Maui, Hawaii

Tag: life on Maui

New Car Rental Facility at OGG

It’s finally time – time to unveil the new car rental facility at Kahului Airport (OGG) here on Maui! Work began 3 years ago in April 2016 and according to the Maui News article construction is now complete. The new facility is scheduled to open May 15th. It’s been a long time coming.

Most airports I’ve traveled to have those handy car rental facilities that you walk to directly from the terminal. Currently here on Maui you catch a shuttle which then takes you to an off-site rental car location – it’s just a short 2 minute drive at most. It’s been fine. But on the off chance you can’t get the car you want at your agency, you then have to walk a ways to the next car rental company to see if they have one.

The new car rental facility is very lovely looking. Honestly, they have added some neat Hawaiian features to the building, I think it looks great. But the best part about the new facility are the two old-style sugar cane train trams that take you from the arrivals area to the new rental car facility. The old sugar cane plantation days may have come and gone here on Maui, but it’s a neat nod to the island’s history. I’ve also seen an old-style clock at the rental car terminal. I just may need to check it out next time I pick up friends/family from the airport.

By the way, no, you don’t have to take the tram. If you’re going to departures, it’s not that far a walk – just across the street. And you could just walk from arrivals too. In fact, after the long flight, it may feel great to get out and stretch a bit. Depending on the time of day, sleepy kids and amount of luggage you have with you.

Kahului car rental
the new ‘sugar cane train’-style tram cars (photo taken in September 2018)

Maui’s sugar cane history

Sugar Cane plays a significant role in Maui’s history since it’s commercial introduction to the island in 1848. Several sugar cane plantations and mills popped up around the island. Owners brought in workers from China, Japan, Puerto Rico, Korea, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia and Scandinavia. It was a hard life, but these people settled, started families and their descendants make up a significant portion of the island’s population today. Check out the Maui Sugar Museum across from the last remaining (now abandoned) Sugar Factory in Kahului. The last sugar cane crop was harvested in December 2016.

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It’s Winter!

For the past few weeks we’ve been hearing about winter stories on the US mainland and Canada. My cousin in Edmonton looked up the temperature in Antarctica and told me Edmonton had matching temperatures the other day (one day I would love to go on a cruise to Antarctica – not for the temperature, but just to SEE it, even just from a distance).

Here on Maui we heard about your suffering and decided to join the club. Well, not that we had anything to do with it. There is some sort of low pressure system to the north of us bringing cool temperatures and strong winds. This morning the temperature was a frosty 60F (roughly 15.5 Celsius). Those of you who know me know that I hate heat (I know, I live on Maui – what am I doing?). I am cold. I am actually wearing a hoody and have closed the windows in an effort to preserve heat.

Maui County has closed the South Maui (Kihei) beach parks because of danger of large swell. North Shore beach parks have also been closed. Apparently we are expecting waves up to 60 ft (that would be on the North shore, not in Kihei). Today is a good day to stay inside or go shopping.

Haleakala National Park is closed due to high gusts of wind (up to 80 mph). Also apparently it’s snowing with a forecast of up to 3 inches. Remember your rental car does NOT have decent tires, please don’t drive up there. There are no emergency services, snow plows, salt/sand trucks. Plus there will be local families eager to see snow – some for the first time 🙂

We aren’t going to die.

Yes, this is unusual, even for Maui winter. But we aren’t going to die. We aren’t even going to freeze. Since we don’t have a furnace, we’ll just dress a little warmer. If you are on Maui, please stay out of the ocean until the storm dies down and waters have stopped churning. Remember, stay out of the ocean if it is brown or murky. This is particularly when sharks come out to feed. Plus you could get a nasty infection from run-off in the water.

I’m sure the weather will go back to normal and warm up soon. At least that’s what we’re hoping for!

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I Survived Costco

Let me preface this post by saying this – nearly everyone on Maui has a Costco card. Our store is considered one of the busiest in the US, with both locals and tourists stocking up on groceries, liquor and gas at this discount warehouse store.

Maui Costco my spot in the Costco gas line

Yesterday afternoon was my Costco-time. I’d been running errands all morning, and now it was finally time to hit Costco. When I got there just after 2pm, there was not a parking spot to be had. None. I don’t actually remember that happening before. Usually at least the unpopular stalls on the other side of the drainage area or in back by the gas station entrance are at least still open. But not yesterday. Everyone and their dog and their neighbors’ dogs was at Costco. I kid, I don’t recall seeing a single dog in Costco, but it was just a little nuts. I do suspect, based on the groups of adults shopping in the store, that a few airplanes’ worth of tourists were in the store. But who knows.

