Thursday, February 12, 2009

Maui Day 1: Walking Around Lahaina Town

The night never seemed to end! 

Both of us crashed after having a quick meal of sandwiches in our home for a few days (#903 at the Royal Kahana). The condo is an efficiency, clean and basic, with a view of the water (you have to be on the right side of the balcony). 

The sun rose a few minutes before 7:00 and with it the chirping of various birds and the beginning of the general business of the day. School buses, commuters, etc.. I, of course, had been waking up every 20-minutes or so straining to see if the sun was out and what kind of day we would have. 

This sure is a pretty place although I think one thing that I will remember the most is all the traffic. There is a bus system but most everyone drives cars. Few bikes but there are bike lanes.

The run this morning was actually pretty good although I certainly was working hard. It was warm and I was still a bit messed up from the flight despite drinking water, etc.. The nice thing was that M came along with me and had a nice time. We ran .5 miles, walked .5, ran another .5, and then she walked the rest of the way to the condo and I continued on my merry way running. Managed to get 4 in but, again, my heart was going. Can't say that the route was great though, along the main access road along the beach, and so I need to find a better place to run.

Saw lots of whales out in the channel as I was stretching on the balcony.

For the rest of the morning M and I went into Lahaina Town and walked around. Lahaina is like every other beach town I've to—Edgartown, Provincetown, Huntington Beach, Santa Barbara (especially lower State Street). Front Street, the main tourist drag, is really just that, filled with your standard touristy things (no fudge though). It wasn't so crowded when we got there but became progressively so as more and more people came in from the surround AND more and more people came off the cruise ship anchored out in the channel—there were these tenders just shuttling back and forth from the ship to the harbor off-loading people who could barely move, some of whom reminded me of the blob people in Wall-E. I hate to be unkind but it was really scary. Seattle is one of those destinations too but I never really see such things in Seattle where there is enough space and people to dilute the influx (that, and the fact that I generally prefer the wider open spaces). 

At the center of the waterfront is the 136 year old Banyan Tree that served as a central shaded space. Very impressive (the last time I saw one of these was in India) and full of people taking advantage of the shade—a whole group of painters, a couple of guys with their laptops, a homeless man sitting on a bench listening to music on his headphones and concentrating very hard on his Bible. A beautiful setting. 

We wandered through some art galleries including one in the basement jail of the old Court House (imagine art being displayed in jail cells if you would). There were a couple of artists whose work we saw, liked, and may be visiting again. 

By this time I needed lunch, badly. We ate at the Maui Swiss Cafe ("Good Food—Good Mood"), a place that was highly recommended in our guide book. My spicy roast beef sandwich on a Swiss bread roll was quite tasty. M's veggie sandwich was a little strange but she said it was "OK" (which could mean that is was good or that it was just "OK"). More walking around visiting old buildings and churches. 

After lunch went to the Wo Hing Temple and watched a short film presentation that included some films that Thomas Edison made of the island in 1898 and also a short discussion of Chinese immigration to the islands. The Baldwin House, a missionary/doctor who came with his family to the island, and in whose home I should have liked to live. A Catholic Church (I think) and its adjacent cemetery within which are buried many sailors and members of the leading families of the island. The most poignant graves, however, are those that read something like "Born May 1898/Died September 1899". Quite a few of those, testament to the riskiness and tenuousness of life back then. 

We were going to drive up to one of the beaches up north this afternoon but decided to sit on the beach at the condo. M is already winning the tanning contest (she just tans faster than I do). I went for a swim, through some fish, and stepped on a sharp rock (no worries though) and then spent some time reading and chatting. Normally I cannot sit still on a beach, today was no real exception, it was just nice to have company.

This evening we are going to dinner at Mala Ocean Tavern , another place with more local foods.  

Tomorrow morning? Whale watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation and then ???

But here are today's pictures.


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