Living the Great Life

Isn’t relaxing essential to a great life?

Yeah, and it helps to wake up to this!

A great life in my book includes great coffee. On our first grocery shopping trip, Karen assumed we’d make our usual separate stop at Maui Grown Coffee to pick up some outstanding locally grown coffee. But I was tired of shopping and wanted to get back to the condo. So I said let’s just get store-bought–it’ll be fine. It wasn’t 😉 Yeah, yeah. A great life includes listening to your wife.

Every great life includes some bumps. Our recent “historic” storm downed power lines, grounded many boats, and killed foliage. Property managers around here have been hosing down the shrubs covered in salt water spray, hoping to save the plants. Karen read that the wind gusted to a never-before 191 MPH on the summit of Haleakala.

Parties are included in a great life, right? Well, Monday was Luau Night at what is known as the best luau on Maui: Old Lahaina Luau. After being greeted with a lei and a drink, you can take part in many cultural offerings. Here David O is sampling just-pounded taro, which hasn’t had water added to it and left to ferment. It was very mild and had more texture than poi. Taro is the super-nutritious staple of the native diet.

Watching the pig be unearthed is one of our favorite parts

We made our reservations weeks in advance so we had front row seats. Delicious, traditional Hawaiian foods were served–so many choices, so little room 🙂 After the meal, the Hawaiian history was shared in hula.

A great life includes adventures and today was a find-your-own-adventure day: shopping, having a local brew by the pool, meeting a local gecko as you stop for a drink after a walk along the beach, or simply enjoying the immense beauty around us.


And of course, good friends are an essential part of a great life. After a day of everyone doing their own thing, we gathered for dinner at Hula Grill.

Out and About

We have some serious beer lovers in our group, so it was just one day before they found the Kohola brewery in a small industrial area. It’s sparse but the beers and service are good. Upon recommendation from Julie, I had a delicious Guava Lava cider. (Kohola = whale in Hawaiian.)

Just hours after Amy Klobuchar announced her candidacy for president, we saw this obviously homemade bumper sticker. On Maui! For a relatively unknown Minnesota senator!

High wind and wave advisories plus rain had us agree to an adventure somewhere else on the island. And the cold weather had Karen hungry for pizza, the best of which is at Flatbread in Paia. So there we headed. It’s a busy place but Wally and Mariann were close by in Makawao so they had a table all ready for us! The pizzas are baked in traditional clay wood-fired ovens; we order four different kinds and, strangely, my favorite was the veggie pizza! The second we paid our bill the power went out (great timing for us); we later found out it was not only the whole town but a huge section on that side of the island (I’m guessing wind damage.)

Then we had to go check out the enormous waves at Hookipa Beach, one of the best windsurfing sites in the world. The mayor of Maui closed most of the beaches for the day but nonetheless, there were two windsurfers out. Winds were a steady 40 mph with 60 mph gusts and the area had just received a lot of rain so hiking to get a good viewing spot took careful effort. We finally found a metal fence to hold on to and Karen M. took a group photo.

When we got back from the day’s adventures we found strong winds and big waves, which, curiously, are bringin back the beach!

Our friends are here!

For some time we’ve talked about going to Maui together. Eventually, we were all on board and even had a meeting to discuss options.

Karen and I met the first group–Karen, Joe, Julie and Dave– at the airport; they flew in from Oahu where they had spent a few days. First stop was lunch at our favorite Vietnamese place, A Saigon Cafe, owned by a character who calls himself “Charlie.”

Then a Walmart stop for supplies before heading the other side of the island to get settled in.

Wally and Mariann flew in late last night so we all went to Duke’s this morning for breakfast. After The Whole Group photo, we had to have one of all of us who worked together in Corrections.

After breakfast, everyone came over to our condo to enjoy the whales and turtles and view, oh my!

The ocean was rough today so whale watching was difficult. But I did capture this calf doing a tail slap.  I also got a photo of my favorite flower.

sand and pupus

What a difference two weeks can make! A lot of discussion here on what do do with eroding shorelines that in some cases are close to doing major damage to condos.

Karen and I both were in the same place at the same time AND we could get Jody (Cleaner Extraordinaire) to slow down to take a picture and catch up a little with our lives 🙂

If it’s Thursday it’s Pupu Night here, hosted by the property managers, Melody and Allyn. Everyone brings something to share and we meet most of the people staying here. We have gained life-long friends from these gatherings.

Sometimes there are huge crowds for Pupus, but last night was a more intimate gathering, which lasted well past sunset. Melody let us all taste test the toasted coconut rum from her tour of the distillery Hawaii Sea Spirits. We’re putting that on our must-do list!

Just another day in paradise.


Karen and Melody, the property manager, are working on a history wall for Hoyochi Nikko in the breezeway. Peter, the son of an original owner, has been the keeper of the history and now has shared the stories with us. I know we’ve been so curious about how this little condo came to be, and many of the returning guests have too. This will be a great addition.

Finally today I saw Jody, Cleaning Lady Extraordinaire, while she was working and got to say aloha!

Strangely, this trip, neither one of us has wanted to eat out, except for lunch at Aloha Mixed Plate. Today I remembered to wear my “ancient” AMP t-shirt, with the original logo, which I love and only wear when we eat here. Always a great conversation starter with the many long-time staff.

Always nice to close out with a sunset. Karen said tonight “a place of worship” most closely describes her sense of Hawaii.