I decided to hit the gas station first. At $2.79/gallon this is the cheapest place to fill up on island. After putting in my time in line, I did find a spot close to old Kmart. My list wasn’t long. I needed a new blender for one of our condos plus a few groceries.

Considering all the cars in the parking lot, it wasn’t too horrible. The main traffic jams were caused around the sample ladies and of course by tourists not familiar with our store’s layout. And then ‘those’ people who insist on going against the flow of traffic (you know who you are).

I do have to give Costco employees credit. No matter how crazy the parking lot, how bad the jam-ups in the grocery department, they always have the right number of stalls open (usually ALL) and the lines move quickly and smoothly. All the check-out stalls were open, with no more than 2 or 3 shoppers per line. Thanks Cos

What are my favorite things to buy at Costco?

I love my Costco coffee – more specifically Kauai Coffee. Sig has been to this coffee farm several times on the island of Kauai. And did you know, often you can get this coffee in Western Canada Costco stores also.

Pineapples. They used to carry Maui Gold (which are amazing). A year or two ago they switched to Dole. Hint – yes you do judge a pineapple by its color (yellow) and smell (if it doesn’t smell ripe, find one that does).

Chocolate Mac Nuts – my favorites are the Mauna Loa brand macadamia nuts (we visited their factory on Big Island a few years ago).

This is also a great place for dairy, meat, some seafood, alcohol…

What is Costco

Costco is a members-only discount warehouse store. You do need to be a member to shop and buy gas at Costco. The membership cost is $35 annually. If you do not have a membership and there is no store near where you live, just skip this. I don’t know that I would bother. Also, please note that everything sold at Costco is in HUGE sizes. If you are just here for a week, shopping at Costco will leave you with many leftovers and a lot of waste.

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Family style Christmas recitals on Maui

I love this time of year – getting together with friends and family, the lights, decorations and all the Christmas music, reliving memories. Yesterday we attended two family style Christmas recitals. I know – it seems like a little much, but both were held in really neat locations and we went to support family and friends.

Keawala’i Church in Makena

The first was a local piano teacher’s piano recital held at the historic Keawala’i Congregational Church in Makena. If you have the opportunity to attend a church service or a concert at this church, do. This church was built in the mid-1800s (exact date unclear to me) out of coral and wood. Nowadays we know not to even step on the reef, but back then people sometimes used coral as a building material. The walls are a foot or more thick and white washed, and there are beautiful native wood floors. The church itself is quite plain, and yet just beautiful. Decorations consisted of two Christmas trees and poinsettias – plain but beautiful. Outside the church you can find a small cemetery (please be respectful) with a beautiful view of the ocean. Check here for an interesting history of the church.

This is an operating church and no, it is not open to visitors during non-service hours. If you stop by when it’s closed, just admire from the road.

The Grand Wailea Resort

In the evening we attended another concert in an entirely different setting, the Grand Wailea hotel lobby. A friend and his neighborhood ukulele band (mainly retirees) performed various Christmas and Hawaiian songs with a few other audience favorites thrown in. It was a family style Christmas concert – our friend is one of the higher ups at the Grand Wailea performing for his employees and friends, another employee danced hula to several of the songs. The band recruited members of the audience to play tambourin now and then. It was overall a lovely evening.

The setting in the Grand Wailea is of course beautiful. Totally different than at the church, the Grand Wailea hotel is one of the fancy hotels here in Wailea and decorated to the nines. If you have the opportunity, do wander through the hotel grounds. Check out the giant ginger bread chair in the lobby, the beautiful decorations and (my favorite) the more than 7 miles of Christmas lights wrapped around trees in the driveway.

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December 2018 Happenings

Is it just me or has this year just flown by? This weekend we enjoyed our Thanksgiving meal with friends, disappeared the fall decorations and set up the Christmas tree. The kids are protesting that it’s too early to  have Christmas decorations set up, and yet… I have 13 cups of pureed pumpkin (the lovely pumpkin our Palms at Wailea guests left behind a few weeks ago is now waiting to be baked into muffins and loaves). And…. here is the real kicker, Sig and I attended a Christmas choir concert today. The concert was lovely – I sure enjoyed it. It was the Maui Choral Arts Association‘s annual Peace on Earth Christmas concert in the Castle Theater at the MACC. The MACC is the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului, location to many concerts on Maui. They have both an indoor and outdoor venue.

Looking for something non-beachy to do in the next few weeks. I just had a quick glance at Calendar Maui and here are a few things that struck me as interesting.

