Category Archives: travel

Playa del Carmen – Day 7

Playa del Carmen – Day 7

Stacy wanted to see the sunrise on the last day with the girls. But since that was 6:15am, and I didn’t want to walk the mile plus before that. I asked them to maybe come get me after they did that. So, I meet up with them at 6:45am in our game room. Mike and Chris head out to go deep sea fishing. Reagan is tagging along with us gals for breakfast, but he’s not supposed to speak. Kidding! kinda.

We head up 5th Avenue and eventually find an open place to eat breakfast. I had a decent huevos mexicanos and everyone else was meh on theirs. After that, we start to walk back to our hotel. Reagan heads up to our hammocks on our deck to chill, and Stacy, Sarah, and I go hang out at the pool. I have to find shaded areas, which proves tricky. Sarah & Stacy wanted to lay out in the sun, so we head out to the beach where I have to stay shaded and they strip down to their bikinis and lay out. I write in my journal. Oh yah, I’ve been writing all this for my blog in a journal I brought with me. I didn’t want to deal with bringing a laptop, but I still wanted to get all this stuff down. So, I’m doing it old school. Pen and paper, y’all. Holla!

We head back to the pool for 5 minutes, then the girls decide they want to go shopping. I’ve already told them that this particular event is something I will not do. They decide to go anyway, and I go back to bed. Thus endeth girls’ day.

Mike gets back around 2pm, and he chills for a bit, and then cleans up. We head down to our game room to check on some emails and such. Chris shows up with some freshly cooked grouper and red snapper. The red snapper was delicious, the grouper.. not so much. Very cool of him to walk that all the way over to us.

While we are sitting there, Emmie and Wilco of Holland spot us and come over and say HEY! We talk for a really long time, and eventually the rest of the gang joins us. We’ve already planned to do dinner with Emmie andWilco later, but we just ended up spending a couple or so hours chatting it up with them before too. It was a great time. This moment right here was probably my favorite of the whole trip. Just chilling, chatting it up, meeting new people, and having a bunch of beverages. I finally get a buzz too! There is something seriously weak about the beverages here or something. I’ve not gotten one buzz until now. It was a good buzz too.

As it starts to get later, and everyone is getting hungry, we all disburse and Emmie, Wilco, Mike and I plan to meet back at our game room at 8pm. We’ll walk with them to the restaurant since they have never been. Oh yah, we were going to Yaxche again.

We get to Yaxche, and get seated upstairs. Unfortunately there was no A/C up there. We’d been used to the A/C when we go there, but not so this time. It was a bit annoying for me, cuz I was sweating so bad it was literally running down my legs like urine. And I’m 99.7% sure it wasn’t actual urine. This, our last Yaxche meal was a bit disappointing. Not up to our previous visits deliciousness. But, I will always remember it for the first two meals. I will erase this one from my memories right after I type this :D

After we get done with dinner, it’s about 10:45pm. Sarah and Reagan have their taxi to the airport coming at 4am, so they are off to pack. Our van meets us at 7:30am, so we decide that is the end of our night too. Emmie, Wilco, Chris & Stacy stay out to have another beverage and chat. We hug everyone buhbye. I triple-kiss the Dutch folk, cuz that’s how they roll. I like it. Why don’t we do stuff like that? We’re such a non-touchy people. Ok, maybe it’s just me that’s non-touchy. Hey, I’m trying to get better about that. I let people hug me and such now more than ever. It’s progress!

Playa del Carmen – Day 6

Playa del Carmen – Day 6

All times approximate.

7:00am – Everyone except me meets the bus for Xel Ha

7:30am – I go to breakfast at the hotel solo. Good breakfast. I had Huevos motuleños.

8:15am – Back to the room where I sleep on and off.

12:30pm – Hang out in hammock while the maid cleans our room.

1:45pm – Mosey over to lunch and had some pretty tasty chicken tacos.

2:30pm – Head to game room to check e-mail and general online nonsense.

2:50pm – Back to room for reading, sudoku, sleep, lotion coating – not necessarily in that order.

6pm-ish – Mike arrives back from his day trip and starts to clean up for dinner. Says folks are meeting at our pool in about an hour.

8:00pm – Head to dinner with Mike for Mayan feast night. Quickly ate some Aztec soup and some other random bits before we head over to our pool to meet up with the Webbers.

