If you haven’t been to Hawaii, you may not realize that there are a lot of islands here that come together to form a state. There is also a lot of random and unpredictable weather, as is the case anywhere in the tropics. Given the realities of the climate, it wasn’t a shock to me when we had to land on Maui one day to avoid a storm up in the atmosphere. What did surprise me was that we’d most likely be here for a day or so until the next flight would be ready. I didn’t want to spend the day at the airport, nor did I want to just walk into the nearest Maui hotel and hope that there was a vacancy. I decided to give it a go on my phone to see what I could find. I could always stay near the airport, if such a step became necessary.
I found an app called HotelTonight. I hadn’t used it before but decided to click through on its choices of Maui hotel rooms to see what kind of options they provided their users. I found their options to be extremely desirable. I clicked on a Maui hotel that looked like it would suit me, and braced myself for the booking process. This was never easy, at least in my experience. I was totally wrong, though as booking a room with HotelTonight was quite simple and efficient. Before I knew it, I was walking to the rental car counter so I could make the short drive to my Maui hotel. I would spend the next day exploring the island.
Kahului is one of the big cities on Maui, and it is a population center. I decided that I’d most likely see my share of stunning landscape during my driving that day, so I wanted to see what the people here do on a daily basis. Kahului is an interesting place in that it’s got its share of modernity here but it’s also a bit of a trip back in time. The people here have simultaneously accepted what the 21st Century is all about but have done so without letting go of their own heritage and customs. Now would also be a good time to mention that these are some of the friendliest people I have ever encountered.
My next stop was Paia, a community of approximately 2,500 locals. I wanted to get out and experience some of the Maui landscape, so I walked through the botanical gardens here. It was as if I was walking through a tropical jungle. I was completely mesmerized. From there I went over to a lavender farm which was unlike anything I had ever seen. I was so incredibly stimulated that I found a little place in town that served coffee. Even the coffee was so flavorful it was hard to believe. I drank it and just soaked in the Hawaiian atmosphere.
My next stop was Makawao, a community of about 7,000 people. It’s inland from the coast and the difference in landscape was remarkable. I stopped in a winery and browsed a bit before walking through a huge farm, filled with tropical plants. I was ready for lunch, so I stopped in at a restaurant that served some of the freshest seafood you could ever hope to enjoy. I ate happily and hungrily, already thinking about what was in store for the afternoon.
Kilhei is a relatively large community on Maui, but you certainly don’t lose the island spirit because there are people around. I went to a whale sanctuary, and it was really something to see these majestic animals living happily in their home habitat. From there I went to a local brewery to pick up some gifts for the important people in my life back home. I was sure none of them had any of the gifts I purchased for them, and I was already excited to see their faces when they opened those gifts.
I drove into Lahaina, and it’s a city of just over 10,000 people. Keeping with my active, outdoors theme for the day that I had established at this point, I went for a hike on a coastal trail before sunset. It was as if someone had taken what I had seen in the botanical garden in Paia and placed it here. The only difference was that I could hear the surf. I also wanted some dinner, so I stopped in a little local market and had some poke, which is seasoned raw fish that is nothing short of delicious, delectable protein.
Sadly, it was time to call it a day and head back to my hotel. I was amazed at what I had seen today, as it included a lot of things that you just can’t experience anywhere else. I was also appreciative that I had found HotelTonight, as the app provided me with Maui hotel room choices that I was not sure I would’ve found anywhere else. Even better, the booking process was simple and quick. I had no trouble falling asleep that night, laughing to myself that I could’ve spent the day at the airport instead.