A Travellerspoint blog



Kauai and Maui re visited

sunny 26 °C

My husband and I just spent three wonderful weeks in Hawaii and wanted to share our trip highlights.

Background. I was a sales rep for Aloha Airlines, and also for a short time Hawaiian Airlines out of Vancouver back in the early 80s for 15 years. I would go to the islands five or more times a year on business and holidays and my husband and I also spent our honeymoon on Maui and Kauai 37 years ago. At the end of my time with Aloha I created my dream job of taking travel agents to the islands to go on snorkel tours, helicopter rides and wine and dine them for a week. Unfortunately I got laid off 25 years ago and other than a short stop over on the way back from Tahiti we haven’t been back since. I could not afford to travel here in that style any more if we were paying for it. :). We chose to explore many other parts of the world instead.

Details: We flew WESTJET from Vancouver to Kauai on Feb. 19th and then returned Maui to Vancouver on March 11th. We flew with Hawaiian Air in the middle.

Car was booked with AVIS thorough Costco and I kept going back to check the prices as they kept falling so I would cancel and re book. By the time we left it was half of the original price. We chose a small economy car as there was only the two of us and it was great on gas, parking and negotiating the narrow roads.


The Islander on the beach on the coconut plantation was a great place to stay for our first week in Hawaii. At night we left the patio doors open and could hear the surf breaking on the beach through the patio doors. The sun came up in an explosion of color every morning at around 6:30AM and we shared in its majesty while enjoying a cup of Kona Coffee on the patio.



Our week was spent exploring various beaches and trails at all points on this northern most island. Each area had a different charm, the North, Hanelei and Princeville being very junglelike and green.
Poipu beach was great for a swim a couple of days, and the McBride Gardens were beautiful. We had a volunteer take us on a tour and explain the various plants to us as well as some of the history regarding the first peoples to the islands.


Waimea canyon was just as breathtaking as I remembered from years ago. There are wild roosters and chickens everywhere, more roosters than chickens as I think the later get eaten. The roosters are very colourful and I spent a couple of afternoons trying to paint a picture of one.


A Whale of a time in Maui

Maui was a one bedroom at Kahana Villa and then Paki Maui. They were both fine but next time I want an ocean view.

Food: Because we had kitchens we made most of our own meals. Shopping was done at Safeway Lahaina and the Farmers Market in Honokowai. (which was great). I am really going to miss fresh papaya and pineapple every day :(

We did go to a couple of restaurants and those we really enjoyed were : Fork and Salad in Kihei (twice), The Flatbread Company in Paia. CJ’s Deli in Kaanapali and the Lahaina Fish Company in Lahaina.
I am a vegetarian /mostly vegan and did not have any trouble finding items on most menus.

We also went to Frieda’s in Lahaina, the most expensive and least impressive. Not much flavour or pizzaz in the food to me.

Beaches: I love to snorkel and my husband loves to swim so quite often that is what we would do. Our favourite beach was Kapalua beach and as long as we arrived before 9AM we usually found parking in the free lot or on the street without a problem. Got to swim with turtles, saw lots of colourful fish, octopus and some coral that still had colour.

We stopped at a few between Ka’anapali and Kihei just for a swim and they were good as well as the beach on Kaanapail in front of the Sheraton at Black rock. Again we went early and found parking in the free lot. I was not impressed with the snorkelling there.
But nice swimming and a beautiful beach.

We also stopped for a swim near Wailea and noticed the water felt warmer down south .

Weather: There was a couple of days of high winds and one day that also included a lot of rain but most days we just had a gentle shower here and there. Or a short deluge which seemed to start and stop out of no where.
The temperature was great for us. We don’t like a lot of heat so the 25 C ( 80F) temps were perfect. Lots of clouds rolling in and out but that is pretty normal and it kept it cooler as well.

Tour: We only did one tour a Saturday snorkel tour to Lanai with Sail Maui. The boat held 49 but there were only 8 of us which was nice. We saw a few whales of course and the snorkelling was pretty good, but not amazing for me. The crew and the boat were great however. Next time I would opt for a whale watch with the whale foundation.

In the early 80s I drove the road to Hana and vowed never to do it again, but I wanted to see the rainbow eucalyptus so we went. I bought and downloaded the Shaka Guide which was great. It pointed out things and where to stop and on the return gave a lot of interesting information about the history of Hawaii. Highly recommended . The road has improved immensely since then and we enjoyed the trip. Next time I would like to spend the night in Hana to have a lot of time at the park just past there. I came back to the condo with a beautiful tropical bouquet that I bought on the side of the road for only $5.


