Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pili lani - Close to Heaven

I'm back! What an amazing adventure we had on our vacation to Hawaii. I was reminded of how much I love the islands, what an incredible place. It hits you as you come off the plane, that tropical air, the sights and sounds. Driving from the airport to West Maui I got to watch my husband's expression as we took in the scenery, "Wow!" was the most common utterance. Once we found our condo, a sweet studio with the most spectacular view of the ocean, we went out onto the lanai (patio) and immediately saw a few whales swimming just in front of us. It was as though they were saying "e komo mai," welcome.

We were blessed with beautiful weather the whole trip. My husband is now completely addicted to snorkeling. We found one tiny beach that we had all to ourselves, we snorkeled there for awhile and ended up swimming with sea turtles, the biggest ones I have ever seen. They are endangered so, this was a special treat. Fish all the colors of the rainbow and a wild seascape of coral reef met us at each turn. Each evening we went down to the beach next to where we stayed, with our drinks of rum and POG (Passion, orange, guava juice) and watched the sunset. This resulted in about 53 photos of sunsets!

...and another perfect sunset...

I also got to eat all the food on my wish list while I was there. Hawaiian Mixed Plate lunches of Chicken Katsu, Kalua Pork and of course one scoop rice. The best Chow Fun I have ever had and Hot Malasadas (a Portuguese fried doughnut) from Komodas bakery. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of the food because I ended up being too excited to eat it and only thought of pics after it had been devoured. And even after all the good eats, I still lost a few pounds on my vacation!

The last two days were spent up-country exploring. We drove up the side of Haleakala and took in the stunning views. We ended up in a tiny town called Keokea where we stopped for coffee and while we sat on the deck of Grandma's Cafe, we were serenaded by Fred and his wife on Ukulele singing Hawaiian songs. This man had lived his whole life in this town and had such a soulful, beautiful voice, that I was moved to tears.

We also had the most awesome experience meeting some locals who invited us to their house for dinner. They showed us such genuine hospitality and kindness, opening their home and hearts to us. We truly felt the Aloha spirit during our trip and I couldn't have wished for anything more, except perhaps to stay a little longer. We did briefly entertain the idea of having Nana send our daughter over and never coming back.

On our last day we took a horseback ride at Piiholo Ranch. The name loosely translates to ascending a hill slowly to heaven and that pretty much says it all.
I feel so blessed to have been able to take this trip, it was the vacation of a lifetime. To share it with my husband, to breathe deep the perfumed air and relax, to know our daughter was being so well cared for by her Nana, to slow down and appreciate the beauty, what an amazing gift! I am humbled and inspired beyond measure.

Oh, and of course I picked up some fabric while on the island. It was so affordable (the only affordable thing in Hawaii)I couldn't resist.

Now I need to catch up with all my favorite blogs to see what I missed while I was away and get back to reality. It's all good.


Mare said...

Oh my goodness! It sounds and looks like you were in Heaven! Everything sounded so special..the sights, the food, the people...But you know, we are all happy you are back home! :)

joanie said...

Alex, I'm so jealous sitting here with nearly blue fingers in the chilly UK. I'm lucky enough to have been to Hawaii a couple of times too, true paradise - I completely understand the utterances of "WOW." How nice to have a parents-only break. I do miss not having family nearby. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on Nini Makes, gave me a chance to find your lovely blog:)

Mom L said...

Fantastic! My parents, one of my sisters, and my daughter (of COURSE Diane went!) have all been to Hawaii but I have not. Yet. One day. Your sunset photos are gorgeous! I'm very happy for you that you were able to go.

Nancy (Diane D's Mom)

d/iowa said...

i'm so jealous! hawaii is my favorite place. so beautiful.
love your pics. i just saw claire's post about your barter with her---i loved your little ornaments and was thinking maybe you and 'EYE' could maybe barter too- like some prints you wanted for some little animal ornaments??? whatcha think?

Lola Nova said...

Diane, are you serious? I love to barter, trade, share etc. I would be more than happy to do a swap with you. Just let me know what kind of critters and other stuff you might want. Ooh I love this bloggin' thang!