It takes about 20-25 minutes to board the plane to Maui. It takes 20-25 minutes to deplane. All for a 20-minute flight. They had beverage service on this plane, with 4 oz. cups of water, the type with a foil seal on top. I really don’t see why they bothered for a 20-minute flight, but oh well, they did. We take the shuttle to the car rental place, get our car, and head off for the Four Seasons Wailea where we’ll be staying. The valet takes our car, and tells us that the bellman will bring our bags to the room. We are greeted by a woman who gives us leis, tells us that she’s happy we are spending our anniversary with them, and asks how long we’ve been married. She’s impressed when we say it’s been 30 years. She asks us to wait about 5 feet from the front desk. She speaks to the clerk for a moment, and then I see her talking into her mouthpiece. The front desk clerk congratulates us on our 30th anniversary, and takes care of the necessary paperwork. He gives us directions to our room, and we walk down to the elevators. After emerging on the 4th floor, we begin an incredibly long walk to our room. My strides are about 4 feet in length, and it takes 207 of them to reach our room. As we walk down the long hall, it reminds me of The Shining.
The long walk is worth it, however, as our room here is larger in square footage than our 2-bedroom Boston apartment! We enter the room, which has walk-in closets along the entryway, and a secondary full bathroom. This empties into the dining area, which has a table with four chairs, as well as a small refrigerator, the mini bar and a coffee pot. There is a complimentary bottle of champagne on the table to greet us. The dining area continues into the living room area, with a large sectional couch, a 60-inch flat screen TV, and sliding doors that lead out onto a lanai, or outside seating area. We are on the garden level, and outside our room is a beautiful garden, with the ocean beyond. We pass into the bedroom, which is enormous, and the main bathroom, with is nearly the size of our bedroom at home. The area outside the bathroom has bureaus and another walk-in closet. There are sliding doors in this room as well, leading out to a second lanai. The doorbell rings, and I open it for the bellman. He comes in, wishes us a happy 30th anniversary, and places our bags down.
After we unpack and settle in for a bit, we head down to one of the hotel restaurants, Ferraro’s for a late lunch. K has what she calls “the best Nicoise salad I’ve ever eaten” with fresh rare tuna, and I have a grilled Mahi-Mahi sandwich. The fries that accompany it are amazing. We walk around the hotel to get the lay of the land, sit and watch another amazing Hawaiian sunset, and retreat to our room. As we are tired and don’t wish to deal with driving anywhere or dealing with anyone, we get a very good room service dinner and hit the hay.
We get up, have some coffee in our room, and head down to the beach for some snorkeling. The beach is already crowded, much more so than we’re used to in Bonaire, but the beach guy gets us some chairs, and we gather our equipment and head into the water. An example of the crazy service that the Four Seasons provides, is that they water down the sand at the top of the slope to the beach, so that you don’t burn your feet as you approach the beach!
There is some nice coral here, but not a lot of fish. We do see 5-6 turtles, however, and they are as mellow as all the turtles we’ve encountered in Hawaii. I am following one turtle with the camera around the left of a coral head, when I notice an enormous turtle swimming towards me from the right side of the coral. I immediately switch my focus to him, and I know it’s a male by the size of his tail, and start filming as he slowly moves past us. I get some great footage of him as he swims around us. K finds a nice white mouth moray, and we decide to head in and sit on the beach for a while. As we are exiting, K, with her fins in one hand, and mask in the other, is hit by a rogue wave, and I see her fins go flying out of her hand and into the water. At first, she is very upset, as these are her favorite fins, which we purchased in Bonaire just last year, but almost immediately, a group of people on the beach start scouring the water for her fins. Within a few moments, two different people come up with one fin each, and we thank them profusely. Later a woman loses her sunglasses in the surf, and many of the same people start helping here look for them. I run down as well, as she was one of the women who found K’s fins. Before I can get to the water, however, she’s recovered them herself, and all is well.
In the video below, you can see the first turtle that I followed, only to switch over to this large male. The second part of the video was a turtle at the Coral Garden, which we did later in the week. You can also see what I mean about the visibility of the water.
