We will be in Maui next week for a little over two months. We have two condos, and will spend half our time in one and the other half of the time in the other, as we love them both. We are really looking forward to the Maui Plein Air Invitational art competition February 15-23. Plein Air means that the paintings are done outside, looking at the subject matter, not in a studio from a photograph. We believe that this enables the artist to capture the play of light and shadow and also capture the energy of the locale. This event attracts about 25 nationally known artists from all the Hawaiian islands, around the mainland, and as far away as Australia! The event lasts 9 days, and has 3 paint-outs when the artists all paint in the same area. We love to walk around, watch them paint, and see how different artists will paint the same landscape differently. The artists are normally very willing to talk to us about what they are doing. In addition, there is a free lecture by the event judge to teach us more about Plein Air painting and a free exhibition of work done by the artists during the week. In fact, all events are free except for one dinner that is held at the close of the competition for awarding the prizes (but if you do not attend that dinner, you can still see all the work the next two days). Of course, all the paintings are of Maui scenes, and you do get an opportunity to watch the artist paint the entire painting, from blank canvas to framed and ready to sell.
Halloween is a REALLY BIG DEAL in Lahaina. They close Front Street to cars from 3:30 to Midnight, and the street is full of people in costumes parading up and down. From 4:30 to 6 is the children's hour, and the street is full of children parading in costume. This is my favorite part, as this is very different from Halloween at home, there are hundreds of children. Many of the businesses along front street are giving out candy, and the smaller children are wide-eyed at seeing so many kids in costumes. From 6 to midnight is adult time, with costume prizes announced at 9:30. The adult portion is somewhat tamer than it was in the past, so participants are required to wear as much clothing as would be the minimum on the beach, and there are plenty of police to make sure nobody gets out of hand. If you are here on Halloween, be sure to bring a costume, particularly for any children you have with you. It is a fun evening.
I spent October in Hawaii this year. On the flight to Maui, I had as seatmates two young men who were going to compete in the world famous Iron Man race on the Big Island. They were going to Maui to train for a week before the race. They were going to swim for 2.4 miles, bicycle for 112 miles, and then run for 26.2 miles! Needless to say, they were very fit. It was fun to talk to them, they were so excited to do this. I did remind them of the fate of the original marathoner, Philippides, who ran 26.2 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce that the Athenian army had defeated the Persians at the battle of Marathon. The Athenians were anxious, because if their army had lost the Persians were coming to Athens to sack it. Philippides had fought in the battle, then was sent to run 26.2 miles to Athens to let the worried Athenians know that it would be OK. He got to Athens, said "Joy to you, we've won", collapsed and died. Of course, he had fought a battle first, but these two men would swim 2.4 miles and bicycle 112 miles, which is pretty strenuous. They assured me that they would be OK.
We are back home in the Midwest now, and somebody else is enjoying our condos in Maui. There is still a lot happening in Maui, so I thought I would post a few items so that you can see the variety of special events that there are to do in addition to the year-round and seasonal activities.
Zenshin Daiko’s 17th annual taiko festival is a wonderful presentation of Japanese percussion instruments that can give you an appreciation of music from another culture.
The Kapalua Wine and Food Festival (June 9-12) is a great opportunity to taste the cooking of award-winning chefs in a beautiful setting.
The Maui Triathlon (June 12) is not as well known as its cousin on the Big Island, the Iron Man Triathlon, but these competitors still undergo a grueling test of endurance.
Mele Mei Slack Key Guitar Festival (June 26) - you will instantly recognize slack key guitar music as traditional Hawaiian music. This free outdoor concert series will feature some of Hawai‘i’s best slack key guitar players in an afternoon of beautiful Hawaiian music. The event also features an array of crafts and food booths to explore.
We went upcountry last weekend - to the slopes of Haleakala. Our primary purpose was that an artist friend has a showing in Viewpoints Art Gallery in the quaint town of Makawao, and we wanted to see his paintings. A side benefit was that we get to experience a bit cooler weather.
On our way to the road to Haleakala, we saw a lot of sea turtles gathering near the shore. The sea turtles are one of our favorite things to see in Maui. Years ago, it was pretty rare to see them, as they are very tasty and easy to catch and kill. It used to be a common thing to do to go scuba diving, catch a turtle, and roast it over a bonfire on the beach. Now, sea turtles are an endangered species and are protected, so they are making a comeback. At left is a picture we took of a sea turtle playing in the ocean next to the roadway. He seems to be enjoying himself, doesn't he?
We stopped for lunch at a restaurant that is very popular with the Maui locals, Da Kitchen. The food is delicious, but the portions are enormous. Well fortified for the rest of our trip, we continued upcountry. Sure enough, we did see Jacaranda trees. The season seems to be a bit early this year, so a few trees were starting to lose their blooms, while others were still in full bloom. These trees line both sides of the road, and in places it looks like you are driving through a purple tunnel as the trees arch over the road until they meet. Our artist friend is Michael Clements. He is a very well known artist on Maui. We works in pastels and oils. His art exhibit was very nice, and several of his paintings on display had the Jacaranda trees in them. He lives upcountry, and at this time of year lots of the scenes he wants to paint will have Jacarandas in them. There were a couple of other artists that we know who were also showing their work there, so we had a very enjoyable afternoon.
May, 2016. The weather on Maui has been delightful. High temperatures are in the lower 80s, and nighttime lows are around 70. We are very comfortable in the Treetop condo without using the air conditioning. The fresh Hawaiian breezes are blowing through the condo, and the ceiling fans are running on “slow” just to stir the air a bit.
I awoke before dawn today, due to the jet lag. My wife was still asleep in the bedroom, so I went into the living room, turned on the lights, made coffee in the kitchen, all without bothering her. When she awoke, we had breakfast on the balcony (this condo has a narrow balcony, barely wide enough for a table and chairs, but still nice for eating outside) and watched the sun rise. We had planned to take our daily walk at 7 AM, but there was a fine mist of rain then. We call these very fine mists “Pineapple juice”, and many people ignore this and go about their outside plans anyway, but it was predicted to only last for a short while. Sure enough, by 7:30 it had stopped, and we did our daily walk, 3.6 miles along the beach in one hour, 5 minutes. It was sunny, cool, with a nice wind off of the ocean. Later in the morning, we swam in the ocean for about a half-hour, then came in to the pool area to warm up in the hot tub and swim in the heated pool.
Jacarandas are in bloom now, and we will go to see them this weekend. The Jacarandas are trees that are covered with purple flowers at this time of year – they look so beautiful. They grow on the slopes of Haleakala, the 10,000 foot tall dormant volcano on Maui. Jacarandas grow at about the 3,000 foot level. If I can get a good picture, I will post it here.
We had lunch yesterday at the nearby Plantation Restaurant, in the clubhouse of the world-famous Kapalua golf course. The food was great - I had grilled mahi-mahi, and my wife had crab eggs benedict. The view is of the gorgeous green golf course on a hillside sweeping down to the ocean.
More will be posted soon….
My wife and I are retired, and we visit Maui three times every year. In May and October, we stay in our Treetop condo, and in the winter we stay in our Oceanfront condo. We fell in love with Maui 25 years ago, and have been coming back ever since.