:: Saturday, March 12, 2005 ::
This morning Bruce picked me up at the condo after renting a surf board from a friend with a rash guard (surf shirt) and reef walkers (booties). We got the whole combo for $20 a day...a real deal!
We drive to Puamana Park where there is grass right up to the rocks and not much real beach. Nothing but coral beneath the water (that's where the waves are) but most of the coral is worn smooth from years of surfers and bathers. Still, I'm glad for the reef walkers, even dull coral can tear your feet up!
We step into the water, throw the boards ahead of us, and velcro the rubber surfboard tether to our posterier positioned foot (my right). We paddle out just a bit, and Bruce gives me a couple of shoves ahead of the oncoming waves, giving me the speed I need to "catch" the wave and try to get up on the board. I get up twice, but don't get too much of a ride. We're too close for a real ride.
We both paddle much further out, and I try to give it a go myself. My arms are already tired from paddling out and trying to turn around and ready myself for the oncoming waves, trying to pick one that is actually going to be large enough for a good ride (they are generally about 2 feet, which is plenty for learning!). When the wave is about 30' away you have to start paddling like mad, and as the wave breaks and you feel the board surge forward, you push up with your arms, get your left foot forward and stand up. I stand up many times, but too late as the wave passes under me. I fall. Again and again. I never get a real ride, and after 30-40 minutes I'm bushed, and my left forearm is feeling a little rashy from jumping on and off this foam topped board.
Bruce has left me a while ago, out another 50 yards or so for the larger waves...he rides them well with his smaller board, a 8'6".
I retire to the beach for a beach chair and a book. I run into a 61 year old lady that was in the water with us when we started. She said she only rode 4 waves, and wonders if she'll ever catch on. I explain Bruce's success at 58, and assure her it's worth it. She says she saw me get up a few times, and thought I did okay for my first time out. Bruce tells me later that when he first started in California years ago, it took a week of trial and error to ride his first wave.
After another 45 minutes of Bruce surfing, he comes in. We pack up and head for Lahaina town for lunch. There is a Maui Taco nearby, so we stop. I get a Maui Taco, a double layered soft taco with black bean and chicken, that has been flavorfully grilled. I also get a side of beans and rice which I slather in hot sauce and rinse with coke.
Next we go to the Lahaina Cannery Mall again, so I can pick up more cigars, coffee, and a rash guard of my own! I figure it would make a good bike riding shirt, or for any water activities one might do on a lake in Maine (in the summertime, of course!).
After lunch we decide to head further south past Puamana to Launiupoko Beach, where the waves might be a little larger (they definitely change from place to place). I spend another hour trying to figure it all out, and being still tired from the morning round, I don't make much more headway. I get close, and can now see the attraction: like golf, you keep coming back for more! I kept wanting to head back out, one more time...maybe this time I'd catch that wave! I head in before I get tired enough to hurt myself, and wait for Bruce, not long this time, as we have some errands to run.
We wash off ourselves and the boards, and drive south along the West Maui Mountains, East along the plains of Ma'alaea, and North again towards Kahului (the largest town here, as big as a section of Portland). We stop at Bad-Ass Coffee for some Kona Dark Roast, and then off to the UPS by the airport for a package for Jill. We return to Kihei to get a condo pool key made for Shawn and Morgan (Jill's daughter and her boyfriend) and stop at Longs for sundries.
Shawn is waiting at the condo and we talk for a while and have a drink. Bruce is having single-malt, and Shawn hasn't tried it before. He's not impressed. I make a banana-mango-papaya rum smoothie. Mmmmm!
I shower and change and we say our goodbyes. Bruce and I head to meet Jill at her frien Elaine's house. Her place is very open, and boasts a multitude of pastel colored walls, and a hanging neon piece of art at one end of the living room....very Miami Vice. I told her it looked like a cool restaurant. Her backyard ends with a fence covered in flowering vines, and is bordered on the back by a nature conservancy for egrets. I have a Steinlager while we visit for a short while, then off for Jill's so everyone else can shower up. While waiting I make a dark rum mohito.
At 7:45 we take a half hour trip past Pa'ia to Mama's Fish House. This is "the" restaurant to hit on the island. It's tres expensive, but supposed to be well worth it. I saw a commercial for it on the local 7 channel this morning, and knew I had to go.
It looks innocuous enough from the road...a painted boat with the name across the bow, stuck half out of the woods, but as we drive in and park, we see a carefully designed path patterned in intertwining gecko shapes out of cement. We are surrounded by bamboo and palms as we see the open porch of the restaurant, all in dark woods. It looks very Hawaiian. I am annoyed at myself for forgetting my camera, but wonder if pictures are even allowed...I see no one else taking pictures. We give our names to the hostess, and as we are a few minutes early, she aims us to the bar. The bar is packed, with only one barstool remaining, and Jill mentions that she remembers a second bar, further in the depths of this large building. We find the second bar almost empty, a long wooden bar, made from Koa wood. Above the bar is Monkey Pod, Mango wood, and below the bar the cabinets are made from bookmarked Mango. Each dining table to our left is housed by it's own arched roof span decorated with more exotic woods.
