don’t refrigerate your bread, it can mold in a day or two.

The other bounty we can barely keep up with is the lilikois (also known as passion fruit). Here is a few days’ worth that have been gathered:

It doesn’t help to call my friends and ask if they’d like some fruit, because they have the same problem. So I’ve taken to hauling fruit to Kahului when I go down the hill, and giving it away. Yesterday a doctor got eight apple bananas in a brown bag. He is a fierce Korean guy who pretty much scares me spitless. I gave him the bananas and he lit up. As he was leaving the room he said “This will be my lunch” and I teased him and said, “Hey, I know you have children!” and he just laughed, because those kids weren’t getting any of those bananas. That’s the first time I’ve heard him laugh! Food, the universal language.

Here’s a recipe for Lilikoi Martinis. My thanks to Shel and Clay Simpson for turning us on to these intoxicating gems.

Lilikoi Martini

1 ounce (a shot-glass) of lilikoi juice

1 ounce of Vanilla Vodka (I’m a wuss and use half that amount)

Fill a glass with ice. Shake the above two ingredients together, add to glass, then top it off with ice-cold water.

I get creative and substitute out recipes that involve lemon juice, such as a Lemontini or Lemon Drop. So, to the above recipe I will also add a little St. Germain (YUM) and substitute club soda or seltzer water for the plain water.

Next time you get your hands on some lilikoi juice, enjoy a martini. You can possibly find the Perfect Puree of Napa Valley lilkoi puree in your gourmet grocer’s freezer section. And if anyone has figured out a fool-proof method for pruning the ever-flowering fruit trees in Hawaii, give a shout.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Luau Feet

Luau Feet

Aloha!

Do you know what luau feet are? It’s the term used in Hawaii to describe flat feet caused from wearing rubber slippers (“rubbah slippahs” in pidgin, thongs or flip-flops on the mainland.) Mike has flat feet. Until he saw my feet with their impossibly high arch, he didn’t even know feet were supposed to have an arch. And the first time I heard someone local refer to slippahs, I was confused and thought they meant house shoes. Slippers. This gives you just a tiny peek into the confusion that reigns supreme in our household.

Right now I am in mourning. I lost one of my best rubbah slippahs. And I had only worn them twice! I had been looking for this pair for about five years. “Reef” makes a certain type of very cushioned flip-flop with a soft fabric band between the toes. They became very hard to find… and I was even more specifically looking for BROWN ones. I finally found them in a tiny shop on the North Shore of Oahu. I was as excited as if someone had given me a diamond ring. Then the proprietor told me the bad news: Reef was discontinuing these! How could this be? They’re so comfortable.

I read that podiatrists say if you’re going to wear rubber slippers, that it should be these cushioned Reefs. I could walk all day in them and my feet don’t hurt. Podiatrists are not fans of flip-flops. Besides leaving your feet vulnerable to injury from stepping on sharp objects or getting stepped on themselves, flip-flops offers little support, slip off easily while walking, and can actually affect your gait–making you vulnerable to potential heel, arch, and back pain, plus putting you at higher risk for fractures. If you’re going to wear them at all, foot doctors caution, you should not wear flip-flops for long periods of time.

Like Jimmy Buffett mourning his blown-out flip-flop in “Margaritaville”, I feel the loss of my brown Reef. The crazy thing is, I cleaned out my closet and suddenly it was gone. Just ONE of them! (Another instance of getting organized and then not being able to find anything. Does this happen to you, too?) Reefs aren’t cheap, plus now these are discontinued. I don’t know how I’m going to replace this thing.

There was a time in my life when I would’ve been coveting the latest fall shoes in October. Instead here I am, just wanting a good rubber slipper.

Some funny stories we have had with rubber slippers: I always take my shoes off in the car. One time we got to a store and when I looked on the floor, one of my slippers was missing. They’re so light, I must’ve kicked it out at the last stop. So back we drove to the Ross parking lot, circled around a couple of times, and there it was. Mike stopped, and I jumped out and retrieved my rubber slipper. This explains why you see so many orphaned rubber slippers in the road and on the sidewalks in Hawaii.

Another time Mike was surfing in Lahaina and left his slippers on the shore as he paddled out. When he came back in, his nice rubber slippers were missing and had been replaced with a pair of “Locals” a very cheap rubber slipper from Longs. To add insult to injury, the end of the slipper had been chopped off with a pair of scissors, like it had been too big for the wearer. Possibly a hand-me-down from an older brother! Mike was not a happy camper.

Then we were at a party on Oahu, and the people had a new dog. Out of the whole pile of slippahs left by the door (removed when entering the house, local-style),the dog chose to chew Mike’s rubber slipper, which happened to be new. But what can you do, besides laugh!

So, how often do you wear flip-flops? Have you had foot problems related to them? Let us know in the comments section.

A hui hou! If you’d like to have this blog delivered to your in-box, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Shark on Board

Shark on Board

Aloha!
It seems that everyone is paddle-boarding these days in Maui. Mike’s nephew Robert was in Maui this week, visiting from Colorado, and Mike took him to Kanaha Beach in Kahului to teach him to stand-up paddle. The very next day, a stand-up paddle-border was attacked by a shark at Kanaha beach. David Peterson of Pukalani, 55, was uninjured, because he beat the shark off with his paddle. But what’s the reason for the attack?

I went straight to the source, surfer extraordinaire Mike Turkington! to see what lies behind it. He explained, “Think about it. What is a shark’s favorite snack? The green sea turtle. As a turtle moves through the water and surfaces, it makes a slapping sound on the water. This is a similar sound to a surfer paddling, or a standup paddle-border’s paddle moving through the water. All of these sounds get a shark’s attention.”

However, kite boarders and windsurfers are not making the same type of sound, because their boards move so quickly through the water. So unless they fall off and are just bobbing in the water, a shark isn’t going to be as interested.

David Peterson said he was on top of his board, and when the shark bit it, he fell off and landed on top of the shark. The shark had hold of his board and would not let go of it, so Peterson hit the shark with his paddle as he was in the water. The shark released, but then came between him and the board. With his hands, David pushed the shark away. When he was interviewed on KHON2 news, he said he scrambled to get back on his board while the shark circled, all the while fending him off with his paddle. The shark finally gave up and swam away.

Peterson said he felt bad because all of his friends who were surfing had to get out of the water when the lifeguards closed the beach. The sign on the beach said “Shark Sighted.” (I am laughing because I am dictating this to my iPad, and it auto-filled in with “Shark Excited.” Probably quite true.)

While the ocean can be a surfer’s playground, it’s also a feeding ground. So go ahead and enjoy your water sports, but remember: the safest form of surfing these days seems to be the one that involves a paddle that can also be used as a weapon.

A hui hou! If you’d like to have this blog delivered to your inbox, please click the follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

The Great Gecko Hunt

The Great Gecko Hunt

Aloha!

People can have a somewhat idealized vision of what it means to live in Paradise. My friend Shel and I often discuss the things that people we know back home on the mainland (and for her, Canada) have most recently alluded to: that we spend all our time at the beach, or sipping mai tais, or just relaxing with a good book in a hammock. Oh, how we wish it were so.

Right now I have a battle of wits going with a gecko in my office. The battle has been raging for about five weeks, in which time he has pooped on absolutely everything (they hang out on the ceiling and let it fly.)  It’s along the window sills, on the floor, on the desk and the bookshelves.

At first I tried to ignore it, then the morning came that I walked into the office and there was gecko doo dripping down my computer screen. ENOUGH! I cried. I brought a step ladder into the office, determined to catch him. The ladder has been there for a week now. They are smart and fast and cackle at you.

