I understand the tediousness of wading through someone else's vacation post.
But Kelsey told me to write her a nice long email with pictures, and I thought, "Well, one person is interested." So I'm posting this in case there is a 2nd person out there. I thought the most painless way would be to write a kind of agenda (with details) so here we go:
Tuesday June 3rd:
Fly to Hawaii
- Sit next to delightful chatty niece for the first couple of hours. Across the aisle sits my sister who has conveniently brought snacks in the form of cookies, cut-up fruit, candy, crackers, and other stuff I probably didn't see. I become as demanding as her kids after an hour or so, "I want some more cookies, big sister."
- After we land, get our bags, get our car, drive to the hotel, and unpack, we go out to eat with my sister and her husband and kids. We go to a yummy Mexican place that Michael ate at on our honeymoon (when I swear the restaurant was Italian or something). Over the next several days I begin to realize that on our honeymoon we must have eaten out a lot because just driving down the main street of Kihei I recognized having eaten at 90% of the restaurants.
- After dinner we return to the hotel for a leisurely swim in the hotel pool.
- In the morning I follow Erika & co. over to my Aunt Lynne's (aka my grandparent's) house to swim on the beach. Right after we get there Lynne talks to us in the living room for awhile, and we had a really nice conversation with her. Then I snorkel with my niece and we get dangerously close to the rocks, which was exciting.
Michael sits on the beach reading, which he does pretty much whenever I'm in the water for the rest of the trip, so I won't bother mentioning it again.
- We hang at house (except for a quick trip to the hotel to shower) before dinner that night. By now my two sisters, Jacque and Lauren have arrived and we all have dinner. Lynne has picked up some yummy Thai food and fried rice for us all.
- After dinner we are all sitting around when my Dad makes an announcement. He and Lynne have sold the house (the one we were sitting in) to the man next door (Pierre Lamond - is that how it's spelled?). We all realize that this is our last trip to the house. My grandparents bought the land in 1970 and built this house which they lived in for 30 years.
It was the first house on their beach, and they built it with a beautiful Japanese blue-tile roof which became a local landmark. A local told them their house was directly above a Maui legend, Po'olenalena, a dragon tricked onto the beach and turned into stone. They named their house Po'olenalena. This picture of my sisters and me was taken on the patio of their house that night at sunset.
- Later, Adam arrives late that night and we fill him in before going to bed.
- In the morning the whole family heads over to see Aunt Lynne's show, which is the main reason that we all came out to Hawaii. It was fantastic, and she gave us a personal tour.
- We all head back to the house to hang out. I go snorkeling with my sister Lauren off of my grandparent's beach. While we're out at the rocks, a sea turtle comes up for air right next to us. I keep my distance, but I see Lauren reach out and stroke his back.
I snap photos while having a heart attack. Above water, I tell her she's not supposed to touch the turtle, and she asks if I want to have a picture with it... so I say yes. I get some guts and reach out to touch him as he dives back toward the bottom, but I miss him by an inch. I'm not too disappointed until later that night when I develop an amazing photo of Lauren and the turtle.
- For dinner, we all go back to our hotel and have a big BBQ, mainly put on by Erika and her family. It was delicious, and the sun set as we all sat around and talked to each other. I develop my underwater photos and show everybody before going to bed.
- Lauren invited me to snorkel with her and Dad. They are going to "Turtle Town," a turtle-heavy snorkeling spot just south of Po'olenalena. Within mintues of going out, I am four feet away from a turtle who has come up for air. Unfortunately, we're with a huge touristy snorkeling group, and one of the men from that group tells me "You're awfully close ma'am!" and makes me get away from the turtle.
We swim away from him, and come across two turtles (6 ft apart). I give Lauren my new underwater camera, and I'm not sure about whether to approach him since I just got reprimanded. But Lauren says, "Well, are you going to touch him or not!?"
So I do. His shell was kind of rough and slimy at the same time. And very cool.
- Swimming back to shore, Lauren and I encounter hundreds of bright fish below us. Unfortunately I only got one photo in before I ran out of pictures.
- After lunch, Michael and I go shopping with Jacque and Lauren. We go to The Shops at Wailea.
