Thursday, June 08, 2017

Maui 2017 Day 2: Maui Swap Meet, Fish, and Hiking

Maui 2017 Day 2: Maui Swap Meet, Fish, and Hiking

It was hard to believe we'd only been in Maui for about 9 hours total when we got up in the morning, ready to explore after the first night of fun and tasty sushi a mere 7 hours prior. Do all the things!!

We got up to a magnificent view from our balcony of the water, palm trees, pool, and beach. WOW!!

So... um... yeah. That was AMAZING.

We wandered down to the fun little cafe/shop at the Fairmont which is like a mini-market. It was super cool and we checked it out and took a little wander of the breakfast area for interest. But it was still only 8am (body time from San Francisco means that it felt like 11am!) so it's quite easy to get up early in Hawaii and go to bed early if coming from this time zone. Pretty sweet. Anyhoo, too early for real breakfast, so we headed off on the Wailea Beachfront walk, which Michal was raving about and really excited to do. It was amazing and the weather was gorgeous.

Outrigger canoes -- we'll be doing that on Tuesday!

We walked all the way to the end of the beach walk, past Wailea Point, past the Four Seasons, past the Grand Wailea, and got a nice view of all the Wailea resorts and people enjoying the water. We then doubled-back towards the Grand Wailea hotel, as the gardens looked really nice and we heard there were some nice shops there.

Fountains at the Grand Wailea

And of course, I found a surf shop. On the walk that morning I had seen someone wearing a Billabong Hawaii-branded rash guard shirt, and that was SO COOL because back in Australia I was always so psyched when I found a Billabong or Quiksilver shirt that also specifically said "Australia" on it (and was special and unique to the country, rather than just the standard stock shirts). At the Grand Wailea was a small but well-stocked Quiksilver store... and it was AWESOME. We chatted with the girl at the counter who was from Sacramento, and I tried on a bazillion things. I was sooo excited about a Quiksilver Hawaii shirt (YES!!!) and though they didn't have rash guards that were epic, they had a crazy Maui hoodie that was AMAZING and Michal also loved, and it fit like a charm. After much fawning over this epicness we realized we'd left our credit cards back at the hotel, so put my shopping on hold there to pick up later. Always the shopper, I am.

We headed back to the hotel and grabbed some iced tea and some of the awesome welcome basket gift from the night before (specifically, bring on the macadamias!) and headed out to go meet Alex and Irina. First stop on the tour today was the Maui Swap Meet -- a farmers-market-craft-market-y thing that Lonely Planet had told me about. It sounded fun, and a little odd, and super local, and mostly not overly touristy, so it seemed a great first major spot outside of Wailea to check out. We arrived, and entry fee was 50 cents per person. I only had a $20, so the lady said "No problem! Just see me on the way out!" A great first impression of this super awesome island and laid-back culture.

I got Michal a $1 hair clip and me a $1 bracelet and $1 cat eyeglass cleaner (at the $1 booth, of course), and then found a banana bread stall!!! I tried the Liliko'i (Passionfruit) Banana Bread (YES!) but ultimately just went for the classic Banana Bread which seemed exceptionally soft and fresh. I saved that for our later road trip. My major excitement, of course, was the local farmers carrying tropical fruits. Most exciting was one of the stalls in the middle, where I bought a "Strawberry Papaya" (just a pink Papaya), some "Apple Bananas" (small, flavoursome Bananas which were green-ish, but were actually ripe), and I took some photos with an insanely large "Butter Taste Avocado" that was so insanely large and hilarious. You could make like a tub of guac with just one of these beasts.

Holy avocado, Batman!
We headed out of the market (after paying the nice lady the $1 we owed her, of course) and then headed onwards to Pa'ia, a little hippy town on the way to the start of the Road to Hana drive (of which we were only doing the first little portion). Pa'ia was fun and pretty much ONE SMALL ROAD... it was way smaller than I thought it was going to feel like, a cute and really tiny town and had a good relaxed vibe (aka "Maui") :) We saw a cool wave sculpture and then stopped for the piece-de-resistance, a fish plate lunch at the Pa'ia Fish Market.