Last night at dusk I spotted him and called in reinforcements: Lili the Cat. I’ve written about Lili before, but didn’t mention what a fabulous hunter she is. She will sit in the living room and stare up at the ceiling, motionless, until we notice there is a gecko up there and try to railroad it down with a broom. If one of us spots the gecko first, we yell, “Lili, come NOW!” and even if she is dead asleep and dreaming about ice cream, she will leap to her feet and come running, bleary-eyed. (It’s quite entertaining to watch and sometimes Mike will be ornery and yell for her to come for no reason, just to watch the show.)

So there Lili and I are in the office. I’m up on the ladder with a broom and she, the goalie, might as well be wearing a mask and holding a little hockey stick, she is so jazzed. Poised and ready down below, she chimes in with her own kitty cackle. The ultimate goal is to whisk the gecko off the ceiling to the floor, and when she nabs him, I will jump down, gently remove him from her mouth, and release him out of doors.

But geckos have that annoying survival measure built in, where their tails detatch just as you grab them. That’s what this one did, then he was off and running across the ceiling. He glanced over his shoulder and cackled at me. Lili felt robbed and said so. Game over.

Today I come into the office and get down on my hands and knees. I spot him behind a bookcase, and the chase is on. I am determined not to lose him this time. He runs up the wall and high-tails it (no pun intended) up behind the rattan window shade. I take a whack at him with a magazine and he again drops to the floor. Then shoots right up the wall.

A dance ensues: I’m up, I’m down on the floor… up, down. He knows my knees can’t take this for long and that he’s winning. He cackles in glee. That’s when I notice: he isn’t missing his tail. There are TWO of them in here, switch-hitting like the twins in “Parent Trap.” I am doomed, people.

Then there is this big guy below, who lives in the wreath on our front door, like the king of the castle,  and challenges all comers. I think he must be old because he has the longest tail I’ve seen on a gecko:

King of the Geckos

On any given day there will be ten cockroaches, a cane spider, and in a bad week, a centipede, in the house. The cane spiders are hairy-looking, like small tarantula cousins:

Cane Spider

They can really travel when they put their minds to it, so we again call Lili in to help us hunt. She is quite proud when we are successful as a team, and crushed when we fail. Either way, she gets her daily allotment of tropical fruit, and then takes a nap, making sure to keep her paw on her toy mouse’s tail.

Worn out from a day of hunting, we all go to our respective corners to rest up, knowing that tomorrow the Great Gecko Hunt will begin again.

A hui hou! If you’d like to have this blog delivered to your inbox, please click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

On Men and Muumuus

On Men and Muumuus

Aloha!
Yesterday It was 92° Upcountry. Get out! It’s never that hot Upcountry. (That means it had to be like 109 in Lahaina). In heat like that I don’t even want to get dressed. I prefer nudity, but it seems to be against the law. So I was in First Hawaiian Bank Upcountry and saw a lady about 75 years old who was wearing a muumuu and a big hat. Pretty typical of older ladies in Hawaii. I’ve thought about it, and I actually look forward to the time when I get to wear wear a muumuu. They cover the flabby arms, big belly and spider veins that everyone gets as they get older… But the best part is they’re cool and loose. I was looking at her muumuu with envy on this 92° in the shade day.

Fast-forward four hours. I have been to the pharmacy, the library, and two grocery stores. I am standing in Costco and I see a hat out of the corner of my eye and glance up from the rosemary bread. There’s the same lady in her hat and muumuu. When you live on Maui you constantly hear “it’s a small island,” and that means everywhere you go you run into the same people. Even four hours and four stops later. Sometimes they’re even on the same track as you, and you see them at all four stops. This always makes me laugh… It’s a small island, but it’s not like it’s a small town in the middle of nowhere. Or is it? I once heard that an Island resort is nothing more than a provincial small town with thousands of tourists thrown in. That makes sense.

It also means you see the same people week after week as you run your errands. When I went to the library yesterday I had 22 books on hold. Seriously. At the counter I said apologetically, “I’ve had a few books come in'” and the librarian, a big, jovial Chinese lady said, “A FEW?!” She is used to this now and gives me a hard time. I’m a writer, I do research. In fact, after about the third time this happened she said, “Let me guess, you’re a writer.” Guilty as charged. Though I did hit a new personal best this month: I found out that when you have 27 books on hold in the system they cut you off on the library website (www.librarieshawaii.org) I was crushed! Hauling a stack of books home from the library is like Christmas for me, especially since they closed our Borders store. When I saw my doctor recently, she asked, as usual, what I was reading, because I always have a book with me . She said, “I miss Borders! I miss being able to browse by actually opening a book and paging through it.” It’s just not the same thing on Amazon, so we commiserated together.

Anyway, as we ended our day yesterday, Mike and I were talking about the unusual heat and I mentioned having seen the lady in the muumuu twice. (We were eating Mexican food at our favorite place: Fernando’s in the Kau-Kau marketplace. He commented that he’d also seen the guy at the next table in Costco. See what I mean? It’s a small island). Mike then said, “So why don’t you just wear a muumuu?”

It was loud in there. I was sure I hadn’t heard him right. “Did you say wear a muumuu? At my age?” (I’m thinking, isn’t that only for ladies over the age of 75? Isn’t that something only the workers at the hotels wear?) He said “Sure. Why not?”( Let’s not forget, this guy grew up in Hawaii.) But my head is reeling… You mean I can stop trying to find pants that fit my nonexistent bum? I can stop thinking about fashion or having any kind of style at all and just drift off to muumuu land? Men probably don’t understand this, because they are ALWAYS comfortable, but a muumuu is like a get out of jail free card. And then Mike shrugged and said, “I don’t know why you haven’t done it sooner.”

The earth tilted further on its axis. The man will never cease to amaze me. Muumuus are like the fanny pack of fashion… They mean, “I give up, I’m gonna just let it all hang out.” Right? If you’ve ever watched the new version of Hawaii 5-0, moving to Hawaii and all the confusion it entails is embodied in almost everything Dano says. He’s always a half step behind. And here I am, after 13 years, finding out I could’ve been wearing a muumuu all this time.

That’s me, late to the party. At least they are legal, unlike nudity. Unless, of course, I get arrested by the Fashion Police.

So tell me honestly, if you’re a woman would you wear a muumuu in Hawaii on a regular basis? And if you’re a guy, what do you think about women under the age of 75 in muumuus?

A hui hou! If you’d like to have this blog delivered to your inbox, please click the “Follow” button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Stupid is as Stupid Does

“Stupid is as Stupid Does” — thanks, Forrest!

Aloha!
It’s a fact of life that if you’re living in Hawaii, you’re living with cockroaches. They like to hide and make you feel all smug and superior, like that you’ve dodged that bullet, but it’s a fool’s lie. Yesterday I poured myself a glass of water and left the room and by the time I came back two minutes later there was a brown cockroach floating in the glass. We never drink the water from the tap here, we buy it, so that good water got thrown out. The light brown (German) Cockroaches fly, so it doesn’t matter how clean you are. They’re coming in! It’s just another one of the joys of life in the tropics.

I consider cockroaches rats with wings, since they spend so much time rooting through the trash. So I found it particularly disconcerting when an AP article today stated that the winner of a cockroach-eating contest in South Florida died shortly after downing dozens of the live bugs. (Altogether now…Eewwwww!!)The grand prize in Friday night’s contest was a live python.

The Broward County Sheriff’s office says in a news release that it is waiting for an autopsy to give the official cause of death.

Do you think there’s a checkbox for “died of stupidity”?

And here I was counting on using all the cockroaches as a back-up food supply when the next Tsunami or hurricane hits…

A hui hou! If you’d like to have this blog delivered to your inbox, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by.

Aloha, Jamaica

Maui War Brewing

Maui War Brewing

Aloha!