We really enjoyed spending time in Paia town and next time want to also visit Makawao as it looks great.

We did quite a bit of driving and exploring which included the beautiful Iao Valley.


One night we attended a slack-key performance at the Napili Kai Beach Hotel . My husband is a musician so this was a must for him and did not disappoint. Very talented and entertaining men and a couple of hula dances from a lovely woman as well.

On our last day we attended a two hour free lecture at the Humpback whale foundation in Kihei and it was fascinating. The woman giving the talk was not only informative but delivered with such humour and personality that it made it that much more enjoyable. I learned so much and have now decided that the humpback is my favourite whale.

My overall impression: It has been 25 years but to me Hawaii has not changed. I still get that feeling of Aloha here. Everyone is so nice and friendly and seem happy. I never heard a cross word or people getting angry. As a tourist I feel very welcomed.

Sitting on the beach I am not constantly saying ‘No thank you’ to beach vendors.
If someone is friendly and comes to chat with me its not because he wants me to visit his uncles carpet shop.
Not that there is anything wrong with either of the above. it just make Hawaii such an easy vacation.

And the beauty of the islands are unlike anywhere else. The many shades of blues in the water, the various kinds of palm trees, the spring flowers coming into full bloom and lets not forget the whales. Sitting on the beach and watching the whales breech and tail flap over and over again is truly magical. I can never get enough of it.


So Maui we shall be back. Maybe even next year. I missed you and love you even more than I did before.

Aloha, Debbe.

Posted by debbep 14:37 Archived in USA Tagged maui hawaii kauai Comments (0)

New York City

A girls get away

sunny 18 °C

May 4th, 2018

Jane and I are off on another adventure, this time to New York! I have been to New York before with Doug around 8 years ago but this is Jane's first time

We booked Air Canada from Vancouver non stop to Newark and it was on time and a pleasant flight. We arranged Dial 7 to pick us up and so when we arrived we texted them we were here, they sent a text back with the drivers name, type of car and number and he would be there in a few minutes. He arrived shortly after and negotiated the very busy Friday night rush hour traffic to time square in just over an hour .

We realized we would have time to get to a play tonight so booked theatre tickets on the drive with ticketmaster on line

We checked into hotel Edison which was seamless and dropped our bags off in the room. We have a basic room with two queen beds, it is plain but clean and spacious. They have great pillows and towels and the location is 1/2 block off time square which is what we wanted. The only compliant was the internet which was terrible in the room but fine in the lobby.

We grabbed a quick bite next door at Pret a manger and made our way to see Kinky Boots, a 3 minute walk. This was the highlight of our trip so we were so glad our flight arrived on time and we could see this. I got tickets in row 6 for $129 with a ticketmaster discount code but I think almost any seat would have been fine. The music costumes and story was fantastic and it was hysterical. It ran from 8pm to around 1030.

We stopped on the way back at Juniors for some amazing New York cheesecake


Day 2.

We decided to do the hop on hop off bus and Top View was outside our hotel so we used them There was so much construction in new York and a lot of buildings under scaffolding and netting it really took away from the tour. I have done this before and found it was not as good this time. We hopped off at little Italy and wandered around for a while and then spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get back to hop on again. We found some great little delis for pecorino cheese, fruit etc to eat for lunch as we moved about. We really didn't stop to have a sit down meal at all this entire trip which I know is sacrilegious to many but we really just didn't want to spend the time

After a rest in the room we went to see Lion King, which we bought tickets for months ago. We had first row balcony which gave a great view of the stage. The costumes and sets were amazing and we enjoyed it. ( But enjoyed Kinky Boots more)

On the way back I saw a bunch of people lined up outside a doorway, so stopped to ask why and they were waiting for Denzel Washington to come out to his waiting car after his show. Eventually he came out smiling but didn't stop, he had just done two shows that day so I am sure he was tired. It was exciting all the same and I got a decent picture


Another cheesecake at juniors but this time we split it and then to an Irish pub for a drink and met some great young people


Day 3

Our second day of the hop on hop off bus ( we bought a two day ticket) so we decided to take it to Central Park but couldn’t get on the first one as it was too full and the next one looked doubtful so we decided on plan b.

Tried to figure out the subway system which to us seemed very confusing and not very tourist friendly. We asked many people who were all willing to help but everyone gave different directions. I read somewhere that if a train pulls up and all the cars are crowded except one, don't get in that one. Well I forgot and quickly found out why. There were s couple of men down on their luck and in desperate need of a shower. We changed cars at the next stop

We went to Central Park to try to get onto a bike tour but there wasn't one until 1PM and it was now just after 10. There was also a big bike rally or something in the park so made arrangement for another tour tomorrow at 10AM. We went to the stop for the bus tour and had to wait for two busses but eventually got on and did the uptown route. I can't say i was very impressed. If I were to do it again I would rather hire a car, convertible preferably, and driver to take us around and go down some of the side streets as that seemed to be the most interesting places.

