M is for Maui
My wife and I have not taken a trip by ourselves since our eldest daughter was born 24 years ago. Therefore, last Summer my wife asked me to plan a trip for us, and I readily agreed. Immediately after the regular school year was over, Between the end of my regular school year and a Summer school program I facilitated, I wasn’t able to plan ahead of time. Hence, I ended planning a trip to Maui, Hawaii, two days before our departure date. This is very unlike me, since I’m very OCD. However, I was blessed to find a peaceful bed & breakfast in an old plantation in Haiku.
Located in the Central Pacific Ocean, Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island at 727.2 square miles (1,883 Km2). Volcanic Haleakala is the highest point, and is found at Haleakala National Park, which is definitely worth the drive up. In my humble opinion, Maui is a glimpse of Heaven, with its diverse ecosystems, glorious landscapes, and rich culture.
Every morning, we would start off the day with a healthy breakfast of locally grown fruits, handmade breads, and Kona coffee. The friendly conversations around the table with people from literally all over the world were a treat as well. Then, we’d pack our lunch for the day, get in our little rental car, and get on Hana Highway with our map and guide book in hand. Everyday was literally a new adventure, as we explored every breathtaking area of the island!
The island is named after Demi-God Maui. According to legend, the days were short in ancient times, so crops took a long time to grow. Maui’s mother complained, so he decided to correct the situation. He climbed Mount Haleakala, trapped the sun with his net, and convinced him to slow down its course. This is why sugar canes can be cultivated in the island. (Some even say this is why the island’s shape resembles Maui’s head, neck, and body.)
Although no longer it’s main source of income, Maui was once a thriving sugar cane mecca. Two of the principal entrepreneurs were Samuel T. Alexander and Henry P. Baldwin. In 1869, they bought 12 acres of land and began growing cane around 1869. Although Alexander eventually moved to California, Baldwin remained in Maui, becoming a leader in business, community affairs, and politics. A&B was also eventually involved in many other businesses, including ocean transportation, property management, investments, and more.
A&B is also responsible for the cultural richness of the island. When labor needs exceeded the availability of native Hawaiians, A&E recruited human resources from countries around the world. They organized systematic immigration of laborers from China, the South Sea Islands, Japan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Spain, and Russia, as well as some Germans, Scandinavians, and African Americans.
The highlights were many, such as the inexplicable excitement when we visited Waianapanapa’s black beach or when we found ourselves surrounded by a flotilla of sea turtles at Keawakapu Beach. The food and beverages at the various restaurants se visited were delectable too, with it poke, varied Mahi dishes, pineapple wine, and much more. Of course we did a little shopping too, and had to purchase an authentic Hawaiian shirt in charming Paia.
Anyway, I could probably keep going on and on about our exciting 5 day trip, but I don’t want to bore you. As you can see above, I was so inspired by our trip, that it was reflected in my artwork too. Hope you enjoyed my little tribute to Maui, Hawaii… Aloha!