Maui, Haleakala Crater, Big Beach

Our return flight from New York City to San Francisco was without any problem. We returned to our apartment and I went to work following day. Everything seemed all right, the work for a customer I did few days before we left San Francisco was correct and the most important parts were done. Such an ideal situation after the first part of my vacation. However, before we return back to the Czech Republic we also planned a small trip to Maui with my girlfriend and Thursday, a week ago, seemed as a nice day to start being excited. There were some other import tasks I had to cope with, but I was sure I could handle everything on time.

A very nice moment was when Jaroslav Gergic came at my desk and when we had a quick conversation about recent activities. There was also possible to meet Zdenek Svoboda. Together with Ondrej Matustik and Jaroslav Gergic they were available for a series of leadership meetings in San Francisco office. They asked me about my Hawaiian trip and because I would be there when they were going to leave San Francisco, there was also a proposal to have a beer together. The best day for that was Thursday. I had some ideas about Indian cuisine, but I had been told, they experienced this kind of food day before. Fortunately Pepa Vitek recommended a great place with full of Asian food. Sounded like a great idea and after our work was done, we went there. Also Petr Cvengros joined us and I would say we had another great evening.

Not only because of my Vietnamese Pho order after a long time, but we also shared some interesting point of views. After our dinner we went to a very special restaurant. Uniqueness was in a long history there. Also Jack Kerouac enjoyed that place a long time ago as we did on Friday, despite the fact I was the only one in our group who had to show an ID. We ordered some beer and continued with our conversation. There were some people who spoke very loudly. The more alcohol we drank, the less we care about. Beer was good. Zdenek Svoboda had been surprised with the taste of his pilsner, but he reminded very quickly he ordered a different kind of beer. When we finished our first glasses, Zdenek and Jarda went home. We ordered some new beer for us. What a surprise was a moment when a waitress brought 5 glasses of beer instead of 3. However, we shared the rest of the beer with Pepa and Petr and everything was all right.

On Friday my plan was to finish everything important before my Maui vacation. I was also wondering when would be the best day to have a goodbye party with Pepa Vitek and Petr Cvengros. They also planned a vocational trip to Hawaii scheduled on following Friday and there was also a business trip to Boston for them on Thursday. We decided to have a party in our apartment on Friday last week. The only consideration was how to move some pots from point A to B. There was still lots of worries for Boston and a horrible pot attack from the last week. However, for the same reason their business trip was cancelled and we decided to prepare our goodbye party on following Thursday. I finished my work and before I left the office, Holly and Cindy came to my desk and wished me all the best and reminded me suncream I could not forget to use. I went home to prepare everything for the flight. It was scheduled on Sunday, at 7am from Oakland airport.

However, we had to wake up very early on Saturday. We had booked a taxi from our apartment to that airport and our things had been packed. Everything what was necessary to do was just wake up. We had also a quick breakfast before we left apartment. The taxi had been there on time. We just waited for a while for Helca. She reminded to take some pills with us. Afterwards we had a night trip through Oakland. We had seen both stadiums there and arrived at the airport after half an hour approximately. We found Alaska kiosk quite easily. Took our flight tickets and went through the security. Everything was all right. The only interesting thing was the fact that one of these security officer was a novice probably, because he didn’t know he had to take a laptop out of a luggage. Based of my recent few flights, I had everything prepared correctly and without any problem we could go at our gate to wait for a boarding and departure.

The flight was also without any problem. Cabin crew had uniform reminded us we were flight to Hawaii. It was quite long trip. There was possible to order some special drink Mai Tai, a speciality from Hawaii. I really wanted to try it, but it contained some alcohol and we planned to rent a car, so I had to be satisfied just with some water. A very nice thing was the time shift between San Francisco and Hawaii. San Francisco is about 3 hours ahead of Hawaii, so we landed and had still early morning in Maui. I put my jacket on, but a guy on plane told me there is no need to wear a jacket in Hawaii. Our first steps went to Enterprise car rental place. There was a plan to rent a car for just a day, travelled and enjoyed as much of Maui as possible before a check in our hotel. It was schedule on 4pm and we had more than 5 hours to enjoy. To rent a car was surprisingly a very easy task. They just checked my driving license, we paid some deposit and that was it. We could take our car. I was a little bit afraid of because the last time I drove a car was 2 years ago in New Zealand. Fortunately I didn’t forget everything and after some first steps everything was all right. We got a very nice car and I decided to do my best to return it without any scratch.