9:00pm – Head to our pool to meet up with the Webbers. The Knowles’ show up shortly after that. We then head across the street from our place to eat at Origenes. I just had dessert. Everyone seemed pretty wiped and subdued, but laughs and good times were had.

11:00pm – We part with plans to meet at 6:45am at our place. Stacy wants to see the sunrise at 6:15am. But I’m not really into getting to her place over a mile away by 6:15am. So, they will come get me after for a girls’ day. Mike and Chris will be meeting at 7:15am to go deep sea fishing.

Playa del Carmen – Day 5

Playa del Carmen – Day 5

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

That sums ups my every thought as I woke up. Every spot of burn stings so bad it’s insane. I cannot possibly imagine how I’m going to do anything today.

Mike, being the sweetie he can be, and forgiven from the previous night, goes out for breakfast at our place. He brings me back quite the haul too. Omelet, beans, pineapple, canteloupe, and pastries. He drops that off and I eat while he goes out to get some vinegar for our wicked burns.

When he gets back, we both strip down, head into the shower and spray our burns down with some vinegar. We let that dry, and now we can actually move. I actually feel like I could even wear a bra. So, we get dressed, get into contact with the others, and head out for lunch. A birthday lunch for Senor Christopher’s 40th birthday. He chose Yaxche to eat at. Yay! So we cab it over there and eat with them. As much as I enjoyed the Pibil here, I had to trying something different. I chose the Kinich Chicken, which Chris had the previous time we ate there. It tasted even better than it looked. Such great spices and a great sweetness too it. The description on the menu calls it “An erotic kiss from the sun”. Hellz yeah it is. It was grilled chicken over a bed of mashed potatoes, with some assorted vegetables. Everything was topped off with a decorative fried plantain. It was just awesome. Yaxche became my favorite place to eat.

After lunch, the rest of the gang head out to Cancun for shopping and walking. Mike and I stay behind to rest and give our skin a break because we do have to go to Xel Ha in the morning. Plus, do not come here as a non-skinny girl and think you’re going to do any shopping. Well, maybe you’ll find something at Wal-Mart. Shopping is miserable for me. It actually depresses me to watch two other skinny girls check out stuff and be all giggly about it. So, sunburn or no,  a Cancun trip for shopping sounds about as fun as having a sunburn.

Mike and I go back to our place, strip again and reapply the vinegar. The rest of our day will be very uneventful. Read, sudoku, sleep for 4 hours. My burn was stinging like crazy so I opted to switch to lotion this time around. A little more chill time, then Mike and I headed over to dinner at our hotel. We had the salad bar, a chicken noodle-type soup, and a fish dish. We then opted for one of each of the desserts — fruit tart & vanilla ice cream. The vanilla ice cream was like Amy’s Mexican Vanilla ice cream. It was delicious. And now we know why it’s called that.

During dinner there was this pretty cat walking around all the tables. At one point he stopped by my feet and gave me those puss-n-boots eyes. Mike insisted I not acknowledge at all. It was SOOOO cute though. It was really hard to ignore him.

After dinner, we hopped online to see if the rest of the gang was back from Cancun. Eventually Chris did get online and say they were back, but they were done for the night. We went out to our beach and looked at some stars and then went back to apply more Banana Boat Aloe After Sun Lotion. We’re a mess, but at least we’re a mess together.

Playa del Carmen – Day 4

Playa del Carmen – Day 4

We wake up and we are redder than ever and in serious pain. But, we get dressed like we’re going to Xel Ha, in case we can’t change it. Luckily, we get there and we can change it to Thursday. Turns out to be a good thing all around too. Sarah was up all night because their A/C was broken (again!) and her tummy was bothering her too. Chris, Stacy, Reagan, Mike and I head to La Vagabunda for some very mediocre breakfast. Then, we part ways with plans to meet at 12:30 at our place to play some games in our hotel’s game room.

As Mike and I arrive back at our place, I see Sarah’s bags on our deck’s table. Then my eyes start to search around, where they land on one miserable looking Sarah in one of our hammocks. She figured there was no way I would be going to Xel Ha at all, so of course I would be there. The poor thing just wanted some A/C and understanding. Both of which she got.

We head inside and we proceed to sleep for four hours. Mike sleeps in a hammock in bliss for probably the same amount of time. I was glad she was able to get some decent rest with us or with our A/C… whichever.

