Saturday, July 26, 2014

That’s new

That old familiar crow broke the silence just before dawn.  At first it seemed the same song, but for the first time we heard a chorus of back-up singers issuing low clucks.  “That’s new,” Greg declared brightly and then promptly fell back asleep.  I dozed a bit but kept an eye on the clock, I wanted to get out for a run by 6, but it wasn’t quite light yet.  I stretched and took my time, not wanting to run in a new area in the dark.  The sky was overcast, but it was clearly daylight when I headed out the door at 6:15.

Maui is not new to us, yet it is delightful to discover that we can still find novelty in the familiar.  One example is the beach walk, we’ve walked it a few times during our previous trips, I hold certain stretches in my memory but running it this morning was a whole new experience.  My first mile is usually my slowest.  Back home it is also uphill so I use it to warm up and normally run it in 10 or 11 minutes.  Today’s first mile was over level ground through our Honokowai neighborhood and was in the 9 minute range.  I was feeling unstoppable when I came to the beach walk.  Before I knew it I was at the Ka’anapali beach park, where Greg and I have snorkeled on previous trips, I had no idea it was that close, only 1.62 miles from our condo. We’ll be able to walk there once we turn in the car, if we want a different snorkeling experience than what the waters in front of the condo.  Another delight of the beach park, drinking fountain!  I have yet to carry water with me on a run.  I am of the opinion that if I have to carry food or water with me on a run then it is too far!  We’ll see if my opinion shifts on that as time goes by.  However I have started to seek out runs during the summertime, that offer one or two water fountains.  In Claremont, the Thompson Creek Trail run I’ve been doing offers two glorious water stops.  So I was delighted to find one early-on during this jaunt.

Most of the path was along the beach, glorious views of the ocean stretched out to my right and stunning resorts to my left.  There were some wet spots where over active sprinklers made the path a bit slippery, but I slowed to accommodate the slick surface. Few fellow runners were out at this time, but a few brisk walkers did share the path.  As I passed one lady, she made the face that I commonly see someone dawn if I’m about to step in dog poo, so when I looked from her face to my stride and saw a very large toad about to be squashed by my shoe, I managed to give my bent knee some hang time and kick my back leg forward, effectively playing leap frog and leaving my amphibian friend unharmed.  (When I recounted this tale to Greg later, he commented, “How Crouching Tiger of you!”)  I kept a more careful eye on my path, but with all the beautiful scenery it was hard to keep my busy eyes on the ground. 

At times the shore was cliffy, so the beach path cut up through golf courses and at times through communities of cottages, condos and even through the Sheraton.  It was here when the path wove through some breezeways, past the tennis courts and in front of the hotel, I lost it (the path that is).  I saw no further signs (The previous 2.5 miles had been littered with signs that said, “Beach Walk” with arrows that fatefully pointed me in the right direction).  No matter I was on a sidewalk running parallel with the beach and eventually I would find my way back.  Right at the 3-mile mark, I stumbled onto Whaler’s Village, which was about how far I though I should go today.  I had hoped I would find another drinking fountain here, I am almost sure there should be one, but it is a large shopping area with lots of nooks and crannies, all of which I did not explore.  It was eerie to see these usually bustling shops, all locked up in the early morning, only one speed walking lady window-shopped the deserted center.  I was tempted to do the same but I was rushing to keep up with the first other runner I had seen this morning just ahead of me who looked like she knew where she was going, in fact she did and I emerged from the shopping center back on the beach walk.  This is where I made my u-turn and headed back.  At this point, I encountered more runners, most just starting out, this must be the running rush hour.  This is also where I was met with a headwind, increasingly humid and hot weather, and a growing thirst.  The 3 miles home were thus slower.  Though I found where the beach bath slinked past the Sheraton through a narrow breezeway, I cursed this new route as it went right past the kitchens, which pumped out scents of caramelized sugar, maple syrup, and smoky bacon.  A primal hunger stirred and I swear I could have chewed right threw the chain link fence that separated me from the delightful smells, but I kept jogging. 