 

Lee Brice in concert – November 28th

Hawaii International Film Festival – November 29th – December 2nd (Castle Theater at the MACC)

4th Annual Maui Songwriters Festival – November 29th -December 1st

Holiday Pops Featuring Henry Kapono by the Maui Pops Orchestra – December 2nd

Elf the Musical – now through December 12 at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku

Maui Jim Maui Classic Basketball – December 14/15th hosted by Oregon State

The Messiah – December 15/16th at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku

Steven Tyler in concert – December 27th at the MACC

 

Of course, you could also ‘just’ chill at the beach! Whatever you do, we hope you have a wonderful Maui stay!

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Imu roast for Thanksgiving!

We were fortunate to be able to participate in an imu again this year. An imu is an underground oven, a traditional Hawaii style of cooking. For much more information and ‘how to’, check out this link. When you go to a luau, typically a whole pig is roasted in an imu and unearthed during a special ceremony. One of the schools built an imu as a fundraiser – a few parents, teachers and the kids did all the work, while I happy bought my tickets, dropped off my prepared turkey yesterday evening and then picked it up again this morning. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy! It’s a really neat experience.

A few tickets? Well…. I thought we’d do a turkey and some pork (two wrapped containers) but as Sig pointed out – we had two turkeys in the freezer, so why not just cook them both? The good news is – our Christmas turkey is carved, packaged and in the freezer!

thanksgiving
raw turkey glam shot!

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my turkey rub – butter, poultry spices, garlic, salt and pepper – not traditional Hawaiian, but the way I like it

 

thanksgiving
First students dug a pit, stacked keawe wood, surrounded by lava rock. Once the fire burned down, the rocks fell onto the fire/ashes. Then they layered banana stalks, turkeys, banana leaves, wet burlap bags and a plastic tarp, weighed down with dirt around the edges.

 

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the imu pit in the morning

 

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unearthing the imu

 

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imu with tarp off (you see the burlap sacks)

 

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opening the imu

 

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the first turkey to come out

 

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unloading the imu

 

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turkeys and other meats/vegetable dishes with the imu in the background

 

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the emptied imu

 

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glam shot – imu roasted turkey. One of our friends calls it ‘haole’ turkey (haole being a Hawaiian term for Caucasian). Being cooked in an imu means no browned crispy skin

 

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carved turkey with pan drippings

 

How is it?

The meat is deliciously moist. It has a bit of a unique smell – a bit smokey from the keawe wood fire, and a little different from the banana stalks/leaves. It is absolutely delicious. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in an imu, do! Also, word to the wise, choose a smaller turkey. Our friends’ 20 lb turkeys still needed to spend some time in the oven while the meat just fell off the bone on my 13 lb bird.

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Canada’s new marijuana laws and the United States

Effective October 17th, 2018 marijuana will be legal in Canada. I haven’t paid much attention to this news story as neither Sig nor I are interested in drugs. It’s been over 8 years since we left Canada moving to Hawaii – and so while we peripherally monitor Canadian news, a lot of it doesn’t necessarily affect us.

However, if you live in Canada, please be aware that while numerous states within the US have legalized cannabis, it is still very much a federal offense to be in possession of or use cannabis. There could be serious consequences at the border.

Also note, marijuana is NOT legal in the State of Hawaii. We do have medical marijuana permits, but you need a permit specifically from the State of Hawaii to use medical marijuana here (out of state, and out of country are not accepted).

Again, I have NOT researched this, but highly recommend you do well in advance of crossing the border into the US (and coming to Hawaii). Even though now legal in Canada, using marijuana (in Canada or the US) could have serious consequences (including denial of entry) at the border. What a bummer to find out enroute to your vacation!

Here is an interesting and informative article by the LA Times.

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Staycation at our Palms at Wailea condo

Palms at Wailea #503 bedroom ensuite
Master bedroom with master bath which includes laundry

This September we took advantage of an opening at our Palms at Wailea condo and moved in for a little staycation while tackling a two week floor installation project at our own home. After all, why try to live through a remodeling project when you can escape it (and the dust) altogether. By the time we needed to move back home, the demolition stage was over and the upstairs of our house (including kitchen) was completed.

I am thankful we had a condo to move into, even if it was a little stretch for a family of five. Our kids are used to their own rooms, at the condo they shared. I am used to my own bed and kitchen. A staycation at your own condo is always the ultimate test as a vacation rental owner. It’s not actually a vacation, but another project. What needs replacing, fixing or doing?

