June 05, 2003
Travel Diary Day 6: Kauai-Maui

16.57 Hawaii-Aleutian Time
All right guys. You can make fun of me as much as you want; but remember, I'm in Hawaii.

Your damn Skippy I am.

That aside, So far today has been a travel day. I woke up before 6.00 to pack (was too tired last night to do it then--imaginary wives and children wear a guy out). And spent an hour doing that. Composed a thank you note to Dustin and Jackie; gassed up the Stratus; returned Chava's surfboard to his spot below the tree next to the parking lot; and checked out. I left Kauai with some regret, but figured, like MacArthur, that I would return one day (perhaps I'll try the striding through the surf too).

I left the Sheraton at about 8.30 and stopped at Don's Camera to pick up the battery charger he was so good to procure for me. He's a middle-aged, I would guess Japanese-Hawaiian who's friendly, but no-nonsense. He directed me to the shortest route to Lihue Airport. I returned the Stratus and checked in. A luck would have it, the Aloha flight to Maui before mine had standby space, so I caught that flight. My only mild concern was whether my baggage would end up on this new flight or my original flight.

After a stopover in Honolulu, where I had a good aerial view of its port with laden container vessels, and a Coast Guard cutter, the little 737, now stuffed to the gills with Mainlanders in a festival of colors (people really get into their Hawaii schtick coming here), labored with a gravelly rumble southeast to Maui.

Bad premonition: I've always thought that the thrust reversers on 737's are sort of cool so tried to take a picture of the engine as we flew into Honolulu. The camera turned on, but none of the buttons worked. I wrote this off as its low battery state.

Luckily, my bag did materialize on the conveyor for the new flight, so I was off to the car rental agency...where there was a line practically around the block. It seemed that every person off the plane was using Dollar while the Avis, Hertz, Alamo, Budget, &c. counters looked abandoned. I managed to get on the second shuttle bus after beating up 3 sets of senior citizens--all right, it was just one elderly couple I took out with an atomic scissor kick. Well maybe I just waited politely in line, even as a honeymoon couple broke into the queue ahead of me.

At least Dollar seemed prepared for the onslaught. They were processing people through quite efficiently.

I had reserved a compact, but the attendant told me that I'd have to wait for one to get cleaned. She could give me a minivan if I didn't want to wait. A man waits for no Dodge Neon, so I took the Dodge Town & Country minivan. Perhaps she noticed my invisible wife and kids. I didn't quite retain the attendant's directions out of Kalahui so navigated by seat-of-the-pants method. Invisible partners are poor navigators (but than corporeal ones are often poor as well). I felt like I was going south and did end up on 380 that exits the town and intersects with Maui's circumferential highway, Highway 30. Driving though Kalahui, it's clear that Maui is an altogether different sort of place than Kauai. The first establishment I passed was a Lexus dealership, and I soon passed a Home Depot, and the requisite collection of fast food joints. Driving my infinitely suave Town & Country to Kapalua, the impression I got from what I could see from the road is that Maui is much more built up, with high rises (where nothing in Kauai was taller than 4 stories), and the generically pleasant upscale strip malls you see in places like Hilton Head. Within 40 minutes I turned into Kapalua.

This place is meticulously mowed and gardened. My hotel is perched on a grass bluff next to the golf course (they hold the PGA Mercedes Championship here), with the beach down below. It's designed to be reminiscent of tropical plantation house with the hotel line's signature pineapple motif reflected throughout. It's quite a bit more luxurious than the hotel on Kauai. People also remember your name.

Since my room wasn't quite ready, I wandered down to the poolside restaurant because I hadn't eaten at all today. There were only two other groups there (it being 14.00), a couple with the man glued to his cellphone to which he responded in monosyllabic eruptions and his wife withstanding his crippled level of sociability with aplomb. The other group were big, floridly beefy golfers with pastel-colored polo shirts, big class rings, and loud Southern accents.

I ordered a raspberry-mint lemonade (didn't realize that it was a hard lemonade), and a grilled eggplant, ahi tuna with aioli sandwich on flat Turkish bread. It was very good. I managed to finish the Wall Street Journal when the Front Desk informed me that my room was ready.

I've been upgraded to a suite. I have two bathrooms (one with shower, the other with bath and shower, a sitting room, a walk-in closet, a lanai that spans more than 20 feet and overlooks two holes of the back nine--I can't quite see which.

If any of you can get out to Maui today, you're free to stay. I'll make the invisible quintuplets sleep outside.

For broadband access I have to rent a 3G cellular modem. I've never seen one of these things. It's $13/day, and after some snafus with the first modem, and then the wrong cable with the second, I've gotten this second one up and running. I didn't mind the trips to the Front Desk though because the girls are pretty.

After charging a battery in my nifty new battery-charger, I powered up my camera for some pictures...None of the buttons work. I didn't mention that on my Na Pali kayak trip that the "dry bag" that the outfitters had supplied me hardly deserved the name. One of the seams was busted. Now I had laid the camera bag as the topmost item in the "dry" bag, and had noticed that my camera bag was damp at our lunch stop, but I wasn't too concerned because the camera wasn't soaked like my stuff in the bottom, and I successfully snapped a couple pictures--which I posted below--after lunch. Now, I think the little bit of salt water, or even the humid environment inside the "dry" bag must have corroded the camera's circuitry. It will turn on, but I can't do anything with it.

There's a particularly useful word in the lexicon for this situation: B-U-M-M-E-R. All caps, full-stop.

Posted by erich at June 05, 2003 11:57 PM
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This is PRICELESS... you driving a MINIVAN!!!!
I am sure the wife and kiddies LOVE it, they can now stretch out their legs, which have been strapped to their buttocks while riding with you in the porche... Do you have a DVD player? how are the acoustics? Does'nt it handle the corners well? Isn't fun to ride above everyone else...
Waiting for more pictures.....

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