I opt for a Johnny Walker rocks, while Bruce and Jill each get white wine. We talk to the bartender for a spell about the various woods...he's very well informed...and we soon get the call for our table. The hostess carries our drinks, and leads us to a far corner table...one I claim to be the best seat in the house. There are full windows on both sides, and my view towards the corner and to the left is of a white (tan actually) sand beach strewn with the occasional palm tree, the surf just out of site in the dark.
We are given a plate that contains a small loaf of homemade wheat bread, and three demitasse cups filled with a delectable broth: chicken stock, coconut milk and spices, a great compliment to the bread, either sipped or dipped.
Jill's asparagus creamed soup comes next, and is amazingly delicate and rich.
I order one of the last remaining dishes of Ono (delicate sweet white fish) lightly grilled and covered with carmelized and spiced onions. There is a side of sauteed vegetables (mostly exotics I don't know and can't tell you) and sweet jasmine rice. I am given two decanters, one with a spicy clear red chili sauce (great on the rice) and the other with shoyu (organic soy). This could well be on the best meals I've ever had! Each bite makes me shake my head.
Another loaf of bread comes, and I try Bruce's dish...a coconut curry over I don't usually do dessert, but after seeing the commercial this morning, I had to indulge! I get the house special Black Chocolate Pearl: A thin cookie shell shaped like a clam shell, riged with chocolate stripes, open to reveal a dense chocolate pearl about the size of a small lemon, with a glistening black surface, a small tuck of heavy whipped cream beneath and in the hinge area, on a plate with a magnificent pattern of a sweet syrup. It went quite well with an espresso with lemon peel, and a chunk of cane sugar, and a glass of port. Everyone shared in my dessert, which was fine for me, and Bruce had a cup of french pressed Hana coffee that was musky and dark and amazing.
After paying the bill ($70 each...owww!) we retire to the beach where the sand was so fine it just carresses the feet and watch the surf while we share our cigars, smoking a Padron corona like the one I had a few nights ago and a small Arturo Fuente demitasse. I'm feeling the buzz about now, as we head home for the evening...just another day in Paradise!
:: David 3/12/2005 02:26:00 PM [+] ::
Today we drive up to Kalama Park, and I watch Bruce surf. Today is quite windy!
Back to the condo for lunch of a fresh fruit juice smoothie (mango, papaya, and
apple banana), cheese and crackers, and garlic onions.
We go down to the beach for a little boogie-boarding in moderate to heavy surf...I get tossed about a little bit.
After a shower, shave and change, Jill meets us, and we drive to Wailea for a little shopping in the upper-crust section. We look for a place for pupus (appetizers), and stop by Tommy Bahamas, which required a 30-45 minute wait. So we then went downstairs to check out Longhi's. I got the Calamari Fritta (basically fried calamari) with their special Longhi Salad, with green and white beans, lettuce, tomato and gorgonzolla cheese. I thought an extra-dry Bombay Sapphire martini straight up with 3 olives was a successfull complement to the repast. Unfortunately across the street at the shoreline, a new complex was going up which will block the water and sunset views from here.
We then drove to Bamboo Chi, where Ryan was supposed to work, but he was off that night. And music was only on Fri. and Sat. So we moved on to the Fairmont Makena and utilized the Valet Parking at the front door...wooohoo! my first time! At this posh waterfront hotel, there were a few different bars at the edge of the hotel, just back from the waterfront. The only music was a Hawaiian band at a private function by the pool. We headed back up the steps to the open Lounge/Bar at the backside of the lobby that had large overstuffed wicker chairs and couches. There I continued with a second martini, and noticed a small humidor in the corner...but knowing the expense of these hotels, I didn't even bother to check prices.
We bar hopped from there to the Four Seasons Resort at Wailea to their lounge (once again, half outside) for jazz piano and standup bass. At one point 2 brazillian musicians sat in (husband, wife?), she singing, and he playing guitar. At this point I opted for a beer, and the waitress gave us a side dish of candied mango slices, and spicy oriental chips with a sugar coating and blackened sesame seeds...on the house.
We sat right next door to the restaurant "Spago" which may be in the cards for later in the trip...
As we were leaving the hotel lobby towards the car we heard a loud explosion! I thought Al Qeida was here!! As I turn around I see a fireworks display starting, and we could see everyone, just over the building entrance where we exited. I must be the 1 millionth customer ;-) I assume it was for some wedding or celebration, and it went on for a good 5 minutes, displaying every kind of flower and color you could imagine....nice exit!