At the “Frick museum” we got off and spent a couple hours there . It is a beautiful donated home, mansion, that has a large private collection of art including Rembrandt Vermeer and Matisse to name a few. The decor and architecture was beautiful and it was nice and small, perfect for a short museum stop. I have been to the MOMO, Natural history and metropolitan before , all of which are amazing, so this was just perfect as a short visit.

We decided to forget the hop on bus and took the subway and made our way to the world trade centre memorial. When I was here last time it was still a big hole in the ground, it now it is a beautiful waterfall sculpture in the ground. We met a young woman who was employed by the memorial and she was a wealth of information. It is really well worth a visit for sure, very moving and so well done in my opinion.


We headed to the mall across the street to a food fair, but with great food stalls, and had some lunch

Back on the subway to East Village and the Orpheum theatre to see “Stomp”. We sat in the balcony, front row which offered a great view but not for the faint of heart. A very steep climb up and steep pitch . Front row is not the best choice in the balcony as your knees are right up against a railing and I am not that tall. Second row would be better as the pitch is so steep you will see right over whom ever is in front of you

This was a very enjoyable show and unlike the other two we saw. It was like watching street performers inside, a very clever high energy show.

We didn't realize that there are no plays on broadway on Sunday or Monday evenings, theatres are dark on those days so we were happy to hear of this one.

Grabbed the subway back to time square where we walked about and people watched for a while which is always interesting

Day 4. Our last day in New York

This is going to be a busy day so we took the subway to the bike rental and were there an hour early. In hind sight we should have just rented bikes on our own for a couple of hours, but we waited for the tour. We used the bike rental associated with top view bus tours. The bikes were great, staff was good, but our guide was terrible.

He showed up late, was unorganized, took us to the park and told us to be sure to stay on the bike lane and not the walker/runner lane and yet he rode in the middle of that lane the entire time, there were only five women on the tour which was great, but he took a liking to this young single woman and rode beside her and pointed out all the sights as we rode, which the rest of us didn't hear.

The ride though the park itself was beautiful with all the spring flowers in bloom and not too crowded being a Monday. As I said, in hind sight I wish we had done our own thing. At the end he asked for a tip. Not likely. I will report on trip advisor as the company seems great, just a bad employee.


Back to the subway , getting the hang of it now, and straight to Battery park for Ellis island. I stood in this very long line up while my friend went to buy tickets. We tried to buy on line but couldn't seem to get any after 1PM departure so decided to take our chances.

It was about an hours wait, it was quite warm out but not the 39 degrees of the previous week, it was quite pleasant.

The Statue of Liberty is still as breathtaking as the first time I saw it. We did not get off but continued on to Ellis Island as they closed at 4. We used the included headphones and I enjoyed it just as much as I did on my first visit. It is quite a moving place and very well done.

Making our way back to our hotel by subway, ( wow we are pros now!) we stopped to see grand central station on the way which is impressive There was a great street performer in the subway which was nice, I was surprised this was the only one I saw the time we were here



A quick rest at the hotel, my feet are killing me, and then we grabbed a cab to Macy's on 34 th. for last minute shopping

We are from small towns so felt like kids in a candy store, three floors of women’s clothing. OH MY!!! My energy level seemed to come back up again ha ha

I found a few great items, all at 30./. Off which would compensate for the exchange rate from Cdn to Usd.

We shopped until the 10 pm closing time, and could have stayed longer but my Visa card was burning up already.

Last day.

Home to Vancouver via Toronto, a few hiccups with our flights but it all worked out and we had to overnight in Vancouver anyhow as the ferries to the island don't run late. We live on Vancouver Island.

Overall New York was a great little get away. Our highlight was Kinky Boots, which we were afraid wouldn't happen but grateful it did. Loved Central Park, the Frick, 911 memorial.

I was agonizing what to pack, we just brought small carry on luggage, but it seems anything goes here. There were people in the theatre in gowns next to people in t shirts and shorts. What ever you are comfortable in is just fine. Most folks in the street seemed to go for comfort.

Our costs from Vancouver to New York including air and four nights at the Hotel Edison with two beds was $1100 CDN each all in, booked on Expedia together which saved us money.

Posted by debbep 20:55 Archived in USA Tagged new york Comments (0)

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