ALOHA & MAHOLA MAUI – hallo & danke Maui.
This is the first time I mix up my blog articles by time. But I need to bring my thoughts and impressions of Maui to “paper” before I might forget how many beautiful moments I had been able to experience.
Part 1: Written blog with just a few images to underline the text. In Part 2 I will try to upload more pictures & videos when the internet is not produced by a half-dead hamster… as it is now. BTW this blog has been the most time-consuming blog I have ever written; because of the pictures. Without internet it’s pretty hard to nearly impossible to publish pics. My ridiculous method: Screenshot picture on your phone, crop it, send it with your mail address to your mom mail address on your laptop, do not download it there, instead screenshot again, save and upload to the blog. IF THE QUALITY OF THE PICS IS SHIT, LIVE WITH IT (I needed for only the few pics in this article 22 hours) 😉 :-**** and no, transfer/transmission with cable or bluetooth weren’t working either.
You might wonder why the article is in English – people from all over the world need to understand my words, because this time the people has been the biggest part of my great adventure – you can say that THEY made my week unforgettable. And this is why there are not the usual fun facts about Hawaii. The next blog will cover your geographic lecture, I promise.
This blog is more about what happen when travellers randomly run into each other, bonding and exploring Maui together.
But first my transportation from Big Island: A 45 Minutes scenic flight from Kona (Big Island) to Kahului (Maui) in an eight seat propeller plane – I sat at the 9th seat, a spare seat in the back 😀 Check-In: no ID needed, no security check, no ticket, only the question how much I weight. Fair enough – Security is overrated, better not to fall from the sky! And it was beautiful – you can see all islands from above.
I booked a hostel named Banana Bungalow International Hostel on Maui, a hostel I never wanted to visit because it was claimed as THE Party Hostel on the island. Actually I wanted quiet. The two days of reservation turned into five days and suddenly a week – I just couldn’t leave. Motto for Maui: Go with the flow and never have too detailed plans. The reason: Banana friends we called us – a stupid name, but with quite a cute background. We were a little group of international people finding each other for almost a week.
One week is basically nothing. Time runs (especially during travelling) and its over before you realize all the adventures you experienced. The short time was an amazing couple of days. Maui is full of natural beauty, elemental forces and human “aloha”-friendliness. But this week I met people in Banana Hostel I don’t want to do without in my life. It sounds crazy and maybe emotional, but it just was a magical contingency (Zufälligkeit) we all had been at one place.
Now I am sitting here in the next incredible paradise named “FIJI” and still thinking about our time at Maui Island in Hawaii. The chances are 0% that you would relive the same VIBE in the same hostel again.
What was so special about the time?
A bunch of French-Canadians, Australians, Italians, English, French and not to forget Germans met the first night in the hostel. Approx. 14 people with different culture, age, career, different background and problems – we couldn’t be more diverse and likewise more the same. Similar lifestyle, dreams and hopes, same humor and randomly the same location.
The hostel is located in Wailuku, the northeastern part of Maui. Colorful wooden shelters surrounded with palm trees, banana plants, flowers, a hot tub, pool table, darts and not to forget a few hammocks in the backyard. To be honest, none of this beauty I saw till the last day as almost everyone left already. It was just not important. Young energized staff built the soul of the pension – travelers from all over the world, always positive and (most of the time) helpful. I tell you we strained some nerves during the week… About the location: The hostel wasn’t at the pole position close to the beach, neither very nearby a supermarket or any other beautiful travel guide attraction. Therefore the guesthouse decided to offer free tours every single day.
Two typical surfer dudes – such as from a book – lead all the tours. Long hair, tanned, tattoos all over, basecap, barefoot – you get the image. Two very old vans with a capacity of around 15 people had been available every day, first come first serve principle. You had two options: a) the van with cockroaches or b) the van with the broken AC (Air Conditioning) – and I tell you at some days no AC is not always the better choice. No complain about the vans, it was a basic equipment but more than enough! What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger! I mean, the free tours had been offered from a low budget accommodation. The value of the tours would have been enormous if you would have booked them with a travel agency in a nice, clean bus with onboard service full of tourists with white socks in sandals, binoculars and tablets as a camera. The tours were basic, minimalistic, different and just relaxed.
Every day there had been different tour options. And every day was special – you felt like travelling with friends around the island, no detailed plan what exactly to see – it depended on weather and the interest of joining people.
“HANG LOOSE” was the motto. It’s non verbal expression with your hand, originally used for surfers, but in Hawaii basically everybody live the lifestyle – it basically means everything that’s positive: ok, relax, cool, perfect, thanks, hi, ciao… You will see it most of the times on our pictures 😉
Loud music in the van supported the mood of every single tour – a range from Bob Marley, over We are the champions, Queen to the Macarena song. We picked tropical fruits at the sideways of the road, the guides explained us which fruit to eat (and which better not to) and afterwards we made a smoothie for everyone to share back in the hostel. Windows open for the feeling of freedom, barefoot and hands outside. It was a road trip feeling every single day; the good thing this time I didn’t need to drive!
Thursday – TURTLE TOWN & KIHEI
This was actually the final start of our group – I arrived Wednesday afternoon and planned my escape already. But I wanted to participate at least one tour. Imagine a beautiful white clean beach (Ulua Beach), blue sky, sun and clear water full of endangered green turtles in their natural environment to snorkel with. (Not) surprisingly I was the only one who wasn’t able to dive with these beautiful animals… as always, why do animals hate me so much in nature?! 😀 But still, the day was perfect and it got better when suddenly the tour ended in a bar – happy hour for 1 Liter Mai Tai. Yummy. The way back in the van has been a great party and in the hostel we decided to continue with the drinking game “Beer pong”. This game ended up as our new passion in the group, der Klassiker. We got almost professionals in the end 😉 So be careful if you challenge me the next time. Problem: I would need my team partner if I want to score the last point… ! Maybe he’s around and have some spare time.