Around 10:30 I was dropped back at the condo, and finished the evening with a "Big Kahuna" cigar from a local company, made in Honduras. It had a light wrapper and was mild and pleasant, a bit flowery, but not overly enjoyable. The can of Fosters Special Bitter I had never seen before, and was quite delicious!
:: David 3/12/2005 02:24:00 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, March 09, 2005 ::
Unfortunately, today started out pouring rain! And we were supposed to play golf this afternoon! It is supposed to rain through tomorrow! Fortunately I was able to call and reschedule for next Wednesday.
So, no golf, no fun in the sun, but lots of cleaning up, blogging, and emailing for the a.m.
more info to come!
:: David 3/12/2005 02:21:00 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, March 08, 2005 ::
Today I had a leisurely breakfast and time for blogging and emails while Bruce went surfing at Launiupoko. I got in a good hour of beach time. He got back at lunch time where we made steak sandwiches, broiled with a little cheese, and chips.
We then headed down to Wailea, past the three Wailea golf courses, to the Wailea Grand Hotel, where Bruce's friend Ellen works in the spa...considered the best in the world! What a beautiful hotel, with dozens of different pools, one with a bar in the water in a grotto, slides, gardens, and from the 4th floor lobby, a winding outside garden that brings you back down to the beach!
dinner huts | courtyard | fountain | maui-boy
We saw Ellen just for a few minutes as it was really busy, and she mentioned she may be able to get us in for the Hydrotherapy package, maybe sometime next week.
After a complete walkthrough of the hotel grounds, we headed north to see the massive waves that were brewing. We stopped at a few places along the way, but the best waves to view were at Ho'okipa...where we stopped on Sunday. The waves were more massive today, and there were only sailboarders out, the waves were breaking a bit too fast for surfing, but I heard that Jaws (the famous beach down the road) was getting 30-40 foot waves!
I did get some great shots at Ho'okipa, however:
waves 1 | waves 2 | waves 3
We then left for Haiku (that's right folks!) for dinner at a small restaurant called Hana Hou, where I had Lau Lau (pork wrapped in dark green cabbage...like spinach...and steamed under hot coals), sticky rice, macaroni salad, lomi salmon (like caviche, or salsa, needed salmon cut into little chunks with onion, cilantro, and tomatoes) and a coconut desert, like a firm cube of jello with a chunk of fresh pineapple on top.
Then we headed up through some winding hillside roads to a store (for beer and water)
and then to the Tuesday night Jam Session at Donny's house (the Maui guitar player and friend of Willie Nelson, who was at the jam last week and played with Bruce). I played on one of Donny's guitars (a '57 reissue strat like mine, but with a little bit too high action for me) for the first set, then someone else
filled in on set two, and I returned to finish out the night in set three. A great little spot in the barn, setup much like a little club, with many friends
joining in to play, sing, or watch and dance. One woman played the digerido and a couple songs! The bass player Bill is a member of the band "New Riders of the Purple Sage." Songs were raggae and 2 and 3 chord rock jams, and everyone got their turns to solo. We were all quite sweaty by the end...Donny and I had a few dual solo tradeoffs, a good one that ended the night.
Back home for a snack and to bed!
:: David 3/09/2005 04:21:00 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, March 07, 2005 ::
This morning I woke up early (for me) at ten of 6, and decided I wasn't going to sleep anymore...bird song and neighbor's movements put a period on that thought. Got up, made coffee (Kona Dark: Sansei's French Roast mmmmmmm)and had a bagel and cream cheese (how ethnically local of me) and did my daily email and post, and edited some more photos.
At 8:30 Bruce picked me up and we headed for surfin' territory...the Kona winds were up today! We headed North towards the West Maui Mountains, and stopped at a low key surf beach
Launiupoko...but the waves weren't really up or breaking right. We continued North past Kapalua to "S"-turns, then on to Honolua Bay where the waves were 6-10 feet, and many people were surfing. I could see the Plantation course from here...we'll be playing golf there on Wednesday.
We climbed down the cliff a bit for a better view.
After we had our fill, we drove back to Lahaina to do a little mall shopping (board pants, shirts, knick-knacks, cigars!) , then off to downtown Lahaina for Lunch at the Pioneer Hotel (history). I ordered a grilled mahi-mahi sandwich with fries and a draft Kona Golden Ale. Bruce ordered fried calamari, and while my meal was good, the calamari plate was huge and amazing! An incredible crunchy crust and large chunks of calamari that were so tender, and never got rubbery (you can tell I had more than a couple from Bruce's plate...and there were too much for one person anyway...). They came with cocktail, sweet and sour and tarter sauce, the last two were the best combinations, especially after Bruce put a little tobasco in the s&s!