Cajun style charbroiled Mahi
Oh mercy me that fish was glorious. You could get it done in a variety of styles, but we chose to get the Mahi in a Cajun style, charbroiled. Mmmm.... it was very juicy, fresh, not fishy at all, and over some healthy salad. Win! WOW that was so good. We had read that Pa'ia Fish Market in Pa'ia was better than the newer "South Side" version in Kihei closer to our hotel, so it was great to get to go and right off the bat too. It was absolutely delicious.

We drove a short distance further, past the famous Mama's Fish House which is very hard to get into and quite legendary. If here for a longer trip, it might make sense to plan to go there for a fancy dinner (but is quite a pricey spot). Sooo many people recommended it to me though, so maybe for another visit we'll do that.

A quick pitstop at Ho'okipa Beach to watch the surfers. This place is supposed to have epic crazy waves and is supposed to be for professionals ONLY. But the waves were very quiet that day, so there were quite a few people surfing there. Pretty epic views.

There was another fruit stand there, and so we went up there and I got a small bag of lychees (YES!) and also tried something they called a "Maui Apple", or a "Hawaiian Mountain Apple". I found a description online which I think matches our experience well: "The white pulp of the Hawaiian Mountain apple offers a very crisp texture similar to jicama, is juicy and overall tart flavor with lingering sweet nuances, reminiscent of ripe pear." It was super fun to try and yeah, a little dry and crunchy like a jicama! But was still sweet-ish, like a pear. Funny, and always awesome to try a new tropical fruit.

From here, we headed to the Twin Falls hike area, just another short 20 min drive along the very start of the Road to Hana drive, before it gets super windy and one-lane. It was an easy drive and then we took a solid 30 min hike into the woods to go find the watering hole area. Michal and I were already at 20,000+ steps from our morning 1.5hr hike!! So lots of good exercise today.

The waterfall was awesome and Alex was super keen to show us this place and for us to experience it too. It was great fun and the water was nice and cool after quite a hot daytime, so that was a nice cooldown before starting to make our way back to Wailea.

We drove back to Wailea via Kihei where we stopped at the famous and way understated Tamura's Fine Wine and Liquors, to buy (you'd never guess)... THE BEST POKE IN MAUI. This place came highly recommended by locals we trusted, and it was a total slam-dunk. The poke was incredible. We bought brown rice with 2 kinds of Poke on it: Spicy Ahi, and the one they called Tamura's Special which I think was Shoyu with onions. Amazing!!!!!!!! It was spicy, delicious, soft, not overly chewy... just incredible quality and flavour and taste. WOWOWOWOWOW.

uhhhhhhhhhh that was good
And then back to the hotel to chill for a bit! A super fun day out adventuring and seeing what Maui had to offer (so, so much)! Time for a bit of a relax before dinner.

My epic new Maui hoodie with the Hawaiian flag on it (it has the Union Jack on it!) and my craaaazy awesome new Quiksilver Hawaii shirt!

After some chillin', Alex and Irina had arrived and checked into the hotel, and then we met up at the restaurant Kō, a Hawaiian "plantation-era restaurant" at the hotel. We enjoyed their famous "Ahi On the Rock You Sear It" with Shichimi Spiced with Orange Ginger Miso Sauce. You get a hot rock and you sear the Ahi yourself! A fun "interactive" food and also very tasty. We were certainly not at all tired of eating fish! I also got the Banana Bread Old Fashioned, made with Zaya Rum, Cruzan Blackstrap, Roasted Banana, Walnut, Bitters, and Islay Scotch. It was pretty darn legendary.

The apps were so great there that we also shared an Oishi sushi (so good we ate it fast before I could take a picture of it) and also the "Kobe Beef Poke" (seared with Hawaiian Steak Rub, Cucumber, Tomato and Maui Onion). We also got a side of this crazy Steamed Moloka'i (Purple) Sweet Potatoes! They were quite sweet, actually, and really very tasty. And a crazy colour!

Alex and Irina graciously and kindly treated us to dinner which was CRAZY and they are so awesome. That was a super special way to kick off this trip together and for the night before my birthday, a great pre-birthday meal!

After a long and fun day of exploring, we headed off to bed relatively early at 10:30pm, to get ready for our 5:45am (!!) departure time the next morning for our snorkel trip. We arrived to the room to find yet another special surprise: a tropical fruit plate (literally, my favourite-ever-thing) from my kind and incredibly thoughtful parents-in-law. What a fun surprise and a great and healthy dessert before an early night to bed. What a start to the trip!!!!!!!

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