When we get back to our chairs, we find that they have placed fresh towels on our chairs, and have put a large cooler with ice water, with two plastic cups on the table between the chairs. I head up to the small beach kiosk to get some breakfast for us. As we sit, and enjoy the beautiful view, someone comes by offering us fresh pineapple on a stick. I didn’t know I wanted pineapple on a stick, but it turns out I did, and it’s cold and refreshing. A second employee comes by with cold facecloths scented with eucalyptus. I think I was made for the life of the 1%! We do a second snorkel, but the visibility is worse than before, so we head back in and decide to check out the pools. They have three pools at the Four Seasons, a large all ages pool, a smaller pool made for kids, and a 21+ adult pool, called the Serenity pool. We’re not sure why they call it that, since the adults are all louder, drunker, and more obnoxious that any of the kids in the main or kiddie pools.
We sit at the bar and have some lunch, as well as some tasty Mai-Tai’s. We split a burger and a crispy spicy tuna roll, both excellent. We swim around the Serenity pool for a while, then head back to the room to freshen up. We walk the grounds a bit, and head back to the beach for the champagne event they are having. We get some of the cheapest champagne at $27 a glass, foregoing the $250 a glass ($980 a bottle) Cristal Rose champagne. After that we go back to the room to change for our dinner tonight at Spago, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, and one of four restaurants at the Four Seasons.
Our waiter seems disinterested in everything, but we soldier on and order cocktails and dinner. We should have just ordered the cocktails, but the waiter seemed intent on us ordering our food as well. The apps arrive before our drinks, not a great sign. I have braised pork belly, and K has a hearts of palm salad. K prefers sparkling water, so we get a bottle of that. Knowing we’re paying a premium for the sparkling water, we try to make it last through dinner, so we don’t have to pay for two bottles.
Another server, oblivious to the bottle of sparkling water on the table stops by and promptly fills K glass with tap water. We both said “No!” as he started, but he poured it anyway. He apologized, and quickly returned, with a new glass for K, and second bottle of water. I’m hoping I don’t need to argue about paying for it when the bill comes. I have the tuna steak, and K orders a huge pork chop. The chop is so huge that I get about half of it to supplement my rather small portion of tuna. K has a dessert with banana jam (yuck!), and I have Kona coffee ice cream. Luckily, they don’t charge us for the water, but when you’re in a restaurant with those kinds of prices, I expect better service than we received. Oh well, back to the room, and to bed.
About three weeks prior to our trip, I had started a new octopus tattoo on my left leg. I notice in the morning that the redness that started the day before on some parts of it looks worse, so I hit it with some Bacitracin ointment, pharmacists are always prepared, and we decide to stay out of the water for the day to help my leg. Tattoos must be kept out of pool and ocean water until they are completely healed, which I thought mine was, but I don’t want to take any chances. We decide to do some shopping today, so we head to the nearby town of Kehei for breakfast at Fred’s, a joint that my co-worker M had recommended. K has fried rice, and I get eggs, sausage, and potatoes. We continue up the road to Lahaina to do some shopping.
The road to Lahaina is beautiful as it winds around the Hawaiian coastline. We arrive in town around the same time as a cruise ship, so the streets are packed with waves of humanity. We duck into a jewelry shop that K thinks looks interesting, and she finds something, and I add to my bone necklace collection with a nice carved manta. There’s a craft fair in a square with a giant banyan tree that is fabulous. Loads of wonderful arts and crafts. We buy a small Tiki painting. K sees one more jewelry shop across the street, and we get the last of her anniversary, birthday jewelry. I steer her towards the car to avoid any other jewelers, and we head back to Wailea.
On the road to Lahaina we passed Leoda’s Pie Shop, and we vowed we’d stop for something on the way back. We did, and entered a fast-moving line, and a huge assortment of pies, savory and sweet. We opted for a coconut cream, and pineapple mac-nut pies. The pineapple mac-nut was fantastic. Great crust, and a light filling of pineapple with the nutty crunch of macadamia. Then I tried the coconut cream. This was everything you’d ever want coconut cream pie to be. Ethereally light, with a wonderful fresh coconut flavor, with toasted coconut on top. Perfection. We also had an excellent house made lemonade and unsweetened ice tea.
