honeymoon part 3: kāʻanapali beach

So! Two months later, still trying to recap this honeymoon. It’s times like this where I miss my old job when I could totally sneak in some blog time. I would never dream of doing that at the new job and thusly, lil jelly jars suffers. Oh well.

When I last left off, we were leaving Upcountry Maui and heading to the Sheraton Maui. This was the fancy part of the honeymoon. We bought a package through Pitt which included the hotel stay, basketball tickets and transportation to and from the basketball games. We got in on Sunday and our room wasn’t ready yet so we changed in the bathroom and hit the beach. Gorgeous white sand, definitely one of the nicest beaches I’ve been to. They had a welcome reception for us the first night, all organized through the Alumni Association and I was very impressed. There were apps and drinks and they gave us free Pitt shirts. We ate so well we didn’t even have to eat dinner that night. But we did go out for shave ice in Lahaina, because when in Hawaii…. We also went to the grocery store to load up our mini-fridge.

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Keith jumping!

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Not-Keith jumping!

Monday was more beach time and then we went to Maui Brewing for lunch. We had seen it on an episode of Drinking Made Easy and a few years back they had an onion beer that I was dying to try…but no such luck. We did have a pretty tasty lunch though and some beers and then headed back to a pre-game reception. This one ALSO had food, so it was unfortunate that we had just paid for lunch, but whateva. After the little reception, we caught the shuttle to the game and proceeded to win against Chaminade. Poor Chaminade.

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We got back, high off our win and split some overpriced hotel bar nachos and then mixed ourselves up some drinks and took them to the hot tub.

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The next day, we had another game in the evening, so more beach time! Then the shuttle to the game…which we lost. 😦 It was sad. We were too sad to go far for dinner, but our hotel was next to Whaler’s Village which is not a Village at all but a shopping plaza sort of thing. We ate at Hula Grill in the barefoot bar…which was basically outside seating…in the sand. It was weird. I would not like to be a waiter there. Sand in your socks and such. But it was a mile away from our hotel so we were just able to walk home.

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Wednesday was our final game and luckily we won! It was such a fun, exciting game. After that we decided to go back down to Lahaina and ate at Lahainaluna Cafe which was one of the best meals I had on the trip. We got tacos and crazy fries and chicken bites and it was cheap and filling and tasty. When eating in Hawaii you can have two of the three and cheap is usually not an option.

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We did a bit of walking around and saw the giant banyan tree. It was giant, alright!

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Back to the hotel, back to the hot tub.

Thursday was Thanksgiving! and we had a luau planned, so we ate breakfast at the hotel. We had been given two days of free breakfasts with our stay, so that was nice. Another day at the pool/beach.

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Keith eventually had to leave because he was getting too much sun, but to me there was no such thing…I felt like a lizard, I wanted to soak it all up. He went to the gym and I skyped my family at dinner, which was fun. I kept spinning around my phone to show them the view and they kept getting mad at me, haha. 🙂 And then I took a walk up to where the gym was, because it had a way better view.

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Our luau was at the Hyatt…which was a mile down the road, so we walked. I thought our hotel was nice…but the Hyatt…wow. There was a freaking Macy’s in the bottom of it. I think if I went back to Maui, I’d try to stay there. So fancy. The luau was a lot of fun. We had VIP tickets through Pitt so we got to sit in the front and had waiters bringing us our drinks and other fancy things. I went to get a drink before the waiters appeared and the guy asked me “What is the year of your birth?” I was so thrown for a second I didn’t even know what to say. Then I realized what he was asking and told him, haha. So that was nice. I haven’t actually been carded in a while.

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The luau was great, my favorite part was the fire dancing, of course. The food was good too, at the very end of the buffet they had turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes, which was really nice for all of us missing our turkey dinners. We strolled back to the hotel and called it an early night since we had to check out the next morning.