For the past two weeks, Maui Time Magazine www.mauitime.com has run articles in regard to the practice of burning sugar cane on Maui. Until you live here, you just can’t imagine how the cane burning and its attendant smoke can affect you. This taken from my back porch:

One physician’s (a radiolgist) letter to Maui Time is excerpted here:” I am in excellent health and am not sick…yet I have been coughing non-stop today. As my windshield was covered with cane ashes this morning,  I assume that my cough is due to cane burning…particularly disruptive as my job as a radiologist requires me to dictate for approximately nine hours per day…if I can’t do my job effectively I may have to move. If I move, it will likely be out of Hawaii. I live and work in Kihei.” He goes on to say that he was talking to retirees who spend part of the year on Maui, and they stated that the smoke made them cough and “feel lousy.” They were discussing not coming to Maui as often, because of it.

The radiologist wraps up his letter with: “I have two small children and although I love otherwise living on Maui, I feel irresponsible as a parent to continue to subject them to forced inhalation of cane smoke. I hope that those in charge of making decisions regarding the burning of cane on Maui also feel some responsibilty to care for the health and welfare of it citizens.” Please note that Hawaii has the highest incidence of asthma in the country, which particularly affects children, and early on.

Sugar Cane Ash

I took this photo of sugar ash by a curb in Kahului. Imagine what that does to your lungs! It is greasy, tarry and sticky, so it sticks to your car, your porches, your garbage cans, and your walkways at your home.

Maui Time states “Maui’s fight over sugar cane burning gets even hotter.” The truth is, there isn’t much of anything that gets Mauians more fired up than the cane burning and its smoke. This past week it lead to a woman having rocks thrown at her and being called a “Haole *%@^” when she wound up on the wrong side of the street during a planned sugar-cane rally! The opponents were employees of HC&S, which employs 800 people. A recent petition, circulated to stop the burn, garnered 8,000 signatures.

HC&S burns 400 ACRES of cane per year, which comes out to about 70 acres per day (roughly the size of Disneyland.) Try as you might to think you can escape it, if you are out and about, your are breathing it. Also,many Maui people don’t have air-conditioning (they didn’t move to Hawaii to live in sealed boxes) but with the cane smoke, are forced to keep their windows closed and as one woman put it “to circulate the smoke already in the house.” (My experience is that even with the windows closed, some smoke seeps in.)

A woman with the initials A.I. wrote: “Today my daughter is home sick , after weeks of burning (the accumulative affects that her immune system just can’t handle indefinitely)…she has been home bound all weekend and her asthma is too bad for her to go to school.I am an independent contractor, and I don’t get sick pay when I stay home with my children.” She ended with:

“It may cost HC&S profit to change their farming practices, but think of all the other businesses that won’t be paying sick leave due to cane-related illnesses.”

And what about health care?

I personally am one of the people whose asthma is aggravated by the smoke. I did not have asthma before moving to Hawaii. We are fortunate if our trade winds blow the smoke out. If the trades are down, this is what we look at and breathe for hours:

Sugar Cane Smoke on Maui

Another piece of the puzzle to think about, when you’re wondering what it’s really like to live in Paradise.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Oracle CEO’s Island Laboratory

Oracle CEO’s Island Laboratory

Aloha!
In an AP article on Tuesday, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison envisions his recently acquired Hawaii Island of Lanai becoming a “little laboratory.” He wants to experiment with more environmentally sound ways to live on the 141 square-mile island, including: converting seawater into freshwater, exporting more fruit to places like Japan and having more electric cars. He made these remarks Tuesday to CNBC.

About those cars: an Island is a perfect place for them. People would be able to drive just far enough to not need a real charge. According to the Sierra Club, http://www.sierraclub.org/electric-vehicles/myths, a fully charged pure electric vehicle can go 80-140 miles on one charge and can recharge in 6 to 8 hours on a 220 V outlet charging station. A Plug-in hybrid can recharge in about 100 minutes. I hope that Larry Ellison buys electric cars for all of his minimum-wage workers on Lanai. I really do.

I also wish that the government would use Maui as its own laboratory for electric cars. I really do. If Lahaina had a way for Mike to charge a car when he got there for work, we would buy a Chevy Volt, who’s MSRP of $40,280 is not too far out of line for the savings in gas. As it is, Mike spends $1200 a year on gas. What a perfect place for the government to experiment with charging stations and real-life workers!

Ellison bought 98% of Lanai from David Murdoch in June for an undisclosed price. Before now, he hadn’t publicly shared his vision, leaving Lanai’s 3,200 residents in the dark about their futures. Ellison got two resorts, two golf courses and assorted commercial and residential buildings. He also got three utilities on the island which are now under his control.

Oh my, I just saw the Science-fiction movie trailer in my head.

Let’s just hope he intends to use his considerable power for good and not evil. In the meantime can someone please sign us up for that electric car experiment?

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog please click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Other Side of the Coin

Other Side of the Coin

Aloha!
Without asking, I got to hear the other side of the story from the medical community. I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for my tennis elbow, and we had a chat on Saturday. She told me she’d never worked anywhere else where patients were so uncooperative as they are on Maui. Why do you think that is? I asked. She said as far she was concerned we needed to look at the type of person who typically moves to Maui to begin with… Rebels, those who can’t fit in anywhere else, and misfits (her words). She said she could tell the minute she met me that I would do the exercises she prescribed, however, most people gave her backtalk and told her reasons why other things would work better! And then didn’t do the exercises.

Another piece of this story is that I had gotten physical therapy 10 years ago at the same place but it was owned by different people, a couple from New Zealand. I really liked them, but they’re gone now… This is the cycle on Maui. No matter what or whom you love: a restaurant, a hairdresser, a doctor, a tradesperson… They leave. They open a business, find out how hard it is on Maui with such a small population, and poof! they’re gone.

On another note, this physical therapist told me how hard it is for her to get a date on Maui. She’s cute, funny, intelligent, and holds multiple degrees… But she’s over 40. You wouldn’t know that to look at her, she surfs every day, but she said the guys just don’t ask her out. Again I asked, why do you think that is? She said because she reads at the beach the guys say she’s too smart, and it’s off-putting. They also want someone in their 20s. She’s resigned herself to being alone. Isn’t that sad?

A hui hou! Mahalo for stopping by. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the homepage.
Aloha, Jamaica

Knock-Knock

Aloha!
There was a bellower in the hospital bed across the hall from me. He
would yell Eeeyyyy! (not in the cute Arthur Fonzerelli style), and because this
is Maui, the nurse would bellow back. He’d bellow, she’d bellow. My pretty young doctor came in and said she’d only been on Maui a month but she was already moving to the hospital on Oahu. Seems she couldn’t take the “community” style of doctoring here, which is a nicer way of saying what might be considered “unprofessional” elsewhere…Like that bellowing nurse.

The reason I’m in the hospital is because of a botched (gallbladder) surgery from five years ago. Everyone told me not to have surgery on Maui, and because I hadn’t done it before, I didn’t believe them. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty. Three more procedures later, I thought everything was solved, but no, Here I am, back in the hospital.

I’ve lost track of the number of physicians I’ve had at Kaiser on Maui. You see, they move to Paradise thinking everything is going to be perfect, and when they find out how little they make compared to the cost of housing, or how much private school will be for their children, they leave. Then there are the ones like my young doctor in the hospital who just moved here from Chicago and simply can’t take the country-style feel of medicine on Maui.
Remember the movie “Doc Holiday?” It’s kind of like that, except there’s no
happy ending, where the doctor actually stays on.

The big joke here is that when you check into Maui Memorial Hospital, you don’t check out. You’re dead. A friend of mine is married to a radiologist on Maui and when he got blood poisoning he refused to stay in the hospital. And he cited the above quote as the reason why.