Close to the Four Seasons on the way back from Lahaina are The Shops at Wailea, and K wants to see what shops are there. She buys some souvenirs, and I get two more Hawaiian shirts, bringing my total to four. We head back to the hotel, have a drink and watch the sunset. We have the Four Seasons car take us to our dinner reservation. Dinner tonight is at Monkeypod, and we have our favorite meal on the trip so far. The cocktails, to start, are very good. Their signature mai tai comes with a lilikoi foam on top. I am sold! We share some great roasted chicken wings. I have tempura style mahi mahi fish and chips, which is awesome, but pales in comparison to K’s smoked tuna steak with jalapeno mashed potatoes. The beautiful tuna is lightly smoked, then seared, still raw in the center. Jalapeno peppers are roasted, then added to the mashed potatoes. Fantastic. We have another round of drinks for dessert, and call for the Four Seasons car to pick us up. We have an early call for a snorkel trip tomorrow to the atoll called Molokini.
We have an early morning wake up, as we need to drive a fair way to Maalaea Harbor where our boat is set to depart. The trade winds are howling, and we’re unsure we’ll be going anywhere today. We arrive at the harbor, park, and find the boat we’ll be taking. The captain tells us that he’s listening to chatter between fisherman and other boats on the waters, and a decision will need to be made whether we go to Molokini, or we even go out at all. We do depart on time, but we won’t be visiting Molokini, as the waves there are 5-6 feet, far too big to safely snorkel. We set sail for the Coral Gardens, north of where we are presently. The trip out is a little rough with the twin hulled catamaran rocking out on the 5-6-foot swells. The Coral Gardens are in a secluded cove, and the water here, while a little rougher than we’re used to, looks manageable. One of the other boats from Maalaea Harbor is also there, Molokini being off the table for everyone today. The visibility is still only so-so, but there is lovely coral here. All the coral in Hawaii is hard coral, so we don’t see the purple tube sponges, or fan coral so prevalent in the Caribbean.
Over the course of the next hour or so, we meander about over the coral, we see four turtles at various depths, two of which come close to us, as other’s here have done. Though it’s expected behavior by now, it’s still thrilling. I was enjoying myself immensely when I saw something that incensed me. Coral is a living animal composed of thousands of tiny creatures living in a hard casing. They exude a slime over themselves to protect themselves from predators as well as viruses and bacteria found in the water. If you touch it, you may cause damage to yourself, and more importantly, you’ll cause major damage to the coral. By exposing it to the environment, you can permanently damage the coral, and even cause the colony to die.
Therefore, I’m incensed to look down and see a snorkeler from the other boat at the bottom peering under a ledge, probably at a turtle, but I’m just looking at him as he’s clutching a small coral head with both hands, and his chest, to keep himself from rising back to the surface as your body wants to do naturally. I know he will have to come up, so I wait near where he’ll surface. K looks back at me and swims a little further away from me, knowing that I have to say something to him. He was more just “Oh well” than combative, when I told him he’d damaged and possibly killed the coral head he was clinging to, and asked him to not touch the coral in the future. One of the other passengers thanked me when we were all back on the boat. It’s a fragile world, take only pictures, leave only footprints. We all get ready for the sail ride back.
If you don’t like boats, this ride was not for you. Waves were breaking over the sides of the boat, with the boat going up and down the six-foot swells. One woman looked concerned as the captain changed to a heavier jacket. He looked down at her and said, “Don’t start worrying until I put on a life vest.” It’s a crazy ride back, and the crew is working hard to keep us moving back to port, with the howling trade winds, and wild seas. We arrive safely, though it was far from the normally relaxing times I have on catamaran sailboats. We head back to the hotel for lunch at Ferraro’s, where we share a hummus plate with grilled veggies, and a prosciutto, arugula, and parmesan pizza. Afterwards, we get a cabana at the main pool.
