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Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

Paris, France
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Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

A year ago, I went to Maui with my DH, DS, and two of my closest friends in all the world, DC and DB. I wrote a trip report for every day except the last day. Because when I got back home, work started up again, and life got in the way, and besides, I was feeling a little sad. So I worked on it, and got it almost done, but then never finished it. And after a month or so went by, it seemed ridiculous to post the last day of such an old report.

But here’s the thing. I keep receiving private messages asking for it. (Okay, so they mention the trip report, but mostly are asking for my cinnamon roll recipe!) Still, I am happy to oblige on both counts. So for those of you I left hanging, here it is. And for anyone who wasn’t following along on my journey, I apologize if it seems silly to post this so late.

Paris, France
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1. Re: Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

On our final day on the island, we were unable to rent the condo for an additional night. So we were going to have to vacate, and our check out time was 11:00 AM.

By 5:00 AM, I was up and out on the lanai. I had read in the forum a few days before about someone watching a “moon set,” and a search of the web had shown the times for this for the week. The only problem was that I couldn’t figure out the chart. So it was either going to be at 5:35 or 6:20. I was betting on the earlier time as I thought for sure that it would be full daylight by 6:20.

The moon was hanging in the sky, not very far above the horizon. It lit the water with its silvery glow. It wasn’t full, but it was difficult to tell that it wasn’t. (The full moon was expected the following night.)

I sat outside, alone with just that glorious moon, and reflected on our trip. It had been the most perfect vacation ever. But I was sad to think that it would either be my last trip to Maui, or my last for a very long time at least. You see, my husband has a new job, and we are moving to Paris. And Paris is a long way from Maui. And when we come back, in another five years or so, he will be retired and our discretionary income will be greatly lessened. So it’s impossible to tell when or even if there will be any more big vacations in our future.

I cried a little. But the moon was so gorgeous that I couldn’t stay sad for long. Still, being sad is tiring work, and I had been getting up way too early for the entire trip. No one else was stirring, so I decided to head back to bed. No, I didn’t get to stay up for moon set, but the moon was beautiful nonetheless, and I was so glad I had dragged myself out there to see it.

When I finally crawled out of bed for real, it was 8:00, and DH was busy in the kitchen. DS was busy packing. I started packing but then couldn’t complete the task. It was just too sad to think about leaving, so I decided that I wasn’t going to pack until the very last minute.

Breakfast was HUGE. It always is on the last day because that is our “clean out the refrigerator” day. There were left over cinnamon rolls, and DH made a Kahlua pork omelet. There was Portuguese sausage and bacon, and lots of fresh fruit. It was all yummy, but very filling.

After breakfast, everyone pitched in and worked together to not only clean up the kitchen, but to get the condo cleaned up as well. And then came the saddest thing of all.

DH said that we needed to leave all of our snorkel gear behind. Which made me cry some more. Okay, it made me cry a lot more.

He had a valid argument. There will be no room for it in our Paris apartment. And I wouldn’t need it in Paris, obviously. And although we intend to rent a small storage unit in Colorado, we have already discussed that this will never hold all of our stuff. So it will be strictly for irreplaceable things, or for things that we will absolutely need immediately upon our return. Snorkel gear is, apparently, expendable. Or, at the very least, replaceable.

I almost couldn’t do it. I couldn’t decide what was worse. The finality of leaving the gear? Knowing that I might never be back ever? Having to separate from our good friends, DB and DC, and not knowing when we would see them again? Or was it even more than that? Was I already counting how few adventures are left for us as a family before DS leaves us for college? It was almost more than I could bear.

In the end, it was DB and DC who saved the day. They offered to store my gear at their house. They whispered to me that they had plenty of room for it in their suitcases. It was such a sweet thing to offer, and it meant so much. It meant that they knew me as well as anyone could, and those kinds of friends don’t come into our lives every day. It also meant that they understood the magic of this very special island, because if they hadn’t, they couldn’t possibly have understood why leaving some silly gear behind was such a difficult thing for me.

In the end, it was a compromise. We left almost all of our wonderful gear behind, but I found room in my bag to take my mask home. After all, it is not everyday that you find a mask that fits perfectly. Or at least, that is what I told myself. It might just have been that I needed that one tangible object to hold onto. To convince myself that someday, I will return to this perfect place.

Once the condo unit was clean, we headed over to the swap meet. Though DH and I had been there the week previously, DS, DB, and DC had not. And they were all interested in doing a little affordable souvenier shopping. It was HOT and there wasn’t a breeze to be had. How I longed for the old swap meet location then, over by the post office, where there had been no parking to speak of, but there had been plenty of lovely old trees.

We found a woman selling something called Shaka Pops, which were beautiful ice pops in flavors that sounded heavenly on such a hot day. There was mint mojito, lava flow, strawberry limeade, coconut lime, pineapple ginger, and several other varieties, including some that were sugar free. They were delicious and refreshing, but there was just one slight problem. DS’s mint mojito one contained actual mint leaves that he had to eat around. And my tropical fruit one was full of lilikoi seeds. They were pretty, and creative, but they weren’t very practical.

Once everyone’s shopping was complete, we headed for Haleakala. As we climbed, it got progressively cooler. After our sweaty morning at the swap meet, the cool moist air was heavenly. As we drove, we moved into fog and clouds and drizzle. We worried about whether or not we would even be able to see anything once we reached the top. We worried about dragging our friends all the way up that winding road, (and we had forgotten just how long of a drive it is) only to have nothing to show them once we arrived.

We reached the lower visitor center, and we were still surrounded by thick clouds and light mist. But then, halfway between the first visitor center and the one at the top, we popped out of the clouds. Yay! It was like looking out the window of a plane. Far below us, we saw golden sunlight dancing on a sea of big fluffy white clouds. In the distance, the ocean was blue and still.

I have never joined the mad trek to the summit for sunrise. I am sure that it is beautiful. But I would like to point out that in mid afternoon, Haleakala is not only quite lovely in its own right, but it is also quiet, uncrowded, and peaceful.

On the plane headed over to Maui, I sat next to a girl who appeared to be in her mid 20s. She was making her first trek to Maui, though I convinced her that it would not be her last. She asked me if I had ever been to “the crater,” then shared with me that she wouldn’t be able to make it to Haleakala for sunrise. She asked me, “Is it even worth going, or will it be a waste of my time? After all, it’s just a hole in the ground, right?”

To anyone else who is worried about that, let me say this. It is far more than just a hole in the ground. I have heard it described as “other-worldly” and I feel that is a rather apt description. There is almost a sacred feeling as well, standing at the edge and looking down into the crater. It is no wonder that the ancient Hawaiians considered this a holy place.

Though it had been only a year or so since my last trip up the mountain, I had forgotten just how many colors are in the soil of that place…Burnt umber. Barn red. Pale chamois. Raw sienna. A dozen different shades of gray. Deep black. Dull black. Gold. Pink. Orange. And photos cannot do this place justice, so please, please, please do not base your decision about whether or not to make the trip on photos you see in a guide book, or even on the internet. Nothing but the human eye can capture the color, the vibrancy, the sheer richness of that earth. Nor can still shots capture the beauty of the shadows of fast moving clouds that race across the landscape.

Sadly, the drive to the top took longer than I remembered from last time, no doubt due to the clouds and fog. DS had wanted to do a hike from the summit, but we really were beginning to run low on time.

So instead we sat and ate a picnic lunch that DH had packed from the condo. It containd the rest of the leftovers that we hadn’t consumed at breakfast, but everything tastes better outdoors, and even better when it’s a little cold out and your body is craving food to help you stay warm. We had booked our condo through Chasin Rainbows this time, (and I cannot say enough good things about those nice folks.) As a “gift” they had given us a little insulated bag for taking cold drinks to the beach. DH began pulling things out of that bag in a manner reminiscent of Mary Poppins unpacking her carpetbag. The food just kept coming and coming and coming until we were well past full.