Another practice on Maui is “rent a doctors.” Doctors and nurses come here because it sounds like fun to be in Paradise for a while. And they are only temps. The question is, where did they come from? How good are they? Are they running from problems elsewhere?

I’m not saying you can’t find a perfectly fine physician to treat your cold or flu on Maui. I absolutely love my GP and my OB/GYN (both female.) You just might want to rethink the whole surgery thing. So that means getting on a plane when you feel like snot to FLY to Oahu or the mainland to have your surgery. And guess what? Kaiser frowns on the practice and won’t pay for your airfare!

Much of the basic problem with my healthcare started with the fact that I had a surgeon five years ago who hadn’t had enough practice. We’re only a population of 150,000 people (100,000 twelve years ago). How much practice can they get? Always ask how many procedures a surgeon does per year and compare it to Information online that states how much experience a doctor should have. My doctor on Maui was performing about 1/10 the number of procedures needed to stay proficient. Another thing people don’t think about when they move to Paradise…

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Orange.
Orange who?
Orange you glad it was me in the hospital, and not you?

Many, many thanks to those of you who wrote to express your
good wishes while I was in the hospital. Mahalo nui loa for your care and
concern!

A hui hou!  Mahalo for stopping by.
Aloha,
Jamaica

Dog in a Cat Suit

Dog in a Cat Suit

Aloha!

Our cat Lili eats all kinds of Hawaiian fruit: papaya, mango, lilikois. Cherimoyas are her very favorite, but they’re hard to come by. Actually, Lili eats all fruit. Come to think of it, she has never turned down anything we’ve ever offered her, including onions and champagne. She has a very adventurous palette. Here she’s finishing up the last of a papaya:

Lili Eating Papaya

And here she’s working on an avocado:

Lili Eating Avocado

We put that little cat-print fabric down because she’s a bit of a messy eater. We stumbled on all of this when she was a kitten and Mike sat down to watch a football game with some caramel corn, and Lili jumped up and asked for some. He made the mistake of sharing with her…and she has expected to eat whatever we are eating ever since. She jumps up on the banquette in the breakfast nook every morning and waves her paw in the air like a music conductor, until someone notices and offers her something like bacon and eggs or mango smoothie. Pretty good table manners.

She also comes skidding to the door on two wheels whenever company arrives. Lili loves company. The original Party Animal. People can’t believe she greets them at the door. They are always saying, “That’s the most amazing cat” and we say, “We know…it’s like she’s a dog in a cat suit, except we can’t find the zipper!”

Since she has such expensive eating habits (our own fault, we know) it would be nice if we could find a way to get her on Leno, or maybe Live! With Kelly and Michael. She’s way more entertaining than a lot of the acts they have on. Here, she’s helping to dictate this blog post:

Lili Dictating Blog Post

If anybody has any connections, give us a shout. ‘Cuz now she’s asking to go to college and this is going to get expensive.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this bolg, please click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

The Best of Maui, 2012

The Best of Maui, 2012

Aloha!

Every year The Maui News runs a contest for people to vote on the best of everything Maui, including restaurants and activities. It is the Valley Isle’s “Best of Maui” survey, established in 1992. The results are in…and while I whole-heartedly agree with some, others leave me scratching my head. Huh? For instance, Alan Wong’s new “Amasia” won “Best New Restaurant” and since we were just there for my birthday (and the review will be posted later on), I can’t say I back up those reader’s opinions.

But that’s what Opinions are all about, right?

However, as we sat at Amasia (at The Grand Wailea) we looked around, and comparing it to other restaurants, said, “You just can’t beat “Mama’s Fish House” for ambience on Maui–and sure enough, listed under

“Best Ambience” was Mama’s Fish House.

Best Water Activity: Teralani Sailing Adventures. I have been on almost every boat EXCEPT the Teralani!

Best Lu’au: Old Lahaina Luau. I disagree. I would move in and live at “The Feast at Lele” luau and let them feed me their gourmet food for the rest of my life. (We have friends in Europe who say that their night at The Feast at Lele was the highlight of their entire Hawaii trip, which included multiple islands.) But I’m talking food here, and the Old Lahaina Luau’s buffet line and watery drinks just don’t do it for me.

Best Restaurant Overall: Lahaina Grill.  Oh, my. Don’t get me started on the last time we went there. A mix-up with our gift card (we were in the right, they were in the wrong)– had the waiter chasing us down the street as if we’d robbed the place. Not a fun way to end the evening. Anyway, as Mike just said, “Why would anyone go there, when Gerard’s French Restaurant is just down the street? It’s way better.”  I can’t agree more, though Gerard’s did win for Best French Restaurant.

Best Ethnic Restaurant: A Saigon Cafe www.mauivietnameserestaurant.com 1792 Main St., Wailuku. Again, sorry. Just can’t agree with those who say they crave the “exotic and fiery rice in a clay pot.” Their food doesn’t win me over, the place has a strange smell from those clay pots –maybe Chinese Five Spice?  and it has always seemed a bit seedy, but the article on its win says that it’s under a renovation that should be completed next week. But there are obviously people who love this place.

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant- Ruby’s Diner 275 Queen Kaahumanu Center www.rubys.com  Kids’ menu available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Best Resort Restaurant: Ko at the Fairmont Kea Lani Foods from Maui’s illustrious plantation heritage: Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese. It just re-opened this spring after a $5.1 million renovation. It’s next on our list of places to try, but I’ve heard really good things about it from friends.

Best Sushi: Sansei, in both Kihei and Kapalua www.sanseihawaii.com This is also our choice for sushi because of their early-bird and after-10 pm discounts.

Best Pizza: Flatbread Pizza Company, Paia www.flatbreadcompany.com

Best Seafood: Mama’s Fish House www.mamasfishhouse.com What’s not to love about Mama’s?(other than the large dent in your wallet) Its ocean-view, cove-like setting makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to Trader Vic times, only better, much better. I once asked about their many wow-factor tropical floral arrangements and was told they have their own floral designer who works only for them. So that explains it. I’m not even a fish eater…but I love Mama’s.

Best Bakery: Komoda’s Store and Bakery in Makawao. They’ve been in business for 96 years, they must be doing something right! They’re best known for their cream-puffs, however all the breads are done by hand, 100% from scratch. No automation involved.

Best Steak: Ruth’s Chris Steak House. www.ruthschris.com. They have two locations, one in Wailea and one in Lahaina. We go for their prime time special, between 5 and 6 PM; the three-course special runs $42.95 and is more than we can possibly eat.

So that about wraps it up… What is your opinion of this year’s winners? Who would you add or subtract from the list?

A hui hou. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog please click the Follow Button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

The Sounds of Silence

The Sounds of Silence

Aloha!

Yesterday we decided to go for a hike to the Swinging Bridges. It’s one of those hikes that I’ve been saying for 13 years I was going to go do, but for a variety of reasons including never knowing if it was really open or not or if it required a permit or not, I’d never done. Just to be on the safe side I googled it to see if the permit would be required, and was chastened to find out it is now closed, permanently and irrevocably. As in razor wire and high fences. The website said “another casualty of Maui Revealed, ” referred to as “that damn book” at the concierge desk where I worked, because it gave away every last local secret, and places like Swinging Bridges got overused and trampled by tourists, though the final nail in the coffin was probably that Adam Sandler filmed there in “Just Go With It.”

So we gave up on that idea and headed out to a favorite hike Upcountry, which promised the possibility of fresh blackberries to be picked. It has been blazing hot where we live, at an elevation of 1500 feet. When we built our house we assumed we would never need air conditioning. But each year it has seemed hotter and hotter and eventually we broke down and put in window air conditioners, which cost a small fortune to run, and we use sparingly. I thought maybe it was just my imagination that it’s been hotter, but then I read an article which stated that Hawaii is running an average of 10° hotter in the last decade. Global warming, indeed.

