My journey to Japan last month was bookended by two long ‘layovers’ on Maui–a week and three days, respectively. (Now that’s my kind of layover, amirite?) For those of you who know me – or have read my bio – you know that I love Maui and consider the Hawaiian island my home…even when I’m living elsewhere. (“Elsewhere” being in Daytona Beach, Florida, living with my parents in the home that I was raised in.)
Since my first visit to Maui in May 2013, I’ve created a pattern of going back twice a year. To date, I’ve been to Maui a total of five (5) times. I know, I know; I should just move there, right? Well trust me, the Universe and I are working on it. In the meantime though, I am content with my twice-a-year, 12-hour commute.
On my most recent trip back home, I wasn’t expecting to do anything particularly special…I mean, other than absorb the glorious splendor that is Maui. In fact, my greatest expectation was to chill. I was gearing up to go to Japan, a place that I had never been to before and – as it turned out – was absolutely terrified to go, and all I really wanted to do on Maui was exist in its familiarity before sallying forth into Japan’s unknown. But just like Maui had amazed me before, the Valley Isle did not cease to amaze me this time either.
This time, I finally got to go to Maui’s amazing Haleakala National Park! This was an excursion that I attempted during my second visit to the island…on the first day of the United States’ government shutdown. (Womp, womp.)
One day, I thought wistfully. One day, after Congress gets their heads out of their asses, I will see Haleakala.
Since that failed attempt though – and their heads are still in their asses – I had all but put Haleakala (pronounced “aw-lay-aw-ka-la”) out of my mind and my reach. My second visit to Maui was the last time that I rented a car on the island. During my subsequent trips, my main mode of transport has been the Maui County bus…and the Maui County bus does not go 10,023 feet into the mountain country air. But the rental car of a very generous person does.
This generous person, Ben, was a friend that I made at the Northshore Hostel, where I was staying. (You gotta love hostels.) When Ben mentioned to me that he was planning to drive up to Haleakala, I politely inserted myself into his plans, to which he politely agreed. (Thanks, Ben!)
While journeying around Maui with him and another friend I made at the hostel, Kelly, I also saw another spectacular sight–turtles. Not a couple turtles. Not a dozen turtles. A couple dozen turtles!
Unfortunately, this is the best picture that I have of them since we saw them – at least 40 of them – all floating together in the heat of the night. Fortunately, I can vaguely recall where I took this picture so hopefully I will be able to see them again – in the flesh – the same time next year. (And even if they and I don’t meet up again next year or ever again, we’ll always have this time on Maui.)
What I also had this time on Maui were hamburgers. Further, I had an assignment to document my enjoyment of them, or lack thereof. Who gives people assignments to eat hamburgers in Hawai’i, you ask? God?
Traditionally seen as a haven for hammock-swinging, hang ten-ing hippies, Hawai’i is now being heralded as one of the United States’ hot spots in the country’s heated obsession with all things foodie.
Having had the pleasure of sojourning in Hawai’i recently – Maui specifically – I decided, as a concerned citizen of this foodie-crazed culture, to make a concerted effort to see exactly what was what in the land of “it is what it is.”
So where did I concentrate my culinary curiosity, you ask? On Michelin-starred restaurants? On eateries featured in esteemed gastronomic-themed magazines?
Nope, not in the least.
I focused my stomach and selective standards on three hamburger joints whose ratings are as dubious as trade winds and whose esteem comes mostly from Mauians…
Read the rest here.
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