 

honeymoon part 2: upcountry maui part 2

My last post left off with us about to leave Oheo Gulch. Now there were exactly two ways to go once we left…back the way we had come, or we could continue around the southern part of the island. The place that we wanted to go for dinner* was toward the southern end, so we headed that way. About 15 minutes in to our drive Keith said something about “Don’t you need 4 wheel drive to go on this road?” And I said, “Of course not!” And then we drove a little further. And the road turned to dirt.

And then we spent the next 2 hours twisting and turning along cliffs.

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The road appeared to be about 1.5 car widths. And some portions had vertical cliffs on either side. Once or twice a gigantic truck/tour bus came at us from the other side and we had to inch closer and closer to the wall in order for them to be able to pass. Luckily we were inching to the right, not the left.

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These pictures don’t do justice to the grade of the road. It seriously felt like we were on a roller coaster. You’d come to the top of a hill and just be looking straight down. I have re-occuring nightmares about out of control vehicles and this road was pretty much those nightmares come to life. IMG_0985

Keith was a little bit unhappy with me. I never thought I had to research the ROAD we were taking, but apparently I should have. Along with the chance of plunging to your death…we had zero cellphone service. A few cars passed us…but if anything had happened, we would have been waiting quite a while for help. But man…it sure was beautiful.

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I desperately wanted to take my real camera out, and desperately wanted to ask him to stop, but I knew the first would annoy him and the second was definitely not going to happen, so I just kept snapping away on the iPhone telling him, “Maybe you’ll want to look at these later?”

Finally, we hit paved road and after another ~45 minutes of that we hit civilization. We had some great pizza at Serpico’s and then went back to the house and crashed.

Oh, I forgot! On Friday, between the beach and the basketball game we went to Ocean Vodka. We had a few brewery/winery tours planned so we threw in this distillery tour. I think it was $5 per person and we had the entire tour to ourselves. We got there a little early, so we walked around a bit, enjoying the grounds and the wildlife.

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Ocean vodka is 100% organic. So instead of using pesticides on their sugar cane…they use chickens! We had a very nice ~30 minute tour and got to see the sugar cane, see all kinds of machines, see the bottling process. It was really interesting and informative and at the end, we got to taste some vodka! Hooray! One of the coolest things was they have a “martini garden” that has all sorts of different herbs that you are welcome to cut and take home to mix with your vodka. Such a great idea!

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And then we come to Sunday. Time to leave upcountry Maui. But one more stop!

Well, two more. First, one of the coolest things, all over the island, people have fruit stands at the end of their driveways. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of one, but they range from simple to elaborate. And they are all unmanned. They just have a little bucket for you to put your money in. The house next to the one we were staying in had such a stand and we spent $5 (because I had no change) and loaded up on fruit. Starfruit for 25 cents! Passionfruit for 50 cents! Breadfruit for $1.00! (I thought breadfruit was something completely different. Apparently the way to eat it is to cook it. We tried to eat it raw. It was like a sticky potato.)

 

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So, all loaded up with fruit, we headed to Maui’s Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch. We had actually passed it on our way back from the Road From Hana the previous day, but it was late and they only do tours at 10:30 and 1:30 so we traveled back.

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The tour and tasting were completely free and there were probably 20 people taking the tour. It was very neat hearing all about the ranch and how they starting making wine. Apparently they had some trouble with grapes at first so they started making pineapple wine just for something to do and now it makes up 80% of their production. And it was delicious! I’ve never been on a winery tour and it was really interesting, though we didn’t actually see any grapes. Or pineapple. I especially liked how the explanation of how they bottle the sparkling wine and there was even a neat demonstration.

 

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The grounds were beautiful and they had all these enormous and crazy trees. One of the first owners of the ranch had collected trees from all over the world.

 

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This was my favorite. It looked like something from Dr. Suess.

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A camphor tree.

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I can’t remember the name of that one, but it was from New Zealand.

Then we left and were off to Kaanapali Beach.

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That little squiggle should be on Hawaii’s state flag. They are everywhere.

 

*HAH, except the road it was on and the road we were on never connected so we never got to go because it would have been another 2 hours of driving to get there. Ugggghhh.