As we are waking up, Stacy & Chris arrive a bit early and they want to eat. We head over to our hotel’s lunch area and eat there with a great view of the beach. The food wasn’t bad. We go back to our cabin/hut/room where Reagan is now sleeping in a hammock.

We make plans to head to Sarah’s pool instead of playing games, cuz I guess no one is in the mood. Her pool has spots of shade where ours has none. So, I can be in her pool with everyone and I can’t be in ours.

Chris & Mike head over to Chris’ place to book fishing and Stacy & I grab a cab over to Sarah & Reagan’s pool. The cab is for me cuz I can’t even walk in the sun covered in clothes. It kills my skin. So, I pay $3 for a very quick cab ride and Stacy tags along to keep me company.

We chill out at the pool. Chris & Mike arrive much later than I thought they would. They chill at the pool briefly, then we all gather while we dry off and whatnot. We watch some really sappy youtube videos (Christian the Lian, Andrew Johnston – Pie Jesu), then we go in search of food. We go to Diablito Cha Cha Cha, but quickly realize it’s not going to work. It’s a bit asian-y, and a lot seafood-y. We have a few diet restrictions in our group — a vegetarian (meh, pescatarian now), a gluten-sensitive, a seafood hater, and just a generally semi-picky eater. Usually we don’t have too many issues though. But this place just seemed to hit them all.

Instead we go over to our usual breakfast joint at the Hotel Eclipse Restaurant Bar. They deliver our food kind of one at a time and I get mine last. So there was a bit of an incident that proceeded to make me angry the rest of the night. Mike basically told me to shut up and eat since I’m a slow eater. That made me incredibly angry. But, while I ate, I spoke to no one. Meh. Boo.

We walked up 5th Avenue some more cuz we had to do a sneaky watch buying thing for Chris’ birthday. I got the sense he knew exactly what we were doing. It wasn’t really like we were that subtle. Mike bought a couple guayaberas at Kin Mayab. An orange one, and a red one. I spoke to him briefly enough to get my opinion of them across and that was that.

We ate some really expensive Haagen-Dazs, then slowly made out way back down 5th to La Parilla for everyone to grab a Coco Mango or beer. Then we parted ways with plans to meet at 12:30pm at the Webbers.

YES! A late starting day. Just what I’ve been waiting for!

Playa del Carmen – Day 3

Playa del Carmen – Day 3

Hotel Eclipse Cafe @ 9:40am. Hey, we’re Oliviers, we’re late. However, Mike and I are there first, which is odd. Never happens. With the help of our walkie-talkies, we all get in contact with each other. Eventually everyone shows up. Then we proceed to have another great breakfast.

Afterwards, Mike and I head over to Wal-Mart to grab a couple things and the other four folks head over to buy us tickets to Xel Ha and Tulum. Not really stuff I want to do at all. But I’m with a group and I gotta go with the group I guess. After Wal-Mart, Mike and I grab a taxi to get back to our place. We’ve planned to meet everyone back here at our hotel where we will do pool and beach. While at the pool, we meet a newlywed couple from Holland, Emmie and Wilco, and we talk to them forever. Extremely nice and funny.

We then head to the beach, which is all of a fifty foot walk. Chris, Reagan, Mike and I go into the water where we proceed to get smacked around by the waves. Smacked like hos who owe their pimps a month worth of back pay. It was awesome. The only part I didn’t like about all that is the part of discovering that half of the ocean’s sand is now in your bathing suit. Yuck. As we head out, Mike notices that I look a bit pink. That’s so not good. If I’m looking a little pink that actually means I’m going to be lobster red.

I lay under some shade. Mike, Sarah, Chris & Stacy walk off to find some place to get Sarah’s ears candled. They’d been bugging her and she wanted them cleaned. Eventually, I head back to our room so I can start getting cleaned up and dressed for dinner, cuz I know Stacy is getting hungry. When Mike shows back up to our place, freshly massaged on his sunburned body, he says the Webbers left to eat cuz they couldn’t wait. He also said Reagan told him that him and Sarah would be up to our room shortly. Many, many, many, many minutes later, that definitely turned out not to happen. We tried to raise people on the walkies, but no luck.

