:Lahaina is pretty much a charming tourist town. Boutiques and bars line all the streets downtown, and since there were two ships in port on Wednesday, everyone was doing a booming business.
Getting off the ship was a challenge. The ships had to anchor out in the harbor, and passengers had to take the tenders in to the dock. There was a four foot swell and it was quite challenging to get the door to the tender, and the ship’s dis-embarkation docks to match up, vertically and horizontally. And on Holland America, we are dealing with folks using canes and walkers. The crew had it down to an art, though. Two sturdy lads stood in the doorway to the tender, and two more stood on the dock,holding firmly to the passenger’s arms. Meanwhile the lad piloting the tender is doing his best to bring the boat close enough to the dock, but not so close that it gets beat to pieces. When the stars align, and the waves are in synch, the crewmen on the dock cry “Now!” and thrust the passenger forward, while the crewmen on the boat pull him into their arms, then steer him to a seat. This works equally well with octogenarian gentlemen, who then get their walkers handed across, folded and stowed till we dock, and with timid three hundred pound grandmas unsteady on their feet and even on the young couple with twins in the stroller. The parents made the crossing, then the crewmen waited patiently, cannily, until just the right moment to swoop the babes and stroller across the frothy gap. The wait left Mom in a nervous collapse, and Dad sweated bullets during the three minutes or so until the transition was safely made. But those crewmen knew their job and had evidently done this sort of thing often before.
Kyle remarked to the parents that there are old sailors and there are bold sailors, but there are no old, bold sailors. Then he pointed out that all for of our crewmen had grey at the temples.
The tender tied up at the dock behind a breakwater, and going ashore was like stepping out of a bus. We stopped at MauiDivers and got a coupon for 50% off on an oyster with a pearl. I always pick the fattest oyster,and wound up with good-sized white twins (maybe 6mm). I was so tickled with them thatI bought another oyster for full price ($14) and got a larger (7mm) white pearl. I do love my pearls!
We wandered around for a while, then stepped into a boutique that took Kyle’s eye. He knows what I like and what I look good in. They had sheer silk jackets printed with various dramatic designs. He talked me into a knee-length one in shades of purple and red with a Geisha on the back and flowers trailing artfully down the front. They had some nice silk aloha shirts and I tried to find one he would like, but nothing appealed to him. He did buy something for himself in the next store, though. The ABC store had clip-on sunglasses that fit over his prescription lenses. Maybe $6. He’s such a big spender!
The second largest banyan tree in the world is in Lahaina. This single tree covers an entire city block,providing shade for all and sundry. There we took photos of some of our fellow passengers and they took photos of us. Then we returned to the ship. luckily, by that time, the swell had abated a bit and we were able to get on board with danger to neither life, limb, nor equilibrium.
That night, we dined in the Canneletto, an Italian themed restaurant on board the ship. It was scarcely half full, and our service was magnifico! We had a waiter and a bus boy all to ourselves. The antipasto was all that one could hope tiny balls of mozzarella, marinated calamari rings, paper thin slices of prosciutto and salami, marinated artichoke hearts and mushrooms, three different kinds of olives, cherry tomatoes, and four different kinds of bread.
Kyle had the Spaghetti and meatballs. I couldn’t decide between the chicken cacciatori or the fettuccine with seafood, so the waiter said, “I will bring you both!” He did. It was sublime!
Kyle ordered a lovely lemon-flavored dessert, and I ordered peppermint tea. The waiter also brought us a plate full of pink fluff. It was cotton candy. I can’t tell you how it tickled me! It was so pretty and frivolous and surprising. It immediately began to dissolve in the warm humid air, but we ate it all.
Sailing between the islands is such a treat. Little twinkly lights shine out from shore, the air is a warm and tender caress, the stars and moon are brilliant above and the ship rocks gently, gently under foot. Romance is in the air and even the folks in walkers and wheelchairs are holding hands and exchanging smooches in the shadows.
Thursday, I woke at five and sat on the veranda, watching the north east shore of Hawaii slide past as we sailed down to Hilo. The sun came up with lemon-colored light, the clouds drew their dark silhouettes across the swathes of greenery, and here and there, an early rising soul turned on a light, making a pot of coffee, getting ready for the day.
In search of the wiley internet site, we took a shuttle out to Hilo Hattie’s which is right near a Starbucks. And Bucky’s photos got posted. (wild rejoicing ensues!) Then we took a cab back into town, walked to the fabric store, and Roxie got the bit in her teeth and went loco. I adore these asian prints,but contented myself with just fat quarters. And I’m not going to tell you how much I spent because it was shameful to spend that much money on fabric when I have boxes of it at home. I’ll feel guilty about it later. When I get home I’ll be sure to schedule some time for guilt in my calendar.
DH, meanwhile, sat patiently outside. Swear to God, that man is a saint! Surely, I am among the most fortunate of women.
We sauntered down to the Farmer’s market and gawked at the fruits and vegetables. Long, skinny purple Japanese eggplants, coacoa pods, golden pineapples, taro root, onions and garlics and bundles of fern fiddleheads. We bought a luscious ripe mango that weighed a pound and a half, a butter avacado as big as DH’s two fists held together, limes the size of chicken eggs, and a strawberry papaya that is calling out tome even now. And I bought 5 strands of semi-precious stones, each 37 inches long, for $60. The lady gave me two bracelets to go with it and a sweet kiss on the cheek as well.
And then, with these pounds and pounds of food and stones and fabrics in my back pack, DH said, “Let’s work off some of our dinners. Let’s walk back to the ship.” I knew this was no stroll in the park, but he offered to carry the pack, so off we went. Two and a half miles later, we crawled back to our room. Naps are sounding really good right now. Good LORD I’m out of shape!
Tomorrow, Honolulu for two days. I am just blissed out with all the fun we are having and oh,my dears, I wish you could be here to have it with us!