From Seattle Washington to Maui The High Council and crew packs up the gear to get going on The Gone Snorkeling Tour. It was time to leave the rainy city and get to better weather on the island.
Things I’ve learned. Pidgin is an official language of Hawaii and I was asked a few things that I didn’t understand in it.
Shaka - you've heard of it. It looks like the time you show your “hanging loose” with those two fingers pointing out from the sides giving a gesturely wave. Rather thinking about it as some beach bros catching waves, its mostly used when showing some of that Aloha love and giving thanks, and for the allowing vehicles to pass you on one lane, (or small lane) roads. We even saw a little boy sitting on the hood on a truck, giving us the shaka when we started rounding a corner. One of the coolest and cutest things to witness.
Maui’s dance floor situation is a weird one. This footloose scenario is really only surrounding around establishments that serve liquor. If you run a bar, you will have to have the right permits to allow dancing inside, AND you will have to have a designated spot where dancing is allowed, and you are not allowed to have drinks on the dance floor. So no drinking and dancing at the same time.
Also, shave ice and poke bowls are a thing!
Located near Lahaina on the western part of Maui sits Olowalu campground and that’s where we set up camp for the week. Equipped with outdoor showers and a restroom space with running water, there are also spaces for your tents or if you be getting fancy - private Bungalows! You can even hang up your hammock in a specific area near the beach if you want to sleep outside. There are plenty of options here. This campground is definitely not a campground for parties though. Most of the people camping here go to bed around when the sun goes down. It’s a place for people who are trying to keep it low key.
With a rental van, a trailer and an Uncle Matty, we were set for the shows ahead.
Paia offered us a whole lot of fun! From THC playing a surprise beach show at Baldwin Beach, to the playing again at an open mic at a place called Charley’s on another night. We even bumped into Owen Wilson at a kids Halloween party called Skull Fest at a skate park youth center and we got him shooting hoops with us on court for a very brief moment.
Lahaina Pali Trail
This is the view from below the trail from the road.
This is the view from the top of the trailhead!
One morning at 4:00 a.m. there were 3 of us that got out from our tents and sleeping bags, (Only kidding about the sleeping bags, Maui was too hot for that nonsense) and headed out to Lahaina Pali Trail. We read it was a strenuous hike, 1600 ft. in 2.5 miles. This trail was really beautiful with its volcanic rocky course, making it a bit on the difficult side (Wear good shoes!).
Walking back down the trail is just as hard are walking up, I had to watch out for any ankle twisting rocks and my footing placement. I realized it was best to not rush my way down.
There are many ways that this trail can be hiked.
TIPS:– If you want to hike the whole trail, you’ve got three choices: 10 mile strenuous hike out-and-back, (5 mile hike) you would need two cars (drop one at the ending trailhead), or hitch-hike the return.
– If you’re not hiking the whole trail, you need to decide which side to hike.
– If doing half or less, I suggest the Maalaea side since the views of the central valley, Haleakala and the Maalaea coastline are absolutely breathtaking. As you ascend on the Maalaea side the view just gets better and better. The panorama eventually opens to both coasts of the central isthmus, and is more stunning every time you stop.
– During whale season you’re likely to see whales on the Ukumehame side.
– If you’re parking at the Maalaea side, you don’t have to park on the highway, you can go through the gates and drive up to a dedicated trail parking area.
When reaching the top view point you get a glorious view of the windmills, where you actually get to stand in the middle of the row of them that goes up and down the ridge.
The THC showing up at Casanova was a real treat for everyone. When we got there, chickens, a rooster and baby chics claimed to share space with people walking or sitting right by and even with the sweetest dog in the pack, Beso.
There was a handful of surprise guests that night that came out to see The High Council. Some who came to dance, and some who ended up performing and creating art in their own ways. From a live painting from Spencer Sinner, and two lyrical flowing brothers that gave us a piece of them while on that stage, Jack Newman and Matteo Borracho.
An afternoon in Lahaina
We all packed into the van and headed to Lahaina to explore that area. The sun was out, the vibes were high, along with our appetites.
Paia Fishmarket Front Street Restaurant
We all ordered something a little different and all of it smelled, looked and tasted just as good as I was hoping for. I got the fish quesadilla and honestly, SUPER honestly, it was one of the best things I have ever ate, and something I had never thought of doing before. Fish in a quesadilla… duh!
Banyan Tree Court
Maui's oldest living banyan tree is located here in Lahanina.
There are branches that criss cross over each other, intertwining like natures Twizzlers.
There were benches that surround the court, each one filled with people who had gaze and in their eyes.
Before leaving we all grabbed some smoothies, frozen yogurt and dole whips before trying on hats on at a hat store (go figure), and grabbed up some snorkeling gear to go!
(Back) Road To Hana
Although the Road to Hana sounds like it comes from a Hawaiian fairy tale, its also nicknamed the divorce highway to some. The breathtaking views are everything you’d think, but sometimes those unexpected hairpin turns and road roller coasters also can take your breath away.
Things to see on the Hana Highway consist of side of the road fruit stands to waterfalls above and below bridges, and many stops to get out and catch some fresh Maui air.
Jeepers creepers, half of the vehicles on the road were Jeeps! It’s definitely the touristy thing to do and a good get around vehicle to have. We couldn’t fit the 7 of us in a Jeep, but squeezing into one van was worth it (1 less car on the road!). We even had a fun guessing game that we were playing, the next vehicle to come around the corner, Jeep or no Jeep.
When yellow signage appears that says “BLOW HORN”. honks around corners are mandatory. Most times you can’t see around them and at times the road can be hard to squeeze 2 passing vehicles.