We fall asleep while we were waiting. When we wake up we decide no one is waiting for us so we’ll go find something to eat. We feel like Italian, so we head out. We eventually arrive at Ristorante da Bruno and order Prosecco and salad to start. Why did we think alcohol was a good idea when we were burnt to crisps? No idea. I take one, maybe two sips, but I’m guzzling the bottled water we ordered. We eat our salad and while we wait for our entree, I start to get seriously nauseous and hot. I head downstairs to the bathroom and proceed to have a hurl fest. Then I get back to our table and step right back into things and eat my very tasty strozzapreti pomodoro. While I was busy in the bathroom, Mike gets Chris & Stacy on the walkies to see if we can drop off my food their place in case I can’t eat. They said sure. But that ended up not being necessary. Then somehow we find them out with Sarah & Reagan. My natural inclination here is to feel rejected cuz no one asked us out. But I fight it. After we leave Sarah & Stacy in the Diamonds International store, Mike voices the same opinion. He didn’t understand why everyone ditched us and hung out without us. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who felt it.

We head home, got to sleep with our vicious sunburns. The plan for the morning is to meet up at 7am for our trip to Xel Ha. We’re so red and uncomfortable, our plan is to meet up at 7am to see if we can change ours to a different day.

Playa del Carmen – Day 2

Playa del Carmen – Day 2

We met up with Sarah & Reagan at the Starbucks, and went over to Chris & Stacy’s. Or rather, a cafe right next door to them called Hotel Eclipse Restaurant & Bar. Chris & Stacy are early buggers so they had already eaten breakfast, but they sat with us while we enjoyed a most amazing breakfast. Mike and I both ate chilaquiles.

Let me take a break here and let you know that by the time Mike and I get to this breakfast, I am absolutely pouring with sweat. Everywhere. I am miserable. I have never sweat like this, so it’s not something I’ve been able to get accustomed to over time. I enjoyed the great breakfast, but I could never seem to stop sweating the whole time. As we leave breakfast, they (everyone else) make plans to walk 5th Avenue some more. Yay, NO. All I want is to be clean and dry, so I wuss out and walk back to our hotel. Where I shower, unpack our bags, and eventually take a nap. Mike pings me on the walkie-talkie — oh yeah, we brought walkie-talkie since we couldn’t use our cell phones for less than the price of our first born. Our rooms don’t have phones either. So, he pings me a while later and tells me he is on his way back to our room.

Mike chills for a bit, and eventually we head over to Sarah & Reagan’s pool area for some much needed pool time. We have some adult beverages, we have some laughs, I compare Chris to High Fructose Corn Syrup (sweet, but not necessarily good for you — it was funny, trust me), Mike jumps in the pool with his iPhone in his pocket… fun was had by all.

We all then get changed or whatever and head out to dinner at La Parrilla. I ate sesame chicken fajitas which were fine but nothing crazy awesome. Mike, however, had some amazing dishes. He had Aztec Soup, which was a tomato based soup with avocados, tortillas, cheese, and just some really great spices. His main entree was a fish in a Vera Cruz style. It has tomato, onions, bell peppers, olives, capers. Freakin’ amazing — unreal. Just straight up my alley. Mike thoroughly enjoyed it too, which I always like to see. He seems to eat some fish like it’s a weird necessity and he’ll struggle through. However, he really enjoyed this one. I think he ate every last bite and it was a big fish.

While the mens paid for dinner, Sarah and I hopped into an actual local merchant’s store across the street to look at a dress for me. Sarah was just bound and determined to get me into a dress or something. Her theory was less clothing would help with the sweating. See, Sarah is skinny now, and has apparently forgotten about some basic fat girl issues. One being that sweat and thighs rubbing together with or without cloth is just a freakin’ nightmare. Anyhoo, her intentions were pure. She wanted me to feel better in this sweltering heat. Sweltering, suffocating, miserable, heat. While I wanted the dress to work, it only made me look like a dirigible.

We walked a bit up 5th Avenue, in & out of shops and all that. We stopped at Starbucks and just chillaxed while Stacy ate some big apple pie. It was a bit tasty. Afterwards, she was crazy stuffed, but Reagan kept trying to bet her she couldn’t eat three scoops of Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

–A couple of notes here. Stacy is super competitive. So if you tell her she can’t, boy she wants to prove you wrong. And just a reiteration that you can’t walk 10 feet without running into another Haagen-Dazs store. Seriously more prevalent than Starbucks in the U.S. Kinda creepy. The confusing part of them being everywhere is that they are crazy expensive. Like $9-10 US for two scoops.

Surprisingly, disgustingly full, Stacy never fell for the ice cream eating bet. Good for you girl!

