Our Livin' Large Maui Vacation - Day 4

If you haven't been keeping up with how NOT sucktastic a trip to Maui can actually be... check out how I spent my first, second, and third day discovering just how wonderful a little island in the Pacific really is.

Day 4 was a lot less livin' large than Day 3 and a lot more livin' humble.  We were on a flight to O'ahu to visit Pearl Harbor before the sun even broke the horizon line.  Air travel certainly is nice without checked baggage or a carry-on.  TSA has nothing to search except my sub-bosom, my ankles, and everything in between.

We booked our tour tickets in advance through Recreation.gov and arrived with more than enough time to settle in, roam around, and get super nerded out with audio tour headphones.  There's really not much I can put into words.  This visit far exceeded anything I could've ever imagined, with a small level of anxiety for the entire morning.  I hate history.  I loved Pearl Harbor.  I hate reading all the little notes at museum exhibits.  I not only read everything I could (some of them twice), but I listened to my audio tour in conjunction with the exhibits (sometimes twice).  To all my history teachers who put me to sleep on more than one occasion, all you needed to do was take me to Honolulu for a field trip to capture my attention.

This post card that was sent from one of the men on board the USS Arizona brought tears to my eyes.  It wasn't the first nor the last time I cried that morning.

Dear Lord / Lest I continue / My complacent way / Help me to remember
Somehow out there / A man died for me today. / As long as there be war
I then must / Ask and answer / Am I worth dying for?
Poem Eleanor Roosevelt kept in her wallet during WWII

There were a few of these pin-up pictures posted around the USS Bowfin.  I thought they were great.  Women with hips and boobs!

Once Matt and I were sufficiently toured out, we sought out giant burgers and shave ice on the North Shore in Haleiwa.  Kua'Aina didn't disappoint with their over-sized servings of beef and toppings.  Cash only if you want to indulge in 1/3 or 1/2 pound of the meaty goodness.

Matsumoto's offered up hearty (and sickeningly sweet) portions of shave ice.  I discovered for the first and last time that sweetened condensed milk should not be consumed... ever.  Especially not right out of a squeezy bottle and on top of my shave ice.

We made a quick pit stop to Laniakea Beach to visit the honu and then hurried back to the airport to catch our flight back "home" for the night.

Aloha, Mr. Turtle! 
"Whoa, Dude.  Mister Turtle is my father.  The name's Crush."


Our Livin' Large Maui Vacation - Day 3

Literal translation of livin' large on day 3 meant kayaking in the Pacific Ocean next to humpback whales.  Yeah, it was pretty bad ass.  The pictures taken below were included with the price of the tour.  I was thrilled with that offer because I was too busy trying to coordinate paddles with Matt to take pictures of the all the sweet whale action that was going on around us.  The awesome folks at Hawaiian Paddle Sports do it up first class all the way.  The following pictures were taken by our uber fit local food expert and CrossFitter kayak guide, Donny.

A few hours of paddling after and around whales is quite an experience and the only apropos thing to do next was jump in!  Not with the whales, but with sea turtles and eels and tropical fish.  A little snorkeling, a little bladder emptying (it was a LONG morning), and a short paddle back to shore capped off the morning.

A patty melt, one hell of a seared ahi tuna sandwich, a few french fries with garlic aioli, and a large glass of water at Leoda's Kitchen & Pie Shop filled our rapacious tummies before our $60+ taxi ride back to the hotel.  

Much relaxing by the pool.  Some reading.  Some napping.  First priority: zen out.  Second priority: rebuild our appetite.  When both had been satisfactorily achieved, we picked up our rental car from the concierge and drove to our second Sheldon Simeon restaurant of the day, Star Noodle.  An hour wait on a Tuesday night.  Views of the Pacific Ocean and a very busy Lahaina CrossFit kept us occupied for most of the wait.  

