The 2009 Shaka List
From Honolua Bay to the happy-faced spider--25 reasons Maui rocks!
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25 Treasures that make Maui no ka 'oi
Maui is a refuge and a reward, a red-carpet-ready celebrity, and a shy tendril of fern uncurling in the sun. Its landscape runs the gamut from thunderous walls of water bearing down on the North Shore to fragrant, rain-forested valleys that reveal themselves soft-bellied, with tousled hair, like a lover in the morning. A tangle of contradictions, Maui wears a Gucci heel one on foot and a puka-shell anklet on the other. It’s the Hawaiian humpback whale’s curious serenade and the machine-gun fire of raindrops on a tin roof. It’s a warrior with a long memory, a glistening treasure washed up from the sea, a whiff of plumeria as you step off the plane.
Each of us who calls Maui home—for a lifetime or a few days—has a collection of impressions that spells out our personal paradise. Sure, more traffic lights sprout up around the island every year. And some of our cherished landmarks are mere memories now. But even as Maui transforms, its allure remains. After three years of composing this lucky-we-live-Maui list, we haven’t run out of fresh material yet. Here’s our latest sampling of what makes Maui truly no ka ‘oi.
1. Kite Beach. On the way to or from Kahului Airport, stop at Kite Beach, the west end of Kanaha, via Amala Place, the side road past the rental car companies. Dig your toes into the sand and watch daring waveriders perform aerial acrobatics—you can’t help but feel your spirit lift vicariously.
2. Stargazing. If the night sky seems somehow bigger or closer here, it’s no accident. Astronomers hail Haleakala as one of Earth’s top spots for staring into the sky. Each night, Mauians can be humbled by a dizzying kaleidoscope twinkling in the distance: planets, stars, comets, satellites, and other cosmic stuff. Watch Scorpio and Orion trade places as the seasons shift and search for the Southern Cross—Hawai‘i is the only spot in the U.S. where it can be seen.
3. Rice Park. Recipe for joy: a few friends, a steep, grassy hill with a view, and some sturdy cardboard slides.
4. ‘Iao Valley. When a shaft of sunlight pierces the clouds draped across West Maui’s peaks, few places can rival ‘Iao Valley’s beauty. Wander through the valley’s multicultural gardens, watch kids cannonball into the stream, take a fragrant hike in the rain, or even go for an afternoon skinny-dip in a secluded pool upriver. No worries, the giant pina‘o (dragonfly) soaring overhead won’t tell.
5. Karaoke and half-off sushi at Sansei. Banzai!
www.sanseihawaii.com. In Kihei 879-0004. In Kapalua 669-6286
6. Roadside flower stands. Upcountry you’ll find the prettiest bouquets of protea, bird of paradise and eucalyptus stems. On the road to Hana there’s giant torch ginger and anthuriums—a steal at just $5 a bundle. But don’t steal ‘em! Instead, plunk a few extra nickels into the honor-system bucket for the aunty or uncle who grew and cut them for you.
7. Foodland’s trio of ‘ahi poke. Which seasoning is the most ono (delicious): limu, wasabi, or shoyu? Knock yourself out trying to decide.
8. Inner Waves organic yoga clothing. Thanks to the Simmers, an entrepreneurial couple on the North Shore, Maui’s many yogis now practice their sun salutations and sphinx poses in brightly colored, organic yoga pants and camisoles. Styles like “moana” and “pono” spread aloha to mainland customers. Namaste. www.innerwaves.org