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Maui Vacation – Day 1

San Jose to Lahaina

We woke to our alarm at 4:45, showered, dressed and took care of those last-minute packing tasks that always linger. Bruce picked us up promptly at 6:00am, swaths of frost still evident on his car windows. We were to the airport, checked in, bags checked, and through security 35 minutes later. First class check-in and security lines save a lot of time.

We boarded on time and enjoyed the service in the first class cabin – guava juice, brunch, snacks, and comfort during the five and a half hour flight. Chris watched “The Descendents” during part of the flight. I listened to an old “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” podcast, read, and slept.

Our bags were some of the first ones to drop onto the carousel at Kahului Airport, and we were quickly off to the Alamo shuttle. Fifteen minutes later we were packing up our less than pristine Mazda M3 sedan and heading into bumper-to-bumper traffic.

We arrived at the Honua Kai Resort about 2:00. A helpful staff member told us we needed to check in at the north tower, and we drove another 5 minutes to get there. Our room was ready. We unloaded the car and gave it to the valet. We were surprised by the strong breeze and frequent gusts of what the locals invariably refer to as “the trade winds.”

In our room on the sixth floor, we were a little disappointed at the view. Our windows faced inland toward the highway we drove in on. Beyond that, though, is a nice mountain capped with clouds. If we stood on our balcony, we could catch a glimpse of the ocean.

We unpacked our bags and explored the one-bedroom suite. Everything we needed for cooking, in-room entertainment, sleeping, etc. We were hungry, so we headed out to find a light, late lunch and a grocery store.

The concierge recommended Whaler’s Village for nice restaurants and shops, and she gave us a map. However, we overestimated the scale of the map and drove past the exit without realizing it. We detoured into downtown Lahaina, but it was packed and parking was scarce. We eventually turned around and headed back north.

We pulled into a shopping center with a Safeway store and were delighted to see a restaurant. We had a nice lunch of pork quesadillas and Caesar salad at Lahaina Surf Club and Grille. We then spent a painful amount on 5 days’ groceries at the Safeway. Even the local beer was overpriced.

Back at the Honua Kai, we put the groceries away and headed out to explore the resort. We took a couple of pictures on the beach and then went to Duke’s (the on-site restaurant) and – finally – had the mai tais that marked the official start to our Hawaiian vacation.

Rob and Michelle, the couple next to us at the bar received some lovely-looking drinks. They informed us the drinks are called “lava flows”. They were red and white and looked delicious. We’ll order some of those next time. Rob and Michelle are from Turlock, CA.

We made plans to come back to Duke’s for dinner and went back to our room about 5:30. We were exhausted from our travels and still full from our “light” lunch and the drinks. Instead of going back out for dinner, we had snacks in the room and tried to find something to keep us awake on TV. We finally settled on “Wall-E” (which we brought with us). Halfway through, we could no longer keep our eyes open and went to bed at 9:15pm.

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