Eventually we all head over to Sarah’s place to get our stuff and then we all split for the night at 10pm. Plans are meet at the Hotel Eclipse Restaurant at 9:30am.

Playa del Carmen – Day 1

Playa del Carmen – Day 1

Ahhhhhh. Playa del Carmen.

Sounds exquisite to some. Sounds like a town in Mexico to me. Ya see, I would be completely okay with never stepping foot in Mexico. EVER. In this particular area, you can consider me a terrified American. One that has taken in all the bad stereotypes from TV & Movie and filed them away as fact. So, I really don’t feel the need to visit Mexico. I like my kidneys thankyouverymuch. Despite these feelings, Mike and I agreed to a multi-couples vacation to this very place. I’ve never been on vacation with other couples, so the idea was intriguing. I would just have to get over the fact that our destination was going to be Mexico. Now that you have some background, let’s fast-foward to our day of departure.

Zwip Zwip Zwip (that’s my fast-forward noise)

Per our usual travel habits, Mike and I finish packing about three hours before we need to leave for the airport. Then, I have a hard time getting to sleep. So let’s say I got 2 hours of rest. Mike wanted to be out of the house by 6:30am. So, obviously, we were leaving at 7am. I couldn’t remember the exact time of our flight and I kept it this way. If I didn’t know, I couldn’t panic. However, all went well, we got through with 30 minutes before boarding.

Mike goes to Maudie’s for breakfast, I go over to Schlotzsky’s cuz I’m curious about these breakfast quesadillas they have. I wait about 15 minutes for so-so food. Mike waits an additional 5-10 minutes for his migas that end up being covered in sausage. He trades them in for some breakfast tacos and we head to our gate where the last few people are boarding. Awesome timing. Boop. We’re on the plane.

It may have been a 30-minute flight, but I slept the whole way. Which made me look forward to the longer flight so I could sleep even longer. Ahhhh, but that was not to be so. Our seats were not together and we weren’t able to switch. I can’t just sleep on a place willy nilly. I can only do it if I’m sitting next to Mike. So, no sleep for me. The flight was just under two hours, but the fun was just about the begin.

Once we arrived in Cancun, we had to enter the immigration area. It looked like a room full of crowded angry livestock. There at least 2,000 people in there. It was also very hot. There was A/C on, but maybe it was some tiny window unit on one end or something. Cuz it was hot and sweaty in there. My previous experiences with immigration went pretty fast, so I wasn’t too concerned. Not until about 10-15 minutes in and we’ve barely moved. Over two hours later, we finally get through. I will admit to not being in a very good mood at this point. But, we must carry on. We then have to get our baggage and go through customs. That took us about 15 or so minutes and luckily I get a green light when I pushed their inspection button. Red means you get searched.

It was at this point that Mike instructed me to put on my headphones and not talk to anyone. I couldn’t find my earbuds fast enough so I just decided to be brave. We went through this weird gauntlet of time share vultures first. I don’t know what it was about Mike, but they parted like the Red Sea when he came walking by. Then we were outside with 100-ish taxi drivers with signs. First I’m struck by the sheer number of people, then I’m struck by the disgusting amount of humidity in the air. Add that with the heat, and EW. Anyhoo, we quickly look for our driver and kept walking. We walked too far, but eventually someone showed us the way. We found our driver and we were off. We had an extremely well cooled van all to ourselves, so I was off to sleep almost immediately. I kept falling asleep, but Mike would keep telling me to look at stuff on the drive. At one point, I fell asleep in mid-air so Mike just palmed by forehead until I woke up again. I guess I was quite tired.

The drive to our hotel was pretty much my vision of Mexico. Poor, a bit dirty, but of lot of pretty beach-y bits. I think this was quite the highlight for Mike actually.

We arrive at our hotel, Mahekal Beach Resort, and poof! While we are checking in, our friends Chris & Stacy show up. So we put our stuff away, put on some shorts, and head out to get something to eat. My feet are so swollen from a recent blood pressure problem and traveling, so the idea of walking makes my skin crawl, but I am hungry. So, off we go. We walk down this main touristy street – 5th Avenue – and we eventually stop at a place called 1847. Mike had Chris had Sol, but Mike’s was substantially larger. Hilariously larger. I ordered a veggie burrito that had sweet corn, beans and rice in it. It was very tasty. I could eat that corn forever. We had some good chips too. They came out with six difference salsas/sauces, all of which were very different from the last. We leave there and walk further down 5th Avenue, where Chris & Stacy show us around. They’ve been here several times and really know their way around. My quick and dirty impression of 5th Avenue is I don’t like it. It’s not authentic to Mexico, it’s only a huge tourist area that has been made for white consumers (mainly Americans) to feel just like they are at home. Or to get them to buy as much as possible. Sad thing is, it obviously works.