We thought we might shave time to wander through more of upcountry, but in the end, we knew the prudent thing to do was to head back down the hill. The low hanging clouds we encountered on our drive down made the return trip take longer as well, so in the end, we were glad we hadn’t lingered.

We drove through Makawao and waved to the massage school. Someone on the forum a few years back had suggested going for the clinic they host and we had done it. It may not be a fancy spa experience, but it gave us a chance to hang out and do what the locals do and not only was it a real bargain at $30 (plus a tip), but the students were enthusiastic and knew their stuff. You can pay more to get a “professional” massage here from a graduate of the program or an instructor, but we had found the students to be excellent. If we hadn’t had Artemio come to our condo this trip, we would likely have done it again. (And don’t worry. I know that the photo on their website shows everyone lying in what looks like a communal classroom, but we were worked on in individually curtained-off cubicles.

We wanted to stop at Ho’okipa and watch the wind surfers, but it was very busy that afternoon. There was no parking to be had anywhere, even along the road. So we settled for a quick drive-by instead, and headed on down the road.

We had planned throughout our entire trip to do pizza at Flatbread Pizza in Paia on our last day, but the town was packed. We found one parking spot in the back of the lot on the edge of town, but didn’t feel good leaving our stuff in the car there. We figured that it would have been safe enough on the main drag, but not necessarily hidden in the back of an out-of-the-way lot.

I had thought that DH would turn around outside of town and cruise back through town, still looking for parking. I could already taste the goat cheese and fresh basil and... My heart sank when I realized that we weren’t going back, but were heading instead for Kahalui.

DH drove around until he stumbled across a little Pizza joint on Wakea Ave. Pizza in Paradise. Thinking that this would indeed make his crabby wife happy, “You wanted pizza, I found you pizza,” he was probably surprised when I snapped at him and told him that what I had wanted was Flatbread Pizza pizza, and that I wasn’t quite sure anything else would do.

But our good friends DB and DC treated us to dinner, and it turned out that the pizza far exceeding my expectations. There wasn’t any goat cheese on it, but midway through the meal, DB shared with us that he wasn’t into “fancy” pizzas, so we likely would have ordered a more basic pizza at Flatbread anyway. Besides, this is a small local place, it is family run, the dough is made from scratch, and we were able to eat at a table outside. What’s not to like?

We then headed over to Ululani’s but they were closed, leaving us majorly sad. We had worried about the numerous times we had gone out with our friends for shave ice during this trip. After all, our friends are very agreeable folks. They would gladly have gone with us whether they wanted shave ice or not. Just as I had worried earlier, “How much whale watching is too much whale watching?” I had also worried about how many shave ice runs were too many.

But it turned out that our friends were now serious shave ice addicts in their own right. At their request, we chased all over town trying to find some, but were unsuccessful. Thankfully, that means that we will all need to return to Maui again in the future, to share in that one final shave ice. Our friends were PERFECT vacation partners. We would come back with them any time.

Finally ,we were off to the airport. Our condo does not have a printer, but we had found a Kinko’s earlier in the day and had checked in online and printed our boarding passes there, so we were able to bypass the counter and go right to security.

With the washer in the condo, we were all able to travel light, with only one carry on bag apiece. It was awesome not having bags to check. And you know what? Doing laundry in the evenings with my dear friend DC, whom I hadn’t seen in a very long time, gave us some special time alone together for quiet conversation that I will always treasure.

