Where to Shop Like a Movie Star in Maui

#Cee’s Oddball Challenge

I appreciate creativity but admit that it eludes me.

We drove south from Lahaina to Wailea where movie stars come to Maui and shop at the Shops of Wailea. They close down the mall when someone famous and sensitive come to shop. Nothing is cheap here. Even a little ball of ice cream wrapped in a dough was about $2.00.

It was warm so I sat on the fountain enjoying the tropical breeze with Vince.

Carol Sherritt finished her ice cream, and rushed off, camera around her neck, and began shooting pictures of all the windows.

I must have been blind, I thought to myself. What does she see that I don’t see?

All that to display a purse. I wonder how much it costs.
All that to display a purse! How odd! I wonder how much it costs.

I followed her and started snapping pictures, too, just so I didn’t seem like a stupid travel blogger who did not know what captured people’s interest.

After I watched her excitement I decided that the window was interesting.

What do you think? No, don’t answer that! I’m afraid for you to tell me that I almost missed an opportunity to entertain you.

Cee's OddBall

If you liked this post, PLEASE share it with your friends.

This post has all the clickable links to get back to Cee and see other odd pictures or enter for yourself.

In case you missed them, click here.

 

7 Cherry on the Sundae Moments in 2016 – So Far!

#WP Photo Challenge

Cherries, sweet goodness, the joys and best of life

If the cherry is on top, all’s well that ends well, right? Life is a bowl of cherries. That is this week’s photo challenge, “cherry on top.” I tried to cherry pick the best photos from my 2016 collection that fit that description.

Definitely red
Definitely red

It was hot July 3rd in the Central Valley. As appointed photographer for the Kiwanis July 3rd Blast, I sought out interesting shots. Sure enough, here was the cherry on top.

a very cute parade rider with a cherry on top
a very cute parade rider with a cherry on top

She probably did not need to be coaxed to ride in the parade. In a few years, she will probably be Miss Woodlake.

Intent on history, his and 275 others' enjoyment of the new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum was the cherry on top of the entire effort.
Intent on history, his and 275 others’ enjoyment of the new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum was the cherry on top of the entire effort.

At the Grand Opening of the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, we experience double-vision with this cherry-red cap. Maybe he is reading about the founding members of the Woodlake Lions.

The VIP opening of the Museum was a cherry topping experience for me. Here’s why.

My phone rang. I was about to step back into my tour bus in Hawaii. It was Carl Peden. We had never met, but he donated lots of artifacts to the museum from his time serving the White House as the pilot of Air Force One. On a whim, I asked him if he would be one of the speakers at the VIP opening. To my surprise, he agreed.

Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening, passed away two days later on President's Day. We all mourn his passing.
Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening.

At the end of his speech he took off his jacket and handed it to our President, Rudy Garcia, for the Museum. What an electrifying end to his speech!

Woodlake Museum iPhone photos

He proudly pointed out his name on the donor list to his relatives.

On President’s Day, two days later, he passed away. I think this event might have been the last cherry on his cake. We loved having him.

Tulare County is one of the agricultural capitals of the world.
Tulare County is one of the agricultural capitals of the world.

The Tulare County Agricultural Fair is the cherry of all ag festivals. Thousands of ag professionals come from all over the world to see cherries like the one pictured. They probably know what this machine does, too! I just think it’s pretty and red.

a festive find at the botanical gardens
a festive find at the botanical gardens

Cacti don’t bloom that often, but when they do, they give us a magnificent show. This cherry-picked this photo emerged out of hundreds during the Woodlake Botanical Gardens Berry Festival this May. Beware, do not try to eat it, though!

Gelato anyone?
Gelato anyone?

Las Vegas is hot year round compared to most places. Gelato seemed like the best option for dinner after hubby played a rousing hand of poker all day. Nourishing? Not really. A delicious end to a fun day? Definitely!

Cherry of a life time!
Cherry vacation of a lifetime!

Though not overly thrilled with being the cherry in this picture, I was on cloud nine the week we were in Hawaii with my friends Carol, the Eternal Traveler from Australia, and Connie, my friend from TCOE, and their husbands.

The guys made it too!
The guys made it too!

You never know how it is going to work out when you put six people who have never traveled together on a week’s vacation, let alone six people, most of whom have never met in person. This Hawaiian trip was more than the icing on the cake. It was definitely the cherry on top!

Mr. ET enjoyed whale watching.
Mr. ET enjoyed whale watching. I love this picture of his enthusiasm!
We had fun trying to fit into a selfie. Where's V?
We had fun trying to fit into a selfie. Where’s V? Can you see him next to me?

We all look a little wind-blown. Make-up? Forget about it! Fun? You bet!

We climbed hundreds of stairs to take this picture at the top of Iao State Park.
We climbed hundreds of stairs to take this picture at the top of Iao State Park.

Huff, huff, huff! We made it to the top! My cherry-colored hat protected my face from frying in the sun, but held in the heat. Yes, I’m still smiling, but let’s sit down and have a nice cool drink, what do you think?

I lost my cherry bonnet in the shade, and wore my sarong in a most appealing way, don't you think?
I lost my cherry bonnet in the shade, and wore my sarong in a most appealing way, don’t you think?