We walk here, there, everywhere. At some point we stop at Senor Frogs and get a drink. We sit watching the crazy-ass choppy water and the ferry’s trying to negotiate that mess. It was making Mike have sea sickness flashbacks just watching that.

We eventually slowly mosey our way over to Sarah & Reagan’s condos – Aldea Thai. We wait there for a while and they eventually show up. After some hello’s and some mutual immigration horror stories, we head out to get some grub.

We stumble upon Yaxche, a Mayan cuisine restaurant. The first thing I see on the menu is Cochinita Pibil, and since my mom and brother would kill me if I didn’t try any, I did. It was awesome. The pork was so tender it was crazy. It was a bit fattier than I’ve had, but it really was out of this world. The pickled onions were not quite as pickled as I generally prefer, but the two flavors did very well together. It came with handmade corn tortillas that just sealed the deal.

After that we all disbursed and went to our abodes for the night. We made plans to meet Sarah & Reagan at 10:30am at the Starbucks. Yes, Starbucks. Every corner, and I mean EVERY corner also has a Haagen-Dazs shop. Anyway… after we meet up with them, we’ll walk them over to Chris & Stacy’s area for breakfast.

Mau’i – Day 7, Hawai’i – Day 12

Mau’i – Day 7, Hawai’i – Day 12

Sunday, July 13th

We woke up at 2am. Why such weird hours, you may wonder? We have to get ready to head up to Haleakala for the sunrise. We managed to get out of the condo just before 3am, and started our 2+ hour drive up the volcano. The volcano is 10,023 feet, and the drive was constant switchbacks. Everytime we saw an elevation sign we would check the temperature. It seemed like we were losing 2-3 degrees for every 1000 feet.We got up there around 5am, and the park ranger told us that the sunrise was expected to be around 5:45am. Right before we left the car we checked the temp and it was 34 degrees. We had planned for it, but we still didn’t have enough clothing to keep warm. *shiver*

We went to the lookout point and managed to snag an awesome spot to wait. I tried to stay warm by constantly shaking or moving around. A park ranger comes out to us and starts to tell us about everything we can see from up there. We can actually see Mauna Kea on the Big Island from up here. After much waiting, the sun starts to slowly make it’s way to us. Oh, it was so worth the wait and the cold. We watched that for quite awhile. And I of course managed to burn my eyes up a bit. We walked around a little bit, and then headed back out. I fell asleep before we even got to the lower parking lot which was maybe 200 ft away.

I woke up just as we were arriving at the condo at 9am. Mike decides he wants to sleep instead of packing. This perturbs me a bit cuz we have to be out of the condo by 11am. As I am taking some trash out, the maids are already there and waiting to clean. I tell them we will be leaving at 11am. I know they had more guests coming that night, but still. We did manage to leave at 11am on the dot.

We head into Kahului to go to the CostCo to return some stuff we didn’t even open, and to get some macadamia nuts for some gifts. We decided to drive all the way to Kihei to eat at a different Maui Tacos than we had before. Before going there, we went to Longs Drug Store to get envelopes to send off our gifts. Right across the street from that is a post office. It dawns on me that it’s a Sunday, but then I figure I could use the Automated Postal Center. When we get there, the APC is down and not selling postage. Of course not, that would be too easy. So, we head to Maui Tacos, eat entirely too much food there, then head back into Kahului to find another post office.

We managed to find it, but this one doesn’t even have an APC. Ummmm… it’s not like we can take this on the plane. I absolutely refuse to pay the airlines extra money cuz my bags will end up overweight. And I’m already going to be carrying on too much. What the hell are we gonna do?!?!?! Oh, wait, can I just buy some stamps and pop it in the mail. Nope, because I mail so much stuff on PaperBackSwap and SwapADVD, I happen to know that you cannot mail something that is heavier than 13 ounces with just stamps without handing it to a postal worker. Weird rule, but I’ve been bitten by it before, so I know not to try that. As we are driving around, we see a Pak Mail that is actually open. OMG. These people are nothing but thieves! They won’t ship it for anything less than Priority Mail and that is like $20 per package, and we have 4. Their reasoning for using Priority Mail was silly, but whatever. I’d rather pay them than the airlines any day.

