My sweet mother-in-law turned 60 at the end of April, and graciously took us all on a trip to Hawaii to celebrate with her! I am, as always, a bit late in blogging our trip (I still want to post about our Europe trip from last fall… I’ll get there eventually), but better late than never.
In the week prior to our trip, I broke out in what can only be described as an apocalyptic, ten plagues of Egypt style rash covering 70% of my body. It was completely harmless (so said both the internet and my doctor), but likely to last anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. I was mortified, but kept it pretty well in check until the last few days before the trip… at which point I had a total meltdown. The rash was continuing to spread and intensify, and it was getting harder and harder to cover (you have no idea how visible your neck is until you have a raised, splotchy red rash covering it. I got asked if I had hives more than once). Sun and de-stressing seemed to be the main (and only) remedy I could find, so the day before we left, I visited a tanning salon and took as many deep breaths as possible. And also cried and told Will I didn’t want to go. Because vanity is a real struggle. On the plane ride over, it was starting to break out across my face and head, causing my right eyelid to swell up and everything to itch like crazy… then, we landed. And all of that stress and anxiety (and fear when faced with the prospect of donning swimwear in public) melted away, and I kid you not, the rash immediately started to recede. The sun, the salt water, the food, the pure beauty everywhere we looked healed me, and by the time we left on Saturday, I looked (mostly) back to normal.
And now, on to the good stuff:
Day One: The Road to Hana
We arrived in Maui late on a Monday evening, just in time to watch the sunset from our taxi on the way to the condo where we were all staying in Wailea. The next morning, we were up bright and early to meet our guide for the Road to Hana tour. The Road to Hana is a 52 mile drive along the Hana Highway (which has 620 curves in it- pack dramamine!), peppered with waterfalls, beaches, gorgeous views, and some of the best trees you have ever seen (I have a thing for trees).
I am, in general, a guided tour person. So if you are not a guided tour person, you can take this with a grain of salt: do not under any circumstances drive the Road to Hana without a guide of some kind. I make my case based on the following reasons: 1. It’s a pretty terrifying drive. There are certain bridges that are one lane only and you’ll have to stop to let someone pass. 2. You are not really going to know what you’re looking at most of the time, 3. Our guide took us through a lava tube and it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen, and 4. There are only so many places to stop to go the bathroom, eat, pull over and take a picture, swim in a waterfall, and you really don’t want to go rogue in Hawaiian back country.There are a bunch of little watering holes where you can stop and swim along the way- the boys bravely jumped off that cliff while I clung to a mossy rock for warmth.A rainbow tree!! I was obsessed.
A sweet little post office in Hana Town.
A stop at the black sand beach:
My favorite part of the tour was the Hana lava tube! Lava tubes form as a result of molten lava spewing up from underground and flowing toward the ocean. As the lava flowed, the top cooled and hardened to form a crust, allowing lava to continue flowing beneath it for a few more years. When the lava drained out, the tunnel was formed, like so: Our tour guide was bit a wild man, and is apparently wild man buddies with the guy who owns the part of the cave that is open to the public. According to tour guide lore, aforementioned wild man dug this lava tube out himself, by carrying 1 ton of rocks out of the cave every day in a bucket. I asked how many buckets made a ton and he did not know. It all sounded a bit fishy to me, but what do I know- good for him.
We did the Road to Hana in a day, and it was pretty exhausting! I know people stay in Hana Town overnight, but we had more to do and see the next day. On the way home, our guide gave us a 2 hour history lesson on Hawaii, and it was … enlightening. I was sitting in the front seat, and I can’t turn a talker down, so while everyone else fell asleep, I asked questions, nodded, ‘oh wowed’ and generally tried to take everything in.
Day Two: Helicopter Ride + Spa + Merryman’s Fish House
We took a remarkably well soundtracked helicopter ride around Maui! Our pilot told us about his time swimming with the sharks in Maui, and I later looked up videos on youtube, only to discover this truly terrifying trailer for an upcoming Mandy Moore movie. Seriously people, rule #1 of traveling: Do not go out on boats with men you just met, followed very closely by rule #2 of traveling: Do not get in a cage, for any reason, however briefly. It can and will only end in tears.
A somewhat successful siblings selfie (obligatory):
And a rainbow to top it all off.
After the helicopter ride, everyone went golfing and I went to get a massage at the spa. I am kind of not a massage person- this was only my second massage ever, and I think in general I feel a bit weird about paying people to touch me. But, I was coming off of a lot of stress, my rash was still receding and it seemed like a massage could do some good. And DID IT EVER. It was other worldly, I’m not kidding, there was something magic in this woman’s fingers. She rubbed me down with hot stones and put a bunch of essential oils in my hair for no apparent reason but I liked it and then I sat in the sun by the pool for an indeterminate amount of time feeling relaxed.For dinner, we went to Merryman’s Fish House. The food was amazing – I got really obsessed with poke (cubed raw fish, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it) after trying it here, and ended up eating at nearly every meal for the rest of the trip. My feelings on raw fish have changed substantially since returning home to Austin, especially raw fish you might buy at a stand on the side on the road. But in Hawaii– I’ll take two, please, and any sauce you have. Pictured: The most beautiful sunset! Not pictured: Me. Since the magical massage lady rubbed a bunch of essential oils into my hair (I was really and truly down for anything in this experience and didn’t question it while it was happening), I looked and honestly kind of felt like a grease monkey. Maui, you’re gorgeous. Part II coming eventually!