Saturday – HALEAKALA VOCANOE
Picture after the hike:
“The house of the rising sun” it’s called in Hawaii. Haleakalā is a massive shield volcano that forms more than 75% of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. The western 25% of the island is formed by another volcano, Mauna Kahalawai. The tallest peak of Haleakalā at 3,055 m, is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). The temperature near the summit tends to vary between about 5 °C and 16 °C and, especially given the thin air and the possibility of dehydration at that elevation, the walking trails can be more challenging than one might expect. This is the hike we signed up for this day – 20km in 5,5 hours and afterwards watching the sunset. It was cold, it was hot, we were sweating and freezing, uphill and downhill over stones, sand in all colors you can imagine and dry lava flows. It was such a special experience; very hard to explain! I never heard such a silent in my life, NO SOUND at all, nothing. We were so high that the clouds were below us. Did u ever heart the statement “we meet at the clouds” – but this is exactly what we did, through volcanic valleys looking like you walk on the moon. We spent almost 2 hours with the game “Do you see anything alive?” (Insects had been included)… The final hour was uphill a rainforest mystically covered in clouds and fog all the way up to the top! And we all finished the hike together. It was an amazing feeling, especially when we jumped in the van and listened to “we are the champions” while the sun downed next to us. It was an unforgettable, unique and an awesome day with beautiful people. Thanks guys for pushing me!
i would have loved to upload the video of „we are the champions“ in the van, but this i impossible here… In Part 2, i promise.
Sunday – MAKENA BEACH SUNSET PARTY
This day has been one of the most weirdest and interesting ones on Maui, just so different you cannot explain. After packing the van full with drinks for the afternoon we first relaxed at the beautiful “big beach” in Makena. White sand, music and turquoise water – what else. At 5pm suddenly everybody moved over some cliffs to a small hidden beach “Little beach”. Here dancing naked bodies met the sound of drums and fire shows – it was Hippies paradise, as you would picture it in a little strange movie. For us the first real local experience, it was a traditional dance ceremony and we were allowed to be part of it – surreal but really worth it. Dancing in the water with friends around you and a cold beer in your hand is one of the best things on earth. BTW: Cloth had been optional, means we were allowed to wear our beach wear. Not that someone spreads rumors. 😉
Another nice evening ended in the hostel with a great night with everybody all together. …Because this was our last evening as such a big group. The day after almost all our French-Canadians left… And this was the point we realized how special our group had been grown together.
Monday – KEPANIWAL & IAO VALLEY STATE PARK
This place is the role model for Jurassic Park. Iao Valley is a lush, stream-cut valley in West Maui, Hawaii, located 5 km West of Wailuku and is covered in dense rainforest. The Iao Needle is the star of the valley. But just see for yourself:
Tuesday – Road to Hana
The Hāna Highway is a 103.6 km long stretch of Hawaii Routes 36 and 360 which connects Kahului with the town of Hāna in east Maui. Although Hāna is only about 52 miles (84 km) from Kahului, it takes about 2.5 hours to drive when no stops are made as the highway is very winding and narrow and passes over 59 bridges (remember this carefully, this might be a quiz question in the end), 46 of which are only one lane wide. There are approximately 620 curves along Route 360 from just east of Kahului to Hāna, virtually all of it through lush, tropical rainforest. Many of the concrete and steel bridges date back to 1910 and all but one are still in use. What is the road all about: The road is one of the most dangerous roads you can drive worldwide. It’s rainforest, tropical fruits, rainbow trees, beautiful beaches, rocky brusquely cliffs, delicious banana bread, and hundreds of waterfalls, caves and natural pools to swim in. Several possibilities to cliff jump, we hiked one of the most dangerous ways to the red beach to get surprised by a rainy storm. It was such a great last tour-day! But to finalize the trip: on the way back we played the game “Bridge” – every time we crossed a bridge on the way back to the hostel the bus screamed “Bridge” and had a sip of the beer we bought in the only local grocery store in Hana. There were so many bridges in a row that the beer was gone before we even started the way back.
The next 2 days we skipped the tours and made our own little program. We almost missed the sunset in Lahaina after a bus ride of an hour just to see it. It’s a beautiful a little touristic small town with lots of galleries, cafes, restaurants and a nice harbour. A relaxed location to enjoy life for a day in Maui without visiting a beach. The next day has been our last day – the mission: at least once to surf in Hawaii. You can image the outcome. The waves were massively strong and high. There was no way to just go for a swim for beginners. Instead we enjoyed the last hours romantically at the beach in Paia. The sand is yellow-white, coconuts lying around, washed off trees spend you some shade, you see crabs running around searching for food and you just watch the pros surfing nearby the coast.
This is the last beauty I had been able to enjoy of Maui – the third biggest island of Hawaii.
What made my stay so special?
- I felt so much at home so far away from home.
- I slept outside in a hammock.
- I had such a blast, much of laughter, conversations and big hugs.
- One week created insider jokes and future travel plans to see each other.
- You get to know strangers and ending up with friendship.
- I hope so much to see you amazing guys again!
The next blog is about my first two weeks in Hawaii – the island O`hau & the second week on beautiful Big Island.
Best from Fiji, Nadi (Bula!).