Near the end of the week, and we are still smiling, but I’m sad inside because it will end soon.

Are cherries more valuable because they are so tiny compared to the rest of life?
Are cherries more valuable because they are so tiny compared to the rest of life?

One week out of our lives, such a small chunk, but it leaves lasting memories as bright as cherries on a chocolate soda.

And eventually the sun set on the cherry experience.
And eventually, the sun set on the cherry experience.

For more cherries, click the icon.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

If you enjoyed this, be the cherry on my sundae and please share it. 🙂

 

Travel Theme: Entertainment

Of course you would expect anyone who calls herself TC History Gal to find museums entertaining. Unfortunately I forgot to take what my dad always called the “Record Shot.”

Photo by DrFumblefinger.com found on Google Images
Photo by DrFumblefinger.com found on Google Images

Traveling with Mr. and Mrs. Eternal Traveler and my hubby on Maui, HI, we all bought a “Passport to the Past.” This passport doesn’t expire, and allowed us to visit four museums for the normal price of visiting one museum. Below is the kind of building material used to build the walls in a home that lasted for over 180 years.

Baldwin House006

The Reverend Ephraim Spaulding built the Baldwin House around 1834, and lived in it for only two years before he got sick and went home to Massachusetts. It was a great find for the Reverend Dr. Dwight Baldwin and his wife, who by this time had two children and lived in a nearby grass hale (hut). Hold onto your hats as we take our first look into the Baldwin House Museum.

Did you get dizzy? Carol and I enjoyed the quilts.  With six living children, Mrs. Baldwin probably had plenty to entertain herself and keep busy.  Somehow she squeezed out time to teach the Hawaiian women to sew. This pattern looks daunting to me, and features common creatures found in the Hawaiian landscape like the cute snail in this picture.

Baldwin House007

These beds were in the boy’s room.

Baldwin House003

In addition to the three or four boys, they often housed guests in this room. Whew!  I wonder if they had longer days back then than we have today.

According to the docent, the Baldwins had a rebound romance. Dwight Baldwin was thirty-two when he met Charlotte. His fiance jilted him because she did not want to travel to Hawaii. However, the missionary society wouldn’t let him serve in Hawaii if he wasn’t married.

Not to be deterred from his calling,  an hour after meeting Charlotte, an advanced maiden of twenty-five, he proposed. A week later they married, and within three weeks they were on their way on their five month journey to the island of Maui. I wonder how his former fiance felt about being so easily replaced?

Baldwin House005

This netting kept the Baldwin boys safe from mosquitos. Hawaii didn’t have mosquitos until a Mexican ship uploaded them to the island. Actually, practically everything on the island is imported from somewhere. It all came by boat – except for the few birds that showed the first Hawaiians that there was land in the vast Pacific.

I hope you have found a brief excerpt from our trip to the Baldwin Home Museum in Lahaina, Maui, HI entertaining.  Click to see more entries to the Travel Theme.

Wo Hing Chinese Museum and Taoist Temple in Maui, HI

Americans constructing the continental railroad, in the United States and creating sugar plantations in Hawaii discovered the value of the hard-working Chinese in the mid 1800s. As the Qing dynasty began its long decline in China, men immigrated to Hawaii without their families to build many of the infrastructures we still enjoy today. On Maui they made the Lahaina sea wall, tunnels through the mountains, the Road to Hana, and the irrigation  systems for the sugar plantations.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x2448-004Chinatown in Lahaina began as single story stores and homes on Front Street. Single men needed places to stay and congregate. Beginning in 1909 the Wo Hing Society began to collect funds to erect a building that would house the Chinese Social Club and provided a place for worship and festivities. This is one of only two social houses that survived in Hawaii.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x3264Wo Hing, the society’s name written around the door, means peace and prosperity.  The Wo Hing Society Hall opened around 1912 and remained active into the 1940s. When the Chinese population in Lahaina moved to Honolulu to find work during World War II, the Wo Hing Temple and Club House fell into disrepair. Restored in 1983 by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation, today it stands impressively restored on Front Street.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x2448-005There were several displays and a gift shop on the first floor. Carol visited with the on-duty docent, and has interesting stories about her. The age of the money encased glass box for public viewing surprised both Vince and Carol. Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 3264x2448-009One source stated that the Chinese originally called paper money “flying money. … Paper money came into use in the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) as a larger denomination of currency to replace the bulky ‘bolt of silk’.”  Colorful Chinese paper money, though easier to carry than currency, had to be replaced or exchanged within three years.  By the late 1200s, at the end of the Song dynasty, paper money became preferred to coins.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 3264x2448-010The square hole in the center of the round Chinese coins had spiritual and practical value as well. Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 3264x2448-011A source stated the round shape symbolized heaven or the universe, while the square represented earth or China, which was the center of the universe.

