Woke up this morning somewhere around 5:30-6am, my usual that I really don’t mind. I went and sat on the balcony and typed up my blog as I watched us pull into our first port of the cruise, Maui. We are here for two days. We have rented a car for the two days. The forecast on NCL’s Dailies (daily newspaper with ship activities and info) said Cloudy- if only. It was pretty cloudy coming in and misting a little. Nothing too serious. I finished up the blog and headed inside to get ready and get Matt moving. We were trying to get off the ship right at 8am when we got the all clear. The closer to 8am it got the less in a hurry I was in, because I remembered we have the car for two days so we don’t have to be back by any specific time.
It was about 8:30am when we were ready to leave, so I decided against my favorite cruise past time, breakfast buffet, and we headed for the car rental. One last peak out the window was really discouraging. It was raining, but it didn’t look too heavy and we figured we’d just drive out of it- it’s a passing storm. So off we went, but not before I grabbed our rain jackets.
We got down to the gangway and it’s pouring. So we quickly put our rain coats on and we head out. We walk a ways to an industrial building where they have security set up for boarding the ship, but it’s only so big and we have to continue outside for quite a ways to get to the rental car shuttle spot. I step out the door and it’s pouring. I can’t tell where I’m supposed to go, but I see an NCL employee standing there talking to two woman so I go to ask her. “Excuse me.” Nothing. “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt.” Still nothing. “Excuse me. Where do I go for car rentals?” This woman looks up at me with a glare that could kill and says, “excuse me” to the woman she had been talking with- who started looking at me on my first excuse me, so it was pretty clear this lady was ignoring me. Here I am standing in the pouring rain with a wheelchair, you can’t acknowledge me? So with an attitude she answers my question and really at this point I just want to cry.
On we go, walking all the way down to the very last stall before the parking lot to wait for our car rental shuttle. The rain is coming down hard and sideways with the wind. There is absolutely no cover whatsoever so we just have to stand in the rain and wait. We saw every car rental shuttle but ours twice while we stood in the pouring rain. We were drenched. The backpack was soaked thru, my shorts were now completely see thru and because of the wind you had to hold your hood the whole time, so the rain was just running down my raincoat sleeve making the raincoat almost useless. The buses of course came in the direction of the rain/wind so I faced Matt with his back to it and I faced it head on to watch for our bus. We waited like this for 35 minutes. Finally, the Alamo shuttle arrived. Once on board the shuttle, we talked to this really nice couple who knew all about knee injuries and offered to meet up later and give us some anti-inflammatory medicine, which they were shocked the doctor didn’t give us. The bus ride was about 10 minutes including the stop to show us a secondary parking lot if the first was full.
Once we arrived at Alamo we find out that there is flash flooding and mudslides in some of the areas of the island. We were headed for Haleakala Crater, an old volcano with incredible views. The way up is a very windy road so I was a little nervous and the key to going up there is visibility. At this point we are realizing that this storm is not just here but over most of the island. So I ask the woman checking us in if we should still try for it and she tells me that it’s way too dangerous and we won’t see anything. Three million thoughts are running thru my head and I was really trying to figure out if we should even rent the car or just get back on the ship. I knew we needed the car for tomorrow, so I figured we’d just rent it and then find a mall or something. While checking in she was really pushing me for an upgrade from our economy car, but I stood strong, my brother ( former enterprise employee) would be proud. So she sends us on our way- back into the monsoon.
Out in the parking lot, it’s the kind of setup where you pick your own car and the keys are in it. We were looking for a Spark- a TINY car that the woman made sure to show us a picture of, I’m sure to try and scare us into upgrading. There was an attendant out there and she asked us what kind of car and when we told her economy she smiled and told us to take any mid-size we want. She was really sweet. So we got our grey Avenger and we were off- not before loading up the wheelchair in the rain. Thank God I got the folding one that I did- it’s half the weight of the traditional one. I would have really struggled to get that thing loaded. We get into the car and right away we’re googling our little hearts out. Matt’s checking weather reports throughout the island and I’m searching, “What to do in Maui in the rain.”. We find the Maui Ocean Center, so we put it in the GPS and head out.
The drive to the aquarium wasn’t too bad and we seemed to hit a pocket inside the storm- maybe the eye of the storm? We had blue skies directly above us but everywhere you look around us and as far as you could see was grey and black skies. By the time we got to the aquarium we were further into this pocket but we could see the storm moving our way and the wind was still pretty intense. So we rushed into the aquarium and made the best of it. I was expecting a lot more from the “Maui Ocean Center”. With a name like that you expect a lot. Nonetheless, we were dry- actually we were drying off and we had some cool and really weird fish to look at for the morning. We ended up spending probably only 90 minutes there. There were a lot of screaming children. Ha!
