Navigating Maui, Hawaii…Arriving in Paradise

On the plane to Maui, I sat next to a (very) long limbed 8-month old baby boy and his grandparents. For most of the trip he was quiet, but when he wasn’t outstretched and sleeping, he was awake doing what babies do best: banging on things, throwing his toys, crying, etc. He even took delight in grabbing and yanking my afro a few times (It has that effect on people).

Looking out my window, I smiled. It was a funny situation. I really couldn’t complain…

After all, I was getting to live a dream of mine going to Hawaii. I was going to get to explore (and eat!) all that Maui had to offer. I was headed to paradise.

Upon landing at the Kahului Airport, I walked off the plane and the first thing I saw were these amazingly beautiful mountains. The air was thick from the heat and the white fluffy clouds sat on top the green lush mountains like sombreros. It must have just rained or was raining over on that part of the island. Living in Los Angeles (where it hardly ever rains), I don’t get to see many clouds often, so when I do, it is such a lovely sight.

I took the shuttle to the Budget rental car and after fiddling with my keyless Chevy hybrid for a few minutes; I finally asked someone how to start the darn thing! “Step on the gas and press the button,” a worker explained to me. “Ohhhh!” Okay, crisis averted. Onwards …

Hello random rooster on the road…

A pretty red rooster greeted me upon leaving the rental car station and I proceeded to get friendly with Siri’s GPS system and Google Maps, which would prove to be my best friends, helping me get around the island.

The first thing I noticed was all the beauty. Driving, I would turn a corner and see a beautiful vista over looking the water, I’d follow the road through an amazing mountain, an open stretch of green, drive under lush canopy like trees or spy a gang of surfers catching some crashing waves. Each sight was more jaw dropping than the next.

I turned on the radio to hear lovely Hawaiian music and a mixture of Bruno Mars (a Honolulu boy) and American classics remixed with Ukulele playing in the background. It’s just what you’d expect to hear on the radio here.

Meeting my gracious host Charlene at Sam Satos, a local favorite and diner/cafeteria-style restaurant, we dined on basic local eats – cheeseburgers, fries, deeply flavored, tender, beef teriyaki skewers and a popular bowl of thick noodles called dry saimin – it comes with a little bowl of soup broth, but I liked it dry (hence the name!).

After our meal and a little conversation about what to expect on the island, I hit a bit of traffic on my way to my hotel. Nothing to get worked up about. It allowed my fresh visiting eyes to soak up the island paradise around me. Plus, it’s nothing compared to LA traffic!

At last, arriving at the Hyatt in Ka’anapali, relaxation…

I didn’t stay in my room for long. I was eager to explore around the hotel…

Tonight, the sunset and night stars await…

Next up: Star gazing on Maui at the Hyatt. Check back tomorrow for more of my island adventure…

or click to read about my experiences as a judge at the Maui Onion Festival

[Special note: I was a guest of the Maui Visitors Bureau and their partners and thank them for their Hawaiian hospitality. All comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Mahalo Charlene, Maui Visitors BureauHyatt Regency Maui all the new friends I made on Maui!]

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