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Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

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for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

Just for fun....not scientific or serious, truly!!!!

On your first visit to Maui, what struck you as the most unique place, scene, natural beauty etc.? Getting off the plane to the towering sight of Haleakala on one side, the sharp West Maui Mountains on the other... or the scent of flowers as you exited the terminal.....the clarity of the air...the water...or ????

What was your most memorable meal (good or bad) and why?

What did you love the most about Maui overall, by the time you were leaving (the scenery, the ocean, the people, your hotel...)?

What was your funniest moment while in Maui on that visit (leaving luggage behind, eating something you didn't realize was what it was, for example)?

What souvenir did you buy on that first trip--and do you still have it?

What do you wish you'd bought, but didn't?

Any other fun memories that I've left out....which is probably tons!!

British Columbia
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1. Re: Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

My most magical moment by far happened on my first trip to Maui....we had packed a picnic lunch and went Upcountry for a day of exploring. We stopped at a little park and ate our lunch while a park caretaker took care of business....trimming and tidying....When we were finished eating he came over and sat with us, talked story and shared the Macademia Nut cookies that his wife had put in his lunch. When we packed up to leave he went to his little "shed" and retured with a wonderful plumeria lei which he draped around my shoulders....the scent of that lei remains with me still but more importantly I remember that sweet man and the true spirit of aloha that he shared with us!

Orlando, Florida
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2. Re: Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

Aloha SWmarket!

What a great thread idea!!! And Mad4Maui, what a very sweet and touching story.

Wow, I may have to make more than one post since it is 11pm here, and the brain is a tad fuzzy.......fun memories of 1st visits.........wow the memories flood back.....

Well, we landed an hour late (4pm) which stressed me because we had to stop by Costco for diapers, etc., for the grand princess, and make our way to Hana. It was after 6 by the time we had grabbed something to eat, made a few quick stops for supplies and started out. The sun was very low, and though it was our 1st trip to Maui, I had read so much for so many years, I knew the drive to Hana was going to be wild and much in the dark (yikes!).

Son-in-law, daughter and grand princess were in a mini-van, and took the lead, we in our convertible following, with the top DOWN. We were sternly warned by a lady at the Alamo rental lot NOT to drive to Hana with the top down! I asked why, and she said "fruit could fall on you head and kill you"!!! lol Have to admit I saw what she was talking about during that drive. (Oh, and a proud rooster saw us off at the Alamo booth as we left their parking lot! I thought that was a hoot, until I saw so many everywhere later!) A big mudslide had closed the Hana road right before our arrival 4/29/09. By an hour plus into the drive it was very dark. Good thing was, there was little traffic, especially oncoming. Son-in-law started driving faster and we speculated whether someone needed to go to the bathroom, or if the almost 12 mo. old granddaughter was screaming bloody murder!! Faster and faster he went, and we could scarcely keep up! No cell service most of the way, so we just didn't know, just drove like hot bats to keep up!!

Arrived at the Hana Kai around 9pm, found out grandbaby had been screeching for over an hour. What is one to do, but get to your destination?? We laughed, but they were wiped out. Went to bed right away.

Awoke at 3:30am, ate our frosted mini-wheats, and waited for the sun to rise over lovely Hana. We had the 2 bdrm at Hana Kai, which had just been remodeled and is simply GORGEOUS. The sun rose in the most GLORIOUS way that day. I simply do not know how one cannot see God Himself in such splendor. We were dumbstruck.

The peace, lush beauty and glory of Hana had us under Maui's spell before we had spent 24 hrs. on Maui. The guys went looking for a "real" breakfast for us around 9am. They were gone for some time. They came home laughing about buying breakfast "in a tent"! (we later learned this was not so unusual in Hana) They had 2 "loco mocos", and 1 saiman noodle. We 4 adults sat on our beautiful and huge covered lanai and ate that breakfast like kings and queens!!! We simply could not soak in enough of the waves crashing on the black rock beach just below us. My son-in-law, who eats pretty "clean" proclaimed "loco moco" as one of his VERY favorite meal experiences on Maui at the end of our trip!!! LOL It wasn't that it was so good, it was just the fun of the hunt for food in Hana, buying it in a tent, and eating it in jaw-dropping surroundings. I must try to replicate "loco moco" for him sometime.

The boys saw what they called a "weasel" while lazing on the lanai. I told them it was likely a mongoose, for which they REGALED me with riotous laughter!! I told them how they were imported to kill the rats in the cane/pineapple fields, challenged them to check it out on the 'net, and of course, the boys had to eat some crow for dinner!!! LOL!!!

I think one of our biggest joys of Maui was the people, whom we found so warm, gracious and hospitable. The overwhelming beauty of Maui simply cannot be understood only by viewing pictures/video, etc. It MUST be experienced. For us, having each of our 3 condos be oceanfront was magic. We ALL, guys included, were drawn like moths to the flame to our lanais to sit and drink in the scenery that was almost surreal in its glory. The guys would stretch out on loungers and be unconscious. We girls were amazed at the almost hypnotic effect Maui had on our guys, as well as ourselves.

We had booked a big fishing charter for just our 2 guys. It was our BIG splurge. We had been at the Westin Villas for just 2 nights, and they had left early. I awoke, very early of course since we're east coast timers, and pulled back the drapes to see a large fishing boat in the distance, with Lanai in the background. I wondered to myself if this might be our guys, because the timing would be about right, and the boat was a 50 ft. one, so it was a tad bigger than most of the other fishing boats I could see. About that time I saw an ENORMOUS splash near the boat I was watching, and I KNEW it was a whale!!! I went running into the studio side of our 2 bdrm, quietly yelling, I just saw a whale, I just saw a whale!!! Daughter says, "no way!". I replied, "come see for yourself!!". Within moments of her standing on the lanai with me, we saw a few more whales (or the same one performing!), and she and I both were sooooo happy we had seen a whale, esp. since we were really past prime season. Come to find out, that boat I saw WAS our guys, and that humpback had done a complete breech out of the water RIGHT BY THEIR BOAT!!!! This was especially wonderful because after 8 hours of fishing and a WHOLE LOT of money, this was the only swimming critter they saw. Not ONE bite. Not one fish. That my friends, was a VERY, VERY expensive whale watching trip!!! lol!!

One of my very favorite meal memories is our 1st night in West Maui, and we went to the Hula Grill for dinner, ate on the opposite side of the Barefoot Grill (can't remember what it's called). The view from that restaurant is what I had always envisioned Hawaii would be like. I swear they put narcotics in the water in Maui!!! We were as happy as if we had good sense!!! I think you TA Maui Forum folks know exactly what I mean!!!

Well, SW, so sorry I got carried away, but as verbose as I am, it is truly hard to find words to describe why I love Maui/Hawaii so much. I have been in no other place like it. Like I think I've said in a post before, while there, I told God that if Heaven is no more lovely than Maui, I will be very, very happy!!!

Blessings to you all!!


Hana, Hawaii
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3. Re: Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

Wow! Mad4Maui, I don't think I can beat that...awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Our first trip....staying in Kaanapali (you'd think by now I could spell it right!), we had to see the sunrise on Mount Haw... So from the resort, we all get up EARLY...probably 2 AM....Catch the shuttle (big bus) at about 3 AM? (fuzzy mind)...head down the road to the summit.. Every bruddah chillin' and snoozing on dah bus...before we get to the cliffs and the lookout...a car does a 180 degree number slides into the guard rails on one of those areas (where it's flat). I can still see the car...Kaanapali bound...sliding directly in front of the bus......skidding ans sending sparks as it impacted again the guard rail. The image of that car crossing up front in our bus path and hitting the guard rail...on our side of the road....massive sparks metal upon metal...scared the darn pink sh*t out of me that morning about 3:30 AM! (The poor girl driver had been working...coming home and feel asleep at the wheel...no one was hurt...Thanks to God!)

And then later, that early morning, wearing several shirts and a couple pairs of pants layered (no damn speedos mind you), Miss Caddy and I hugged each other and froze our b&tts off watching the sunrise. One of the damn coldest times I've ever been...but beautiful....at least once...No reason to go freeze my ukulele again. (I'm a beach lover now!....Ah, sunsets!)

Thanks for asking SWMARKET!

Fayetteville, AR
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4. Re: Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

My first trip was on my honeymoon in February of '98. The first fun memory was not of Maui, but of walking thru the open-air parts of HNL, sitting at the lounge with a mai-tai while my wife was nurturing the early stages of what is now an 11-year affair with the Lava Flow. Realizing at that precise moment what a special place the islands are.

The first full day, lounging around the pool, fidgeting with that damn ring on my finger that kept sliding around my knuckle.

Discovering Hula Grill for happy hour and sunset.

Discovering that you can physically FEEL the stress leave your body just by sitting on the lanai in the evening enjoying a Longboard Lager.

Swearing that I would never do "The Road to Hana" again after that initial trip. Then INSISTING we do it again 8 years later, and discovering 5x the sights we did on the first trip.

Freezing our butts off at sunrise on Haleakala. And not being the least bit upset about it.

The best memory, however, is still to come when we take our 6 and 4 year olds with us in 4 weeks. Their first trip, and they are already fully aware of how special this trip is.

La Costa, California
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5. Re: Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

Our first trip it was waking up to the sounds of the songbirds and the aroma of that wonderful Hawaiian coffee.

Going back next month :)


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6. Re: Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

My first trip was on my honeymoon, in 1984. I remember flying into the Kaanapali Airport (i think this is where the Star Market is now), feeling like we were landing sideways fighting the crosswinds. I remember that we left our voucher for our stay at Papakea at home, but they still let us check in. My father-in-law fedex-ed it to us so we didn't have to hoover floors and make beds to pay for our stay. I remember driving to and beyond Hana, bodysurfing at Koki Beach. Most of all, I remember deciding that we HAD to come back, and we have, every five years. We just celebrated our 25th anniversary with a trip to Maui and Kauai. Search under my name, and you'll find four exceedingly long trip reports.

Florence, Oregon
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7. Re: Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

Our first trip was for our 25th wedding anniversary, which was a surprise for my wife, so EVERYTHING was memorable about the trip. Beginning with this being my wife's first time flying all they way to sharing all of our experiences with our best friends of 30 years who were also celebrating their 25th.

I specifically remember feeling the warm breeze and the smell of Plumaria as we departed the plane and thinking "this IS paradise!" I remember our first visit south of Makena and how connected, in a spiritual way, I felt to that area (and still do!!). I remember this being the first time I was ever in the Pacific Ocean and not chilled to the bone!!

We had several great dining experiences while on this trip, but the two most memorable were at Bubba Gumps (yes, I know it's a chain!!) and one evening at the Luana Kai condos. The evening at Bubba's was not planned. We spent the day exploring Lahaina Town and decided on a whim to eat there. The food, drinks and company was terrific, the sunset view was spectacular, and the game of Forest Gump trivia resulted in me winning a Bubba Gump Fish Company hat!

The night at the Luana Kai, my best friend and I were having cocktails while bbqing some Maui Cattle Company beef. DW came out with her camera and my buddy and I, again on a whim, struck a "Captain Morgan" pose. There were people in the jaccuzi nearby and and one of them commented, " A little too much of the Capt'n perhaps!" (This memory also tops the list of funniest moments).

Shopping was HIGH on the list for our ladies. We found every little, unknown shop between Kihei and Lahaina I swear. One day at Hilo Hatties, I fell prey to the "oyster scam". Even though I KNEW it was a scam, b/c it was a special occasion, I went ahead a purchased a beautiful gold necklace/earing settings for DW.

The memories of this trip are a permanent fixture in my mind. Even though DW and I have been back since, we are quickly approaching our 30th anniversary and are discussing once again returning to Maui with our friends to creat even more indullable memories.

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8. Re: Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?


WOW!!!!!!!!!! What wonderful stories!! Keep 'em coming, folks, this is so neat to read the memories and impact Maui Nei has had on so many.

New York
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9. Re: Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

Our first trip to Maui, while on Road to HANA, we stopped for picnic lunch (I think it was Nahiku) and spread out our blanket under a tree, and a dog joined us.

At first, we were alittle nervous as we are not dog people, but this dog was very friendly and just lied down next to us peacefully...He did not ask for a thing, but we gave him water and some food...

Never knew who owned him...although several locals were hanging out on the other side.

Oh, by the way..the views in this area were the most amazing!

Albuquerque, New...
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10. Re: Fun Memories of First Visits--What Are Yours?

On our first trip to Hawaii, I vividly recall huge red hibiscus flowers growing on the chain link fence at the car rental place near the Honolulu airport.

I think it was Alamo, and it was in some grungy area near an overpass, but yet there were these gorgeous flowers growing like weeds. I knew right then that I was in a special place. On that trip we toured Oahu, Maui and Kauai, and I was struck by the colorful flowers everywhere, even along the roadsides, and up in the trees. After all these trips, I still marvel at the flowers in the trees, and that heavenly plumeria scent in the air.

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