I just got back from a trip to Maui to check out schools and living arrangements for a residency, which I will be starting in September!
I flew out on the 21st, and it took 13 hours to get there. It was weird getting in at my bedtime, and it was just time to eat in Maui. I landed in Kahului, got my rental car, which was the cutest thing on the lot, and yet an economy! Then, I navigated past the chickens in the parking lot and headed to Kihei, where I would be staying with my future residency director, Dr. C. She has a beautiful home, and I knew as soon as I met her she was cool. Not only is her home contemporary, but she has 3 white animals: 2 samoyeds, and one cat. The cat and one samoyed are deaf, but they all talk to you, and to add more character, the dogs are addicted to ice cubes. They will do just about anything for an ice cube!
Dr. C. and I went to dinner at a place one of her friends owns, and I had some amazing mahi-mahi encrusted with macadamia. YUM! We had some wine, talked about the residency. It was a mellow night, after a very long day.
I slept in a bit (7am, which is 11am my time), got some coffee at Lava Java, where I promptly managed to spill my coffee. No matter, as time slows down on Maui, and those things don’t bother me so much. I then proceeded to the hospital to meet people and get a view of everything. I just loved that they play Hawaiian music in the ICU…the whole hospital. Normally, one hard part about being in the ICU is the constant beeping. It is a reminder of how mechanical things are, and it’s depressing. Not so at Maui Memorial. I then went exploring a bit and drove down Makena Road. I wanted to see what was along the coast. I ended up going as far south on the island as you can go. I guess I drove by Little Beach and Big Beach, as there were people parked everywhere. At the end of the madness, I looked between 2 multi-million dollar homes and saw the beach. I stopped to look, and there was a small cove, essentially a private beach for these housese (except that all coastline in Hawaii is public access). I was amazed at how dry it became as I started driving through the lava rock. It is said that was the last eruption on Maui. At one point before it gets completely desolate, there were tree-size cacti, then only lava rock on both sides. One wonders how long this narrow, bumpy road goes, and if it ever ends, and then suddenly you hit houses again, then a small parking area with a monument. I parked and walked the rest of the way …. to the ocean. Oh, it was beautiful! To the right was the brightest water I think I had ever seen, with several shades of blue and turquoise. To the left was a sign explaining that spinner dolphins rest here. Very cool, even though I didn’t see any. I continued on a path through the lava where it hits the water, and I saw a blowhole, beautiful micro-beaches, and microcosms created by the small pools (tide pools).
I met with Les, the community pharmacist I will be working with, then I continued to check out schools, and I ended up driving around upcountry Maui…..and off to my right was a huge carnival mask. It was as tall as the building it was on! I was compelled to turn around and go back, so I trusted my gut and found my way back there. It looked almost deserted, but I saw a mirror (with a camera behind it), so I knew I was being watched. I took some pictures for my 333 project, and then ventured inside, where a bald man was sitting at a desk off to the side talking on the phone about some very personal stuff. To the right was a family of bunnies, nestled together on a towel on a piece of furniture (of what kind I am not sure), so I went straight to them. Finally, the man came up to me and asked if I was a nurse. He asked some other questions, mainly to check if his intuitions were right. He claims to be somewhat of a psychic, and he had a very centered, calm energy about him, not the usual scattered and sketchy energy of some people who claim to by psychic, but also not as intense and uncomfortable as others who claim psychic abilities. We talked for a bit, and he showed me his other rabbits, all while I held one of the baby bunnies, only a few weeks old. He felt we had something to share, that we met for a certain reason, and I feel the same way. He knew I am on a journey. I just forget that sometimes, the spiritual journey I have thrown myself in and out of since childhood. We agreed to meet again later that evening, and I took the next couple of hours to find my way to the beach for the first time since I had arrived. It felt very foreign at first to be on the beach, in the water, and outside in a bathing suit. I cleaned up at Dr. C’s house, and she invited me to happy hour at Longhi’s, so I rescheduled with the psychic (Rod) and headed out. We had fun that night, and she showed me some of the “nightlife” in Maui, which is pretty tame, thankfully. Lots of fun, and I only slept until 9am the next day!
****FYI- LOTS of pics in the slideshow, then a couple more days…..
I am finding it hard to remember everything that happened. So many amazing little sights and thoughts in a day, and I didn’t have time to blog there because I was too busy enjoying it! I remember starting my day with a little dip in Dr. C’s pool.
The highlight of my day was in the evening. Dr. C. wasn’t feeling so hot, so I headed out to get some food. I hopped from place to place, and nothing looked good, so I drove north on S. Kihei road until I saw a sushi place. I went in and felt a bit awkward. There was ZERO atmosphere, and the lady didn’t seem to understand why I wanted to sit at a window, but not at the 6-person table, thank you. I finally sat at the sushi bar, waiting awkwardly for the usual paper you write your order on. The waitress explained that I could just tell the guy behind the counter. OH! Well, that was obvious….so I said, “what do you recommend?” to which he replied something I obviously didn’t understand, because when I said “yes”, he said the California Roll. “Oh No! That’s boring!” He replied that I said it was my first time… I told him I love sushi and proceeded to order my usual seaweed salad and a couple rolls. Still feeling quite awkward, waiting for someone to ask me what I want to drink so I can order my danged cold unfiltered sake (such a creature of habit). I don’t wait long before I will speak up though, and I got a bottle.