Because Mama’s Fish House was so amazing, we made dinner reservations there for 5:00pm. We still have some time to kill, so we drive towards that area and go to the beach we saw before that had some windsurfers. We hit it big. There were tons of surfers and TONS of windsurfers. Mike went out to watch ’em out there, and I stayed in the car and watched them. There were so many people out at that beach, but I had a great view of all the windsurfers, and it just mesmerized me.

After that we drove into Paia and then past that into Makawao Town (Cowboy Town), got gas, and managed to be late for our reservation at Mama’s. Mike had an Uku dish cooked in upcountry style, and I had the mahi mahi dish Mike had at our previous visit. Very good. Ridiculous how good their food is. We also made sure to have one more Scorpion before we left the island. Mike even managed to get the recipe from the bartender for it. Excellent.

We headed to Alamo to return our rental car, and I almost forgot my wallet in the car. We got to the terminal and put our bags through the agriculture inspection, then TSA. Then we went to get our boarding passes, and we have one bag at 44 lbs, and the other at 54 lbs or something. Mike took them and moved stuff around so they would both be under the 50 lb restriction. I refuse to pay the airlines more for baggage crap. Hate airline fees. Bastards. Anyway… Mike did that, but was told he had to go back through the whole process. So, back to the Ag inspection, back to TSA, and finally off we go. We couldn’t have timed it better. We had a few minutes before boarding started and it dawns on me that I think I forgot my glasses in their case in the rental car. Mike called Alamo for me, and since we didn’t have time to go get them, he arranged for Alamo to mail ’em to us and charge us. They only charged us $10 for fedex, so not bad.

We got on the plane, and Mike was out pretty quickly. I actually stayed awake and watched Horton Hears A Who, I shouldn’t have bothered, but then after that I completely conked out. I can never sleep on a plane. Not truly sleep. But I slept all the way until just before landing in LAX. THEN, I actually managed to do the same thing all the way to Austin. Couldn’t have asked for better, it seems so fast when you’re asleep the whole time!

When we arrived at the house, my office Aeron chair was completely coated in white Sundae fur. I think she may have actually missed me!

Mau’i – Day 6, Hawai’i – Day 11

Mau’i – Day 6, Hawai’i – Day 11

Saturday, July 12th

Mike woke up at 6am to see if he could find us a snorkeling cruise out to Molokini Crater. He found one with Pacific Whale Foundation @ 7:45. We got lucky. The boat we were on usually holds 100 ppl, but for whatever reason we only had 22. It made for a great casual trip. When we got to Molokini the water was quite choppy. However, right as we were getting in the water it got much better. It was great. There were tons of fish here, and I even got to see this wicked looking eel. Because the weather had gotten so nice and calm, the captain took us around the back of Molokini as we were leaving the area. He showed us all the damage the military did to it. (Just like they did with Kahoolawe). They used it as a bombing target practice because it’s silhouette was similar to an aircraft carrier. You can still see bullet holes and other big gouges in the side. You can see normal natural erosion on the other side of it. Big difference. It makes me sick to see what we as a country or maybe just the military are willing to do sometimes. Why would that seem like an OK thing to do? It just truly baffles me.

We headed to another area that the captain called “Dirty Harry Bay” cuz Clint Eastwood has a house right there by the water. It’s also called Turtle Arches, cuz there are lots of turtles under these coral arch things. It wasn’t the clearest of water, but we did manage to see a couple turtles. There was a whitetip reef shark under an arch that our instructor Steve found by quite the surprise. I didn’t validate that myself. I trust that it was there and scared the crap out of him. On our way back into Maalaea Harbor, we saw 3-4 turtles surface for air right near the boat. Much better views than our previous turtle exposure. One even stayed up for a LONG time, I think he was hamming it up for all the cameras.

We got back into the harbor, put our stuff into the car, and then ate lunch at Beach Bum’s Bar & Grill. Nothing special, but it got the job done.

We left and headed out to West/West Maui in search of the best banana bread on the planet. At least according to the writer of our Maui guide. We stopped at two places in Kahakuloa Town — Julia’s and Lorraine’s. We got banana bread at both, and a shave ice from Lorraine’s. Julia’s was definitely supreme. Definitely the best one we’d had on Maui for sure.