Exhausted from the boat ride, I fall asleep in the shade of the cabana almost immediately. K enjoys the sun and reads, finally waking me up when she’s had enough. We head back to the room, but our keys are not working. A quick call on the phone in the hall, has someone come up, let us in, and come back very quickly with replacement keys, and apologies. We relax in the room and on the lanai for a while, until it’s time for dinner. Since we’re both still pretty spent from our sailing adventure, we just walk down to the Lobby Lounge in the Four Seasons. It’s very nice, and we have one of the best meals we’ve had in the hotel with tuna poke, fried goat cheese croquettes, and excellent beef sliders. We walk down to the waterfront to catch the end of a talk on navigating by the stars, and then it’s off to bed.
Happy Birthday K! We start K’s birthday with an excellent room service breakfast. English Muffin with peanut butter and a fruit plate for K, Corned Beef hash and eggs for me. Wonderful Kona cold brew iced coffee. K has a massage scheduled this morning, which gives me loads of time to relax, reading a bit and enjoying the ability to do nothing. I’m still trying to go in the water as little as possible for the rest of the trip, so we decide to drive south from the resort to see what’s there. We come across two spots that look promising for snorkeling, and decide to try them tomorrow.
We stop at a roadside stand where the brownest white woman I have ever seen sells us a couple shell bracelets. I guess when you sit out in the sun everyday in a bikini selling jewelry, you’re going to get a wee bit tan. The shells are small snail shells are she tells us they are almost unbreakable. She also has a few puka shells, which we learn are the inside top curls of cone shell, and the waves erode the bigger shell around them to reveal the puka shell inside. These are now quite rare and expensive. As we leave the area, we stop at a small beach called Makena Landing. We sit near the beach, enjoying the beauty and chickens, when a woman shows us a short path which leads to a much smaller, rockier beach. On this beach we see five turtles out of the water sunning themselves. Some are smaller, but several have at least a 3.5-4-foot shell length.
We take a drive towards the airport to check out Tin Roof, Sheldon Simeon’s casual lunch restaurant. We loved Sheldon on Top Chef, and his quick lunch counter food doesn’t disappoint. K has Mochiko chicken, a fried chicken in a sweet and savory sauce with rice, and I have the spicy ahi poke bowl with an added six-minute egg. We’ve read online that some people say it’s not enough food, and I can’t imagine who these people are, as we’re quite full afterwards.
We drive back and stop at the Shops at Wailea, as K wants to find a Hawaiian shirt for herself. We stop at the Tori Richard store, and she finds one she likes, and I get another one, my fifth. We come back to the Four Seasons, and K lounges in the hotel pool, while I have a drink or two at the bar. We head back upstairs to the room to relax and get ready for our big dinner tonight at Morimoto, one of the restaurants of Japan’s Iron Chef Morimoto. We get the resort car service to bring us to Andaz Maui where the restaurant is located. We walk down a series of steps that are beside a series of terraced pools, all the way to the bottom. There must be an elevator somewhere for anyone who couldn’t take all those steps, but there’s none to be seen.
Since we’re not well versed in Japanese cuisine, we opt for the expanded ten course omakase or chef’s choice dinner. We opt for the ten courses over the seven, as the ten includes a course that uses real Japanese wagyu beef. Before the meal begins, a server brings over a large slab of beef on a tray. This is the piece of wagyu that we’ll be getting a small piece of this evening. It comes with an official Japanese certificate showing the grade and classification. Wagyu is graded on a scale of 1-12, and classified as A1-A5. Only grades 8-12 are classified as A5 or the pinnacle of beef. This piece is grade 8, A5. In the lower right-hand side of the certificate is a beef “fingerprint” which shows the fat distribution. This is what makes wagyu special. It is so marbled as to appear pink rather than red. I can’t adequately describe each course in detail, so I’ll just list them with quick thoughts.
Course 1: Toro Tuna belly tartare. Phenomenal fatty tuna belly served on a cold glass plate with accompaniments. The server must tell us how to eat it.
Course 2: Amberjack Hamachi -amazing
Course 3: Vegetables with an anchovy paste and garlic olive oil dipping sauce. The anchovy paste is not fishy at all, and the veggies are uniformly delicious.
Course 4: Egg custard with a steamed oyster with uni and foie gras. I loved this dish, but the steamed oyster is not to K’s liking. She did enjoy the custard, uni and foie gras which she normally doesn’t like very much.
