Or free to hang out by the pool, sipping drinks that look like tropical sunsets and come with teeny, tiny umbrellas that, if held between your teeth just so, might shade your nose from getting burned by the mid-day rays.
Wouldn’t that make a hell of a profile pic on Facebook?
I spent a lazy day doing nothing at all important. Nothing! First, I tried out the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Even just a little bite-sized sample of everything filled two plates! I discovered I love papaya and guava and the juice they call “POG,” which is a sweet, slightly tart, refreshing combination of papaya, orange, and guava juices.
We did not have bad weather the whole time we were there; in fact, I’ve only ever seen rain or chilly drizzle twice in the times I’ve visited Hawaii. The Hawaiian House Finch has been emboldened by tourists – it has taken on the scavenging attitude of our black vultures. It waits for an opening… for an unwarily generous human to feed it, or drop a crumb, or walk away leaving food untended. It pounces! One enterprising guest – who had the thoughtfulness to ask first, and to do it on the other side of the glass wall – smeared a bit of food on his GoPro and waited for the perfect shot. At the Grand Wailea, next door, I watched two little finches plucking grains and bits of fruit from a glass containing yogurt, the last day we were there.
After a leisurely breakfast, I found the best spot short of a pricey cabana for gazing out at the sparkling, sapphire waves. I went for a swim in the infinity pool and listened to a couple of women, there for a conference, complain about work. Oh, joy! Until then, I’d managed to forget about the working world altogether. I had told everyone at the office that they could call me while I was gone, but for every five minutes of conference call, I’d send them one photo of Maui, just to make them envious.
I moved out of range, returned to my lounge chair, and dried off in the sun. A waiter quietly asked if I was ready for some refreshment. I looked at my watch, wondered where the time had slipped off to, and shrugged. Why not? I gave him my order and laid back in the sunshine while I waited for a refreshingly cold mai tai and a delectable ahi poke with crispy taro chips to come to me.
For what it’s worth, taro chips beat poi by a mile. I’ve had that experience – they used to joke that poi was Hawaiian wallpaper paste – and it wasn’t one I felt a nostalgic need to repeat.
I did miss the formerly ubiquitous vanda orchid garnish. It used to be that vanda orchids were liberally used to decorate every buffet, every plate of food, every cocktail served in Hawaii. When I was nine, I learned that vanda orchids were edible and tasted a bit like watermelon rind. Probably exactly like watermelon rind, if you chilled them first in a glass of ice water to add that cold, crispness. They weren’t yummy, but they were far from disgusting and definitely wouldn’t kill you. So to the horror of tourists who did not share this secret knowledge, I happily began to munch them every chance I got.
To almost everyone’s chagrin, I have not outgrown this form of amusement. It’s what led to my invitation to join the Tripe Marketing Board.
I suppose that eating flowers is a thing, now. Vanda orchid-and-kale salads have, no doubt, been overplayed on Instagram. No one gasps with alarm and asks, breathlessly, “Are you sure that’s safe to eat?” as if I were idiotic enough to go round popping strange things into my mouth without a bit of research. I’ll have to up my game. Vanda orchids wouldn’t do the trick, even if they were still thrown about like parsley.
It didn’t take long to acquire the sunburn that might, overnight, fade to a tan. Looking back over my shoulder as I write this, I may even have overdone it a bit; my back is peeling like a bad paint job over dry rot.
Moisturize, kiddies. Do as I say, not as I do.
Wouldn’t matter, except that it itches and I find myself backing up to stucco walls like a bear backs up to the rough bark on a tall tree.
I walked to the beach on my right. I walked to the beach on my left. I went swimming in the hotel pool. There are distant memories of other trips, and reasons beyond “Damn, the Pacific is cold as ice!” that I struggle to swim at Maui’s shoreline from anything but a boat. Volcanoes tend to have steep and sudden drops. Undertows. Coral reefs. They’re not like Daytona Beach, where unless you’re one of the menehunes, you can walk out to the next sandbar without really finding water deeper than the top of your head. But they’re gorgeous and extremely photogenic.
The rocky coastline is part of the islands’ allure, and every view is almost this good, if not better.
Isn’t that gorgeous? So this is pretty much how I spent Tuesday and Thursday – days absolutely overflowing with doing nothing. It was glorious.
Oh, we did go out to dinner – Tuesday, we went to Monkeypod Kitchen, at the recommendation of absolutely everybody. JJ and I shared the Kauai Shrimp & Hamakua Mushroom Potstickers. I tried two of their cocktails: The Genever Project and their famous Mai Tai with its heavenly honey-lilikoi foam. For dinner, I had the “Bourgeois” – a pizza topped with big island lobster, wild mushroom, parmesan, thyme, garlic white sauce.
Thursday, we went to Gannon’s, where we were seated on the terrace at sunset. The view was incredible and unspoiled by hotels or condos or people – nothing but rolling green hills (a golf course), trees, and coastline. There, I had the Kula Strawberry Salad and the Chef’s Special seafood paella (enough for two, maybe three people!).
I still can’t figure out how I gained nearly thirteen pounds in a week.
Fortunately, I’ve lost it again, two weeks later. I figure one of the menehune stowed away in the pocket of my jeans, but realized Maui was better than Texas and sneaked back the way he came.