 

honeymoon part 1: upcountry maui

Keith and I were engaged for almost 3 years before we got married. We had tossed out some honeymoon ideas early on (I was pulling for Greece), but then kind of forgot about it. Until it was announced that the Pitt basketball team would be taking part in the Maui Invitational.

Keith has always wanted to go to Hawaii. I would never turn down a trip, but it wasn’t really on the top of my list…but when this happened, it was settled. It might be Keith’s only chance to see Pitt play in Hawaii. (I actually did complain for a little bit at first until Keith said, “You do realize you are complaining about a trip to Hawaii?” Whoops. #firstworldproblems).

I told Keith that he had to plan the honeymoon since I planned the wedding but then once the wedding was over, I just took over. About a week before we bought our airline tickets, it was announced that Pitt was going to play the University of Hawaii a few days before the tournament started, so luckily we had time to tack a few extra days on.

We flew into Maui on November 20th. We left Pittsburgh around noon and had two layovers, one in Minneapolis and one in LAX. We landed in Maui at 9:30 p.m. their time…which was ~2:00 a.m. Pittsburgh time. For 14 hours of travel, it really wasn’t bad. We were excited and the two layovers helped. We had time to get some food, go to the bathroom, (I have never used an airplane bathroom – I am afraid) stretch our legs, etc. Once we landed in Maui, we collected our bags and went to pick up our rental car. And I found out Keith had rented us a convertible! Woo!

For the first few days of our trip, we were staying in an AirBnB in Haiku, which is upcountry Maui. It was about ~30 minutes from the airport. As we drove there the first night…my first thoughts were “Wow, it’s dark!” “Wow, it’s flat!” “Look at all those stars!” The stars were incredible. I had fully planned on taking some sort of time-lapse star photo but never got around to it.

Woke up bright and early (I think 6:00 a.m.?) due to a rooster crowing merrily. Decided to get up and not waste the day. Our first stop was breakfast. We headed to Colleen’s  and it was great. Keith ordered a smoothie which was the best smoothie I’ve ever had in my life. He had a breakfast burrito and I had a breakfast scramble and it was all top notch. Super cute place too.

After that, we hit the beach. We had been on the island for almost 12 hours now, it was imperative to get to a beach! It was actually pretty difficult to find beach towels, our host didn’t provide them and I didn’t want to take her bath towels to the beach. We tried 3-4 shops before spending $20 per towel. Yikes. But then…beach!

And were greeted by this sight:

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And then greeted by some rain. It was sprinkling on and off the entire time we were at the beach, but who cares! We were at the beach! In Maui! And I met a dog!

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After a while, we left and headed back to the house to get ready, we had a basketball game to go to!

Keith and I are big fans of Three Sheets and Drinking Made Easy and one of the DME episodes was in Maui. They went a kava bar and so that was at the top of Keith’s list. Luckily, it was right near the basketball game. So we headed to Wow-Wee Maui’s Kava Bar

 

From wikipedia on kava:

The roots of the plant are used to produce a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties. Kava is consumed throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia, including Hawaii, Vanuatu, Melanesia and some parts of Micronesia. (See canoe plants.) Kava is sedating and is primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity.

 

From Katrina on kava:

It tastes like dirt. And makes your mouth numb.

 

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Needless to say, I was not a fan. Keith was though, so more for him. Instead, I got excited about trying loco moco. Loco moco is rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg and drenched in gravy. It was delicious. Keith was not really a fan. I said I liked it so much I wanted to make it at home. But then I said “I’d probably leave out the egg. I’d probably even leave off the burger.” Keith said, “Then you’d be eating a bowl of rice + gravy.” “Exactly.”

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We left there and headed to the gym for basketball. Pitt lost. It was sad. I had to use a port-o-potty in the dark. That was even more sad.

The next day was a day Keith will never forget….

We traveled the Road to Hana.

I did basically no research on this, I just knew it was a big thing to do. The GPS said it was ~30 miles to Hana and would take 2 hours. Which seems insane until you start the drive. Lets just say you see a lot of these:

We drove all the way to the black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park. There was supposed to be some kind of lava tube tour but I never found it, so we just checked out the beach for a bit. It was a tiny beach and the waves were super intense so we didn’t go in the water. But it was incredible to see.