- That night we go to dinner at Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, aka the Humuhumu. The restaurant is in this beautiful resort, The Grand Wailea. I had the Filet Mingon, and for dessert we got "Chocolate Indulgence" which really just seemed like a big sampler of several different kinds of decadent chocolate. We passed it around the whole table, and we couldn't finish it.
It's hard to see, but my brother is biting the head off of his totem chocolate figure atop his "Mud Pie."
- We plan to go to the Iao needle, but we all sleep in a little. We decide to have an early lunch at Lulu's, which is an open-air restaurant with a view of the ocean, that is supposed to have really good hamburgers. Right next-door is an open air market area that I've been wanting to go to, so we shop a little, too. We end up scrapping the Iao needle idea.
- I go with Jacque and Lauren to WalMart in Kahului for hot-dog roasting sticks.
- That afternoon Lynne has planned an activity for us to say goodbye to the house. We gathered flowers and various materials (soil, sand, pebbles) from around the house, wrapped them up in big leaves from one of the trees, and let them go in the ocean.
- We roasted hot dogs on the beach and had a yummy dinner. Most of us sat on the beach next to the fire while the sun set and then went up to the house for a little more conversation before going back to bed.
- Lauren was taking Adam and Jacque to Turtle Town, and Michael and I were supposed to go, but we ended up sleeping in and eating a lazy breakfast in our hotel room instead.
- We check out of our hotel and move our things over to Lynne's house.
- We pretty much hang out at the house all day with Adam, Lauren, Jacque, and Aunt Lynne. I probably spent some time on the beach. We have a chili dinner before Lauren and Jacque have to leave to catch their plane home.
- Michael and I go swimming in the morning on Po'olenalena beach. This is the second and last time that Michael swims with me.
- I make some videos of the house, so we can remember it later on.
- Adam and I buy a domain for www.poolenalena.com and start to build it a bit.
- In the afternoong, Adam, Michael and me go to Lahina to walk around and get pandered to by the many shops there.
- For lunch, we go to a sushi bar at the Five Palms restaurant on one of the hotels in Kihei. We eat on the patio, and for about two minutes we were lightly sprinkled on by a passing storm. That was the only inclement weather we experienced the whole time we were there.
- On the way back, we went to Po'olenalena park, the next cove over (heading north) from my grandparent's beach. I've never been there before.
- For dinner Lynne takes Adam, Michael and me out to an Italian place where we have a yummy pizza. We sit on the terrace again. One of the things Michael and I loved about the island is that practically everything is open to the outside. Even carpeted hotel hallways have open-air ends. I didn't realize until this trip, but my grandparent's house isn't air-conditioned. It was built with all sorts of windows so that the air would flow smoothly through the house. Even on hot days, the house was really cool because of the breeze.
- I go for a swim alone in the morning. I don't realize that this is my last time in the water on Po'olenalena beach. I took my camera out into the water so I could take some photos of the house, but the sun was right behind the house and they didn't turn out very well. A cloud came by after I had put the camera on the beach and got back in the water. I didn't want to fight the surf again, but I should have so I could have gotten some better photos.
- That morning Lynne and I build a complicated box for an heirloom I'm taking home: a bonzai tree made with lapis lazuli (supposedly) petals/leaves. The tree is sort of disintegrating, and some of the petals fall off at a slight touch, so we build it carefully, with a foam cradle and everything.
- Michael and I drive back to Kahului so I can pick out the painting that I want to buy from Lynne. I'm crazy about her artwork. It was nice to get to see the show again on a more personal footing.
- We had some fast food for lunch and bought souvenirs and chocolates that we wanted to take home.
- We came home and tried to eke out the most of the rest of our time with the house. Michael and I take a walk on the beach that was one of my most pleasant experiences there.
- Lynne made us a steak dinner and we eat it on one of the patios overlooking the ocean while chatting about the house and the future.
- We say goodbye and drive to the airport. As we pull away I'm filled with an intense desire to just turn around and go back to look at it one last time, spend a few more minutes there, walk around it one more time. It's hard to keep going.
- The flight home I might elaborate on later, but in an effort to not complain very much, I'll leave it out for now.
If for some crazy reason you didn't get enough, you can see all near-500 of my photos here: