Sunday, June 28, 2009

3.2.1. ZIP AWAY!

Some person some time ago thought it would be a fantastic idea to build a couple platforms on opposite sides of a valley and suspend ropes from either side, put a harness on, and fly from side to side.  I wish I knew this person so I could give them a high five.  That vertical line in the middle of the photo is actually the zip line, I was sitting on the edge of the platform, getting ready to take off.  This specific one is called the widow-maker and you go about 45 mph on this one.  It was AMAZING.  Being that high up and going that wasn't even scared, I was just amazed.  To begin the day, the guides got us all dressed up in sexy helmets and personal-space-invading harnesses.  They weighed us and herded us into a vehicle that made us feel like if we weren't cattle, we were definitely being ushered to a concentration camp.  The guides drove us up into the hills of Kapalua and we went from zip to zip, slowest to fastest.  On the way, we took a few quick hikes and got to see more of the beauty of the hillside.  I can't even describe how much fun I had.  There's something about flying through the air without being attached to a huge metal rollercoaster!  Same flying feeling, but less secure feeling.  Quite the rush.  I wish I could do it again.  Now.

I went to the Maui Aquarium near Kahului, hoping to finally see a dolphin or two!  The website had pictures of sea lions, dolphins, sharks and even whales.  Although, I was sure I wouldn't see a whale, I was really looking forward to the rest. 
 After $25 admission fee, I wandered through the fishes and coral.  Saw the sea turtles, and even some small sharks!  It was really neat seeing the variety, and I couldn't help myself singing "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" cause really, if you're a fish...that's all you do.  Ever.  How boring that must be! walking into the "mammal area" I quickly realized that this was an informative exhibit with no real animals.  Disappointment!  We then walked through the tunnel area...which was about 20 feet long.  So, Underwater World in Minnesota has a more impressive aquarium than Maui.  How shocked I was!!!  Besides the disappointment, it really was nice and fun.  I just need to find another way to see dophins and seal lions!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Haleakala Crater

Saturday brought another adventure for the gang.  Last weekend, we drove around the Haleakala Crater, this weekend, we drove up it.  A windy road from Sea Level to 10,000 feet (which was also 90 degrees to 50-60 degrees in an hour).  Not for the weak of stomach, but then again, all of Maui is like that.  Instead of being able to drive across the island, you must drive around.  This drive up the mountain brought us through the clouds and up top, where we had a spectacular view to the insides of this dormant volcano.
It was nice to be up there, above the clouds, feeling cool for once in Hawaii.  This island truly is remarkable how diverse the terrain is.  After the climb up the volcano, we ventured to Wailea, which is the main resort area of the island, and scoped out a few beaches.  We ate lunch at the uber-yuppie Shops at Waliea at Tommy Bahama's restaurant (who knew they made more than clothing?) which was decent.  We drove home apparently at just the right time as later that night a crazy fire broke out on the one highway that goes around West Maui causing it to close.  
On Sunday I ventured more around the area I'm in.  I went to the beach at the Ritz-Carlton, yes, fancy, I know, and decided to finally get IN the ocean.  I was biding my time, taking all the views in and slowly walking into the water when a GINORMOUS wave ate me.  I'm serious.  I was standing and it just clobbered me.  This is when I decided that I will never try to surf, because I would die.  I'm still cleaning the sand out of my ears....  It really was beautiful, and thanks to sunscreen, I was able to explore most of the morning on the rocks and sandy beaches of Kapalua.  The one major drawback of this adventure was that it was a very windy day and sand was whipping around everywhere.  Despite its discomforts, it really made my skin soft haha.  Apparently sand lodged its way into my camera's inner-workings and fried the poor little s.o.b. so that when I turn it on it zooms all the way in and will not take a picture or let me look at anything.  All I can do is change the settings.  So.  RIP little Panasonic.  Welcome $100 Kodak with 3 times the megapixels.  I bought it today at Walmart (yup, drove an hour and bought basically the only one they had that was cheap with many megs...didn't even try it out cause they didn't have a display, and it just happens to be a green camera ;-)).  New pictures to come soon.  

This week is all about last minute details at work and much data entry.  Snore.  I'm still working out a lot, and have been filling my weeknights with at least two episodes of LOST (except last night when the Bachelorette was on, and holy moly what a train wreck of a show that is!) and of course while I'm watching LOST on, it taunts me with commercials for Target when the internet KNOWS there isn't a Target on my island!  Yikes!  It's almost as bad as being suck on an island..........well, they filmed it on Hawaii, so who knows?  

Friday, June 19, 2009


Things I'm excited about:
  • Away We Go - Yes, I'm saddened that Hawaii does not feel the need to play this moive. However, I'm quite excited to go see it with Kat (and possibly Adina) when I get home! It looks absolutely fantastic and wonderful and hilarious. Plus I love Sam Mendes' movies...and I'm certain that this one will be another stellar story.
  • Finishing LOST. I started watching Season 2 again (its been a couple months snice I started it) and now feel like I'm using as once I start, I can't stop and then I can't sleep after because I'm too excited.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I'm home when this comes out. Enough said.
  • I'm starting a series of ink drawings based on the new Decemberists album. The images in my head are freaking sweet.
  • The movie Where the Wild Things Are. I remember loving this book like everyone else, but the reason I'm excited about this movie is that it has such an independent feel to it. I think it will be our generations' Labrynth (minus David Bowie, sadly). The movie looks perfectly done.
  • All the new music that I have that I haven't even really dove into (because of LOST, I think) but that I already love. Among them: Neko Case, My Brightest Diamond, Phoenix, Camera Obscura and Grizzly Bear. All great albums that I need more time with. Yay.
  • I'll be home in 3 weeks. While I'm home I'll be spending time with the babies, the animals, doing a crazy photoshoot with Syd (hopefully!), going to Katie's beautiful wedding, spending time with sister, friends and boyfriend, going to Target again (this island doesn't have, and of course giving MN some lovin. Let the countdown begin.

Things I'm sad I missed/will miss:

  • Bonaroo. Looking at the pictures, I realized how much I enjoy those hippie fests and how much I really want to go to this one day. And then a body was found dead as they were cleaning up, which is sad. BUT I still want to go.
  • Rock the Garden. Especially with this new found obsession with the Decemberists' Hazards of Love I can't believe I'm going to miss this! I'm actually really angry...and everyone who is going MUST take video and send it to me. Got it?
  • Rufus Wainwright and his sister Martha (another singer/songwriter that I love) and more of that musical family will be having a concert in London's Royal Albert Hall (yes, the place noted in "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles) on December 9th. I want to go. I have a feeling that since I'm spending this year saving, paying off loans, and trying to be home as much as possible I will not be able to justify the plane ticket. I want to go. I want to go. I want to go.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I'm almost half way done with my time here in Maui.  38 days.  It's a long time to be this far away from home.  I'm getting to the point where I have nothing to say but "I miss you" to everyone.  It's hard to even get excited about going home cause it's still 3 weeks away.  Being 5 hours behind everyone doesn't make it easier as the only time I can actually talk on the phone is when most people are already in bed.  So I've been feeling incredibly detached from everyone.  I'm feeling better this evening because I finally got to talk to Adina.  It's been WAY too long....but as we discussed, whenever we'd have like 10 minutes, we wouldn't call each other because we knew our conversation would take a lot longer than 10 minutes.... We were right, we were on the phone for over an hour.  :-)  I also briefly talked to Mom, Katrina and Matt today which really helped me feel more grounded.  Life really is about the people in your life and the joy they bring.  I miss everyone so much.

In other news, I didn't work out today.  Wompwomp.  I'm getting shin splints which are not fun, and I'm planning (almost certain that it will happen) on going swimming tonight (not in the ocean, silly, I don't want to be shark-bate ("ooh-haha") hahaha sorry, Finding Nemo reference...) which will hopefully alleviate my pain and be a workout in itself.  

Work is dull, but a little frustrating.  I feel like there's so much I could be learning but am not.  I'm not sure if I'm just not retaining information or if I'm not being taught it or if I'm just so uninterested that it doesn't matter?  That would be terrible, but it could be true.  I need to start learning fast as according to my schedule I'll be the lead in a month....on my own...wowzers.  Work has kept me busy during the week...and I haven't had much time after working out and cooking dinner.  The exploring happens on the weekend, and this weekend we have a crater of a dormant volcano to visit!  (possibly even bike down into!)  Best news is that Mom is coming to visit in 2 weeks and we're going to go snorkeling and get massages and then when she leaves, I'm leaving the same day and coming HOME!  Sorry if that was a crazy run-on sentence but I'm really excited about that whole thing.  So really, I only have 2 weeks of misery :-P

I'm trying to decide how to spend my money here in Hawaii.  2 things I really want to do are:
ziplining (flying over the mountains/jungle) which is about $150 
visiting Pearl Harbor which with air fare and all that would be over $200
I'd rather do Pearl Harbor, but the logistics with it are so up in the air and I've heard it actually is really disappointing cause you can't actually see much....but I feel like 150 is a lot to spend on one afternoon.  Any opinions?  I might just do neither and pay off more student loan debt...which seems to be a good idea.  I don't know...I already finished one book while being here, I'm going to keep reading and I NEED to make myself do some illustrations and hopefully finish my tattoo design for application when I get back :-O

PS if you're ever up late, please call me.  Please.  Thank you. :-)  Love.

-------------------edit later that evening--------------------

1 exciting thing and 1 disturbing thing.  Starting with the disturbing, as many of you know, I've been taking Zicam with much enthusiasm for months now because it's really helped me stay pseudo healthy through all my bronchitis and strep and other colds.  Now it's rejected by the FDA for causing permanent damage to your sense of smell!  EEEEK!  I just spent 20 bucks on a new pack here in use or not to use....  
Exciting thing: I was walking to the pool tonight (yes I swam) and I saw a shape about 10 feet ahead of me that looked like a huge frog.  I figured it was a leaf casting a shadow or something and then it hopped away!  So cool.  Then as I came back, the little guy (well, big, he was about the size of two fists put together) was sitting on my front stoop!  Exciting and lovely.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Road to Hana

Starting at 7 am, Lyle and I got in the beach and headed South.  We drove around the small side of the island and then continued to the south side of the big part.  It was beautiful landscape and pretty straight roads going though the sugar cane fields and down around the coast.  THere were cows EVERYWHERE.  Maui's landscape is very diverse.  Where I'm staying it's all golf courses and resorts, this area was dry wilderness.  The wind was fierce and looking over this cliff pictured below, there were at least half a dozen wrecked cars on the beach.  No wonder why there was no traffic or homes.
As we continued the pavement left us and we had choppy roads making us so happy we had a Jeep!  The landscape started to change, there were some random homes here and there and the lush jungle started to show itself.  Little rodents were running across the road, which we realized later were mongooses!  Crazy little devils.  I tried to catch one...didn't work.  We stopped at a small church near the Maui Stables that was too dangerous to walk into but had a fantastic graveyard where Charles Lindbergh is buried--random....but very cool.  Haleakala National Park was our first destination.  The Jeep was parked and we took on the 1.8 mile hike up to some waterfall we heard was pretty...  The hike was marked with signs saying "fatal drop" and we walked through huge trees and grasses, hearing water falling periodically.  Then, crossing a bridge we entered the bamboo forest!  
It was so dense and beautiful that when inside the canopy, it looked like it was twilight, not 11 am.  I can't describe how amazing this was.  When the wind went through the bamboo it would creek and bend making it almost a creepy experience.  I loved it.  When the bamboo started to fade, the water sound got louder and finally we saw it: Makahiku Falls!  180 feet of water :-)
Lyle took a shower as I walked around and explored my bum off.  It was very peaceful and beautiful, worth the strenuous hike for sure!  We went back down the way we came and then went further towards the ocean to the Seven Sacred Pools.  This is an area of low water level where the different pools can fill up with water.  About half of them were filled at the time, but according to the signs, it can sometimes fill up to be rushing waterfalls and cause was glad it was empty as it was!  The following picture is of one of the pools.
After hiking 4 miles and being quite winded, we drove to Hana (the back way) and ate a wonderful lunch at the ranch.  It was quite the experience to be in the middle of a nice restaurant in a small town surrounded by honeymooners...  The consensus was that you don't go to Maui on a honeymoon unless all you want to do is talk to your newlywed for the entire time you're there.  Most of the couples were silent through lunch, and the man would be sneaking glances at the TV to catch some of the game.  It was sad but hilarious.  We then drove The Road to Hana backwards to get back home.  We weren't going to hike anymore, but the stops that were right off the road we stopped at and looked around.  There were waterfalls like the one in the following picture, and also lookout areas with breathtaking views of Maui.  
The road was super curvy and crazy, but we had the top off on the Jeep, even in the short rain storm, and it kept the wind blowing so there was no car-sickness happening, thankfully!  The only thing I decided this drive was missing were some monkeys swinging from the viney trees.  There was a stop, however, that had chickens and kittens running around...  It was a lovely adventure, I'm so glad I got to see all of this island!  

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gilligan the Gecko

For a week and a half now, since Deanne and I moved into our condo, we have had a visitor.  We named him Gilligan and he hung out under our kitchen table.  This picture really shows his size, as the HUGE thing in the right corner is just a leg of the table.  Gilligan was a little pint sized pet who became part of our lives here on Maui.  This morning when I went to the kitchen for breakfast, he was just chillin by the fridge, which was really odd as he's usually not out in the open.  I was afraid he was hurt or I tried to touch him and he moved, kind of jumped out of the way.  AHHH sigh of relief!  I was so happy he was alive!  Deanne and I left for work.  A few hours later when we returned for lunch, he was in an odd position, torqued on his side.  I touched him again hoping for him to jump away, but alas, he didn't.  After throwing a bit of a fit, I had to face reality that he had passed.  I put him outside to be in nature and am mourning him (quite publicly).  Part of me realizes how ridiculous/comical this might sound....but I'm really depressed about this.  I LOVE having a pet.  I've been freaking out without one, and his presence was comforting and he was just so darn cute it made me happy.  Seeing that a creature was in pain...seeing death in any creature is so heartbreaking, I actually was shook up a bit by it!  Sad day.  And don't worry, this picture was taken while he was still alive ;-)  RIP little one!

Kahekili Highway

Saturday was spent lounging and reading on my lovely balcony listening to the wind through the trees and using the ocean as my backdrop.  Saturday night I went to Lahaina again to the closest movie theatre (yes, I'm in Hawaii and I'm going to the movies, deal with it) to see Land of the Lost.  It was a cute campy movie, and although not as good as I had hoped, it was exactly what would be expected from previews and Will Ferrell.  Going back to Lahaina gave me the chance to walk around the Front Street shops more, people watch, and see the Banyan Tree (which covers over 200 feet!) again and get some decent pictures:
Sunday was the day for adventure!  Lyle, Deanne and I got into the Jeep, took off the hard top (oh yeah, driving in style) and headed NE on the Kahekili Highway.  It's a road that goes along the coast from the area I'm in, Kapalua, down to the most major city part of Maui, Kahului.  It started out a 2 lane road with stops on the side where you could pull over and gaze at the cliffs/ocean.  After a few miles, however, the signs that said "narrow road" weren't kidding.  It turned into a one lane road with barely enough room for a car to pull over if another was coming.  At some points, Lyle was driving 10 mph around the curves laying on the horn so on-coming traffic would know we were there!  We could definitely tell who were the locals as they zipped around corners!  We took it slow, and near the area where the picture below was taken, there was the tiniest little village with a church and a few buildings where I'm sure people live, but not much else!  It was so secluded, so peaceful!  And those cliffs!  The drive was a nail-biter, that's for sure, but so worth it!  Even when we drove by "beware of falling rock" signs and laughed too soon, as some little pieces fell through the top of the Jeep and onto Deanne!  One thing is for sure: it was a dangerous drive, but we were warned! :-)
Once we reached the town of Kahului, we continued on into the trees to IAO State Park.  This place was so remote feeling although it was just 10 minutes or so off the major freeway.  The fog was coming in over the hilltops and it was so green and lush I had to remind myself where I was.  At certain points of the drive, we could've sworn we were transported to Ireland by how green and hilly it is!  Then you see that aqua blue ocean and are brought back to Maui.  It truly is a place of tranquil beauty!