This hike is at about 3500 elevation, and cool as shave ice after the heat we’ve been experiencing. The soil is black, not red, and moist, not chalky
and dry. I breathe deeply… The smell of wet earth mixed with moss and wet green grass on this mid-morning stroll fills me with joy. We pass a house with two friendly goats in the yard. They trot to the fence and Mike pulls grass and
feeds them. They are comical looking, and one has the most beautiful brown
markings on its face that I’ve ever seen on a goat. The cows stop grazing and
lift their heads to stare at us as we pass. One bull stands so stock-still, I
think for a moment he’s a statue, until the telltale flick of his tail.

We climb and climb, and now we have a view of Oprah’s Maui house
below us. You would not believe all the people who are fanatically interested in
where Oprah lives on Maui. The thing I remember as we hike is an article in her magazine where she talked about spending a long time at her house one summer. She said in all the years she’d been trying to lose weight, that just hiking with her dogs on the hills behind this house had made the pounds melt
miraculously, with no diet required. We are hiking those same hills now, and I
know I will feel it tomorrow.

Up and up, and now we have a clear, unobstructed view of the channel, and there’s Kaho’olawe, parked in the ocean, with the crescent shape of Molokini nearby. All of this below us as far as the eye can see, ocean, fields, islands surrounded by water, and not a single sound. Not one. Not so much as a car or a lawnmower. Finally a lone dog lets out a woof and it echoes across the air. Then stillness again.

I am blessed/ cursed, depending on the situation, with acute hearing. Engines rumbling on a plane ride for instance, are anathema to me. So if somehow I could live in this perfect silence I would. Mike mentions that we should buy acreage for a retreat, up here where it’s cool, where we would be away from the cane burns and fertilizers… And I think Right, sure…with the money we have squirreled away in a sock in the drawer. Nice thought, though.

We come to the end of our hike, and another farmer’s gate with a sign beseeching us to lock it behind us because cattle are grazing, and we do. I find myself not wanting to leave, not wanting to go back down to the heat and the dust and noise and the people and the work that’s waiting for us. Just another few moments, please.

Just as those who visit Maui on vacation, and don’t want to go home, when a week or two is never long enough… these stolen moments on a perfectly silent Sunday morning have not been enough. But they will have to do.

A hui hou. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

A Tourist’s Card

A Tourist’s Card

Aloha!

In the September issue of the Costco Connection under the Travel section, there is an article titled “Discovering the Dominican Republic.” The article states that upon landing in the Dominican Republic, visitors must purchase a (tourism tax) Tourist Card before clearing customs. The card costs US $10 per person and must be paid in cash.

The endless possibilities for corruption with so much cash notwithstanding, I find the concept intriguing. In my recent blog post “Time to Shape Up,” I discussed how the amenities available to tourists in Maui, such as the park systems and restrooms, are old and run down, including the Kahului airport. But the cry in Hawaii is always that there’s not enough money, no matter how many tourists come.

For those of you unfamiliar, the problem comes down to the General Fund in Hawaii. It’s basically a catchment system that all money is funneled into and out of. Problems arise when one particular entity needs money or has even raised money… but it must filter first through the General Fund, and often does not land where intended. The most recent example of this is the libraries system. The Friends of the Library were consistently raising money to benefit the library system, which was then placed in the General Fund and unavailable to the library system. See the problem? I am quite
pleased that this was recently revised, and any monies from benefits and/or
fundraisers for the library will stay within the library system, where it belongs.

Which brings us to the concept of a Tourist Card. If Hawaii is consistently strapped for money, which it is, then why not institute something of this sort, which could pay for the infrastructures which the tourist’s use? For each time that a tourist checks into a nice hotel on Maui (and pays a hefty “Resort Fee” per day for the pleasure) they are also using the Maui roads, infrastructure, parks systems, and beaches. Not to mention the airport, which is badly in need of an upgrade.

As Mike and I discussed this at length, we came to realize the inherent problems with such a card: who would say where the money went, and how? Every politician would have their hand in the pot, unless some strict guidelines were in force. For instance: each island could get to keep the money that was collected from a tourist’s deplaning on that island only. The money would not go into the General Fund, but rather a Tourist Fund, per Island. Returning Hawaii residents would be exempt.  For each year’s money
collected, a pet project could be chosen: this year the roads, next year the
park restrooms, et cetera. And no one could claim that the system was unfair as far as monies collected, because the number of tourists arriving would equal thenumber of Tourist Card dollars staying on that particular island. Oahu mightcollect more money because of more tourists, but those tourists are also using the Oahu roads.

The Dominican Republic is able to monitor this because their tourists must pass through customs. In our discussion Mike and I realized the enormity of setting up such a system in Hawaii, especially where the collection point would be concerned. Collection would fall either to the airline for its passengers, or a deplaning station would have to be built and instituted, sort of a security line in reverse. Difficult yes, but not impossible, certainly.

So the question is this: as a tourist, would you be willing to pay a small fee, say $10, for a Tourist Card, if the money went strictly to amenities for tourism, or roads, on that island? And would you balk if you were to Island-hop and that $10 fee was applied to each island? What about if it was $10 at an origination point and only $2.00 if you island-hopped? Or what about $2.00 per island, period?

None of this too pricey for a honeymooning couple, perhaps, but for a family of four it could really add up. Unless the system included a way to notate the tourist’s origination point, and the tourist would not have to repay. Then we would have the neighbor Islands screaming because too many people had originated at Oahu and the dollars would not transfer (though that is changing somewhat in that the airline hubs are moving to outer islands.)

This is obviously just a rough idea. Please share your thoughts on whether or not you believe a Tourist Card could be a viable idea and whether you’d be willing to pay for one if the bugs were worked out.

And I’d like to hear any and all ideas you have in regard to same.

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

Maui Weather Today: High of 85, Low of 71

Aloha, Jamaica

Living on this Island

Living on this Island

Aloha!

People are certain a move to Maui will strengthen a marriage; eliminate job stress, and take them away from the grime and crime of their area. People dream about moving to Maui, however, few take the leap due to fear of the unknown and losing touch…

Would you be able to live on an island? I really don’t think about being surrounded by water here, but there are people whom it really bothers. I knew a woman named Linda who lived Upcountry and had this view:

West Maui Mountains

I thought the view was spectacular, but it drove her crazy. She said that because she could see the island end to end, she knew all the time that she was surrounded by water. Her husband was an engineer who had come to Maui to oversee the cleanup of Kahoolawe, so they were only going to be here for a few years… But she left after two years, she couldn’t take it.
Interestingly, people say the cut-off is two years for how long newcomers last in Maui. The novelty wears off of going to the beach every single day. People drive around and around the island and realize they’ve seen everything. What’s next? But that’s it, we’re on an island.

Or they see that their favorite band is going to play on the mainland, and they start realizing all they’re missing. Or they start thinking that the family that drove them crazy back home wasn’t so bad after all. And they think that their friends on the mainland will come visit more often than they do… But airline travel is very expensive and annoying now. And they find out that when the sugarcane is burnt they get headaches and their lungs feel heavy…or if they have asthma, they simply can’t breathe when the Vog (volcanic organic gas) from the Big Island rolls in.

I know a girl who works for one of the moving companies, and she told me this story: a Woman moved here with her two children. She moved everything, and was still unloading the crate from the shipper when they burned the sugarcane. The woman was horrified, both her children had asthma, and she had no idea that they burned the sugarcane. She loaded the crate back up that minute, and left the island. They never even moved in. The girl at the moving company told me they all thought that was some kind of new record.