(TianDi)

The holes allowed the bronze caster to line up the coins and scrape off the metal flashing around the edges. It also enabled consumers to string their money to carry it easily.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x3264-002Personally, I love both jade and dogs, so I headed right for these statues.  This pup is not nearly as cute as Puppy Girl, but these fierce-looking animals were guardian lions, not dogs. Westerners called them Lion dogs or Foo dogs. That is not to be confused with “foo foo” like Vince calls Puppy Girl after I spray “foo foo” smells on her after her bath.  This male Lion Dog guards his embroidery ball with his foot.  Trust me, I didn’t try to take his toy away from him.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x2448-001Just outside the door was the cookhouse. The cook probably had to prepare meals for a crowd, and he had a special building to work in. This practice curbed the fire danger to the main structure. Now the museum uses the cookhouse to show visitors films of Hawaii that were taken by Thomas Edison starting in 1898. Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 3264x2448-008This early film show intrigued me for several reasons. First of all the fact that it was made in 1898 and was still preserved amazed me. Additionally, the subjects of the different films fascinated me. In one short clip we saw native Hawaiians rushing around in huge amounts of clothing. We learned at the Baldwin House that Mrs. Baldwin had taught the women to sew. These women must have loved their new skill.

I enjoyed watching “cowboys” moving the  cattle on and off the island. Men and cows both struggled as the cowboys pulled each animal into the water leading the with a rope around their necks. It looked and sounded impossible, but that technique must have been easier than loading five or six bulls onto small row boats and pushing the tons of objecting bulls into the water. I guess the cattle had to swim beside the small boats. I did not think the film would last as long as it did, so I started filming it. Then I got tired of focusing on the film and let my camera roam around the kitchen. I stopped just before the cattle loading started, so you’ll have to visit the museum to see it. I don’t think I’m ready for the big screen.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x2448-013Upstairs we saw the Taoist Temple replete with incense and fresh sacrifices of fruit and water.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x2448-012The temple area had few decorations or furniture.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x2448-014We visited a Taoist temple in Hanford, CA, and this looked much sparser and lighter.

Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x2448-011You will learn more about our visit to the Wo Hing Chinese Museum from my Australian blogging friend, Carol, the Eternal Traveler when she and her friend Justin Beaver start writing about their Hawaiian travels. For now you can enjoy the trip she and her husband took around the perimeter of Australia.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x2448-006If you go to Maui, be sure to get a Passport to the Past for about $10, and that will get you into four museums. We only made it to two this trip, but we kept our cards, and hope to get to the next two museum next time.Hawaii 2016 Taoist Temple 2448x2448-019I don’t want to beat my own drum, but I hope you enjoyed this short visit to the Chinese Wo Hing Museum.

Road to Hana: Exploring a Lava Tube at Black Sand Beach

Do you want to camp in Maui? Well you can’t. But you get around that law.  Simply tell the police who come by your tent and tell you to leave that you are fishing. Then it’s ok to spend the night. If you don’t want that much worry, you can head down the Hana Highway to Wai’anapanapa State Park and the black sandy beaches. It’s ok to camp here once you reach it.Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava Tube13

Our Road to Hana tour guide, Jack the Legend, gave us about 50 minutes to hike the half mile trail to the beach or lookout points.

Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava Tube 15

I stopped to take pictures with Manny.  Carol and Glen toured on, and when I looked up, they had disappeared. I thought they MUST have gone to see the Lava Tube, which looked to me like the most interesting doable of the choices.

Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava

If you are looking for the perfect spot to pitch your tent my advice is to avoid the lava tube. I followed these legs into the tube. The legs did not belong to either Glen or Carol.

Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava Tube1

Walking carefully to avoid turning my sandals on their sides in the squishy rocks, I stumbled through entrance.  Sniffing around I didn’t smell anything particularly noteworthy to report, even though my other senses should have been heightened because vision was somewhat impaired. After adjusting to the dark, I glanced around to find Mr. and Mrs. ET.Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava Tube12

I couldn’t believe they weren’t there, so I perched Manny up higher to take another look. He came up with the null set as well.

Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava Tube3

You can see that this little room housed several visitors scouting out possible camp sites for the next visit. Waves lapped the entrance of the cave, but brought no crabs, starfish or other sea critters. Natural food would be no more plentiful for us here in the warm waters of Maui Hawaii than it is for the whales.

Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava Tube11

The lava tube features a lovely skylight.

Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava Tube8

The black-sand beach was created by a lava flow several hundred years ago.  A local warned us that it’s bad luck to carry away the sand, so if you are camping, be particularly careful to clean off all adhesive sand from your tent inside and out.

Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava tube14

Manny checked out the rocky comfort level. He said in his returned Australian accent, “I’ll give this place a pass.”

Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava Tube 17

So we got back on the tour bus and headed on down the Hana Highway.

Hawaii 2016 Hana Lava Tube 18

 

Whale Watching Off the Coast Of Maui

whalewatching 4

Whale season in Hawaii is November through February. V doesn’t like boats, so I enjoyed whale watching with friends.

IMG_5201
Yes, that’s the original Justin Beaver with Manny enjoying whale watching together.

Whales come here to lose weight, date and have children. Sometimes they are pretty active even though they don’t eat for six months.

Whalewatching2
My best shot all morning

I lose steam after about four hours of not eating, but they blow off steam constantly.

You might not know whether this one is flapping or blowing off steam, but either way, he's active.
You might not know whether this one is flapping or blowing off steam, but either way, he’s active.

With thousands of whales to choose from, I thought I would capture an amazing shot of a whale smiling at me like to the one in the poster.

whalewatching 5

Most of the time you stare at the sea and see nothing but waves.

See the whale? Can you tell it from the waves? OK maybe there isn't one.
See the whale? Can you tell it from the waves? OK maybe there isn’t one.

Eventually you begin to imagine that whitecaps or undulations might be whales just getting ready to surface, so you keep staring. Then you get tired of staring, and turn to your friends and snap their pictures. Carol caught a great shot of a flipping tail splashing water.  I turned away for a second and  captured Darrel and Connie against the sun, which I thought was just as magnificent.

whalewatching 7

I spent most of my time on the right side of the boat, staring at 1:00, which is where most of the activity took place. Then I heard shouts from the other side of the boat, and rushed over there, leaving my perfect viewpoint. About that time the whales at 1:00 surfaced and I got this picture.

whalewatching 8

Then I moved closer to get a better shot, and got this.

whalewatching 9

We had a great time, and loved the trip. Manny is going to write about his take later. He learned a lot as well, and made some new friends.

Some people can whalewatch standing on one foot.
Some people can whalewatch standing on one foot.

And this was NOT a tall tail tale.

whalewatching 10The end 🙂

Hawaii with Elane

IMG_3560RI just got home after two wonderful weeks in Hawaii.  Vince and I stayed the first week and listened to the timeshare “blah blah,” and took quite a few side trips with a friend of ours.

Driving south on Maui Highway 30.
Driving south on Maui Highway 30.

But Vince only likes to be away from home for a little bit, so the second week my friend Elane joined me.

I still really do have hair.  The pre-hurricane wind blew hard!
I still really do have hair. The pre-hurricane wind blew hard!

She is amazing at any age, but she nears 80 with grace and enthusiasm.

NY high school theatre-arts classes still in effect!  :)
NY high school theatre-arts classes still in effect! 🙂

Sadly, no theatre classes in my past.  I was way too shy!  🙂

Everyone looks better at the beach!  :)
Everyone looks better at the beach! 🙂

Here is a link to the book I made her.

Click here to view.

I hope you enjoy it as well.

Manny’s Hooked on Travel

“Manny, are you ready to stay home for a while?”

“No!!!  I have an idea of where I want to go to next.”

That was a dumb question.  As Carol wrote, “He’s had more excitement in the last six months than most people have in a lifetime.”

“I want to go whale watching, Mom.  I didn’t see any whales in Europe or Australia.  I didn’t even see one on the plane back to the United States.  I’ve been a lot of places, Mom, and guess what?

“What, Manny?

“No whales, that’s what.”

“That’s all you have to say about all your wonderful travels, and about the amazing people you met and things you saw?”

“Oh, Mom.  I love Carol and Glenn, AND MELISSA,  and Ute and Ralph, and I had a great time, but did you know that Justin Beaver has his own website?”

“I think you mentioned it at least one hundred times before you left.  You saw how much work he does to make that website didn’t you?  Are you sure you want to do that?  Did you tell all those people thank you for the wonderful time you had? I even saw you on Justin’s website eating chocolate, and having fun.”

“When I get all my pictures in order, I’m going to have a website and talk about all my travels. And I’m going to write books, and make a movie, and be famous like the Eternal Traveler and Justin Beaver.”

“Uh huh.  Did you say thank you to Carol and Glenn for taking you all over Europe, New Zealand, and Australia?  Did you thank Melissa for bringing you home?”

“Yeah, Mom.  I love those people.  I kissed Melissa, even.  I didn’t kiss Justin, but I shook his hand.  I gave Carol and Glenn a big hug.  But I didn’t see any whales yet.  Let’s go to Hawaii.”

IMG_2682RC

Now dear bloggers, what do you think?  Is Manny spoiled?

IMG_2683r

What about now?

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Post: Perspective: Best Luau Ever

Thank you Jake for this challenge to help me share my perspective of our luau experiences.  To learn how to enter your own posts about perspectives, visit Jake’s Sunday Post.

water-snake-2013

From my perspective the luau we attended in Kauai on Friday, May 30, 2013 was the best we ever attended.

Luau Kalamaku in Kauai
Can you guess how I got this perspective?  No I wasn’t inside a bottle!  The answer is in one picture in this post, but you will have to guess. I didn’t label it as the answer!

The concierge at our Diamond Resort, The Point at Poipu, influenced our perspective when he told us LUAU KALAMAKU was the best luau we ever attended.

We're going to a hukilau.
We’re going to a hukilau.

We felt like expert luau attenders because we have had the privilege of going to several luaus on other islands over the years. The last luau we attended we decided would be our last.  From our perspective it was a waste of money.  We spent most of our time standing in long lines.  If I had just won the lottery in Florida, I would have a different perspective on the price of luaus.  However, from the perspective of my budget, luaus are ALWAYS EXPENSIVE, and the food in every other luau tasted just ok to #@%#@% from my Midwestern taste buds’ perspective!  (Did I say that out loud?)  Not only that, luaus are always buffets which from the perspective of a husband who hates people dishing food out of the same bowls was an experience to be endured and not enjoyed.  My mother and cousin Hal would have a different perspective on the buffet style service. The luau shows have been good, we usually had a back row seat which gave us a distant, and somewhat blurry perspective.  Nonetheless, this was Vince’s sister, Cindy’s, first trip to Hawaii, and we felt she should experience an Hawaiian luau from her own perspective.