We sprang for Economy Plus this trip and I have only one thing to say about that. The extra money, especially on that long trip home when you are exhausted and would like to sprawl out a little, is totally worth it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

In all, it was a lovely, memorable trip. The whales, the fire dancer on the beach, our first trip to The Feast at Lele, and more importantly, quality lanai time shared with family and good friends. I am actually living in Paris now, and the memories of that lovely time are helping me get through my first rainy Parisian winter. In some ways, Paris is a lot like Maui. It is not the planned stuff that you do that brings you the greatest delight, but rather the rhythm of the place, connecting with local people, and the little surprises that delight you along the way. Aloha.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

Thank you for lovely memories. I hope your mask gets use before too long. And have some sorbet at Berthillon for me!

washington
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3. Re: Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I was one of those you left hanging and I so appreciate your lovely final chapter! No worries, as they say in the islands, you'll be back and that Maui moon will live in your heart until you return.

Paris, France
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4. Re: Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

For those of you staying in a condo, here is the cinnamon roll recipe. It is awesome on vacation, because they are easy to whip up while you are preparing dinner the night before, and then you just pop them in the oven in the morning. And they are wonderful.

Basic Sweet Dough :

Combine:

2 cups flour

1 pkg dry yeast

Heat:

1 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 tsp salt

Add to dry mixture.

Blend on low with electric mixer for 30 seconds.  Beat 3 minutes on high.  If your condo doesn't have an electric mixer, you CAN do this by hand.

By hand, stir in 1 1/2 to 2 cups flour to make a moderately stiff dough.  Knead until smooth, 8-10 mins.

Let rise until doubled, 45 to 60 mins, punch down, divide in

half, cover and let rest 10 mins. 

Roll out or pat out each half to a 12x8 inch rectangle, brush with melted butter and cover each half with a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tsps cinnamon. OR you can spread with local Hawaiian jams/jellies or crushed pineapple instead. Roll up and slice in 1" to 1 1/2" slices, and place in a greased pan. At home, you can then bake these. However, when on vacation, I cover with plastic wrap at this point and place in the fridge. In the morning, as you turn your oven on to heat, remove them from the fridge and let them sit on the counter until your oven is fully preheated, then pop them in.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 mins, remove from oven when golden.

If I do true cinnamon rolls, I miss a basic frosting of a Tablespoon of butter with enough powdered sugar to make it a good consistency. If it is too thick, I add a Tablespoonful or so of milk. If I do the jam ones, which are sweater, I do a thinner frosting and just drizzle a bit over the top, or even add a bit of cream cheese to my frosting to tone it down a bit.

The smell of these is enough to get even the most determined sleeper out of bed in the AM, so if you have kids that like to sleep in and you were hoping for a day on the beach, try a batch of these.

Minnesota
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5. Re: Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

Thanks for completing the report...and you will be back! :)

Alaska
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6. Re: Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

This was the perfect start to what could be a challenging day for me. You calmed my inner Deb and made me happy to read about the end of your wonderful vacation and enjoy your last trip report. Much happiness to you and your family living a new, wonderful life in Paris. Wow! And I truly believe you will be back to Maui sooner than you may ever imagine. Deb

Socal
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7. Re: Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

Thanks for posting! Love the detail.

You are in Paris! I bet if you go to the TA Forum, you'll find a bunch of people who have just come back and wish they could move there. (uh, sounds kinda familiar, huh?). But you did it! Embrace the opportunity, what a fantastic adventure you'll have.

(or as we used to read when our daughter was young: In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines......)

Sheldon

Edited: 09 January 2014, 16:09
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8. Re: Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

Very nice report to read... thank you! :).

Indy
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9. Re: Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

omg loved it. thank you. now i have to go back and read all the other days...

and i'm going to make those rolls breakfast this weekend. yumm-O.

Pacific Northwest
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10. Re: Day 11 (final day) of trip report from 2013

I had to laugh at the beginning of your report. Every trip journal/report I've done is missing the last day or two, except this past one to Maui. Feels good to complete it, doesn't it? :)

I loved reading all the little details, especially about the things we didn't get to do and wondered about. Like TNT, I'm going to have to go back and read the rest!

Thank you so much for taking the time to finish and post this. I found myself smiling throughout the entire read.

Enjoy Paris while you're there...even though its not an official trip, I do hope you keep a journal!