It kept getting hotter and I was slick with sweat as I passed through the cottage community again.  Guests taking leisurely morning walks with their coffee smiled at me, whether they pitied or envied my sweat soaked state, I could not tell.  I saw an ice machine that didn’t appear to require a keycard to operate and I momentarily considered filling my sports bra with ice to cool off.  I decided that would be crude and continued on. Back at the beach park, I stopped for water.  Salvation!  The final mile crawled by.  As I cracked open the door the condo, Greg sat straight up in bed, “You’re back!”  I made a b-line for the fridge and the large bottle of cold water I knew to be inside. “I’m going to drink water and walk around the block,” I explained and headed back out the door. The sweat had begun to pour in earnest in our cozy little condo.  Slightly cooled and hydrated, I returned home for a cold shower and a well earned breakfast of banana bread, lilikoi cream cheese, and fresh passion fruit pulp accompanied by a big old cup of coffee consumed on the lanai.

Lessons learned;
1. Next time start the long run before it is light and it might stay cooler and they’ll be less runner traffic on the return trip. 
2. Do reconnaissance on water fountains in Whaler’s Village, there must be at least one.
3. Avoid the Sheraton during the breakfast hours; curse you French toast aroma!
4. Purchase a sweatband.  (I swear I packed one, but I can’t seem to find it.)
5. Watch out for frogs!

Such an eventful morning should be followed by a slow paced day.  A lazy morning (those winds I encountered made for rough seas, so yet again we skipped snorkeling) was spent by the pool reading and was followed by about 15 minutes of house keeping. We swept, wiped down the kitchen and the bathroom and put away our dirty towels, introducing our last set of clean ones.  Laundry is on the horizon but while we still had the car for the afternoon and as temps were reaching the low 90s, we decided to go into Lahaina for some shave ice.  Before we left though, we had to say goodbye to our kind next door neighbors, Paula and Paige (mother and daughter) who kindly donated their unused groceries to us, we wound up with a beautiful watermelon I can’t wait to cut into, among other treasures!  We wish our neighbors safe travels back to British Columbia and are curious to see who will live next door in the coming weeks.  We haven’t had neighbors to our south yet, but we imagine some will arrive any day.

Back on the quest for a cool treat, we decided to go to the much-heralded Ululani's Shave Ice in Lahaina.  Greg got the pineapple and coconut with vanilla ice cream on the bottom; I had passion fruit and mango with coconut ice cream.  The tropical flavors at Ululani's are all made from local fruit juices, so this was a delicious and refreshing afternoon treat.  After our snack, we toured the town window-shopping until dinnertime.  Dinner was at Aloha Mixed Plate, an old favorite.  We both knew what we would order (vegetarian friends, plug your years) I had the coconut shrimp served with a spicy pineapple dipping sauce and Greg ordered the Lau Lau pork wrapped in a taro leaf, wrapped in a banana leaf, wrapped in an enigma! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)  I must mention we made it to dinner during their happy hour so a few $3.50 Mai Tais graced the meal, as well.  

None of this was new, but it was a welcome reminiscence of our previous visits.  One new friend did grace the scene though; we were eating near the lava rock wall which partitions the restaurant from the shore, and a graceful and slender mongoose popped out of the bushes on top of the wall.  I was delighted, I had been looking to see a mongoose on the island ever since I purchased a book called Hawai’i’s Invasive Species on our first trip here.  I had read that mongooses (or mongeese?...again couldn’t help myself…) had been brought to the island to control the rat population in the sugar cane fields.  Of course, then the mongoose population got out of control; they sure are cute though.  This one in particular was hunting geckos and would run back into her bush, rustle around and then search for more food.  She seemed hungry, we soon learned why when she emerged with three little babies right at her heels.  Dinner and a Show!  Thanks Mama Mongoose for showing us your little ones.  That was a new experience and an old favorite all rolled into a fun evening. 

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