Luau Kalamaku in Kauai

From the moment we drove in, we knew this one would be different.  No, it wasn’t cheap!  It wasn’t at a hotel, however.  First of all, there was no line, and beautiful people greeted us at every turn.  The requisite picture-taking took seconds, and again more smiling, gorgeous, hardbodied people appeared to pose with us.  We then entered the huge permanent tent structure where a polite and friendly usher escorted us to our assigned table, which was about 6 feet from center stage.  Our perspective would be excellent for the entire show.  All of us at our table happened to be from CA.

We were free to play until the show started.  From the perspective of a child this would make going to dinner a great experience.  As an adult, I didn’t come in from all the activities outside until they rang the dinner bell three times.  Outside of the tent were opportunities to play original Hawaiian games.  Cindy and I both tried bowling.  You had to throw a wooden disk between the same color pegs stuck into the ground about 10 feet in front of us.  The two girls demonstrated, then we were on our own.  We both bowled 150/300.  Not bad for 2 disks!   It’s all a matter of perspective!  My worst score in regular bowling was 9/300.  (Don’t ask!)

We didn’t take time to try any other games, but walked around to the different vendors.  Soon the show started – BEFORE the dinner.  In fact it kept going while the dinner salad and bread was served.  Singing and dancing continued while each group went to one of the four smoothly running buffet lines.  Yes, we still had to go through a buffet!  There was a brief intermission after everyone had received their food, and then the main attraction, the history of Hawaii’s settlement, started two hours after we arrived.  We hadn’t even realized that two hours had elapsed.  Our perspective would have been much different if the pre-food show hadn’t been so interactive.  Vince even took me to center stage to dance with full house of romantics.

The Playbill had the gist of the story.  I’ll summarize it for you.

A Polynesian father tells his daughter, Orama, that he and her fiancé were going with the other island men to Hawaii to seek a better life.  The long canoe trip would be long and dangerous across open waters with nothing to guide them, but the stars.   He prays to Akua for safe traveling and to watch over his daughter.

Devastated, Orama has a dream shown to her by Ka Uhane o Ke Kai.  In the dream she reunites with her love, Ari, and they have a child.

The arduous journey brings the island men safely to Hawaii.   Ari, in the meantime, has a dream of dragon ladies, a fire goddess, and her lover.  (I think he was working too hard.)  The industrious men produce abundant crops and find plentiful fish in the new land of Hawaii.

Father sends for his daughter, who arrives safely, marries, and has her dream child.

This story is skillfully set to ORIGINAL music with dancing in beautiful costumes.  The dancers are both young and old, and up close and personal.  Very personal!  (but modest, too)  Even from our perspectives as haoles, the musical story clearly explained how amazing it was that Polynesians discovered and settled Hawaii thousands of years ago.  The pictures aren’t nearly as clear, but from my perspective as a experimental photographer I think they are more than cool, so I’m including them.  Don’t look for any explanations!!!  🙂

After the end of the production, the actors posed with anyone in the audience who wanted to take a picture with them.  We tried taking one of Cindy, but we weren’t ready with the flash, and after two tries without one, Cindy grabbed her disposable camera, and we tried that.  I hope it comes out!

Anyone besides me have an astigmatism?
Anyone besides me have an astigmatism?  Why doesn’t someone come up with a challenge:  Blurry But Beautiful?

Now for some different perspectives.  Neither Cindy or Vince are known for their overwhelming enthusiastic endorsements.  Both come out of the luau showering praises all over the parking lot, and in the car all the way home.  It was “wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!” Cindy exclaimed.

“It was the best luau ever – BY FAR!” Vince raved.

If you are ever in Kauai be sure to go to the LUAU KALAMAKU.  You won’t regret it.  It’s the highlight of our trip.  I hope you enjoyed it as well, complete with totally weird pictures.  🙂

Here are some pictures of the grounds we took on a different day.

If you would like to visit Hawaii, and want a rent a two bedroom resort suite with an ocean view, email me at tchistorygal@gmail.com.

The Needle (Not the Haystack)

Before I start this post I want to thank you all for coming to visit my site, reading all my posts, making wonderfully encouraging and engaging comments, and in general, addicting me to y’all.  This is my 200th post.  Today, I may go over 9,000 views.  Who knew when I started this adventure that even ONE person would want to read my thoughts.  I am so grateful.

Secondly, I don’t want to get so caught up in my blogging that I forget to vote, and I don’t want you to either.  So if you are reading this and need to go vote, just go.  I’ll still be here when you get back.

I met a wonderful woman while battling the Hawaiian surf old-lady style.  On our last day there she told me about Iao Valley State Park where we had not visited.  So before we went to the airport we spent an hour or more hiking around this park wondering how in the world the ancient warriors ever hid behind this needle.

Watch your step; 133 steps to the lookout point!

So up we go to see this big needle that was a famous hiding ground for ancient warriors.  What did THEY do before these steps were here?