Palms at Wailea
new pot set

The master bed was amazing. Guests have told us they love the bed, but it was lovely to sleep in it myself, possibly better than my bed at home. I loved the shower – we remodeled the condo 3 years ago and this is one of my favorite parts of the remodel. So big and luxurious. And I love the large tile flooring – almost made me wish we did that at our home instead of the vinyl planking we chose, but then I remembered how much we hate grout lines. It took me a while to get sorted in the kitchen – different space, different places to store things. I did buy nice new pots, the old ones were getting weary. And who keeps using metal utensils on the non-stick frying pans? I have to replace them at least yearly.

Sig’s staycation projects

Sig had his own list of annual maintenance projects. He’s a perfectionist and can’t sit still, so between painting baseboards (at home) and overseeing the flooring installation, he also

  • drained the hot water tank,
  • replaced cabinet hinges (slow close),
  • acid washed and re-sealed the 350 sq ft lanai (patio) and entry,
  • did some deep cleaning,
  • replaced filters on taps,
  • arranged some service work on the dishwasher and fridge,
  • did some work on the BBQ etc. etc.

He particularly enjoyed sitting in the condo complex hottub at the end of his long days.

Palms at Wailea
Enjoying a well-deserved sunset at the pool

Despite all the work (the other condos, my office job, school for the kids, the home remodel, living in a smaller living space etc) I really enjoyed our staycation. I love the privacy of the location – we hardly noticed our neighbors – and the large green lawn with distant ocean view. For now it’s nice to be home again, but we’ll have to plan another staycation.

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Ultimate Air Maui

Ultimate Air Maui
welcome to Ultimate Air Maui

A few weeks ago we were invited to a birthday party at Ultimate Air Maui. In light of yesterday’s island-wide rainstorms I thought this would be a great place to spend some time on a rainy day with kids.

Ultimate Air Maui opened this past spring. There aren’t many indoor activities to do with kids on Maui, so their opening has been eagerly anticipated by many kids and parents alike. It is located in a large open warehouse in Maui Lani/Wailuku. The facility is new and clean and not air-conditioned (just in case you were wondering).

The evening of the birthday party was fun. The kids bounced around, there was a very attentive birthday party attendant who helped the party run incredibly smooth.

kids

The website doesn’t mention this, but there are certain specials and special events. For instance right now Wednesdays are Ohana Night – come as a family and jump $10/hour per person. They have times reserved for toddlers, Friday night teen nights and even host fitness classes. For more information check the website, for specials check out their Facebook page.

Tickets are $22/hour, $32/two hours, $40/three hours plus $2 jump socks. They do not allow outside food or drink (they do have a concession). And most importantly for those non-jumping parents or family members, there are comfy leather couches and even massage chairs.

Ultimate Air Maui
one of several sofa seating areas

I’m sure we’ll be back at some point!

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A few Maui things to do in September 2018

Coming up on Maui this weekend and in the weeks beyond….

The Maui Lilikoi Festival

Have you had lilikoi? It’s a passion fruit – I’ve written about it in the past, see here. This weekend Saturday September 22, the Napili Farmer’s Market is hosting the Maui Lilikoi Festival from 8AM to 2PM. I have it on good authority that my new favorite bread bakery will be selling their bread there also…

 

Kula Festival

On the same day, Saturday September 22 from 9AM to 4PM St John’s Episcopalian Church hosts their 36th Annual Kula Festival. We went last year to cheer on a few musicians in the Chop Suey Jazz Orchestra. Not sure if they will be performing this year again, but it is a cute upcountry local festival to check out.

 

Maui Ukulele Festival

Sunday September 28th between 1-6PM come for a free Maui Ukulele Festival of concerts at the MACC. Bring a blanket/chairs to sit, ukuleles, a game or two and your wallet for some ono grinds (good food from the food trucks) and relax to the ukulele music. Note this festival usually takes place in October – this year it’s end of September instead.

 

Oktoberfest in paradise

Yes, Oktoberfest reaches even to Maui. There are several Oktoberfest happenings here.

  • On Friday September 28th the Rotary Club is hosting their 7th annual Oktoberfest at the Pioneer Inn in Lahaina (see here for tickets).
  • On September 29th the Maui Brewing Company in Kihei hosts their Oktoberfest from 2:30-7:30PM.
  • Brigit & Bernard’s, the Swiss/German restaurant in Kahului, always hosts Oktoberfest four weekends in October complete with German beer, good food and oompah-band. I am not finding their information off hand, but give them a call for details.

 

Maui Sunday Market

Sunday evenings in Kahului from 4-8pm check out the Maui Sunday Market. This is a new event, just started this July.

 

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