Mangoes and That Homeless Guy: Our Maui Vacation

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“This one is supposed to be the worst luau EVER,” my mom reported, reading reviews as she tried to choose a luau for our family night out on Maui.  “Not just the worst luau in Maui, but the worst in all of the Hawaiian Islands. That is, according to that guy in the guide book.”

“How can we pass THAT up?” asked my brother, pouring alcohol deftly into glasses and adding sprigs of mint. He passed Mom a mai tai.

mai tais in maui web

“Yes,” I added. “We pretty much have to go to that one, now that we know. Just to see what the worst one of all time is like!”

It took Mom a lot of time to decide, but finally — after much laughter and joking — she booked reservations for the Royal Lahaina Luau, which really had been called the worst of the worst in the Maui Revealed book.

I had a soft spot for The Royal Lahaina, even though I hadn’t been there in over 13 years; Amado and I had gotten married there in 2000 and had enjoyed our first time in Hawaii together there. And seriously, how could the luau be that bad?

Well, of course it wasn’t that bad!  I was  disappointed; when something is set up to be the “worst of all time,” you really expect the pits — something so revolting and horrible that it becomes, in a campy way, amazing. The show was regular-old-boring-good:  The dancers were fun and skilled, they made us laugh at times, and they did the fire dance at the end (my favorite!)  The food was fine; we even enjoyed  the much-maligned macaroni salad.  And when it started to pour, they quickly and efficiently passed out plastic ponchos to everyone!


Enjoying the worst of the worst possible luaus in Hawaii!

Enjoying the worst of the worst possible luaus in Hawaii!

The drinks were bottom shelf, sure, but so are the drink at EVERY luau. Here, at least, we got unlimited yummy mixed beverages and mai tais and daiquiris. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite luau EVER, but they all have their ups and downs. And now we have cute little rain ponchos and souvenir Tiki glasses in case we want to relive the experience in the backyard with a hose and a Bud Light. (Thanks, guidebook guy, for being so wrong about the luau!)

Other highlights of the vacation included:

  1. Unlimited fresh mangoes from the tree in our rental house yard
  2. Watching the sun set over the ocean every evening from our lanai
  3. Playing in the waves in front of the rental house
  4. Snorkeling and seeing LOTS of humuhumu fish!
  5. Watching that homeless guy walk sloooowly across our lawn on his way to (who knows?) and back again, several times a day, and having discussions about whether we would have booked this exact house if we’d know ahead of time that an apparently homeless guy is crashing every night on the lawn 2 houses to the left, and how — even though he doesn’t SEEM to be casing the place in order to steal our stuff — now we can’t fully relax and leave the lanai open at night, and whether Maui is a good place to be homeless?
  6. On the one hand, the weather is always nice, “and you can pee in the ocean and wash your butt in the ocean!” Isabel helpfully added.
  7. But on the other hand, the price of living is VERY expensive.
  8. “But did you see that old skinny homeless guy washing up at the beach shower?” my mom asked.  “He was even washing inside his shorts, I mean, really getting in there.”  So – free showers!
  9. But if you get tired of Maui, you can’t just hitch a ride to Akron or something.
  10. And do we think people are MORE generous or LESS generous to the homeless while they are on an expensive vacation?
  11. And it’s important not to forget the drunk, homeless guy from LAST trip who cornered AJ in the parking lot of a convenience store and slurred, “I love yoooururr shirrrrt, maaannn,” and started standing closer and closer to him in an attempt (we think) to be invited into our car, as he started to rant in a somewhat manic and threatening way about a very good science fiction book and movie that he loved and which should really be more popular than they are.
  12. What do you think he is doing now? Is he still approaching people in that same parking lot?
  13. And for the record, many of us have given money and food to homeless people through the years, in New York, Chicago and Phoenix, just so nobody thinks we think of them as mere fodder for our mirth.
  14. Do you think they eat a lot of fresh mangoes that grow here in Hawaii?

mango page 2 web

As you can see, there is always a lot to talk about while we’re together in Hawaii.  The mangoes were really SO delicious, and the beach SO beautiful, that I couldn’t help but think that Maui must be a gorgeous place to be homeless.

mom with mangoes web

The girls loved the beaches best, I think, along with the shave ice. We drove around to see the area and stopped at a black sand beach (black-ish, anyway), and splashed.

We drove to the Garden of Eden on the way to Hana and stopped to see the scenic overlooks and tropical plants, and got excited about the bamboo and rainbow eucalyptus.  The prettiness of Hawaii is always soul-soothing to me, and I always dream of moving there. Below are some more shots from the vacation…I wish we could go back already!

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Here are more shots from Hawaii…the aquarium, hanging out around the rental house, and various sights we enjoyed.

Family, I will send you a link to see all the pictures and will send copies to you, too!







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