Then, this older guy comes and sits 2 seats away from me. I smile quickly, but not sure if he is a savory fellow, so turned my attention to my sushi. The workers at the restaurant welcomed him and asked him why he hadn’t been in for 2 weeks, then proceeded to give him a dish made just for him, “not on the menu” they all stressed to me. I could tell once the guy started talking that he was part Hawaiian. He was quite thin, and what I thought was grey hair was actually blonde. His eyes were half mast, and not evenly so, and he smiled lopsided and sweetly at me. We started chatting. I figured he had to be okay if they like him so much! It didn’t take long to talk about the move to Maui, to which he replied, “Oh you should! You would f*%&ing LOVE it!” repeatedly with such sweet enthusiasm, it was hard not to believe it. He asked if I was married, single, etc., and I told him about Nick. When I asked him about himself, he said that his wife died last year, and then claimed, “it’s so f!#$ed up!”.
Basically, they were married 25 years, both healthy, and she was taken away in a very short matter of time. I don’t want to say too much about our conversation, as the islands are small, but I found him a very sweet, genuine person that was hurting. He was ripped on something, and he admitted to drinking too much when he wasn’t working. We walked along the beach for a bit, two people dealing with different things, but considering my current situation, I could only imagine what he has gone through.
This was the day to hit Hana Highway. I got up early and headed out by 7am, which wasn’t too hard, considering it was 11am my time. It’s a beautiful drive, but when you first start out, it is easy to think that it’s nothing THAT spectacular. First, you need to get through Kahului, then over through Paia on the north shore. I saw some surfers in the bay and stopped to take a couple of pics. I only got pics of someone’s dog sitting expectantly on a slab of rock at the edge of the tide, waiting for his person to coast on in. Next to me, a man played spanish guitar. (I am thinking right now that my writing skills have really dropped off. I used to be able to describe things, but life goes too fast, and we rush through things). I promised myself to take my time, despite knowing that tons of people would soon be behind me, rushing to get to Hana on the narrow one- two lane road, when the drive is what matters. There are so many little spots off of the highway that people never notice in their rush to get from point A to point B. I took my copy of Maui Revealed so that I could check out some sights. I skipped twin falls, which was full of tourists. The next section was where it started to get interesting. I found these trees (and I never saw any others like them my whole trip) that had bark smooth as silk, and there were strips of bright color, like paper torn off a crayon. The pictures don’t do them justice.
I took a side trip, thinking that a little path off to the side might be a trail to somewhere special. Some tourists followed me, and initially, I had followed the path up to the left, and it ended at the top of the little hill, so I headed back down and let them know there was nothing there. Near the bottom, I saw a very obvious path that veered to the right. Why I didn’t see it coming from the other direction, I have no clue, but there it was, so I followed it up, using nature’s version of stairs, rocks and tree roots. I love how nature provides everything we need, even stairs! At the top was a little road, which I followed. Seems that the irrigation system has a road that runs along it and probably winds all over the mountain. I followed it for quite a ways, and at one point, the bamboo got so thick I thought it might be fake. I had no idea that bamboo was hairy!
The drive was mostly uneventful, full of twisty road and one-lane bridges. BUT, I had read in the book that there was a dirt road off of mile marker 14 that led to a little beach. I passed one and decided I would hit it on the way back if I had time. I turned off at a little town called Ke’anae. I found an old rusted anchor winch (yes, I had to look that term up), and even a plaque, embedded in the lava rock in a place only the adventurous would find, dedicated to a captain who had died trying to save the life of a stranger. I also found a HUGE spider attached to that same rock.
After coming back, I made a point to go lay out for a bit, but on the grass, since the wind was blowing like crazy….sand hurts when it hits you at 15+mph.
As of now, I am starting to forget details. It’s been a week (today is August 2nd). This day was my last, so I think I did some last-minute shopping, etc. I checked on schools/rentals again. I made a point to get in the water again. …spent some time floating around in the ocean in the bikini I bought….I forget which day. I laid out for only a bit on my back, maybe 30 minutes….(this is important for a reason you will see later).At some point, my blood sugar was soooo low, and everywhere I went was closed!! You know when you need food uber bad, so only what you really want will do? I ended up at Wokstar…OMG. YUM! It was only a few hours until dinner with Dr. C. before I left for my red-eye flight. We had a nice dinner at Pita Paradise, and I knew then that we are certainly on the same page about MANY things. We had so much fun talking, that I was running late, but I made a point to stop and take a last trip to the beach….I looked out to the north star, casting its light over the glassy, calm waters, then back to the barely waning moon behind me…it felt right, and I said Aloha to the island Maui.
Then I hauled ass to the airport! I didn’t realize my gate would be the second to farthest in the whole danged airport! I was the last to board I think, with about 4 minutes to spare. OMG!! Then 12 hours until I reached home…. and the rest is history.