Moving to Maui is a big commitment. It isn’t like the mainland where you can just put stuff in a moving truck and drive across state line. It takes so much thought, preparation and money, that if you get here and decide it isn’t for you, you can’t just turn around and leave.

Do you think you could live on an island? Would it bother you to be surrounded by water? Could you leave your friends and family? Would you be willing to have your pay cut dramatically and yet have your housing costs practically double? Would your work skills even translate to Maui?

Moving to Maui, like marriage, should not be entered into lightly.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Hawaii Dogs Just Wanna Drive

Hawaii Dogs Just Wanna Drive

Aloha!

Apparently, Hawaii dogs have been taking driving lessons while the rest of us sleep. I have heard of two instances now from friends in Hawaii where their dogs have tried to drive their cars.

My friend Shel does Alaskan Malamute rescue. (You have not seen a hot dog until you’ve seen an Alaskan Malamute in Hawaii.) Also, Malamutes “blow their coats” in colder climates, just big football-sized hunks of fur, but in Hawaii their systems are confused because it’s so hot, and so  just shed and shed slowwwwlly. Shel says the Malamutes are on Maui time, too! Shel is a model of patience with dogs, and also can’t say no to a stray or rescue, and is a foster Mom for Maui Humane Society puppies. Which leads us to her dog, Jesse. Jesse was a rescue found in a cave in Tennessee. He had been bit by what they assume was a copperhead, and it got infected and really mangled his jaw bone. When Jesse smiles his doggy smile, you can see daylight through the side of his jaw. But the good news is, Shel became his foster Mom, going to the mainland and flying Jesse all the way back to Maui; not an easy or in no way inexpensive, feat.

Shel and her husband Clay, who is a phenomenal wood sculpture artist: http://simpsonartworks.com/,  built their house in Kula on a hill. The driveway is at the top of the hill and you drive down the driveway to get to the house below. The whole place is fenced in, because of the dogs. Shel had just returned from taking her mom to the airport, and Jesse was in the truck, riding shotgun. Shel stopped the truck at the mouth of the driveway (top of the hill) so she could get out to open the gate. The truck has some transmission/gear issues, and you guessed it–Jesse knocked the truck into gear while on the hill.

Just as Shel got the big gate swung back, she saw the truck start to move, and could only chase behind as the truck rolled down the hill straight for the house, Jesse at the wheel. She noted that he appeared to be having an inordinately doggone good time. Shel could barely watch as the truck rolled smack into the front of her house. I groaned as she relayed this, then asked her who had  won… House or truck? She said since the house is built like a bunker (cement block with rebar inserted for hurricane protection) the house had won. The truck has a smashed-in front end and is currently non-drivable. “And,” she says firmly, “Jesse’s license has been suspended.”

The second instance of giddy Hawaii dog drivers was our friend Mike’s dog, Dawg. Mike owns a backhoe company and was parked on the shoulder of Hana highway, looking at a job. He’d left Dawg in the pickup truck while he checked out the job site. There were numerous barrels of diesel fuel in the back end of the pickup, kept there for the backhoe. While Mike was talking to the site owner, out of the corner of his eye he saw his pickup truck start rolling backwards downhill…and out onto the road. His dog had also knocked the truck out of gear. Mike could envision all manner of mayhem, including a 15-car pileup and mass destruction on the highway… But the truck suddenly switched direction, backed over an embankment, then flipped over and crashed. Endless seconds passed as he watched, waiting to see if the truck was going to explode. If this had been the movies, the special-effects guys would’ve had a riot. BUT…nothing!!

Mike held his breath as he ran for the truck. Score: Dawg fine, Mike furious.

Lest we think it’s only Hawaii dogs who enjoy these hijinks, there was also recently  a mainland couple who took their two small dogs with them on a ride to the dump. While they were unloading junk from the back, they heard the unmistakable THUNK sound of the cars doors being locked. The dogs had hit the lock button.(They probably wanted to go for a joyride and could only do so by locking the owners out.) Locksmith was called. Score: dogs one, owners zip.

What’s next–Dogs who throw their boat owners overboard and start sailing their boats?

A hui hou. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

You Know You Live in Hawaii When…

Aloha!

You know you live in Hawaii when you pull your laundry out of the washing machine and out pops one very clean, but alas very dead, gecko:

Gecko with Hawaiian Blue Ginger

You know you live in Hawaii when you are as tired of being hot now, as you used to be being cold.

You know you live in Hawaii when a road crew takes as long to fix a stretch of street two blocks long… as it would take a California road crew to build a stretch of freeway eight miles long.

You know you live in Hawaii when you’re at a restaurant and see a salad called “Whole tomato in a pool of li hing mui sauce” and know what that means.

You know you live in Hawaii when your food bill is three times higher than your electric bill was on the mainland.

You know you live in Hawaii when every single person you know “back home” thinks you are the luckiest person alive.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, baby…Jamaica

Have You Laughed Today?

Aloha!

Maui is a pretty loose place. I’m always amused when I’m out and about and notice how feral-like many Maui children are. They haven’t been groomed within inch of their lives, unlike the little mainland boy I saw at Ha’iilimaile General Store the other night. He was about six years old, pasty-skinned, like he never stepped outdoors. Blonde hair parted with military precision; slicked down. Wearing khaki shorts and a plaid button-down shirt, with gleaming white tennis shoes. He looked like someone sat on him a lot.

Then there are the Maui kids: their hair sticking up and out, like it hasn’t been brushed in a week. They wear bright, mismatched clothes, and are tanned and healthy- looking. Usually they sport some interesting choice of footwear, like zebra-print rubber boots with shorts. Surely to grow up to be iconoclasts, all. Another thing about Maui kids: they laugh a lot, and don’t seem to pitch fits like I hear the kids do when I’m on the mainland. It leads me to believe that mainland kids spend way too much time indoors, and Maui kids are pretty much allowed to run wild, so they’re just calmer by nature.

Hearing lots of laughter was one of the things I noticed most when I first moved to Maui. At the beach, in restaurants, standing on street corners. Locals are a raucous bunch. I was in an office building yesterday and all the female workers were just cackling loudly, maybe over some bawdy joke. No one sushed them or reminded them they were in a place of business. Maui children running wild grow up to be Maui office workers. And they laugh a lot. Even in bad times.

One of my favorite things about working at the hotel all those years was hearing the laughter from the Front Desk people. The Concierge desk sat further out in the lobby, so I wasn’t really part of the Front Desk. But I could still hear them tell stories, share what they had for dinner the night before, and always, there was laughter.

The other evening, after a long day, I stopped at IHOP in Kahului and put in a to-go order. I had about a fifteen minute wait (should have just eaten there) and while I waited, a local family came in. More and more of them, till they filled the waiting area with ten people, and more of their party was still to arrive. Watching them all together, laughing, telling stories in their melodic pidgin and cutting up, I had a twinge of loneliness–of missing my family on the mainland, the choice that all of us who move an ocean away must  live with.

It turns out this family had just come from a surprise engagment party. They had all gathered, knowing the young man was going to propose to The One. Except, she didn’t show up. She was always running late. They waited and waited. Finally, she arrived. In pidgin the groom-to-be now related, “While we was all dhere waiting, I got to tinking…instead of engagement ring, mebbe shouda got her one watch!” They all roared, and I couldn’t help joining in.

Laughter: it’s good for the soul.

Thought for the day: Live a balanced life–learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work everyday some. —Robert Fulghum

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Island Style

Aloha!

Are you a Hawaiian music fan?  There is so much to choose from , but two that I personally like are John Cruz http://www.johncruz.com/, particularly his song “Island Style”, which was a big hit, and of course Jake Shimabukura http://jakeshimabukuro.com/welcome/
the young ukulele virtuosa, who was a youtube sensation.