When we got out of the aquarium the storm was definitely about to hit. Felt like a hurricane was coming. The wind was intense! So we rushed to the car which was, what felt like a mile away! The parking lot was confusing so we ended up parking pretty far from the entrance and we were paying for it now. The wind was blowing at us so I was pushing the wheelchair against the wind. I couldn’t believe what a difference that made. At this point we were laughing because it really felt as though we were tempting fate. We were one of those crazy reporters standing out in a hurricane. It was kinda fun- now that I’m dry and sitting in my cabin looking back on it.
Next we decided to head to the touristy town Lahaina. I knew there were a bunch of shops and restaurants and my earlier research even told me that there was a small movie theater there. It was about 10 miles from the aquarium, so we headed out. We were already really hungry so before leaving, in the gift shop, we bought ourselves some macadamia nuts to enjoy on the ride. Again, we stayed just ahead of the storm and we were starting to see small slivers of blue skies again. When we got to Lahaina, we had very cloudy skies but lots of blue too. We decided we’d get something to eat and shop until the weather caught up with us and then maybe go to a movie. So we go to one of the many parking lots where you have to pay to park. $10 for 2 hours, $15 for six hours... We decide on the 6 hour option since we’re probably seeing a movie when this storm catches up with us. They don’t have anyone manning the parking lot, rather a machine to pay at that only takes exact amounts and does not offer change or even a refund. There is also a change machine next to it to break a $20 into four fives. As you’d expect from this vacation, the machine ate my first $10 but didn’t count it, so parking cost me $25. And of course, only fitting, we call the number to get our refund and no ones there to give refunds on Sundays, we’d have to come back tomorrow. Yeah, thanks. There went $10. Unbelievable.
Lahaina is a cute town with lots of shops, although most sell the same stuff. There were a lot of restaurants which made it hard to decide, but we ended up going with The Seafood Co- something like that. It was nothing special but we had a great table over the water. The food was good, but the menu wasn’t too exciting. After our lunch we walked along the shops and then got to have ice cream at the famous, Lappert’s. Matt and I aren’t too excited by the shave ice that is offered EVERYWHERE, so it was nice to enjoy a really good ice cream. The weather was still holding up but there was no breeze now and it was really muggy. Pushing the wheelchair along those “sidewalks” proved to be very challenging so we just decided to head back to the ship.
Into the storm we drove, heading back to our home. The storm had lightened quite a bit back at the ship so we had to walk back in only drizzle. We found free parking in the first lot which we were very grateful for- we didn’t think to ask the doctor back in Honolulu for a handicap sticker. We were going to go to the hot tub since we were already wet and the hot tubs were covered from the rain, but once we got back to the room, we made the mistake of “laying down just for a minute”. Needless to say, we never made it to the hot tub. We got showered and dressed and decided we’d try the Asian restaurant tonight. The ship wasn’t near as empty as I thought it would be. I think because of the rain a lot of people just stayed on board rather than venture out or head to the luau. We didn’t have any trouble getting a table at 6pm without a reservation. The menu seemed really good, but you know how Chinese goes...it’s never near as good as your usual spot back home. I will say their version of Egg Drop Soup was awesome. It was real thick and they add corn. I really liked that. I had ordered the dumplings for an appetizer and they asked if I wanted steamed or pan-fried- always a tough decision for me. I went with pan-fried, but when they arrived, they were deep fried. That was disappointing. I passed on dessert, but Matt ordered two for himself. We had this assistant waiter that was very nice and freakishly obsessed with “Titanic”. It was weird. He worked on a cruise ship and he knew every fact you could know about the Titanic, including her sister ships and he got REALLY excited when he talked about it. He also had a strange obsession with ginger- in all forms. If he wasn’t talking to us about the Titanic, he was informing us of all the “delicious” ways you can enjoy ginger- think Forest Gump but with ginger rather than shrimp and this kid was super A.D.D.
After our history lesson, we headed to see a musician named Willie K. He was a Hawaiian who plays the ukelele and guitar and sings, but not just Hawaiian songs- everything. He even sang some opera. The best was when he closed the show with the 1984 version of “We are the world” where he impersonated every one of the artists on the recording. He was amazing. Our favorite was when he did Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson spot on. Cher was funny too. Actually, everyone was good and it was amazing how quickly he could could from one voice to another just like the original song.
Next we were going to head to Karaoke, a favorite cruise past time of my families, but it wasn’t for another thirty minutes, at 9:30, and we were really struggling to stay awake. I offered we go in the hot tub so I would stay awake, but Matt agreed to just go to bed. We didn’t know if any crowd would even show up to Karaoke so it wasn’t worth it. Maybe tomorrow night.
As you can probably tell, I’m a day behind in my posts. We’ve been so busy it’s been harder to keep up and I haven’t tried at pictures since I’m on the ships internet and it’s very slow. I will be updating with pictures sometime soon, so hang in there.