Maui – Day 3

Another morning consumed by conference.  As for the afternoon, we planned ahead of time and brought our hiking boots with us to checkout the Iao Valley State Park.

Lunch was at Tin Roof.  We had planned to hit this joint after landing in Maui 2 days ago, but they close on Sundays.  I had high hopes for this place because Joe read good reviews, but it was just good, not fantastic.

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Joe had the mochiko chicken again (bottom left) and I had the saimin ramen with a 6-minute egg (bottom right)

Iao Valley Park is located in the Waikulu area close to the downtown area so it was a short drive to the park.  We quickly learned that we could avoid the park fee by parking alongside the road outside the park entrance.

One thing you’ll notice on the island is that wild chickens are everywhere – at gas stations, grocery store parking lots, and of course in state park parking lots.

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A view from the parking lot…

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We thought we needed hiking boots, but this was completely doable in flip flops as the trail was mostly paved.  You can climb a flight of steps to get a closer look of the Iao needle.

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Then there’s another trail bringing you closer to the creek.

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Both trails were very short and we were disappointed that that was it.  However, we quickly realized that there were trails leading away from the designated trail and decided to check them out.

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Found a rope tied near a pool of water, and it was very tempting to jump in, but I didn’t have my swim suit with me, so I opted for the next best thing – posing with the rope pretending to swing into the pool.

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Odd outfit I know.

We started to encounter denser brush, and I was getting a little concerned that we may get lost and end up needing to be rescued like those missing hikers I had read about a few months ago.  When we came upon a couple who were heading towards us, I asked if there was anything to see further up, and was told that there were no waterfalls up ahead and it was just the same dense trail.  So we turned around.

Checked out the rest of the paved trail and managed to position myself (by going past a warning signage) to get a nice shot of the Iao Needle with Joe standing on the bridge.

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Since this park visit was literally a walk in the park we had ample time to kill.  We decided to head back to the hotel and do beach stuff.  Unfortunately, the waves were just too strong that we couldn’t really do much.

The beach was pretty much deserted.

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We did try our best to stay for sunset, but the sandblasts won.

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When in Hawaii, one must have Hawaiian ice, even though it’s just sugary syrup on ice.

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Dinner was at Miso Phat again…

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TNT in the center, and Miso Phat rolls on the sides.

Maui – Day 2

With conference taking up the entire morning, we only had the afternoon to check out the island.

Lunch was at Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina.  I had the shoyu chicken which tasted very similar to something I’ve grown up eating.  Joe had the Mochiko chicken, which he wasn’t too impressed with.  The view however, was great.

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Shoyu chicken (top right) and Mochiko chicken (bottom right), with great view of Lanai island.

I was debating between going for a hike at the Iao Valley park or checking out Wailea/Makena, but since I didn’t have the proper footwear (again), we opted for the Wailea area last minute.

Here’s one of my favorite stretches on Honoapiilani highway.  Love the tree canopy!

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There wasn’t much in Wailea except for some real high end luxury resorts and the Makena public beach at the end of the road.

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Since lunch was huge, we opted to skip dinner, but we did stop for pie at Leoda’s.  We wanted to get the guava chiffon pie, but that was sold out – we tried again the next day without success, but did finally get it the morning we flew out (we sat outside curbside before going through TSA, enjoying the pies while appreciating the Maui mountain views).

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Clockwise from top left: chocolate macadamia, pineapple, lilikoi (passion fruit), guava chiffon.

Pies were good – a bit too sweet for our palate, but this is the place to go if you love mousse pies.

Maui – Day 1

Our first time in Maui was in 2016 with mom and dad.  Due to the fact that they were with us, and dad had some medical issues at the time we really didn’t get to explore the island as much as we wanted to.  This time around I made sure we hit everything we wanted to see, specifically to hike the Pipiwai trail to see the bamboo forest.  We also finally got a chance to go whale watching for the first time.

As soon as we landed we decided to get some authentic Hawaiian food.  We ended up at Poi by the Pound that was within walking distance from our car rental company SIXT.  We actually didn’t realize it was within walking distance, and ended up driving around the block.

Joe and I shared the Hawaiian plate which consisted of kalua pork, lau lau, poi, chicken long rice, ahi poke, and salmon lomi.  This gave us a chance to taste all the various local dishes.  My favorite was the kalua pork, but due to it’s saltiness I ended up mixing it with poi, which by itself is rather bland.  However, the combo was actually pretty tasty.

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Clockwise from top right: salmon lomi, Lau Lau, kalua pork, rice, salad, chicken long rice, poi, ahi poke.

After lunch we were on our way to our hotel – the Kaanapali Beach Hotel (the same one we stayed at 4 years ago).  I decided to stay at KBH due to it’s proximity to the Sheraton where the conference was being held.  The other reason why I picked KBH was that they do not charge a resort fee like all the other hotels.  Personally, I don’t like paying for resort fees as they really don’t add much value to my stay – I don’t need wifi and free local calls, as that’s was a personal cell phone is for.

Instead of driving clockwise from Kahului to Kaanapali like we did last time, we opted to drive counterclockwise to check out the part of the island we didn’t get to see last time.  The clockwise route is a major thoroughfare between Kahului and Lahaina, whereas the counterclockwise route is a one-way winding route that is slower, but much more scenic.

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The cloud cover lifted as we continued on.

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The one thing I love about Hawaii is how lush and green everything is, especially the windward side of the island.

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The contrast of the green mountain and blue ocean.

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Imagine living in a place like this.  Terribly inconvenient, but you’re in your own paradise.

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One thing we’ve learned over the years, is that if you see a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road – stop, and check it out.  This is what we were awarded with after a 2-minute trek on the trail.

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Getting closer to the ledge, at risk of getting blown over.

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It was really windy the week we were there as you can see from the waves being picked up by the wind.

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A closer look.

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Interestingly, there are no signs along the road pointing out scenic vistas.  One of them being the Nakalele blowhole I’ve wanted to check out last time.  The only reason why we ended up at the blowhole this time was all thanks to the telltale sign of a huge gathering of rental cars.  We didn’t even know what we were stopping for until we saw this sign on the trail.

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One other thing we’ve learned over time is to always heed warning signs.  So we steered way clear away from the blowhole – maybe we stayed a little too far.  The other reason for not hiking all the way down was due to the fact that I was wearing flip flop sandals, which was not the most appropriate footwear for the situation.

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With all the stops along a narrow winding road, we finally reached the hotel some time after 4PM.  As soon as we dropped off our bags, we headed over to the Whalers Village to pick up one of my favorites – Honolulu Cookies, to bring back to the office after the trip.

Caught a rainbow on our way back to the hotel room.

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For dinner, we opted for sushi since we hadn’t had sushi in years despite the fact that we live in California.  We opted for Miso Phat given that they get their fish same day off their own boat “Shiso Phat”, and let me tell you the fish is absolutely fresh and delicious, especially their hamachi.  I can’t remember the last time I had such good sushi other than back in 2009 at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.  In fact, it was so good that we ended up having dinner there 3 nights out of the 5 – we would’ve gone 4 had it not been for our 13-hour Hana highway trip that drained us by the time we got back to the hotel in the evening, and we opted to skip dinner all together.

If you ever end up at Miso Phat, make sure to order the Miso Phat roll, TNT roll, and spicy hamachi roll.  Also the joint doesn’t have a liquor license, so BYOB (there’s a deli next door that sells good Japanese beer and sake).

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