We indulged in a short and eye-opening shopping extravaganza at the nearby Foodland.  What happens when you combine the world's greatest food with the world's worst food?  This:

I'm just glad I didn't see natto flavored Spam.  I just might have run out of the store crying.  

With a 3 o'clock in the morning alarm looming in front of us, the evening ended early.  Not quite the baller life, but my circadians would have revolted against me otherwise leaving day 4 with the potential of being a grouchy sour-faced day.  Not up in here.  NOT up in here.  (Link really NSFW, FYI)


Our Livin' Large Maui Vacation - Day 2

Who doesn't enjoy a perfect sunrise while sitting on the lanai overlooking the ocean?  The girl who sits on the lanai facing the west coast of Maui, that's who.  Around 7:15 am in my jet lagged sleepy stupor, I finally realized I would need to wait about 11 more hours before I could see the sun... setting over the water.

I used to be smart.  Once.

The grounds at the Ritz-Carlton-Kapalua contain an expansive vegetable, fruit, and herb garden used by the resort restaurants in the preparation of fresh and local cuisine.  Hello in-season whole food!

Matt and I spent a good chunk of the morning touring the gardens, taking pictures, and speaking with their resident botanist, Frank.  Frank also collects all the orchids that are used throughout the resort when they are no longer vibrant and vital and rehabilitates them back to health in the garden.

We completed our tour with a frothy island beverage at the bar and then enjoyed a local lunch at the nearby Honolua Store.  Matt test drove a Hyundai Genesis in conjunction with the promotional activities for the Hyuandai Tournament of Champions that was taking place on the golf course right outside our room.

After much frolicking in some very aggressive waves, the accidental loss of my retro-tastic swim suit top, and reaching the point of pure beachy exhaustion...

(Matt's little head is in the middle of the next picture, right under the crashing wave)

...it was time to drink away the evening at the Preferred Pump sponsored luau with free-flowing Mai-Tais, beer, and roasted pig.  I forwent the Polynesian potations and instead loaded my plate with poke, pork, and pineapple. 

Fabulous food and festivities punctuated the day's finale!  

There were a few grouchies from our giant group on the bus ride back to the Ritz.  In my life, I've never heard so many people complain about so many things with regard to a week at a Ritz-Carlton in Maui.  Perhaps they were Caribbean fans, too and just never got the memo that Maui CAN BE kinda bitchin'.


Our Livin' Large Maui Vacation - Day 1

As a spoiled rotten little brat child, I always used to believe that Hawaiian vacations were pedestrian and there was no possible way Hawaii could be as cool as the Caribbean Islands.  At 33 years old, reality finally smacked me in the jaw like a scolding parent telling petulant little me to "wise up!"  On January 6, Matt and I tackled an almost six hour long airplane ride to start our Livin' Large Maui Vacation and kick off 2013 with a joyful start.

This was the first trip that Matt and I have ever been on that I didn't obsess, preplan, plan, replan, plan again, and create a full minute-to-minute day-to-day itinerary.  With a token pair of shorts from Old Navy, a few retro-tastic swimsuits from ModCloth, and a suitcase full of flowy maxi dresses, we were off with the anticipation of discovery and possibilities for excitement.

Day 1 in 100 words or less with gratuitous pictures for effect:

Bacon, eggs, and green chiles breakfast.  Giant slurpy goodbye puppy kisses.  $10 Refresh Tea from Starbucks.  Francis Chan, sleep, and more Francis Chan.  Finally finished The Talent Code, the book I started on my last "vacation" in March 2012.  Lean Cuisine-esque airplane food.  Pineapple juice.  Free wine.

Airport insanity.  Warm tropical air bedecked with 30 mph winds.  Long bus ride.  Whales.

Annoying children who we were thrilled to discover were staying nowhere near us.  Ritz-Carlton.  Check-in.  Giant schmancy suite.  Fresh flowers.

Kirin.  Crackers.  Deli meat.  Maui onion chips.  Downton Abbey season premier.  Pass out.

Just like real ballers.