The climb was easy because we both stopped so much to take pictures.  We didn’t even try to stay together.  I got sidetracked by a spider web sparkling in the sun that wouldn’t cooperate.  Needle-like FOCUS Marsha.  (Self-talk is good.)

OK there it is.  Splendid view, and we are not even close to the viewing area!

This place is a little TOO inspiring!  What does that sign say?  Please pick up?  Is that what you want?  There are easier ways, Buff Man.

Oh NO.  Don’t Do It, Mr. Buff Man.

Viewpoint Headquarters

V and the French people made it to the top.  Of COURSE I did, too.  I’m taking the picture.  Still, we’re not very close to the Needle.  So how DID those warriors get there?  It’s still quite a climb.

What goes up, must come down.

And what a journey down was.  It wasn’t raining while we were there, but with this lush vegetation, you could well imagine that it should have been.

They don’t bother to post “Watch your step” signs here! (where it’s much more needed than on the safe stairs!)

Instead people were frolicking in the water.  With my inability to keep my feet under me on flat land, I didn’t try walking on boulders with cool river waters gurgling over them.

There was something for everybody at this park.

Is he looking for the Needle? He’s not even close to the Haystack!!

What is HE doing?

??? So what happened to Buff Man???

Where did HE go?

Did he turn into Spiderman?

Realistic costume Spiderman!  Nice crib, too!

Anybody seen Mr. Buff Man?

They were all waiting and looking.  Nobody could find him.  It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

If she saw him, she wasn’t talking!

I met this lovely woman from Bakersfield, CA lounging on the rocks just enjoying the shade.  The day was hot, about 86 degrees and muggy.

Watching the Vog Roll In

Finally, V and I met up at the entrance and sat in the shade and watched the vog roll in.  Vog was a result of the smoldering volcano ash from a nearby island.  It’s no healthier for you than smog, but we sat and breathed it in for a while just to get a feel for the place.

The Needle

With a needle this big, who needs a haystack?  I have to say, this needle is a little disturbing.  Cross my heart and hope not to die, I wouldn’t want IT in MY eye.

Related Hawaii Stories

Ka’anapali Coffee Farms

Knowing that my husband is a realtor helps explain to you why this excursion is a must every time we go to Maui.  We look at houses.  No, we are not in the market to buy multi-million dollar houses even in Central California, let alone Hawaii, but once a realtor…

Document, document, document. We were here.

The deal is that you build your dream home, but the coffee farm stays.  There are several types of coffee here.

We hit the jackpot this year.

Lot #50

Fooled you – we didn’t win lot #50.  They harvested coffee beans the day we drove up the mountain.  We had never seen this, so maybe you haven’t either.  I can’t tell you much about it, so all you get are pictures, and a few stray comments to balance the page.  Deal?

Coffee beans

Every lot has coffee beans, but they are not all the same type.  Interestingly these beautiful fruits are called coffee cherries.

More coffee beans

Many countries harvest coffee cherries by hand, but not here at Ka’anapali Coffee Farms.

First, picking up the wagon at the barn.

Coffee bean harvester

Then the strip the branch of coffee cherries and empty them into the wagon.  As many machines as we have seen in the Central Valley, this was a new one for us!

Coffee bean harvester at work stripping the coffee cherry off the branch.

It’s pretty tall to have to fit over the trees, so that driver has a magnificent view down the mountainside.

The harvester could see all the way to Lana’i, the little island visible under the clouds.

You guessed it, Ka’anapali Beach Club.

Even the birds enjoyed the harvest.  I can’t imagine how jazzed they were after following the harvester around all day picking up fallen coffee cherries.  I’m sure the cherries aren’t decaf!

One last look before we head back down the mountain.

Trust me, it’s a lot easier to look at this development than the one we went through on horseback!  I couldn’t even remember WHAT they were growing there.

Bye bye.

Next time.

FAQs About Time Share Traveling

You all know that I retired two months ago, and we are still in the process of deciding how to organize our lives.  V likes the comfort of being at home.  I like home, too, but I love to travel.  Last week we traveled.  This was our third visit back to Ka’anapali Beach Club, and it feels like home.  Curtis still works in the beach office.  We know our way around KBC, and Maui.  It is ALMOST as comfortable and familiar as HOME.

Ka”anapali, Maui, HI

We tiptoed around our timeshare the first year back to Hawaii because we felt so badly about canceling our contract with the sweet saleslady.  But we still went back because it was lovely, and we DID buy a timeshare at KBC (Ka’anapali Beach Club).  You can read about that adventure here.

Ohana Bar and Grill

Buying a timeshare is an investment in future travel.  Even if you find a bargain like I did, it is more expensive up front than hopping in your car, forgetting to book a hotel, and getting on the road.  Click here to review that hotel find.   Needless to say, we didn’t go for any of the timeshare owners updates, but enjoyed staying there for two years.

Family fun

This year we went ahead and scheduled the update.  Their computers hadn’t forgotten that we had cancelled our Diamond Resorts Membership.  They didn’t really care at that point, they had another deal for us.   We could reserve the right to buy Resort Points for 18 months, and be on our way.

“What do you want to do today?” Who cares? It’s wonderful just being here!!!”