We had no strict plan, we just drove somewhere and coincidentally we were on the way to Maalaea. After 20 minutes of drive we were there and decided to have a quick lunch over there. We parked there and ordered some food. The car park was a little bit far from that bistro and I decided to park our car closer to that place. When we finished our lunch and return to our car and continued to a Scenic overlook near that place. Such an extraordinary view all around was waiting for us. Unfortunately it was quite late to observe whales from coastline. We kept driving and through Lahaina, Kaanapali , Kapalua, Wailuku we were returning back to Kahului where our hotel situated (a place closed to the airport). However, there was a significant part of the road which was very narrow. Just a one lane road which caused some troubles sometimes. Fortunately we coped with everything and the whole trip was amazing.

We arrived in our hotel on time. Accommodation was all right. We dropped all of our things and returned to our car to keep exploring the island. Unfortunately it started to be quite late. We just had a chance to explore Kanaha Beach Park, Baldwin Beach Park and Hookipa Beach Park. There were quite long distance among these places, but we explored everything before getting dark. Quite interesting was to observe drivers of pick up cars how they took some passengers back on the trunks. Hookipa Beach Park was a place ideal for surfers. There were lots of them and was also very interesting to observe them. Before we returned back to our hotel, we needed to do some shopping, ate a dinner and returned our car. We took all our things and returned our car. They had promised us they drop us at our hotel. We had lots of stuff with us because we counted with it. The man who took the car didn’t know anything about this promise from the morning, but he asked one of his colleague to drop us at our hotel. We were really appreciated and the first day was very successful.

The second day we decided to spend on the beach. We took our stuff and went to Kanaha Beach Park. We used a lot of suncream and also swam in the ocean. The water was quite warm, what was a great thing. We had a great time there. The beach was quite close to the airport so it was quite great chance to observe planes during their take offs as well as helicopters on their sightseeing trips. There were quite few people and we could enjoy the beach all day long. We returned to our hotel late afternoon and for the rest of the day we just relaxed. For the next day we planned to have some adventures. For this purpose it was necessary to have a car. Before we left the hotel we also booked some snorkeling for the last day. We wanted to rent a car at the Enterprise close to our hotel, but there was not possible to use a shuttle from there to the airport. As a better choice we just took a taxi and went to the exactly same place as we rented a car during the first day. The staff there remembered us and we rent a very similar model as we had the first day without any problem.

We returned to our city to have a break and not long from then we were driving to Haleakala National Park. The trip was all right. The only problem was a very curved road and we had to pay a lot of attention. However, the entrance to the park was for free of charge that day what was a great thing. We kept driving up to the overlook to the Haleakala Crater. We spent more than 1 hour there, but it was amazing. There were two places closed to each other from where was possible to observe the environment. From the higher one was possible to observe also the Big Island of Hawaii. The crater itself was very nice. A very special terrain all around confirmed us it had been a worth visit. There was also possible to see some horses as well as visit the visitor center. It closed at 3pm, but we had a stop there before we reached the summit (the higher point) and bought some stuff there. The interesting thing was the fact about Mount Everest. It is the highest mountain above the sea level, but in fact there are 3 mountains taller than Mt. Everest. The reason is the lower part is under the sea. There was quite cold all round and fortunately we had some better clothes for this occasion, better ones than just a pair of shorts. When we enjoyed walking around the park, we returned back to our car and went back to home. Our dinner was at a very special Thai restaurant recommended also by some ministers of Thailand.

The next day we had to wake up very early due to our snorkeling experience. We had some troubles with our alarms, but fortunately we woke up and were in Maalaea on time. The place was close to the one where we had our lunch during the first day. As a special thing during our check-in procedure we rent a camera suitable for diving. My first question was if we could use this camera in the water because it seemed as a normal camera. The good thing was they had already set the best quality for the water and they were ready to burn everything on a DVD when we returned back from our trip. We waited for a trip and started enjoying the atmosphere over there.