Speaking of music, there is an Internet email game going around. The idea is to name a song that’s so horrendous that it gets stuck in the recipient’s head. For instance, I would say “Muskrat Love”, and you would groan, because now that’s all you hear for the next hour. Then you’re supposed to tag me back with an equally bad selection. “Midnight at the Oasis” , for instance,sets my teeth on edge.  For many of us, the songs that get stuck in our heads came out before we were even born. But still we know them, possibly from  the dreaded Muzak, or from our parent’s collections.

When my dad was a kid in the 30s, his brother Jimmy bought the record “Frankie and Johnny.” (Cue music: Frankie and Johnnie were lovers…oh lordy how they could love…) Jimmy played it and played it and played it. One day my dad, who was five years younger than his brother and absolutely sick to death of Frankie and and her stupid, cheatin’ lover, took that record out across the road and sailed it into the field. Although his brother looked and looked, he couldn’t find it. Winter came and went, and the following spring my dad was out hiking in that field with his English setter. There, wet and mangled, lay,”Frankie and Johnny.” He never told his brother.

“Achy, Breaky, Heart” . “Seasons in the Sun”. Can you hear it?

Then there is Hawaiian music, an acquired taste for some.  I like much of it. I can even handle the high falsetto if it’s live, in person, and done well. Other people, not so much. A few years back I was at the Maui Writer’s Conference.( Don’t bother to Google it, it’s extinct now). Anyway, the line for the women’s restroom was a mile long, as all lines for women’s restrooms tend to be. I had probably been standing there for close to 10 minutes, and Hawaiian music was playing the whole time. I was enjoying it, as it echoed around the restroom and bounced off the walls.

A few feet ahead of me in line was a little Texan woman. She had the big hair, 2 inch nails, and little gold lame sandals. A Hawaiian falsetto song came on. All of a sudden she shuddered, covered her ears, and yelled in a southern drawl, “I just can’t take this horrible noise one more second!” and she bolted out of the bathroom, after waiting in line all that time. As the rest of us watched her go, there was a moment of silence, and then we all burst out laughing.

Seasons in the Sun. It’s a Small World After All.

Tag, you’re it.

Maui Weather Today: High 85, Low 71

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by.

Aloha, Jamaica

The Facts of Life on Maui

The Facts of Life on Maui

Aloha!

I always say that owning a house on Maui is like owning the Golden gate Bridge. It’s a fact of life that when those workers get to one end of the bridge and have finished painting it, they turn around and start again at the other end. In Maui, that’s true of both the inside of the house, and the yard.
In California, I worked like a maniac and had a housekeeper. In retrospect I ask, What for? There was no dirt! Just a little dust, every two weeks, and of course the bathroom can always use a bit of attention. But in Maui, it’s really hot, so you open the windows. Then the wind starts blowing. The wind is full of the ubiquitous red dirt.  You know the house is going to get covered with dirt, but it’s too hot to close the windows. And it’s too expensive to run the air conditioning… so you leave the windows open.
Today I cleaned my office. Not organizing, mind you, just cleaning.  Every book I touch has a layer of red dirt on the top of it’s spine. The books feel gritty, as do the bookshelves. My desk, mouse, computer screen; all covered with red dirt.

Then under the bookshelves, in the corners, and along every windowsill is the gecko poop! Another fact of life: the geckos know they own the house, they just let you live there. There is no catching them because they have amazing suction cup feet. You chase them and they just run up to the ceiling, hang upside down, and cackle at you. Literally, they cackle. And continue to poop wherever they like. Then there is the array of other interesting creatures. My friend Shel wrote to me the other day and said she was vacuuming (we spend our lives chasing red dirt) and she heard a caaathunk. She said, “Now just try googling ‘how to remove mangled live centipede from beater bar of a vacuum cleaner.'”

You heard me.
A large chunk of the budget when we built our house was installing wood floors. I would not have put carpet in my house if someone paid me. The reason: I was in a client’s home, who had orange carpeting. Except that then she moved a dresser, and underneath, the carpeting was BLUE. The entire carpeting was so full of red dirt it had turned orange. Tile or carpeting it is!
I am a writer and I love books. I have books everywhere. If I had my way I would own the expensive old Barrister’s bookcases, because they have a glass door that you could pull down over the books to protect them. In Maui, that would help keep out the red dirt.
I know of women in Haiku who take every book off their bookshelves, turn on blower fans, open up all the books, and let the fans blow through to drive the humidity out of them. They do this multiple times throughout the year. Otherwise, they mold.
Just another day in Paradise!
Maui Weather Today: High 85, Low, 72
A hui hou. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, click the Follow button on the Home page. Mahalo for stopping by!
Aloha, Jamaica

Shark Snack

Shark Snack

Aloha!

As those of you who follow this blog know, Mike works as a boat Captain on the Scotch Mist out of Lahaina www.scotchmistsailingcharters.com/

A couple of days ago he came home from work and told me this story: another Captain out of Lahaina had taken a snorkel tour over near the coastline of Lanai. The group of snorkelers were in the water enjoying themselves.  While the Captain waited on the boat, he looked down in the water and saw a large turtle surface. Under the turtle he saw another shape, and assumed it was a second turtle…when suddenly an eight-foot tiger shark surfaced just behind the turtle, and opening its large jaws–swallowed the turtle whole!

The Captain started yelling, “Everyone back on the boat. Back on the boat, NOW!” but the shark had his snack, and took off, not bothering any of the humans.

I guess he didn’t get the memo that the turtles are endangered and not to get too close.

For those who would enjoy a sailing adventure the next time you’re on Maui:

Scotch Mist Sunset Tour Highlights:

The Scotch Mist is the fastest production line sailboat of her size in the world.

■ Bubbly Champagne, Kula Chocolates, Beer, Wine, Soda & Juice ■ Quiet and Relaxing Sunset Sail ■ Beautiful views of Maui, Lanai and Molokai ■

Snorkel Trips Available (to the brave and fearless!) to Lanai

Call 1-877-669-1077. Enjoy!

A hui hou (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page. Mahalo for stopping by.

Maui Weather Today: High 87, Low 73

Aloha, Jamaica

Restaurant Review: Colleen’s at the Cannery

Restaurant Review: Colleen’s at the Cannery

Aloha!

Colleen’s at the Haiku Cannery http://colleensinhaiku.com/location.html is an out-of-the-way gem mostly frequented by the locals, but it would be an excellent stopping-off point on a trip back from Hana for the tourists. When you come to the Haiku Community Center, make a left and then another left onto Haiku Road, and up to the Cannery, which will be on your left also. It’s across from the Haiku Post Office. On our visit for Mike’s birthday, we saw one tourist couple waving a Maui driving map about, but other than that it was an interesting mix of locals who could have been doctors or windsurfers, sitting next to the guy with hair halfway down his back….and bare feet. Only in Hawaii.

We went on a Friday night and waited about thirty minutes for our food, but the service was good and the wait staff attentive with refilling water glasses. Colleen’s ambience reminds me of something you would find in Berkeley or Benicia, the town I was from in California. It has a restful vibe and they’re doing it right with the portions and flavors. The the only thing missing for me is artwork–a place for the eye to land. So I had to content myself with people-watching.

The place was packed and all tables full during the dinner hour (we arrived at 7 pm, with no reservation). Don’t stand at the door and wait, because it’s seat-yourself. Mike had the special: mahi-mahi with tiger prawns in a beautiful beure-blanc sauce that was excellent. We detected a hint of saffron. It came with a large scoop of fluffy, not gummy, rice and asparagus, for $25.00.

