Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I guess a Lindt chocolate mud bath is too much to ask for...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"Hey, sleepyhead! Hey! Wake up! Wake UP!!!"

My head is pounding, as if I were hung over. I sit slowly up in bed and look around the room. It's like I'm in a palace, with all the fancy accoutrements. There's color all around me; throw pillows and flowers and wallpaper and paint. It's even more impressive in the daylight.

"Look out our balcony! LOOK!!" she shreiks, smiling like a little girl on Christmas morning.

I follow her to the balcony, and I am moved to speechlessness by the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. It's a deep, dark blue, almost purple, and white-capped waves gently caress the beach while palm trees sway lazily in the morning breeze against a sky of flawless azure.

"Holy crap," I finally manage.

"Is this not gorgeous?" she asks.

"We've definitely gotta come back here for our-"

"For our WHAT?"


She smiles knowingly at me, but drops the subject.

"Let's go do yoga by the beach! It starts at 6!"

"Um, I'm not a girl, so no."


"Sorry. I'll go work out while you do your wounded cranes, or whatever they call them."

"Steve, do you realize how much stuff there is to DO here?" she chirps.

"Tell me."

"We can reserve a private cabana by the pool. It's like a little tent to keep the sun out. And they bring you complimentary fruit and water. And towels. COLD towels!"

"COLD towels?"

"Yeah! And then they come around and give you little water spritzes to keep you cool."

"Yeah, but is it with Perrier?" I say, sarcastically.

"No. Evian!"

"You're KIDDING!"

"I'm not kidding! They spritz you with EVIAN!! Steve, this place is INCREDIBLE!"

"Steph, I have never seen you so giddy."

"Oh, and guess what? We can get his and hers massages by the ocean."

"THAT sounds nice."

"We totally deserve it, Steve. We both have worked SO hard. This is gonna be the best vacation ever."

"I'm glad you're enjoying it. Even though we haven't really started yet."

"I don't mean to be repetitive, but thank you again," she smiles.

"Just have fun, that's all you have to do to thank me."

"OK. OH! I almost forgot! There's a buffet down the hall! It's free!"


"Yes! They have breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's open all day. You just go in and pick out whatever you want. It's like a little restaurant!"


"It's for our floor only. They open in 10 minutes, but WE have yoga!

"See you in an hour, Steph. If you need me, I'll be by the omelette station."

"Pleeeeeeease?" she pouts. "Please please please, for me?"

"I'm gonna need to be bribed."

"You just wait."



The Road to Hana is a 53 mile-long meandering stretch of road filled with lush vegetation, waterfalls, and scenic vistas, ending at the tiny Hawaiian hamlet for which it is named. Like many things in life, half the fun of the Road to Hana is the journey. Actually, in this case, it's more like 90%. Hana itself is so low-key that it makes Mayberry look like Beverly Hills.

Between the winding roads and the sightseeing stops, the 53-mile trip takes hours. But from everything I've heard, it's worth it. Steph and I decide to go today.

There's a knock at our door. A man is there, grinning happily. "Have a great time on the Road to Hana! I brought you some blankets in case you want to have a picnic lunch! I've also got some cold water and a few snacks."

I look at Steph. "How did he-"

"Called downstairs while you were in the shower. Yoga boy."

"You're really gonna milk that, aren't you?"

"No, you were actually very good!" She says.

I better give this guy a tip. I grab a few dollars off the dresser. "I-"

"Enjoy your day! We'll see you when you get back!" he says, then scurries out the door like a scared cat.

What, are these guys afraid of money?

We got a CD to play during the trip to Hana; it features a tour guide describing where all the best attractions are along the way, even pointing out small details like the most ideal picnicking spots.


We've been driving for about 30 miles. The tour guide directs us to pull over to the side of the road near some huge, leafy plants. We get out, and it's like I've stepped into an African rainforest.

It's 15 or 20 degrees cooler than at the hotel. I can actually smell the plants, heavy and wet, the way it smells after a big thunderstorm. A 20-foot high waterfall gushes behind us, so loudly that I actually have to lean in to Steph to hear her.

I take a good look around. There are trees everywhere, a thick, dense sea of vibrant green as far as the eye can see, interrupted only by the narrow road that wanders through them. It feels odd, almost scary, to be so close to unspoiled nature, with no telephone poles, no cell phone reception, no fenced-in plot of land with a bunch of sawed-off tree stumps and a "COMING SOON" sign in front of it. It's like we've been transported to a different planet, our Evian bottles and Snackwell cookies looking weird and out of place, silently reminding us of the civilization whence we came.

My favorite attractions are the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees. Through some freak accident of evolution, they glow with bright, luminescent pastel colors as the bark peels away. Yet another item to add to the list of things that I'll never see when I get back home.


"I know we're supposed to go to fancy restaurants while we're here," Steph says. "But you know what I feel like?"





"Mmmm....Dunkin' Donuts!?"


"Steph! Hurry up, before I have to start on the E's!"

"The Hard Rock! It's in downtown Lahaina!"

"Awesome, Steph!"

"So you're not disappointed?"


The Maui Hard Rock Cafe is a beautiful place to eat. It doesn't feel like part of a restaurant chain. Unlike many eateries in the mainland, you're not shoehorned in with the other diners, bumping elbows with the guy in the booth behind you when you get up to use the restroom. It's big, open and spacious, with that hint of a refreshing breeze that I've already taken quite a liking to.


"Come on!" I say. "Let's go watch the sunset!"


Tomorrow: Fucking up my body clock. Again.