Shortly after Kahakulua we came upon the area where the Nakalele Blowhole is. We noticed a ton of broken car window glass bits all over the ground where you park for it. Not a reassuring thing. We just stayed up on the top there and didn’t hike down to the Blowhole. This was already a long day and we were just exhausted. We sat on the cliff area up there and just watched the blowhole going nuts. We definitely got there at a good time of day.

We came back to the condo around 5:30pm. Mike immediately went to sleep, and I started packing and doing general clean-up, then finally went to bed at 7:15pm.

Mau’i – Day 5, Hawai’i – Day 10

Mau’i – Day 5, Hawai’i – Day 10

Friday, July 11th

The usual morning. We actually went to the beach at our condo for the first time and took a dip and a snorkel. The waves were pretty rough out there so I didn’t snorkel too much. I ended up just hanging out in the water enjoying the waves smacking into me. No, seriously, I REALLY love getting pummeled by waves. It’s so much fun!

After that, we packed up to go snorkeling in La Perouse Bay. On our way there we stopped at a little food stand called Makena Grill and got some fish tacos and macaroni & cheese. Weird combo, yes.. but tasty food. It was so good. The tacos had a pineapple salsa on them. I didn’t even mind the cilantro that much. The mac&chz had a very smoky flavor to them. I guess from the smoker they use to cook much of everything. It was really good though.

We went further down that road and ended up parking in a lot where the road ended. It was very strange. Imagine a big gravel parking lot, and then imagine that gravel is lava rock. See, strange. We walked up the road there to find the trailhead to get to the snorkeling spot known as the Aquarium. Mike had already been to this spot before I got here, and he told me it was a pretty flat trail with only a little bit of climbing over boulders or big rocks. The boy was apparently on some really good drugs when he went the first time or something because that hike was horrible. In what the guides say should take no more than 30 minutes, took us 90 minutes. Why so long, you wonder? Mike couldn’t remember how to get there. And so we seemed to be off trail most of the time and we were doing nothing but climbing and dealing with lava rocks and whatnot. After awhile I was so tired and my legs were so wobbly, it was just getting scary to continue. So, of course I started to cry like a ninny. My legs were shaking, I was scratched in a few places from the lava rock and the weather was kinda crap. Despite my whining and crying, we managed to make it there, and I’m so glad we did. This was, by far, the best snorkeling I’ve ever done to date. Insane. It was the first time I truly felt like I was intruding on their turf. It was just gorgeous. The water was freezing.. FREEZING… and the wind was blowing hard, but it was awesome. At one point, Mike got my attention and started pointed behind me and there was this HUMONGOLOID green sea turtle. It just glided by us like it didn’t have a care in the world. It had some weird barnacle looking things on him. Later we found out they were a type of tumors. Poor guy. We managed to find a bit of an actual trail on the way back so it was a lot faster leaving.

We drove back to Napili, grabbed a tasty MickyD’s beverage. On our way back to the condo, we decided to tour a local neighborhood called Kahana Ridge. We saw a house for sale in the area and grabbed a flyer to see how much. An awesome looking house 1900ish sq ft… yours for only $918,000. Yeeow.

Back to condo. I had managed to snag some trial size hair conditioner, and I showered and conditioned my hair 3 times. This was the first time since I’d been in Hawaii. My hair felt like straw. Oh, it was so refreshing to have my hair feel so nice again.

We went and had dinner on Front Street in Lahaina at a pizza joint called BJ’s Chicago Pizzeria. Excellent deep dish pizza. Yum. We walked around down there a bit, and wandered into an art gallery called Diamond Head Art Gallery. Random, yes, but it ended up being really cool. We saw this one artist’s work that I just fell in love with — Leohone. The ones I saw were all of Hawaiians and their ancestors sort of like spirits around them. There was this one of a really tired guy that can’t paddle his boat, and you see the ancestors helping him. It was just gorgeous.

I don’t have any pictures of this day because we used the disposible camera. Once we get them scanned in, I’ll put some up.

NOTE: I just found out today that the area where we snorkeled – La Perouse Bay – has been closed as of August 1, 2008 for 2 years. They are worried about preserving the area. It’s crazy! We just made it before it got closed. I feel so lucky. Here are some news stories about it.