Even though the loop around is 52 miles, it’s still an all day driving adventure. In some areas the speed limit goes as low as 5 mph, so we made sure gave ourselves a whole day.
There are plenty of places to stop off at, but some places are hard to find, GPS is iffy and making sure you don’t go down private property and private roads should be at the forefront of any tourists mind when scouting those magical places on the list. There are not many signs that tell you to pull over to check out this sighting or that sighting, so its up to you to do the research before getting to that pretty piece of paradise. Here is a very helpful
Kicking it in Kihei
There is a clear winner to where the best food spot was, and it was called the Kihei Caffe. A very small space to order food, and all outdoor seating. With traditional dishes like the Loco Moco and the Papaya delight, this place is hard to screw up.
Maui's Local Dive Bar
With it being the last night in town, and the last show to play, we were all pretty burnt out, but very excited. After all, it was Halloween night! The place was far the best show yet.
Bonus Feature. Zach likes to eat.
I went on a weekend trip to Amsterdam in late June. The middle of summer never felt so good!
I was graciously invited to stay with some friends I had met back last year in Thailand. Stefan + Romy, who are a power couple with strong individual traits and ambitions. It seemed like everyone that I got introduced to in their circle was living off of their dreams and aspirations. I was in love with Amsterdams people.
I have so much love for these two lovely beings for inviting me into their home, for making me coffee, for giving me a bed to sleep in and a place to rest.
I spent so much time walking up and down this park, I had many adventures within adventures. There were so many paths to different areas of the park, so many that I got turned around a few times. I found a small bridge with locks clamped all across it, to a huge botanical garden, to a stage like amphitheater that led me into a impromptu jam session with two guys who mostly spoke dutch, with a group of guys break dancing to our music, with another group of people doing karate, while another group was doing their group exercises. It felt like everyone was so active in participating in this thing called life.
It’s funny, because I met this lady on the same trip in Thailand. She and my power couple above both live in Amsterdam and I was so lucky to see my lovely Chanti! We now have been able to see each other in Thailand, Paris, Washington State (home state!) and now hers in Amsterdam!
I met her at her lovely home, where plants, and her beautiful feminine energy surrounded these walls. where she shared and taught me about Tonys chocolate (The best slave free chocolate there is). We we were able to catch up with each other here and it was the begining of a beautiful day.
We then went out to sit and sip coffee outside at STROOM, (highly recommended!) then went on a walk where we happened upon a shop where a cat was on the counter, sprawled out and happy to be there and happy to be pet. I would never see such a thing in the States, where health inspectors would immediately close up shop on the owners.
Amsterdam has a history on cats. They love em so much that cats are regulars in bars and cafes, and they even have a cafe dedicated to cats. Because Amsterdam is built on and around canals, there is such a thing as a rat problem, where cats will gladly keep them out of sight. I guess seeing a car inside a store front is much better for business then a rat.
We were getting hungry then happened upon our traditional meal together - a Toasti. (In Thailand we couldn’t get enough of these. Toasti = Grilled cheese)
When then went to strolled through the nearby market that as outside between time-honored traditional buildings. We walked around another park nearby with turtles hanging out in the pond, took a few photos in front of the I Amsterdam sign, and last but not least, ate some delicious desserts together before parting ways.
On my last day in town my canal boat tour ride got canceled. There was already a rainstorm that came through earlier that day when I was eating lunch, and when I went back to go on my canal tour, I was told that they had to cancel due to the weather. I started my walk down one of the main streets, to nowhere particular. That is when another rainstorm came over again. This time pedestrians getting under an awning outside store fronts shops.
These two gentlemen and I stood in with each other in conversation. We somehow got onto the topic of a rather controversial topic, one that I had never heard of.
We stood with each other in conversation as the rain came down. We somehow got onto the topic of a rather controversial topic, one that I had never heard of before. A traditional holiday festivities by dressing up as St. Nicholas and his "assistant," Black Pete.
Yes, it’s still a thing! Not a popular thing, but it’s still a thing….
Afterwards we got a few traditional Dutch tapas called Bitterbal. - (tapas: Americas version of appetizer). Bitterbal contains either a beef or veal sauce inside that sits inside the deep friend breadcrumb coated bar food treat.
I arrived pretty early in the day, On my last day I did some searching for an art district people kept pointing me towards. The only thing I was able to find was this building with some graffiti on it. Luckily I was near the Red Light District, so I thought it was a good time to go check that out. It was still light out, and not much action was going on. I walked in front of a prostitution museum and learned the in's and outs and basics and dangers of being a legal prostitute in the Red Light District. The cost of the museum was called Red Light Secrets and a walk up ticket was around $13 USD. I think it was way worth it. When I got done, it was still not popping off with people and or ladies in windows, so I headed to a “coffee shop” to get myself a traditional pre-roll and delicious tea from The Bulldog.
Travel tip - Coffee Shop doesn’t serve coffee, they serve marijuana you can smoke in store, along with non alcoholic drinks. I hear bars are usually placed right next doors of coffee shops, but they are not legally allowed to serve both marijuana and alcohol in the same venue. If you want coffee, you want to look for a cafe.
I noticed that Amsterdam has a sweet tooth. There were places that were open late and always had a line of people funneling out of them. Last year where I left Paris last without eating a crepe I felt devastated (okay a bit dramatic… I know) I didn’t want to leave Amsterdam without eating a bouquet of chocolate churros. So I caved and bought some. Of course it was so big I couldn’t finish it alone!
Bucket list destination checked off the list!
Sw0mp & Cr0cumstance
An East Bay Party. Argued the best way to party.