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Kelly's SigMy Story

When I visited Maui for the first time, I went with a friend of mine and we traveled on the "economy" plan.  It was one of those "If it's Friday, this must be Kauai" trips where you visit three islands in a week.  I should tell you up front that I'm a generally positive person.  That trip, however, wasn't the best of times.  As a matter of truth, it was pretty awful.  But do read on.  It has a happy ending.

Our first stop was Honolulu - naturally.  That's what people usually think of when they think of Hawaii.  Diamondhead, the Arizona Memorial, Waikiki.... Me, too.

Well, my first introduction to Hawaii was the cockroaches on the bus that picked up our tour group at Honolulu International Airport on Oahu.  Eew.  Not an auspicious beginning, although we did get a lovely lei and friendly Aloha greeting from our tour operators.  (When I find myself missing Maui too much, I order a lei from the Hawaiian Lei Company.) 

The rest of the Oahu portion of the trip included visits to the Punchbowl, the Arizona Memorial and Don Ho's nightclub -- oh, yeah, and a trip to Hilo Hattie's store to pick up all the souvenirs we could carry in a recently purchased bag made from palm fronds. The joy.

The next leg took us to a very dreary, dark and rainy Hilo on the "Big Island" of Hawaii. While Oahu is the most populated, the island of Hawaii is the largest.  Makes sense to me.  I don't remember too much about that stop, other than it took for freakin' ever to get anywhere because the island was so huge.  I didn't love it either (there were lots of spiders in our hotel).  Although, I will admit that I went back to the Big Island years later -- this time I stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa on the Kona coast -- and it was truly beautiful.  I enjoyed every minute of it. 

The last leg of the trip was Maui.  I didn't have great expectations at this point, based on the first two stops.  We were scheduled to stay at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel.  Our time there was pleasant enough -- apart from my getting dragged up on stage by the performers to "learn" the hula.  Riiiight.  Mostly what I remember was the bloody awful time we had trying to get a tan.  The wind always seemed to come up while we were basking in the midday tropical sun (Did I mention the melanoma?  DON'T DO THIS!).  So, with oil slathered all over us, when the wind picked up every afternoon at what seemed like gale force strength , it was a sticky, scratchy mess.

WAIT!  DON'T LEAVE.  THE STORY GETS HAPPY HERE!

The next time I saw Maui was on the aforementioned trip with my boyfriend.  We were both working for Columbia Pictures TV at the time and he knew a guy who worked at KGMB, the CBS Affiliate in Honolulu.  He owned a condo at the Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, Maui, and said we should give it a try.  I had a rather bad taste in my mouth from the previous trip but decided "what the hey" and decided to give it another go.

What a difference a couple of years can make.  Maybe it was my romantic frame of mind, or maybe it was just Maui taking over, but I was smitten as soon as we walked into his condo.  It was lovely...a pretty, typical Maui condo, with pastel tropical prints and bamboo furniture. And right smack on the beach.  I couldn't have loved it more. (Classic Vacations website has a nice virtual tour of the Whaler here.)

First Trip to Maui

The view was spectacular - coincidentally, it overlooked the Kaanapali Beach Hotel from my first visit, but was high enough to literally overlook the hotel.  We were several stories up (8th floor, if I recall) and didn't even notice the hotel far beneath our lanai.

Well, it got better from there.  I saw a breaching humpback whale while I was sitting on the lanai (the video on the left indicates what they look like and sound like if you're not familiar with Humpbacks.). 

We enjoyed beautiful sunsets, piña coladas and walks along the gorgeous Kaanapali Beach...and then we got married.

What!?


After that, I made sure to come back to Maui every year or two, always staying at the Whaler (but switching to the other Tower and making sure I had a room facing the courtyard -- same beautiful view, but with a lovely courtyard and koi pond below, rather than the hotel next door!)

Anyway...thus began my love affair with Maui.  It took several more trips before I realized this was my home.  Then I just had to figure out how to get there permanently.