The boat floated a while before we reached Molokini, a place where we started snorkeling. I was a little bit afraid of, but a crew member explained everything and I was sure I could handle it. We also rent a neoprene to keep our bodies warm enough. On our first stop we spent at least 40 minutes, but it was great experience. I saw many fishes and the coral reef. The water was very clear and it was a very nice experience. However, there was another spot we planned to reach. We returned back to our boat and floated to a different place. During the time on the boat there was a training about various kind of fishes we could see in the water during our experience. One of these fishes had a very long name. Unfortunately I forgot it as well as the place where we had a stop. The great thing was we could see some whales there and there was also a great chance to observe some turtles. The visibility in the water during our second snorkeling was a little bit worse, but there were some great spots to see some beauties of the sea. And I also saw a turtle under the water.

On our way back we had a great lunch on our boat. There were few turtles swimming in the water, but unfortunately no more whales. We returned back around midday, returned the camera and waited for the DVD with our pictures. We also tried a great ice cream over there. I really wanted to go to Hana, unfortunately it was quite late and we decided to spend the rest of the day more southern. We drove to Makena and enjoyed some beaches as Makena Landing, Big Beach and Little Beach. Big Beach was quite interesting place. We also swam in the water there, but it was a little bit dangerous. There were quite big and strong waves. I admire all surfers who can handle their boards in these circumstances. However, I swam in the water there and it was quite fun. There was also a bigger wave which was going to smash us, me and Helca. We survived fortunately. :) The worst thing there was the sand which stuck on our bodies. On the other hand it was very smooth and warm sand which helped us to enjoy the area much more. There was also a walk to Little Beach area. We went there, but we recognized very quickly Little Beach was probably a nude one, because many people were naked there. After we took some photos (without people for sure :) ) and retuned back to Big Beach and to our car afterwards.

We were a little bit tired therefore we drove back to Kahului. We wanted to send some postcards from Hawaii, but the post office had been already close and was quite difficult to find a place where was possible to buy any post stamp. We returned at our hotel, had a deep shower to clean our bodies from sand and went outside to find a place to eat. Quite close to the hotel was a restaurant where we ordered some very delicious food. A surprise there was a fact there were some Czech guys on an organized trip. We just listened to their conversation and enjoyed our food. During the evening there was possible to observe some lizards on walls. There were everywhere there, fortunately not in our room or inside the hotel at all. We returned to our room and went to bed quite early.

Wednesday was the last day on our trip. We woke up very early in the morning and had a breakfast in our room. We started packing our stuff afterwards. We needed to send the postcards therefore I took our car and went to the post office. This time I was successful and all postcards were sent. I also bough some souvenirs from the Walgreens with Hawaiian theme. I returned back to the hotel. Everything was prepared for a successful check-out. We did it and we also returned our car to the place close to the airport. Driver of shuttle bus there dropped us at the airport. We checked-in and took our tickets. The place was quite small and we had a lot of time. After security checking we had a quick stop at the nearest restaurant to have a snack and went at the gate where our flight was scheduled. It was a Hawaiian Airlines connection at this time. I changed my clothes and together with my girlfriend waited for boarding. Everything was all right up to the moment where we could have a take off. There were some technical complications and I hoped it would be much smoother fixing than I experienced on my return back from Portland where I decided to buy a new ticket for sure.

Fortunately the fixing was successful and we could have a great take off. There was some great food on board and they looked after us very well. Hawaiian airlines well done. With some delay we returned back to Oakland around 8.45 pm local time. We used BART and a taxi from Montgomery to our apartment. We left an elevator on Montgomery when a taxi cab stopped. I was sure the guy was waiting for us. The driver was very funny. He was from Kenya originally, but lived in San Francisco for 11 years. For the first moment I thought he was an American, but he made some mistakes in the grammar and I was curious from where he could be. He also knew Czech Republic. He drank lots of vodka from our country and experience lots of situations how people went crazy afterwards. When he dropped us at out place he recommended us to visit some night clubs and bars during the night. However it was great to be back in San Francisco.

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