First trick was finding the Maui Kia Condo Hotel!

    Getting there was kinda half a nightmare.
    We didn't arrive in one easy swoop.
    The drive to what is commonly called West Maui, was mostly along the ocean, offering up lovely beaches. We were headed to just north of Kannapali where all the flashy, modern hotels, condos and such are located, (to say nothing about the golf courses).  It was a long 40 plus minutes from the airport to the Maui Kai Hotel, assuming that you knew your way around and how to find the hotel.  Luckily we'd arrived on the island a bit earlier than expected, for it took a bit longer to find our new living quarters.

 A neat place to sleep and eat and enjoy the night away.

    I had obtained a map, via the Internet, before leaving home--which helped a lot.
    Just not enough.
    And the local real estate office wasn't much more help....oh, that!
    In desperation, after driving up and down, in and out, around and about the apparent area where the hotel was supposed to be,  I went into a real estate office (which was, in fact, within walking distance from the hotel) and asked the agent there for info--which he was totally unable to give!

   Once we did find our way to the hotel, though, it turned out so easy that one wondered where that real estate agent had been all his life. We'd driven over a mile from the hotel and real estate office and back again. Still, finding our hotel was such a blessing!
     We checked in, and somewhat later went out to eat, pretty much in the territory we'd driven while looking for the condo/hotel. We found a really neat and "pricy" eatery which charged us around twenty bucks just for two clam chowders. At those prices we couldn't afford to eat out for every meal, every day. So off we went shopping for food at the local super market. The condo had a complete kitchen. Which you can see in the picture to your left. Kinda see, that is.



      Here the lady-in-waiting is really waiting for her departed guy; almost sadly, too. Or so it would seem.
     (Ah, but note the hat and coat on the chair! A mystery I do believe!)
     Has she just finished the evening dishes? Or is she considering what kind of meal they will be enjoying in a short time.
     "Where the heck did he go? Wish he'd get back here--and fast!" says she. "I'm getting bored and anxious...for some exercise. A walk, perhaps?"
     "Hey! I'm right here! Taking your picture," says he, "of course."
     "Gosh, I hardly noticed you!" she states without even blinking. "You were so quiet! Normally all you do is talk!"

    Nights were warm, so we keep the balcony doors open and let the ocean air flush through the room like a phantom lover caressing our tired bods.  The ocean below roared softly in the background all night long--a song of Maui-gods murmuring in our ears.
      So by the next morning our waiting lady was ready for a healthy breakfast.  (Or maybe this was one of the other mornings, you can never tell, pictures don't lie, but the order in which they are presented on a page can be illusive to the truth!)
      The fact that she never eats breakfast at home, unless at gun-point, suggests that I probaby threatened: "If you don't eat, you don't


leave the room.  Got me?"
      Thusly terrorized, she ravishingly told me where to put the food!

      One of Brigitte's dreams had been to spend long hours walking along the ocean, letting the fine Hawaiian sands trinkle between her toes. In actual fact she did very little of this like of thing. There was so little time and so much to see.  Just touching the high points would be exhaustive; as we quickly discovered!

     That first morning we were scheduled to go to a meeting the condo management was offering for its guests. Here we discovered, over bagels and stuff, some of the places to be explored on our vacation in Maui.
     Of course it was a great way for them to suggest: "You can go to the hotel desk and get detailed information there; they will even get reservations for you." (A free ad?)


       And this is the way into the lobby, where one could get prime answers to prime questions.

     "Is it possible to take a copter flight to see the active volcano spurting out hot flames, molten rock, steaming smoke and flowing lava?"
     That's one of the things I wanted to do.
     Fly from Maui to the Big Island to see the Big Show.
     "What does it cost?" asks I.
     "Oh, it's a bit pricy."
     That's the Hawaiian word for VERY EXPENSIVE!
     "How pricy?" gulps I.
     At this point I was willing to be brave and consider paying what seemed a reasonable--gulp gulp--price of up to $400 for the two of us.
    "Well, that'd be $400!"
    I couldn't believe my ears!
    "Per person," the desk clerk added, a bit grimly.
    "What would $200 per person get me?" I countered, a bit shaken to the roots of my wallet. Dream trip or not, that was pricy-out-of-the-question.   Perhaps a less costly copter flight?
      Well, thankfully, there were other activites to consider.
     We'd been told to do the Luau scene--once!
     So I figured, go for broke: "How about the best luau in town?"
     A phone call revealed there was an opening for the next Thursday.
     I shook my head. "That's our last night here. Is there anything on for tomorrow night?"
     Of course there was; the second best luau in town.
     We were hitting second best all around, so to speak. Well, not really. Not yet, that is. We'd also been told about the Sunset at the volcano, which meant being picked up around 2AM in the morning. They arranged that for us at the flash of a phone call.
     Whales and things were obvious; up to us. And touring the island was another important event. As was taking the Road to Hana.
     Ah, yes, Hana, the mysteriously wonderful town of our dreams. Everybody said to take the drive to Hana; that this was the real event. An all-day affair, pack a lunch and find a place along the way to eat it. On the beach, of course.
     An adventure which was worth the trip to Maui!
     Of course, so they said, Hana was, after all, not really very impressive; but the drive to Hana was the Maui-Wowie experience!
     Oh. By the way, just watch out for the road itself.
     What road? asks you.
     Well, we'd been warned by some dear friends that it was a holy hell--and that had terrorized Brigitte beyond any thought of driving there with me at the wheel--the mad one-eyed crazy. [She's your normal, everyday, back-seat-driver, ya know.]
     There was the option, natch, of taking a tour bus--which meant spending about $140 for the pair of us.
     I'd been, also, told that would be a mistake because the bus driver would no doubt stop only at places where his/her relatives had running tourist-traps selling outlandishly pricey junk. A good point. That.
     If we drove there we controlled the stops, and avoid the tour-bus' relatives.
     "Ah, but," said our friends, "the professional guide takes you to secret, wonderful places unknown to the normal tourist.  Plus you get a running dialog telling what you are seeing, or about see just beyond the next brutal twisting curve in the road."
     Decisions; decisions!  What to do; what to do.
     More importantly: the security and survival of my marriage was at stake. For weeks we'd debated the obvious: drive or be driven to Hana--or simply cancel the whole bloody trip to Hawaii! `I had, reluctantly, and secretly, decided to take the tour bus if that would save our marriage. What one won't do in the name of love. None-the-less, I kept feeling waves of uncertainy. How foolish to pay when one could have it for free! Most of the hard-headed advice was that the road to Hana was a two lane highway with a lotta one lane narrow bridges. Almost everybody we talked to advised driving.
     And, surprisingly so, Brigitte was somewhat wavering in her hardlined convictions.
     I held my breath and tongue.

     Thusly we bypassed any decision concerning Hana--at this time. Anyway, there were so many other things to see and do on this very first day. Like getting to know our surrounding territory, for one thing.

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The Maui Man.