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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sistermoon in Maui

Dear Mom,

Hello from Durban, South Africa! My marathon of flights went exactly as scheduled, thank goodness. But what a doozy! I left Maui around noon on Tuesday and arrived here at 5 p.m. on Thursday. More on the journey in a minute, if I don't run out of steam.  First I want to write a Maui recap before I start my African adventure tomorrow. 

Last Thursday afternoon, after the Doris Duke estate tour and a beachside lunch, LA and I flew to Maui and rented a car. Many people had raved that the Road to Hana was a "must-do" on the island. We wanted to spend two nights in one spot before checking into our splurge hotel, the Four Seasons in Wailea. So...we decided to stay two nights in Hana and ended up making it another special treat to ourselves. I found the Travaasa Hana (formerly known as the Hotel Hana Maui...the island's oldest resort hotel) and was absolutely enchanted. 

When we booked it, LA wouldn't let me upgrade us to a cottage. However, when we arrived and found out (a) we'd be sharing a bed in the standard room and (b) the cottage had a private hot tub and sounds of the crashing Pacific waves, she agreed an upgrade was necessary. Woot!! 
Given the fact there were ample activities and no a/c, Leigh Ann dubbed it "summer camp for grown-ups."

These were definitely "honeymoon rates," but we were operating on full YOLO mode, and I'm glad we went for the gold. 

The property offered a number of fitness classes and excursions, and although two days wasn't enough for us to take full advantage, we did our best.

We had to book it on the road to make it to Hana before dark, so we didn't really stop and enjoy the ride, which is the whole point, but we did that on the way back.

Friday morning, I (unfortunately) watched the sunrise.

Leigh Ann went jogging, and I enjoyed some blissful coffee time in the hot tub. After that, I went for a long bike ride, which I absolutely loved. At first, I was a bit scared to get out on the road with cars, but it was fine, and I had a blast just exploring on my own for a couple of hours. I chatted with a guy at the tiny Hana airport and asked him to take my photo. 

We had lunch at a little Thai place in Hana, and it was fantastic. One of our best meals of the trip! Leigh Ann had fallen in love with green papaya salad when she went to Southeast Asia. This was actually green mango...but the fish was just perfectly warm and crispy.

After that, we just lounged by the pool all afternoon, reading and relaxing. We got dressed and had a nice dinner in the hotel restaurant.

The next morning, I enjoyed a Pilates class. Who wouldn't do Pilates every morning if you could have this view?! We checked out of the hotel and drove past Hana to check out a few more beaches.

We got a yummy "plate lunch" from a guy who runs a food stand out of his truck. Tasty!! (Not sure what's up with the traditional Hawaiian macaroni salad?)
We decided this would have to qualify as our look at a "red sand" beach, since the hotel staff in Hana told us they weren't allowed to give directions to the famous red sand beach by the's a slippery climb. This one seemed close enough!

They were having a belated weekend festival for King Kamehameha's birthday (you will recall that actually happened on Tuesday...LA's birthday!).
So, we checked that out, then hit what we think is the highlight of the Road to Hana, Maui's famous black sand beach. (Turns out there are numerous black sand beaches on the Big Island. Next trip?!)

It was Father's Day weekend, so we took a minute and snapped a pic for one of our very favorite dads. We'd made the sign in Honolulu and had been toting it around for just the right photo opportunity.

Naturally I had to snap a foot photo for the collection on my bathroom wall! LA said it felt like walking on black jelly beans. Really cool. 

We stopped a bit along the way back, but overall, we were more impressed by Hana itself than the road there. There were some cool waterfalls and points of interest...
...and a few spectacular views...but a lot of this...
and this... Kinda felt like driving through the mountains in North Carolina!
Late in the afternoon, we checked into the Four Seasons in Wailea, and as soon as we entered the resort area, chock full of golf courses and shopping centers, both of us said how glad we were to have spent time in Hana. Obviously, there's nothing like the luxurious amenities of a phat resort! We were there for a reason. But amid all of that luxury, you don't really feel a lot of the "real" Hawaii, and we certainly got more of that on the less developed eastern side of the island.

Anyway, the blend of experiences made for a perfect trip, and we loved every minute of our stay at the Four Seasons, from the moment we walked into our upgraded room and saw LA's birthday treat.

We had sunset cocktails and snacks in the lobby bar the first night, then exercised and hit the beach the next morning. (I ran on a treadmill with a view, then took a Zumba class. The next morning we did a spin class. So fun!)

Leigh Ann was jazzed about her special happy hour drink...which helped soothe her sunburn!

 LA's eggplant parmagiana at the Italian spot with its al fresco dining room.
Black tagliatelle with crab, lobster and lemon. So good! I wanted to go back and get it again the next night! But instead, we went to Spago, which was even better.
 We started with a beef Thai salad...
I had a sesame cone with tuna and salmon tartare... (or "poke" as they call it in the islands). Divine!
 Crab salad with a million other things I cannot remember...
 Corn risotto...
This was a cool twist on miso-marinated cod. They called it "loco moco" style, which in Hawaii means a hamburger patty over rice with a fried egg. Excellent!
Dessert was a tropical fruit medley with a crunchy crumble topping. 
A fantastic last meal. (Miss Carolyn, hopefully I've redeemed my foodie status after my fish taco marathon.)

Tuesday morning, I took a long walk on the beachfront path that connects the resorts, and Leigh Ann went for a quick snorkel, which she said was her best of the trip! We booked it to the airport so I could begin my long trek.

A special, special, special trip. There is only ONE THING that could have made it better...




Sarah Franklin said...

You are making it harder and harder to be in Alabama this summer. xoxo

Robin DuMont said...

Sounds fabulous!!

Dee Stephens said...

wow girl!! You look freaking amazing #1. #2. all that food! how are you able to stay in shape!? Can't wait to hear about Africa! Safe travels.

Bethany said...

I love reading about your adventures! Can't wait to hear about how cool South Africa is...