Course 5: Intermezzo of herb sorbet to cleanse the palate
Course 6: Sushi course 5 pieces of sushi, tuna, shad, scallop, fresh water eel, and one other fish I didn’t write down. I enjoyed all the fish, except the eel, which I’ve never loved. K couldn’t eat the eel at all. The real revelation, though was the shad. It had a silver skin, and I was expecting it to be very strong flavored, and it was just mild, delicate, and wonderful.
Course 7: Muscovy duck with roasted veggies. Yum.
Course 8: Surf and Turf. At the beginning of the meal, the server asks us if there’s anything we don’t eat, or are allergic to. We don’t have any food allergies, but I hate bananas, and neither of us likes to eat octopus. Once you’ve experienced these amazing animals in the wild, you don’t want to eat them any longer. I won’t order octopus, but in this type of meal I’ll eat it. K opts to not have any octopus. We each get four thin slices of the wagyu, mine with octopus, K’s with scallop. Neither of us really loves scallops that are cooked, so she’s not happy about that, but the beef is amazing, even though with that kind of quality, I think having it as a carpaccio would be even better.
Course 9: First dessert, a French macaron with marshmallow and tropical fruit filling.
Course 10: Final course, a mélange of lime pudding, tapioca pearls, coconut, and mango. A fabulous way to end the meal.
Two funny stories to tell about the meal. We started late, at 8 PM, so by the time we got to course 5 or 6, the restaurant was basically empty, with just us and a table or two left. The waiter came by to ask that since it was our anniversary, and the restaurant was empty, if we wanted him to re-arrange the table so we could eat the rest of our meal sitting next to one another. I told him that we were happy the way we were, as it was our 30th, not our second. Lastly when we were almost done, and were the only people left in the place, the two older Japanese sushi chefs were breaking down their stations in the front of the kitchen. There was just an aisle and stools at the sushi bar that separated us. The guys in the back who were cooking the hot food were getting a little louder when one says “Yeah, I really wanted that trucker hat, but the guy wanted twenty-five fucking dollars for it and…” He’s stopped by a whack on the arm by the older sushi chef, who motions with a finger to lips “Ssshh!” and then points towards us. Chastened, the cook stops talking, and we don’t hear him again while we’re in the restaurant.
We slowly tackle the staircases back up, loaded down with food. The restaurant has called ahead to the Four Seasons to have the car come and get us. They may grow old as they wait for us to negotiate these stairs, but that’s what they’re getting paid for. We finally make it back to the street level, and are picked up and driven back to the Four Seasons, where we quickly fall asleep.
We decide to drive back south, and snorkel the secluded area we saw yesterday. The browned woman we bought the necklaces from yesterday had told us it was some of the best snorkeling on Maui. We park in a small lot near the beach, and walk down. Getting in the water is a little dicey, as the surf is heavy, but once we are in the area has lots of nice coral and fish. It is one of the few spots where we don’t see any turtles, however.
We head back to the car, and drive back to Makena Landing to snorkel. The visibility is as poor as any we’ve had, but K still manages to find a small white mouthed moray eel, and of course we follow a turtle about for a short while. The beach where we saw turtles yesterday is empty, but it’s before noon, and the sun isn’t high enough to provide warming yet. We head back to the hotel to relax for a while before our lunch reservation at Mama’s Fish House on the other side of the island at the beginning of the road to Hana. The road to Hana is nearly 65 miles long with 600 curves and 54 bridges. Due to the undulating nature of the road, it takes over 3 hours to traverse it’s 65 miles! We have already decided not to do this, as I don’t want to spend 7 hours nervously worried that I might drive off a mountain road. I say 7 hours, as you must come back the same way.
Luckily Mama’s Fish House is only a mile or so onto the road to Hana, and it’s situated well before the road gets too hairy. We arrive a bit early, to a well-oiled machine. Valets take your vehicle when you drive up. This is a free service, and it’s in place only to keep the traffic moving in and out at a good pace. We check in, but since we are a bit early, our table isn’t quite ready. We walk down to the beach that the restaurant sits on, and we can see a large turtle in the shallows eating. We watch him for a while, then head in to be seated.