Sunday night I took a walk down to the Ritz-Carlton and walked along their manicured beach paths down to the public beach at sunset.  Of course, my sunset walk on the beach was not romantic, but in fact, it rained on me...wompwompwomp Debbie Downer indeed.  BUT the silver lining is that I got to see this beautiful full rainbow!  (As I trudged back to my villa like a wet dog :-P)
And now I'm back to work, the 9-5 grind.  We're training this week in a super small and over crowded room which gets super frustrating.  But I've been working out every day, and am so excited/proud that I'm able to run a mile without dying now.  I'm a little late in the game for that, but yes, at 23, I'm FINALLY getting in shape!  After work, exercise, shower and cooking dinner, the night is almost over.  And I thought I'd be bored here!  Hopefully this weekend will include more adventures, possibly even an attempt at the Road to Hana which is basically the trip we did this past weekend, but twice as long and it includes waterfalls :-)  

Last thought on Hawaii.  Spam is disgusting.  While the pineapple is great and cheap here, the rest of the food I've experienced is not fantastic.  Although I haven't tried sushi yet...I will!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


This week has been filled with working, working out, and cooking.  It's been quite the normal life, really, being in this Hawaiian villa.  I finally took the trek over the golf courses today after work to see a beach!  It was farther away than I had expected and I'm not sure or not (nor do I really care) if I broke a few golfing rules by walking through the course, but the paths were so out of the way and I was on a mission!  ....and.....OCEAN:I spent just a few minutes getting my feet wet before I trudged on back to the villa to meet the others and go work out.  We decided to go out to dinner tonight, and for that we went to the closest 'town,' Lahaina.  It's about a 20 minute drive and totally worth it.  Where I am, in Kapalua, it's resort-ville.  It kind of all goes back to my theory of you're a cruise person or not.  Cruise type people (works for resorts too) just like to relax, lay in the sun, and have things catered to you.  Those who are real travelers, in my opinion cause I fall in this group :-P, want to explore, FIND the culture and the breathtaking experiences off the beaten path.  I've been feeling almost stifled in resort-ville, since there isn't much to do besides relax, so it was wonderful to get to a little (although very touristy) charming town!  We ate at the Cool Cat Diner, which had mediocre food & music, but great service.  We then walked around the main street and looked at all the little shops, eventually making it down to the ocean.  There really is something so peaceful and wonderful about sitting by the waves you can barely see under a full moon.  It was the first time I actually wanted to get in a sail boat.  I can't imagine how peaceful and quiet and at the same time thrilling it would be to do that.  As we walked back to the car, we heard the sound of drums.  Upon further investigation, we found a group of teens practicing hula dancing/drumming on a basketball court.  There were no lights on, no audience, just practice.  It was a great experience to get to watch them dance like that--so impressive!  That is something you would not see on the mainland...a group of teens hanging out late on a Friday night practicing!  It was wonderful!  I'm so glad I got out of Kapalua for a night, and I'm sure the weekend will hold more exploration, which in turn, will make me like my temporary home even more! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

First Hawaiian Sunset

I guess I never really knew where Hawaii was. Well, I knew it was in the Pacific, yeah, duh. But who knew that it would take almost 10 hours of flying to get there? Not this girl. Crammed in the back of the plane behind a chick who couldn't even go 3 seconds without her chair back IN my knees (I really hate that...recline when you sleep if you must, not while you're reading...) and in the middle of a row full of a family. Kind of crazy, but not terrible. Sitting by a well behaved baby is quite entertaining. Plus I got to watch 2 terrible movies I would have never seen otherwise. Haha. When I finally got to Honolulu I had to wait for a flight to Kapalua in a non-air conditioned imaginary gate area. Yeah, I know. They kept calling for last call and finally a guy came and led us outside where we walked to the plane. Strange. One upset stomach later, I was in Maui. :-) I'm settled in a Villa overlooking a golf course (barf) and eventually the ocean is on the horizon. I'm sharing the villa with the girl that I'm shadowing, and it's quite accommodating for us both, and thankfully we get along, so it's like having a roommate again! There's not a fitness center open at this property until the end of June, but a coworker found a way to get us into a very exclusive $25/day gym :-) So yes, I'm working out every day and have my own kitchen so I can cook. Woopwoop. Now I have to figure out what I can afford while I'm here. Cheerios are $8 here just to put it into perspective. And every fun adventure like thing to do is in the hundreds. So we'll see. I might just read a lot and not tan.

The most frustrating thing here is that I'm 5 hours behind everyone I want to talk to. So when I wake up, people are on their lunch breaks, when I get off work, people are going to bed. I feel like I won't be able to talk to anyone the entire time I'm here! Except on weekends I guess... So expect a call on the weekend! And I'm so sorry if a text here or there wakes you up!

Oh and we have a pet gecko who lives under our kitchen table. It's so cute. Come visit, ok?