Psych! Mahalo’aloha again!

April 3, 2014 at 4:21 am (Uncategorized)

Perhaps it was an omen that on erev April Fool’s Day, on the way to the car – loaded with our luggage to return to Portland and life as we know it – one of the girls bumped me, causing streams of the lawsuit-hot tea I was holding to scald my neck.

We arrived at the Maui airport in Kahului (whose airport code is the giggle-inducing “OGG”) and rather smoothly made it through the single TSA and dual agricultural checks. (The three items I’d brought with me – celery, pineapple, and Romaine lettuce – all were OK; apples and bananas are routinely confiscated – and enjoyed, I’m certain – by otherwise overly bored Ag agents.) At the gate, before the stewards had any of their United lemmings – er — passengers line up to board, “that” euphemistic announcement was made: “The plane is missing a part, and there will be a slight delay in takeoff.” Read: You’re all screwed; this flight is actually cancelled, and you’ll have to figure out how to fly off this island or swim home.”

Dave, being the professional traveler he’s become since starting near-weekly travel in early 2006, he jumped on his cell phone and finagled his way to a United ticketing agent. With relative speed, he had us rebooked on a flight from Honolulu to Portland. The only catch is it would leave on April Fool’s Day, leaving us a random, unforeseen and proverbial day late and (many) dollar(s) short near Maui’s kinda ugly and industrial center, uncertain not only of what to do but where to stay.

Yes, United eventually gave its stranded (and largely going-Postal) passengers vouchers to stay overnight at the nearby Courtyard Marriott. Yes, the vouchers included some money (not enough for a family of four, for dinner and breakfast the next day) for food – exclusively for use at the lovely airport itself or at our temporary hotel digs. No, the perks didn’t include a rental car. No, the perks didn’t include counseling for children (or the adults we overheard using non-family friendly language either with live United punching bags – er – employees or those unlucky enough to answer their phones that day). Hayley was actually relieved to not be put on a flight that potentially had mechanical issues, but Alyssa was simply overwhelmed by our plans having been quite so dashed and without any warning and very little explanation. Crying jags were had.

I frantically emailed colleagues, friends and family – and dog-and-cat sitters – explaining our situation and making alternate plans for volunteer and work meetings and pet care. (April 1 was to be a very busy day for me.) The universal response I received was, “You could be stuck in a worse place.” How true. Still…

lots of canned meat at Times Supermarket

An abundance of canned meat stirs Alyssa’s stomach juices

Dave used his Priceline savvy to rent us a Hyundai (a huge step up from the Chevy Impala used during the proscribed vacation) and after a “mere” five-plus hours at OGG (a time lapse that gives new meaning to the phrase and state of mind “Island Time”!), we hopped in the Korean-engineered sedan and headed to a spot I’d wanted to visit since the last time we were on Maui, back in 2003 when I was pregnant with Hayley and sitting next to an ornery 22-month-old Alyssa in an oddly configured white Aztec. (I believe they no longer exist, and for good reason.) We’d searched for the ‘Īao Valley but, in that world before GPS, we never found our destination.

From the surprisingly lovely Courtyard Marriott (located literally walking distance from OGG), we drove a mere 15 minutes due west into the ‘Īao Valley and then up, up, up to see the ‘Īao Needle, which juts about 2500 feet from the West Maui Mountains floor. Legend has it that this natural peak (that really resembles a phallus more than a mere “needle” which conjures images of darning rather than conquering) exists via its surrounding mountains having eroded away, revealing and leaving behind just this formation. Turns out this was a site where local warriors centuries ago came to derive power and inspiration before their battle against King Kamehameha III. Legend has it, too, that the warriors experienced defeat in that insurgency. Maybe, then, this rock-and-fauna projectile really is more knitting needle than phallic symbol.

In any case, the ‘Īao Valley on the day we visited was majestic if not mysterious, with its veil of low-hanging, gun-metal gray clouds and its twisting floor peppered both rapidly running streams and taro (kolo) plants that signage says the Polynesians brought to the area who knows how long ago.

girls at iao needle

Iao Needle shrouded just behind Hayley and Alyssa

family at iao needle

It indeed was windy up there, too

arrow to iao needle

Elevation check

alyssa solo at iao valley

Alyssa with the Iao Valley behind her.

That evening, on our hotel-food vouchers, Dave and I polished off a very nice Malbec. Cheers to the end of a fantastic vacation. (We all read a lot and even shared a cold. Nothing a little Portland rain can’t remedy.)

Hayley reading a modern classic and keeping her mucous in check

Hayley reading a modern classic and keeping her mucous in check

 

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