Monday, December 31, 2018

Left Maui for New Years in Oakland

We pretty thoroughly crushed Hawaii so when the day came to return home I was content. We talked about the possibility of living here. I really like the Asian/US fusion going on here and if I lived in Hawaii I could get a taste of Japan which I've been missing while still, you know, doing American things like humming the Star Spangled Banner while eating a jumbo hotdog in the back of a pickup truck.

We said our goodbyes to our pretty sweet ocean view room.

I needed to get back to the mainland to make more of America's favorite full bodied lager.

The Hawaiian Airlines lounge at the airport was an embarrassment. Maybe the worst I've ever been in actually, and I've been to some real.. situations.

I opened a fridge hoping to find some beer but it was stocked with these awful little water cups. For shame!

The terrible things I did to JetBlue's mileage program meant that our return trip was also via business class. No big deal. I don't like to brag but I bring the business like a tax abatement.

Signature mai tai welcome dranks!

Today I realized that Hawaiian Airlines First Class Lunch/Dinner is pretty meh.

For my first course I went with the "grilled Mediterranean chicken, quinoa tabbouleh and tzatziki salad." The other choice was a Nicoise salad but I generally avoid those. Most people haven't internalized the je ne sais quoi of the Promenade des Anglais and it shows.

Main course was "soy braised beef short rib with bok choy and wasabi mashed potatoes." Lydia did worse with the "Okinawan sweet potato, kabocha, mushroom, quinoa and provolone cheese burger". We agreed that the sweet potato was pretty much just taro and tasted "taroble".

The food onboard was pretty meh but luckily the drinks were still wet. Dessert was a chilled mini orange cream pie.

When we go on adventures around Christmas time our custom is to return home on New Year's Eve because that's when the tickets are cheapest. We kept that beautiful tradition alive.

We stayed at a hotel in Cupertino, California which was cool. Just knowing that we were close to Apple's headquarters was a little bit exciting, I'm embarrassed to report. There were a few Apple office buildings around which was fun.

The hotel was very aware that this was nerdville, and the room's curtains were decorated with binary. I assume it just says "we didn't change the pillowcases" on repeat.

I was pretty tired after a long journey but I didn't want to just go to bed on New Years Eve. That'd be real lame. So I buzzed my cousin Brendan who lives in Oakland and inquired about the hippy hap. Fortune smiled. He was having a New Year's party at his house and we were invited. Three huzzahs.

In what I think we can all agree was a sign of awesomeness we rented a car just so that we could drive to the party.

All of the fun was had. I got to meet a few of Brendan and Alice's friends and see their house. These guys are people I wish I could see more often. We left the party at like 12:02 because we were having issues keeping our eyes open.

I was forced to return to the grind of making delicious beers but I'd like to think I brought a little bit of aloha back with me.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Bumpy Road to Hana

We booked a bus tour to Hana. It was.. colorful.

Noelani was the name of our condo thing. In Hawaiian it means "heavenly mist". Maui, or our area at least, is like Hawaiian Ladue. Lot of old people, trimmed hedges, and gated communities.

We got an early tour warning sign before ever stepping onto the bus. The tour bus was really late but they wanted you there early. Just like Fiji where if you want something it's island time but if they want something it's now time.

Our guide took obnoxiousness to a lofty new height. He mentioned the cost of living of Hawaii and that we should tip him well multiple times. When he mentioned not being "politically correct" I was expecting some casual racism and he did not disappoint. He was also super rude to the other motorists. We had heard that the drive was unpleasant due to small winding roads, sometimes only wide enough for one car to pass. Our tour company decided that despite this situation they would cram a good size tour bus down it's gullet. The fact that our guide was a douchebag meant that he was frequently playing chicken with other cars on the road. Anytime we met another vehicle head on he would honk and yell and wave his hands at them to get them to reverse back to where our giant vehicle could pass. It was a real mess.

The scenery itself was nice, and periodically escaping our horrible guide made the stops even more serene.

Another aspect adding to the journey's charm was all of the little family businesses along the road.

Some of the business pursuits of the local were nice and quaint. Others were full blown hippy-dippy. There were a few $14 jars of coconut water floating around, for example.

Here are some $18 jars of turmeric hippy magic potion.

I went for the best of both worlds with some turmeric coconut water and with it my chakra energies were fully recharged.

The fences at Jaws were made from the boards of surfers that ran out of turmeric tonic.

Hookipa Beach is a popular surfing spot. I guess the waves can reach 30 feet high.

At one point I tried to catch up on a little sleep on the bus. I was awoken by the sound of our driver cursing someone in a traffic jam with a fire engine stuck behind us. It was especially annoying because the guidebook was talking about  how the drive was stressful but to approach it with aloha love and no honking so that everyone could coexist. This guy was the worst.

We got to see Charles Lindbergh's grave. He repped St. Louis really well by flying the Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic. On the other hand he was a Nazi. I sort of think even-Steven on that one?

Our guide had lots of annoying trivia. In Hawaiian, pipi is cow/beef and pupu is appetizer. So you can go to a restaurant and order pipi pupu. Hardy har har. One thing he did tell us which was kind of awesome was that they had a beef industry in Hawaii and would do cattle drives like they do on the mainland. I think he told us Hawaiian cowboys would drive the cattle into the water and right up onto boat ramps to be taken away. The cowboys had to beat back the resulting shark attacks with bats.

Local kids apparently like to set abandoned cars on fire along the road. Really gives the journey a nice Mad Max flavor.

Our guide pointed out Oprah's property a couple of times. It didn't look any different than the other land but it was a fun fact. I guess Oprah offered to fix the crappy road we'd just barely survived but all the local hippies objected. Keep it crappy!

Our poorly behaved guide was visibly annoyed when I didn't tip him after hopping off the bus. That warmed my heart.

My heart was just too warm so we cooled it off with some Hawaiian style shaved ice at Ululani's Shave Ice. 

Toasted coconut was one of the available toppings which seemed like a good idea.

Hoots were had.