So V wanted to sign the option, and get moving.  Unfortunately, the computer won’t let you sign anything if there is an unexercised option still under your name.  And umpteen years ago, we had an option to buy more points under our cancelled policy.  As a real estate salesperson, V was impressed with their well-oiled sales pitch.  It made no sense to me that we had to sign a waiver releasing them from honoring an option that we had already cancelled.  So I was curious – V said to me, “This is too convenient.  Was this  planned?”  The old option made the new one look sick, and indeed, the new sales rep acted like he would like to purchase our old option.

A walking path led to the golf course between the beach and the rows of resorts.

So now you know the routine.  It’s like buying a car.  V was not buying it.  He didn’t care that much, we already had a week.  We couldn’t trade it anywhere.  We couldn’t comfortably take anyone with us.  We couldn’t get a better view, but we were able to go to Maui, and we liked being there.  Life was good.

Sunrise from the Scenic View of KBC

Now here is the thing I don’t understand about time shares.  We bought a deeded piece of property at KBC.  When we bought it, we lost the right to the week that was fixed with the original deed,  and we then had a floating week.  This meant we could schedule a week any time we wanted, that they had rooms available, and we were satisfied with that option.  But the well-oiled sales pitch was,  “What if they didn’t have a room?”  Their answer – They would book us at the hotel next door.  So in essence we lost our guarantee of a place at KBC.  BUT we could still come to Maui.

KBC through the coffee trees.

No, we wouldn’t have had to be that far away.  This coffee plantation is another story for another day, if you’re still interested.  To make our long story – and it did take a VERY long time – a little shorter.  Diamond Resorts agreed to taking our deed in for points thus guaranteeing our right to stay at KBC at no charge.  They also agreed to honor our option to buy additional points at the rate of several years ago.  They also agreed to double the points with no fees for two years, which was also part of the old option, thus moving us to the highest “level” of point ownership possible.

Just walk away from the deal, Marsha.

You know I would be impressed, and since I love to travel, I just looked at the purchase as buying options on 10-15 years of comfortable travel anywhere in the world.  When you reach the Gold or Platinum Levels of ownership, the way it is supposed to work is that you book your resort at the lowest point level and exercise your option to trade up at no extra cost.  We didn’t have this option with deeded property.  This meant that with the purchase of this option we could trade to a two-bedroom with an ocean view at the cost of the one bedroom opposite the ocean.  We could trade for airline travel.  After all the benefits were explained, V was not moved, so he said, “No”, and apologized, but said he would sign the new option to purchase so that the sales rep would get something for his effort.  The sales man, Terry Osborne, told him that he knew V would not sign up for the new option ever if he was turning down the old option.  So he asked what it would take to get V to sign and activate the old option.

Thinking about it…

V thought about it and said if they lowered the price enough to offset some of the yearly fees, it would be more appealing.  It’s hard for a salesman to be hard on another salesman.  At this point I just kept quiet.  If V really didn’t want to travel, there was no point in me pushing to buy travel time.  I still had my week in Hawaii, all paid for, no matter where we stayed.

Beach walk on the way to the Golf Course

No one was more surprised than I was when V agreed to buying the additional points after the salesman lowered the price another $8,000.  We ended up paying less per point for this option than any resale value on the market today, and even less per point that what we paid originally through the resale timeshare company.  I love a bargain, and if this helps you to bargain to buy the things you want to buy, I’m happy for you.  Nothing is a bargain if you really won’t use it.  I get at least 1-2 calls every month from someone wanting to buy my timeshare, so I know people are looking for them and selling them on a regular basis.  Timeshares are real estate – even if you buy points.

So to summarize, if you ARE interested in buying a timeshare:

  1. It will cost more than a regular hotel at first.  But you always get more amenities than at a hotel.
  2. Don’t agree to the first deal that is offered to you.  (or maybe the second)
  3. Check the internet for other options.
  4. Exercise your right to cancel if you find something you like better.  You are the one that has to be happy.  But remember that salespeople are people so don’t abuse them.  If you are REALLY not interested, don’t sign.  It hurts their numbers.
  5. Remember the resale timeshare ALWAYS looses some part of the amenities.
  6. You will always have a maintenance fee every year.  The price of that is negotiable.
  7. The interest rates are high if you finance – 10.99%
  8. The cost of borrowing your own money, if you have a retirement account is low. 2% – an additional 6% goes back in as an investment for you.
  9. The cost of travel will probably increase over the years, so you lock in the best price today.
  10. Points give you flexibility to travel other places that deeds don’t give you.
  11. Gold and platinum memberships give you the ability to book low rates and trade up at no cost, but you pay a higher maintenance fee because it is figured on points.
  12. Sometimes timeshares give you FREE ponts with no maintenance fee for a year or two as a bonus.
  13. It takes a HUGE amount of time to negotiate a good deal.  They will buy your lunch!

I’m not trying to sell KBC, but if by chance you ARE interested email me, we do get a referral fee that I would be glad to share with you.  I really did like our representative, Terry Osborne.  We also got the owner, Steve Cloobeck’s, business card.  Have you ever tried to get ahold of top management when you really had a problem with a hotel? They are the most private people in the world!

