Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 3, Maui

Photos of Maluaka Beach, Makena
This photo of Maluaka Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor
I'm sitting on my lanai, which is Hawaiian for verandah.

Although I'm very close to the parking garage and can hear the tires of every car squeaking as they go around the corners, it still feels like something special. The humid air reminds me that I'm on a tropical island. So do the palm trees that surround me. And a few foreign bird or insect sounds.

My belly is still stretched from the dinner that I ate at Star Noodle on the advice of Walter the Cabana Guy. I'll have to remember to tell him that I loved the Vietnamese omelette that he recommended. I'll probably also tell him that it's not the greatest place for dining solo. I much preferred Hula Grill, which he recommended with some trepidation (over priced, in his opinion, which may be true in other circumstances, but for me it was priced right).

My skin has the warm starchy feel of too much sun. I didn't wear sunblock today as I was snorkeling on coral reef and was worried about killing it. Given the number of other people who probably do not obey this rule (and/or are not even aware of the rule), I probably should have just done it. Instead, I can feel slightly smug and like maybe the turtle was paying back my kindness by swimming with me today.

I got up early this morning and thought about heading out super early to a canoe thing. Instead, I drank my coffee and got ready leisurely. I put some snacks and drinks, sunblock, a change of clothes and my travel books into my backpack. I dug out and cleaned the best-looking snorkel gear from the condo closet. I planned my route.

By the time I was on the road it was probably 7:30am. It took me an hour to get to Wailea's Ulua Beach, south down the coast. And I didn't even stop at Leoda's Kitchen as I'd planned -- I just didn't see the the turn. Wailea is very nice. Less touristy, more high-class. Don't get me wrong, there are tourists peaking out from every condo. But it looks more residential. With beautiful trees lining and arching over the street.

Ulua Beach is known for snorkeling. Sure enough, there were loads of people in the water. I joined them, somewhat doubting the quality of the excursion, but determined to get my feet wet. I was pretty shocked by the quantity and variety of fish! I also heard one snorkeller exclaim that they'd seen a turtle. As my fingers pruned up, I finned my way back to shore to dry off and eat my snack.

I'd expected it to take longer, but it wasn't even lunch yet. Since I was already at this end of town, I decided to press on to another snorkeling spot of interest. First stopping at the Shops at Wailea, mind you (a very classy outdoor mall). I continued south along the coast, stopping at Makena's Maluaka Beach. THIS is where you go to see turtles. And far fewer people, I might add.

The other couple who were out in my area decided to swim back and I quietly floated, waiting and watching. Sure enough, there he was. A turtle just hanging out between the coral on the sandy bottom. I guess once the noisy couple was gone, he decided it was safe and started swimming up my way. I wanted give him his space, and I think my movement startled him so he ended up swimming away then. But it was enough. I'd hung out with a turtle (not my first ever, but my first on this trip and the first one in a long time).

That was it for me. I got out and dried off, ate some chips, drank some water, dozed, read. It got a bit cloudy (not cooler, mind you, just less sunny even for me, seated under the dappled shade of a tree -- it tells you how hot it was if I was sitting under a tree. Although I wasn't wearing sunblock, as I'd mentioned.)

Once mostly dry, I was back in the car, heading back north. Again, I looked for the pie shop turn-off... to no avail. Hence I was starving by the time I pulled up to Star Noodle. And way too much food looked just about right to me. It taunts me still, although I did walk to beach when I got back to the condo. I'm glad I did, and not just for my waistline. It was my favourite time of night: sun's gone down and there's that weird not-dark, not-light quality (maybe that's what's called twilight?) when everything looks like an HDR photo.

Now here I sit on my lanai thinking about my wonderful day. Granted, I was driving most of the day and I don't typically like driving. But the thing is, the roads are SIGNED (except Leoda's Kitchen, clearly). And you can't go very fast. And it's a beautiful scene around every corner -- like when that wave broke near shore and the spray spilled over onto the road, glimmering in the sunlight. I wasn't sure about the place I'm staying when I first got here, but I gotta say, I think it was the best choice I could have made.

I believe that things happen for a reason. This is exactly the right place for me to be.

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