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We left there and traveled to what was supposed to be a red sand beach…but it didn’t look red at all. There was some kind of festival going on so there was nowhere to park…so we left and tried to get lunch. Drove up and the place was closed. Decided to keep going and find somewhere else to eat…and never found anywhere. But we did find our next stop….Oheo Gulch. We paid $10 to get into the park and then started our hike to the gulch. Except I just sort of followed people and after ~15 minutes of hiking up a mountain…we realized the pools were probably not up there. So we turned around and went the other way…and found the pools.

 

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It was gorgeous here, and not really crowded at all, but the bottom was all rocks. It really hurt to walk around…Keith got all the way to the bottom waterfall, I only got partway there since I knew as far as I went, I’d have to go back. The water was also pretty shallow in the pool in the foreground so it wasn’t really possible to swim. I would highly recommend going there but I would highly highly highly recommend water shoes. But the rocks were also mossy and slippery so I saw a lot of people fall, regardless. Still gorgeous though. At this point it was late afternoon and we were starving thanks to missing lunch, so we decided to leave.

And then the real adventure began.

…to be continued.

 

life update #basketballmoon

So I kind of lost some steam on the #mcwed posts. I will have to finish up with the reception and posed photos because there are so many I love and want to highlight! Life has taken a turn for the insane lately (in a good way!) and although I’m not ready to spill those beans yet, it will be coming.

So what has been going on….

Loretta and I celebrated our one-month anniversary, and we are very happy together. I love the cloth seats, the heated seats which I will admit to turning on in the mornings even though it is July, and her beautiful shiny exterior. She has a bit less raw power than Henrietta had, but I am having fun with the paddle shifters.

Had a lovely 4th of July at my mom’s house even though I ended up in a hoodie and covered in a blanket. It was nice that it wasn’t 95 and sweltering but yikes! Keith and I left before the fireworks but somehow planned it perfectly and drove through no fewer than 7 township’s fireworks on our way up 79. At one point near Bridgeville we could see 4 different displays at the same time. And didn’t have to hear any. My kinda show.

Also had a great time the next day at Giana’s 4th birthday party! It’s rare to see family two days in a row so it’s always extra nice. And the twix cupcakes I made were extra nice, too!

I thought I had more news, but apparently not…except the most exciting thing is that we booked our flights for our honeymoon! Ahhh! I’m so excited I could puke.

Pitt announced that they’re playing the University of Hawaii on Nov 21 so we’re flying to Maui November 20th. I’m looking into Airbnb’s for the first 3 days then on Nov 23rd we head to the Maui Sheraton for the Maui Invitational with the rest of the basketball fans. We’re there from Sunday-Friday which includes a few tournament games and a Thanksgiving Luau! Then the day after Thanksgiving we hop on a plane for the Big Island. We’re there Friday-Friday and then we fly home.

I am sooooooooo excited! I have so many things planned. Definitely hitting up some beaches and breweries and probably a coffee plantation even though we both hate coffee and snorkeling and black sand beaches and green sand beaches and volcanoes! (Oh, and basketball. I still wish the basketball games were outside. That would be great. Let’s play some beach basketball.)

Trying to keep a nice mix of seeing the sights and doing nothing. On our last two vacations (Cancun and Isla Mujeres) we barely left the resort. We’ll only be at a resort for half our time on Maui and none of our time on Hawaii – thinking of splitting our time between two Airbnb’s there, so that will pretty much force us to get out and about.

People keep asking if I feel any different being married and the answer is a big fat no. I now have Keith’s last name…but other than that nothing has changed. We have been together 5 years and are coming up on 5 years of living together; he taught me how to drive, we’ve moved twice, bought a house, got a dog, already have joint bank accounts…a piece of paper and two metal bands haven’t changed anything. But I do like looking down and seeing my wedding band *so sparkely* and seeing his ring on his hand. Being married is great, but being not-married was great too!