We're back in Honolulu after an eventful 7 days in Maui. It was our first proper hostel experience (even though we still had a private room) and it's fair to say that by the end of the week we were both enjoying it.
When we arrived in Maui we happily phoned to get our free shuttle only to find that they close between 2pm and 5pm - we phoned at 2.05. We were then told that we had to wait for the 6pm shuttle. We tried to get the bus and were told that our luggage was too large. We didn't want to shell out for a cab so we waited til 6. We found a nice garden area and read our books so it wasn't so bad! When the shuttle finally arrived, we had the pleasure of meeting the manager of the hostel. He was extremely odd with a very awkward, dry sense of humour that we didn't quite get. My first impressions of the hostel were terrible. There were ants everywhere in the kitchen, there was no tv in our room and the common room had some of the most unusual characters we had come across, most of whom spoke German (loudly). There were also pretty strict rules - tv off at 10 and quiet time then begins! Not to mention, it was in the middle of nowhere. Busses stopped running at 8 and there was nothing around the hotel so we unpacked and prepared ourselves for a night in. On the plus side, they had a computer where I could get pictures off my cameras sd card so I spent most of the evening doing that.
The next day we explored a little and studied the bus routes. The hostel had a very helpful guide which told us where the best beaches are and how to get there. We decided on a place called kihei. It took 1.5 hours and 2 busses to get there but it was worth it. The beach was stunning and George spent the day snorkelling with giant sea turtles (which means we don't have to pay to go back to Hanauma bay in Waikiki) and I had a little go too. We caught the last bus at half 6, met an ex con and then had an early night.
Our second day in Maui was spent in a beautiful place called Lahaina - a really pretty little fishing village. A bit like the Cornwall of Hawaii (mum you would really like it there). We found a quiet little beach area with no one else around and spent the day reading and swimming in the sea. When the sun began to set we noticed people gathering at the beach area next to us and we spotted them preparing for a luau. We watched from behind while the fire and hula dancers put on a show. The busses ran slightly later from lahaina so we decided to get dinner in a restaurant and go back to the hostel as late as possible!
After having a few lazy beach days we thought we should do some real exploring. A 5km walk from the hostel was a place called I'oa (eeoo) Valley. When we got there, we hiked along the stream admiring the plants and flowers and the mountains in the distance. We'd been told that we could pick the fruit and eat it but I didn't recognise the exotic fruits that were within reach so we collected some so that we could then check with someone more knowledgeable. We were minding our own business, when all of a sudden a gigantic coconut fell from the sky, almost bopping George on the head! 'Death by coconut' is no joke!! We couldn't believe our luck. George made it his caveman mission for the day to peel away the outer layer to get to the good stuff. Everyone we passed was very impressed by the size of George's coconut. Once we'd explored the valley for a few hours, we started on the walk back to the hostel. On the way we came across a fresh fruit and smoothie stall. We asked about our finds, which were strawberry guava, and bought a freshly made smoothie which consisted of - Apple bananas, passion fruit, guava, strawberry mangoes, pineapple and coconut milk and I can't remember the rest! It was THE best smoothie I have ever tasted! After our long walk back, I fell asleep on the sofa while George went to work on the coconut. When he returned, we drank the milk through a straw, chopped it up and ate coconut until we were sick of it! We then got chatting to a nice couple from California who shared their dinner with us then invited us to lahaina for ice cream. They were at the end of their trip and full of great tips. By the end of the evening we were convinced that we should hire a car so that we could really see the island.
That night our fire alarm malfunctioned and started to make the most ridiculous piercing sound at 4am and it wouldn't stop. I initially thought there was a real fire but after assessing the situation throughout the rest of the hostel, found that it was just the alarm in our room going off and there was definitely no fire or smoke in there so the next step was to try and stop it. If you've seen the friends episode with Phoebe and the fire alarm, it was just like that. We took the battery out and got back in to bed. We'd just dozed off and, that's right, it started again. It was so loud I thought it had pierced my ear drum. The Dutch person next door helped us find the right wire to detach then we could get back to sleep. The great thing was, the manager, who we were now warming to, gave us a refund for that night.
We slept late, booked a hire car for the following day then got the bus to lahaina. We strolled around a little market, which was set up under a 150 year old Banyan tree, and got chatting to an old artist who created pictures out of flames then added a haiku to match each picture. We both loved his art and his stories so we bought a small one that he made in front of us then he added a personalized haiku. We'll send it home then I'm looking forward to framing it and finding the perfect spot in our house for it as a reminder of Maui. We had found a few little bits we wanted to send home so we decided to write some post cards by the harbour then tried to find a post office. The sun was beginning to set so we found a restaurant with a view and shared a burger.
The next day we picked up the car and started off on a road trip named the best on Maui - The Road to Hana. It was a 4 hour round trip but with all the interesting stops we knew we were in for a long day. We stopped in the town of Paia where we picked up a picnic lunch in a cool bag, specially designed for this trip to Hana, then drove along a windey road to the first stop - Twin Falls. We had to walk for a mile and a half through Hawaiian farmland to get to the waterfalls but it was spectacular. We then headed to our next stop but spotted some cars pulled over so went to investigate. We followed a path through a bamboo forest to find another waterfall where we watched some Americans jump off the top (I wasn't quite brave enough to give that a try - maybe next time). We continued on our way to Keanae peninsula - a shoreline surrounded by volcanic rock. It was getting late and we wanted to catch the sunset in Hana so we didn't spend long there. We watched the sunset over Haleakala national park (an inactive volcano) then started on the long drive back.
We were up at 3 the next morning to watch the sunrise at the top of Haleakala. It was amazing but so cold!!! 10000ft high and unbelievably windy and we were as wrapped up as we could be but obviously haven't got a lot with us. We used extra socks as gloves! We were also very tired so left pretty quickly. We parked up outside the hostel and went straight back to bed. After a nap and some lunch, we then headed off to the beach. A nice little surprise was waiting for us... another parking ticket. Grr! In our tiredness, we had parked in a two hour only spot. This really annoyed both of us so we couldn't enjoy ourselves. We went back to the hostel and hung out in the common room with some beers.
Today was our final day in Maui. We packed up and headed to a beach near the airport. We watched people kite surfing and ate lunch. The flight to Honolulu was 22 minutes! We are now in a nice hotel in Waikiki (we picked up our driving licences :D) and were going to have a chilled out night in the room where we can watch tv passed 10o'clock. We've got 4 nights left in Hawaii then we fly to fiji which I'm very excited about!
Speak soon x