I am excited about our investment in our future.  We can travel to see friends, new and old, all across the country and even throughout the world using Diamond Resort Points.  That kind of travel is on my bucket list.  That we can extend our good fortune to include others at no additional charge to us, makes it even more fun.  That V can stay in a familiar place… well he is now excited about traveling and finding NEW places.

I did cross off one thing off my bucket list permanently while I was in Hawaii – horseback riding.  That’s another story!

I’m TRYING to Hang Loose!

I hope this was helpful.

 

 

 

Week at Ka’anapali Beach Club (KBC)

Do you prefer to relax or be very active on a vacation?  Ka’anapali Beach Club, one of the Diamond Resorts in Maui, HI, might be a place you would enjoy.

Timeshare traveling – not time traveling  This is taken from V’s favorite table around the pool. 

Timeshare travel differs from regular travel, and there is an art to doing it.  Believe me, that is another skill I am learning as I move forward into retirement.  At age 50 I had never been to Hawaii, never thought I would ever get to go, and was just plain jealous of anyone who had ever been!  Things change.  Friends asked us to cruise around the Hawaiian islands with them.  We landed in Honolulu, Oahu, and visited Kona, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii.  At each island we had several hours to tour, either guided or on our own.  We fell in love with Maui, and during our free time there went on a timeshare tour.  Timeshare sales people in Maui are as ubiquitous as abizia trees.  We were in love with the idea, but not enough to part with tons of our hard earned capital.

We went back the next year with American Express points at the Westin.  The Westin was lovely and we talked them out of making us switch rooms mid-week.  We did not escape the OTHER Timeshare sales people in Lahaina.  Here was the deal, if we agreed to spend 90 minutes with a KBC salesperson, we got a boatload of discounts from the Expedia man.  I love discounts, so we did it.  (He’s still there by the way.)  At that KBC presentation we signed papers to buy a timeshare to come enjoy a scenic view suite in Maui every other year for the cost of only $11,500.  (Much better than $90.000 at the Westin).  Unfortunately for the timeshare woman, we (I) got cold feet, but not so cold that we didn’t want a timeshare.  Actually V’s feet were never even as warm as mine but he accommodates.

So we went back to Lahaina and visited the Timeshare RESALE salesman (different breed).  He sat in his office waiting for people to come to him, and NO free tours of anything.  We bought his KBC timeshare at a fraction of the other timeshare value – NO points – deed only, and he very generously cancelled our first contract with Diamond Resorts for 3,250 points.  That little tidbit of information plays into a future story.

our newly appointed living room in scenic view room 1132

The next year, our first time as owners, we tried to register to use our KBC timeshare, nobody could find a record that V & M existed, we convinced them that we were real, and we really did own a timeshare there.  The next couple of times we used our KBC timeshare, we walked gingerly past the timeshare updaters.  (That also plays into another post about this saga.)  We didn’t want to run into the poor sales woman who was so sweet, and bought our breakfast, and dinner.

The open lobby is filled with gentle breezes, birds chirping and sunburned people year-round.

This is our third visit here.  We loved the place.  It is large, newly furnished and upgraded.  It is not a new hotel.  They are not building many any of those now. KBC used to be Embassy Suites.  There are some downsides – sort of.  KBC doesn’t have a full kitchen like our Westin timeshare experience had.  On the other hand, it didn’t cost $90,000 per week.  It comes with a sink, full refrigerator and electric cooking equipment.  Do you know how much V and I wanted to cook in Hawaii?

our kitchen/dining room area

We have our favorite restaurants, and we try not to eat so much that all we do is eat and sleep.  Believe me that is hard!!!  We use the microwave, but we really don’t miss the stove.  If you have a large family, love to cook, and want to timeshare travel, I would recommend a different resort.  If you do like to cook, and many people are whizzes on the electric frypan, then go to Costco on the way from the airport.  Many people do – we got stuck in the parking lot, and thought we’d never get out.  Costco obviously didn’t contact a feng shui when they designed their parking lot in Maui.

The bedroom opens up to the living area as well as the bath area.

We purchased the one bedroom unit, no frills, no added benefits, no bringing friends or relatives at the same time.  But the bedroom is large and comfortable. This was the best shot I took to get an idea of the layout of the entire suite.  To the right of the dresser is a nice desk looking out on the scenic view, which by the way is a lot less expensive than the ocean view.  Both the closet door and the bathroom door go into the bathroom, so you can access your clothes from the bathroom – a VERY handy feature.

We both loved the bathroom.  I know, who wants to spend time in THERE when you are on a vacation?  Trust me when you come back with your swimming suit filled to the brim with sand because you can’t stand up in the surf, you appreciate the shower.  When you not only can’t stand in the surf, but you can’t get up once you get down, and pounding waves from all directions polish you like a rock or a shell before they toss you out of harm’s way, you appreciate a deep soaking tub.  When you go horseback riding, and can barely get off the poor, sweaty animal, foggily clinging to it until you can stand on your own two whatever they are… You get the picture.  The bathroom takes on importance in gigantic proportions.

Notice the ubiquitous abizias in the foreground. I labeled our room on this trip.

There’s a lot more to tell about this story than you want to read tonight.  However, I warn you, I took notes while I was there, so I wouldn’t forget so much.

Do you want to hear the rest of the story?