I hate traveling. Or at least that’s the impression I would’ve given on the morning of my departure to Hawaii, sitting on my couch half packed and starting to stress a little as the reality of my trip set in. There are so many things to go wrong, so many unknowns, especially on a trip planned and booked in the span of a week. But I made my final checks and slipped out the door and that trepidation soon gave way to excitement and anticipation of the adventures that lay ahead. And rightfully so – 24 hours later I’d be peering down into the Haleakala volcano crater with its colorful cinder cones and contrasting blackened lava floe, ten thousand feet above Maui’s tropical coastline. This travel thing… it gets addictive.
My flights were uneventful, aside from being cancelled. After going through SF instead of LA we made our final approach into Maui, circling the island at sunset and getting a great overview of this tremendously diverse land. Everyone’s image of Hawaii is palm trees, cerulean surf crashing on long beaches, waterfalls filling deep pools, mango and banana plantations, etc etc… And that’s all here. But what most people don’t know is that Maui has very diverse climatic zones including arid ranch land and even the barren land atop Haleakala.
Many people also imagine Hawaii as a playground for the rich – Benz’s, helicopters, beachfront mansions, etc… But, again, there is a huge spread of socio-economics here and, depending on what part of island you visit, you’re just as likely to find a dilapidated waterfront shack with derelict cars on the lawn as you are to find Robin Masters’ waterfront estate and Magnum’s red Ferrari. Land is generally divided between agricultural use, native homesteads, and vacation properties. Its an eclectic mix that I haven’t quite been able to wrap my head around yet so I’ll leave that for later.
Finding your way around a new place can be daunting, but add darkness, unsigned roads, and a hostel tucked into a palm grove and you’ve got a recipe for frustration. But my shitbox rental car got me to my destination, the Banana Bungalow, and I even found a Safeway enroute. After sorting out some dinner and taking the festive tiki-style atmosphere of this cheap hostel, I holed up in my room and crashed.