Courtney and I jetted off to Maui this weekend, thanks to $80 r/t flights on Aloha Airlines, and a long Thanksgiving weekend. We left early Friday and returned Monday night. We both missed school for the first time, and felt little guilt as we laid on the beaches (it also helped that all I missed was a collaboration day - no students).
Our first day and night were spent in Lahaina, a quaint little port city on the Eastern coast of the island. We spent the afternoon Christmas shopping, and I was even able to find a bar with a great local porter and the LSU-Arkansas football game. (Courtney wasn't too excited about that, but she was a good sport). We spent the night at the Maui Guest House, a recently-remodeled B&B. They had a one-night hole that they let us fill for only $100 - you know if there's a deal, I'll find it.
Saturday we spent a little time at the beach, then made the drive to the plantation-turned-hippie town of Pa'ia. For $85/night we found a nice room in the Mangolani, someone's half home/half vacation rental. We were a half-mile walk from the town, which consisted of a few cafes, restaurants and shops. It was 1950s Main Street meets Woodstock. I felt quite out of place walking around the first night in my collared shirt and khaki shorts, among all of the dreadlocks, flowing skirts, and the wafting smells of "Maui Wowie" (all you hippies or Willie Nelson fans should be able to translate). This was the first time since moving to Hawaii that I've felt like it was a different country. It seemed to be an interesting blend of Europe and West Africa - with very few native Hawaiians.
Sunday, Courtney and I took our Mazda 6 rental on the "Road to Hana." This was the longest 40-mile stretch of my life, with 600+ curves and more than 100 one-lane bridges. This is no exaggeration, but the views were breathtaking. Courtney was fine until the way back when she (in the passenger seat) was the one on the edge of the cliff and began fighting a bout of paranoia. That night, having survived the 2.5 hr. drive each way, we ate at Flatbread Company, an organic pizzeria. I had the mango barbeque pizza with carmelized red onions, pineapple chunks, pulled pork, and goat cheese - magnificent!
We spent Monday morning lazing about on the beach - Courtney tanning, and me sitting in the shade of some palm trees reading The Catcher in the Rye. Our airport security trip was the most eventful, but least desirable part of our day. Being the terrorists that we are, we tried inadvertently to slip a Christmas gift through security in our carry-on. This particular gift was a lei made with mini-bottles of Caribbean rum for Courtney's brother. Well, once on the other side we were told that we could keep the $12 gift, only if we could produce a Ziploc bag to put it in. Not a grocery bag, not a clear Nalgene water bottle, not even a clear plastic box - it had to be a Ziploc bag. Keep in mind, this confrontation occurred AFTER we'd already passed through security. Apparently that Ziploc bag is the only thing keeping us safe from a terror attack by Caribbean rum. The absurdity!!
Now we're back in our comfortable condo counting down the 16 school days until we're mainland bound.