I had the Warm Bacon Spinach Salad for $14.00. It was quite large, had crispy potatoes, carmelized onions, cherry tomatoes, fresh bleu cheese and white truffle vinaigrette. If anything there was a little too much dressing and bacon in it (full slices, unusual for this salad.) In addition to their full pizza menu, the dinner menu is imaginative and it would appear there is something for everyone: BBQ Baby Back Ribs in a Maker’s Mark Honey sauce, a Shrimp and Garlic Linguine, Wild Mushroom Ravioli for the vegetarians (very important in Haiku) and a Vodka Penne Pasta, in addition to the Burgers and Fresh Daily Catch. I saw a number of Fish and Chips baskets come out, so they must be worth trying, if that’s your thing.

We were too full for dessert. We grabbed their breakfast and lunch menus also and plan to go again soon. The breakfast menu is typical and includes an Organic Tofu Vegetable Wrap. For the vegetarians, lunch includes a Grilled Ono and Avocado Wrap  (if you eat fish) and a  Roasted Vegetable Wrap.

The place is clean, comfortable (lots of booths, a biggie for me) and the noise level surprisingly low for concrete floors and high ceilings with an open-kitchen plan.

Give Colleen’s a try if you venture to Hana, or make it a destination with a pretty drive and side trip to Paia or Makawao. I think you’ll be pleased.

Colleen’s at the Cannery: 810 Haiku Rd., Haiku, HI 96708. 808-575-9211

Zagat Rating: 21/30.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

You Asked for It

Maui Weather Today High 84, Low 72

You Asked for It

Aloha!
It seems we’ve been on a food theme for the last few blog posts. I have asked readers what they would like to see in this blog, and the answers came back, “Restaurant reviews.” Being that I lived for 20 years right next to the Napa Valley in California, and did Interior Design work there, I will provide some
restaurant reviews in this blog. I’m a pretty good cook, but I LOVE to eat out.

First of all, I don’t know how any restaurant survives these days. Especially on Maui, with the price of food. We used to buy the good canned crab meat
at Costco on a somewhat regular basis, and it was $ 8.99 per can. (I make a mean crabcake.) Then the price went to $9.99 then $12.99 then $15.99 and the last I saw, it was at $18 can. We stopped buying it. So if crab has doubled on the shelf at Costco, how much are restaurateurs having to pay? The same with our electric bill; it’s doubled on Maui in the last few years. Business people are paying those same rates.

When you come to Maui on vacation, you are in vacation mode. You have set a certain amount of money set aside to spend… and do so gladly. We are the same way when we go on vacation, our filters are different. We just go with the flow and if we want something, or want to eat out, we do it. It’s just the price of taking a vacation.

Not so when you live in a place. So eating out on Maui can be a minefield… We don’t have it in the budget to eat at the normal tourist places. And when we do eat out, we are more critical than a normal tourist would be.I laugh when I remember the time my stepdad John was here visiting from California, and one day we went to Ruby’s http://rubys.com/ in the Kaahamanu shopping center for lunch. It’s a hamburger place mostly, with a 1950’s diner vibe. John and I spent a lot of time in California comparing hamburger joints. There is so much to choose from there, with Nation’s, and In-and-Out Burger. The first thing we would do when he picked me up at the Oakland airport was go straight to Nation’s for a cheeseburger. It was our ritual. You can get out of In-and-Out Burger with a nice freshly made cheeseburger, fries, and a drink for around five bucks. It’s an eat- in restaurant, and has booths, the same as Ruby’s. And when we opened up the menu at Rubys, and John saw that the hamburgers were going to be about $12 a piece, I thought he was going to fall out of the booth. (He was a big guy, so that would’ve been quite difficult for him to do.) I ordered a cheeseburger and a drink. He ordered a bowl of chili, onion rings, and a shake.

The bill came to somewhere in the neighborhood of $27. He talked about that bill at Ruby’s for the next three years. To anyone who would listen, he said, “How in the world does anyone afford to live on Maui? When you can’t even go out for a cheeseburger….”
And I agree.

Just going out and having a good time without worrying about the tab can be a real challenge on Maui. I remember when I first moved here and was working at the hotel, I met one of the maintenance guys who had also recently moved here from Northern California. He had a good job at the hotel, his wife also worked. But they were moving back to the mainland. I questioned him, but you just got here, why are you leaving? His answer: “Because we are so
spoiled with going out to eat in Northern California, and we simply can’t afford
to do it here.”It was their thing, and it just wasn’t going to fly in Maui.

It does become a bit of of “look, but don’t touch.” I know there are a lot of nice restaurants at the hotels in Wailea and also in Lahaina, but we just don’t go eat there, because it’s not in the budget. This was a huge
adjustment for me, being from Northern California, and having Napa Valley right there at my disposal.

You can find good, honest chef-prepared food in Napa Valley for not much money. Also, a few years ago we went to LA to the Great American Pitchfest, with one of my scripts. Afterward, we drove to Santa Barbara to stay for a couple of nights. This was going to be the “vacation” portion of the trip. And because we were on vacation, I was prepared to pay good money to eat out. We got some recommendations from the concierge and headed downtown.

And were blown away. First, by all that there was to choose from. It was like its own little Napa Valley right there on the main street of Santa Barbara. Once we chose a restaurant (not an easy feat), we were treated to some of the most mouthwatering, gourmet food I have ever had for such a good price. I still think about that meal. We had an appetizer and entrées; I had one glass of wine and we shared a dessert, and were out the door for about 60 bucks. Amazing!
This is never going to happen on Maui. So, any restaurant reviews that I do on this blog will be through the eyes of hard-working Maui people with normal working people’s budgets. Not a tourist’s budget. Forewarned is forearmed.

You asked for it!

Let the games begin.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Ono Food

Maui Weather Today: High 86, Low 73

Ono Food

Aloha!

Spam musubi, courtesy of Flickr user bandita Spam Musubi

Food is an education in Hawaii. When I worked at the hotel, http://www.astonmauikaanapalivillas.com/, I got a good grasp of just how important food was to the locals. Every day from the time the front desk workers got to work, I could hear them discussing what they would eat for lunch. Who are we going to order lunch from? What are we going to have? Are we going to order as a group, or individually? Discussing food is a major component of life here: “And what did you eat last night?” they would ask each other. No one gets in the way of its enjoyment. Good food is known as “ono grinds.” (Not to be confused with Ono, the fish).

When we were building our house, we had a carpenter’s-helper named Edward. Edward was a short, stout guy from Canada who looked like a leprechaun, and he had a fun, dry sense of humor. Everyone has a story of how they got to Hawaii, and Edward’s story was that he had met a local girl, Lorna, online. Lorna was Filipino, and in due course he moved to Hawaii to be with her. Unfortunately, this meant that Edward gave up a very lucrative career as an engineer in Canada. (Love makes everyone stupid at some point.) And that was how we came to have his considerable talents for not much pay here in Maui.

Edward eventually married Lorna, and we went to their backyard wedding. After that, each morning Edward would show up here for work clutching his stomach, complaining of indigestion. Seems that his Canadian constitution was being subjected to Filipino food on a regular basis now. He described at length the “strange things they eat,” but what got to him the most was the night he visited some of her relatives and there was a goat tied to a tree in the yard…and the goat became dinner. Instead of referring to the ono (good) food in Hawaiian, Edward took to calling it “Oh, no!’ food. We still laugh about it to this day. And in true Maui style, Edward eventually moved back to his home in Canada…and Lorna was faced with the decision of whether or not to leave her family on Maui and follow him. This happens on a regular basis here. She did go, and the last I heard was that she was going to move back to Maui, whether Edward did or not. Some people bounce back and forth to Maui like ping-pong balls.

If the shortest path to love is through the stomach, what happens when the stomach recoils at the sight and smell of the food? Oh, no!

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

Aloha, Jamaica