Replica of Historic Carthoginian whaling ship
On the way back to the condo (Kihea) we noticed some people
"kite surfing" so we stopped and I took a few photos. Didn't
get a lot of shots of them flipping off the waves, but they did it well!
kite surf 2 | kite surf 3 | kite surf 4 | kite surf 5 |
We did a little work at Jill's and after she got out of work we switched cars, and did a little necessity shopping. Bruce dropped me at the condo and went back to work at Jill's. I did some posting and email and photos, and waited for B to return
for dinner. We did a little half-hour swim before sunset with some intense body-surfing...waves were getting fairly hairy right here at the beach. We went back to the condo for cameras and back to the beach for a magnificent sunset!
sunset 1 | sunset 2 | sunset 3
We went shopping for steak, wine, and potatoes, and grilled the steak smothered in pepper, and the potatoes broiled with olive oil and garlic. Apres dinner was cigars and single malt...mine was an Arturo Fuente Grand Reserva robusto (very dark and spicy).
We were running late, and left at 10 for a club called Hapa's about 10 minutes down the road. There we saw "Willy K" a very famous local performer. He plays guitar (mostly acoustic) and sings. He plays an amazing range of songs (Devil Went Down to
Georgia, Steve Miller, etc.). The second set was classic R&B, except for a beautiful tender version of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" done true to the original, yet with a few nice chord substitutions. The set was one continuous groove from "You gotta think," "Respect," (man he sang right in Aretha's range), "Son of a Preacher Man," "Papa was a rolling stone,"
:: David 3/08/2005 04:00:00 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, March 06, 2005 ::
After our return from our trip to the North Shore, Bruce drops me off at the
condo. After a little cleaning up, I walk down the street to the package store
for a sixer. After a cool beer and a blog post Bruce and Jill return with some
poke (raw marinated tuna with wasabi...mmmmmm). Then we head down to the beach for
a little pre-sunset swim.
beach 1 | beach 2 | beach3 | beach 4
There we run into a friend of Bruce's originally from Maine, and jazz vocalist, Ellen Rivers. Waves were pretty good for a little body surfing...there's quite an undertow! We get out and watch a few whales spouting in the distance off Molokini, and anticipate the sunset. At the last second as the sun shows it's last sliver before disappearing we see a bright green dot just to the right! Cool!
Back to the condo for pasta with pesto, a fresh green salad with feta and kalamata
olives, and lightly grilled peppered Ahi (tuna), and a little white wine.
Ellen and Jill go home, and Bruce and I continue to a small restaurant to see
a little jazz with guitarist Phil Benoit (David Benoit's brother). His wife is
a vocalist, and he is accompanied by a great stand-up player, Bill Harrison.
We only get to hear the last half-hour or so of their last set. They play "Goodbye
Pork-Pie Hat" "All of Me" "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones, and a few other classics, as well as a Hawaiian tune. I talk to Phil a minute about his maroon 1975 Gibson
ES-335 with the TP-6 finetuner tailpiece and new tiny Roland amp with 2 - 6 inch speakers.
We drive down the road to look for some more music. We stop at a plaza that has 5-6 bars, and go in and out of a few, finally settling on a little rock and roll dive,
...kinda like a Rollie's...and hear a rock trio (guitar, bass, and drums). The
guitarist is playing a tobacco sunburst strat with ebony fingerboard (single-single-double) through a beautiful older Marshall half-stack. He played
really well...started with "Little Wing" (drummer didn't sing it half as well as you PT) and went through some other rock classics. They weren't too loud, amazingly enough! And the waitress (pardon me girls) was a cute slender blonde with low cut
jeans, and a tank top with ample flat midriff showing...rrrrrrrr!
Some locals then sat in on acoustic guitar and bass and sang some more authentic stuff, and one girl got up and did a Hawaiian luau-type dance. Her arm movements
were beautiful! Very nice, and unexpected.
That was almost enough for one day, so we came back to the condo, where I finished
the evening out on the Lanai with a Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale, and a Don Diego La Romana corona cigar (that I'd brought). Bruce then left for Jill's and I to bed!
:: David 3/07/2005 12:12:00 PM [+] ::
Well, this morning, after coffee Bruce picked me up and we left the condo for
breakfast down the road, which the service was dreadfully slow, but the food okay.
We then proceeded to Jill's pad and headed to North Beach to see her daughter
Morgan and her boyfriend Shawn. Their rented house is just above where Jill lived
previously, overlooking the North Shore waters towards Molokai.
On the way we stopped at a dangerous surfing beach "Ho'okipa" to see some
pretty awesome 10' waves. They were breaking a little fast for surfing, but
check out that great green hue!
We stopped to shop for food, and a beer stop...imagine that!
:: David 3/06/2005 10:43:00 PM [+] ::
Mahalo from Maui!
Going from this: home
this: out the back porch (lanai)
:: David 3/06/2005 02:10:00 PM [+] ::