The restaurant has indoor and covered outdoor seating, and we are seated in the outside section. We have some excellent Mai tai’s and start our lunch with a trio of sashimi, ono, tuna, and onago. The onago is served with an onion jam. Our waiter tells us to eat it from left to right, as the onago is last, and is the sweetest, due to the onion jam. All three are fantastic. Next are crispy mahi mahi tempura rolls, sort of a fish egg roll with tempura batter, also excellent. Next is the lunch special of papia (a local white fish) ceviche with lime juice, coconut, and mixed veggies, served in half a fresh coconut. Words cannot adequately describe how delicious this dish is, easily the best ceviche that I’ve ever eaten.
Next is an intermezzo of Mama’s salad which consists of mixed greens, nuts, strawberries, goat cheese, and hearts of palm. The final savory dish is beef tenderloin, sliced thinly, and tossed with an excellent sauce with tropical fruits, served in a grilled papaya half. We split two desserts, the Black Pearl, a chocolate mousse “pearl” with a lilikoi cream center, housed inside a sugar cookie scallop shell. It’s delicious, but both of us agree that the simple lilikoi crème brulee is far better, even though K generally disdains any crème brulee. Apart from serving the best Mai Tai’s we’ve had in Hawaii, this is by far the finest meal we will end up having on Hawaii.
After lunch, we see signs for the Haleakala Crater, and decide to check it out, spur of the moment. It’s Maui’s highest point at 10,000 feet above sea level. It’s a challenging road to drive with many switchbacks, and tight turns, and it takes us well over an hour and a half to reach the visitor center at 7000 feet. It’s raining, foggy, and very cold up here, especially as we are in t-shirts and shorts, and we use the facilities before asking the staff about the rest of the crater. The trip to the 10,000-foot mark, we’re told will take another 40 minutes or so, and it is supposedly clear on the top. Given how long it will take us to drive up, and back down the mountain, we opt to just head down from the visitor center.
Going down is much faster, and we head across the island to the South Kehei road to get back to the hotel. Though we’re not hungry, we realize we have not had any shaved ice yet, and we stop at a small shop on the South Kehei road to share a lilikoi/coconut shaved ice. We drive down to the beach and watch the sunset, sitting on the sand. It’s time to go, so we perform our annual toe dipping ritual to signify the end of the beach season. We head back to the hotel to get packed up and ready for our departure tomorrow. After packing everything, we have one bag with our clothing and other needs for the two days we’ll spend in San Francisco on the way back. Everything else is placed in the other bags, so that we only must worry about the one bag we’ll need.
We had reservations for Duo, the hotel’s Brazilian style steak house for dinner tonight, but since we loved Monkeypod so much, we change our plans to eat there again instead. K has corn chowder for an appetizer, and I have shrimp and mushroom pot stickers. The special is a 9 oz NY Strip steak, and as K is “fished out”, she orders that. I’ve been dreaming about how good the dish K had when we ate here earlier, and I order that, smoked rare Ahi tuna steak with Jalapeno mashed potatoes. It’s just as amazing as I remember. After several lilikoi mai tai’s, I ask the server if the bartender can make me a Sazerac, my favorite cocktail. He says yes, and they do, but it’s not very good. Not the worst one I’ve ever ben served, but it wasn’t going to crack the top ten, either. We call for the courtesy car, and are whisked back to the Four Seasons for our last night in Hawaii. We crash into bed, not eager to leave tomorrow, but all good things come to an end. I do have one last thing to accomplish in Hawaii, however, and that’s to get the tattoo that I made an appointment for earlier in the year.
We get up and check out of the hotel. We stow our bags with the hotel, and head down to Kehei for breakfast. It’s back to Fred’s for a fortifying pre-tattoo breakfast. After a nice filling meal, we drive down the mile or so to Mid Pacific Tattoo in Kehei. They also have 2 other shops in Lahaina, but I wanted to come to the Kehei shop, because it’s much closer, but more importantly, because I really want to get tattooed by Desmond Alexander as he is a master of Polynesian and Hawaiian tattoo designs. After a brief discussion of what I want, he disappears into the back of the shop. I’m not exactly sure what he’s up to, but after 30-40 minutes, he comes out with a drawing for the stencil.
I am getting a Honu, or sea turtle tattoo in the Polynesian/Hawaiian style. The drawing is awesome, incorporating the traditional Polynesian fish hook design and the Honu. The first stencil is too small, however, and he comes back a few minutes later with a larger version. He has me stand, and he places the stencil on my shin. He looks at it a bunch, mutters under his breath, and then wipes the stencil off. He then reapplies it, slightly differently than the first time. He asks Kaib, the other artist currently in the shop to look at the placement. Kaib asks if he wants his honest opinion, and Desmond says yes. Kaib take a Sharpie, and draws a mark on the top and bottom of the stencil that is about 1/3rd of an inch to the left of where Desmond had placed it. “I see the center line here” says Kaib, and Desmond agrees, wiping off the stencil a final time before reapplying it to everyone’s satisfaction.
I have several tattoos, and Desmond is the quietest artist I’ve ever dealt with before. He never said a word, apart from “move this way” or “stand up for a moment”. After tattooing the stencil lines, basically only the outline of the turtle and hook, Desmond uses a red Sharpie to draw in concentric lines. He then free hands repeating patterns within each line. It’s amazing how he’s capable of repeating the same geometric figures without any sort of guide or stencil. He takes about three nearly silent hours to finish. I’m happy when he’s done, of course, as that’s when the pain stops! I was once told that tattoos should be painful, permanent, and expensive, if all of those three aren’t present, quality cannot be assured.
After being wrapped up in Saran wrap to protect the tattoo, we head over to the shops at Wailea for lunch. We sit down at the bar of the burger place there, enjoy some burgers, beers, and Thursday night football at 2:30 in the afternoon. I could really get used to that. Our flight doesn’t leave until 10 PM, so we have a few hours to kill. We head back to the Four Seasons, where we can use the Hospitality suite, which has comfortable furniture, a TV, and men’s and women’s bathrooms, and shower rooms. After a while, it’s unfortunately time to drive to the airport, drop off the rental car, and get ready for our overnight flight to San Francisco. After passing through several layers of checks to ensure we are not taking any plants or animals off the islands we wait for our plane. When they call for First Class, we head up to the desk. The woman takes my ticket, looks at me and says “I see you’re in First Class. THERE ARE NO PILLOWS OR BLANKETS IN FIRST CLASS ON THIS FLIGHT!” I capitalize, as it was nearly screamed at me, as if it were my fault that these amenities were lacking. I don’t know, “I’m sorry we don’t have pillows or blankets tonight.”, or “Unfortunately, we don’t have pillows or blankets” would have been nicer, but obviously someone skipped out of customer service training at Virgin America. I mean why would anyone need pillows and blankets on an overnight flight anyway? We board and get seated for the six-hour flight to San Francisco.
Friday 10/20 and Saturday 10/21/17
Having flown from Tahiti to Boston in one day in 2011, we decide to wise up, and break up the flight on the way home, by stopping at our friend’s L & A’s house in San Francisco on the way back. Since we arrive so early, around 6:30 am, we Uber to L & A’s house in Noe Valley. We stash our bags that we don’t need in L&A’s garage, as we don’t want to carry all of them up the 60+ stairs to their house. We crash for a few hours, since it was tough sleeping on the plane without pillows or blankets, and then hang out with L & A, and their Portuguese Water Dog Pasteis. L makes us a wonderful dinner on Friday night, and on Saturday we attend a fund raiser at the YMCA in San Francisco where A sits on the board. Afterwards, we enjoy an excellent dinner with L & A, and some of their friends at a restaurant called The Morris. We get back to L & A’s quite late, and we have a very early wake up time tomorrow, as our flight to Boston leaves at 6 AM. I can’t get to sleep, and when we get up at 4 AM, I’ve barely slept a wink. We thank L & A for their hospitality and Uber to the airport. Thankfully there are pillows and blankets, so I can sleep for a while on the plane after breakfast and a Bloody Mary, and we arrive safe and sound in Boston. It was a wonderful trip, and while we may not rush back to Hawaii right away, I would certainly want to visit the islands again in the future.