It has barely been a week since I got here, and I already feel very much at home. I guess it’s easy to get used to this paradise.
One little downside is the fact that everything is so expensive! I’m in the process of trying to figure out all the tricks to not spending too much and still staying alive (!) and making the most of the time I will spend here! It’s so tempting though to go out for frozen yoghurt, to get a Maui shirt or ukulele, to buy a smoothie… Food shopping is expensive, but next time I go, I will go to a big discount super market thing and see how well I can do in there!
So it was on Wednesday that I went out on my first adventure into a big town (Kahului) and went to a shopping mall to get a phone. I got off at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, one of the main bus transfer stops, and went around the mall looking for the best phone deal. The mall was just like the ones you find all over the states, except it was open air and had palm trees in it. It had all the stores I love to go when I go to California: Hot Topic, Pac Sun, Jamba Juice (yay, I got there at Happy Hour and got a smoothie for 2$!), Journey’s, etc… Yay!
The best deal I found was in Radio Shack – there was a super friendly giant guy there who recommended I buy a phone for 12$ and get a contract with unlimited texts and 300 mins of calls for 25$. Perrrrfect! So I now have a Hawaiian number, if anyone feels like calling me! : +1 808 419 1503.
I have been working on getting some 2012 festival contacts together for Ras, and have drafted a template email to send out to them. I will show him all this when I meet up with him later, and hopefully get some pointers on how I should proceed. He has suggested I come to a ukulele festival this Sunday with him and some others, at the Maui Arts and Culture Center. Should be excellent! I have been looking at prices for ukuleles, so I may cave in at some point and get one! They sound and look great, and are practical in terms of size too.
I sort of ‘purposely’ got lost yesterday by getting on a bus which seemed like it had a good route. I got off at Ma’alaea harbor, and walked around there for a while. There were shops, a lot of boats and the offices of the Pacific Whale Foundation. I then got on another bus which took an hour to get to Lahaina, a beautiful town, and rode across the west coast of Maui. It was excellent. I felt like I was on a tour bus, but in fact was just on a local 2$ bus to the next town. I saw some amazing views.
When I got to Lahaina, I literally was gob smacked. My heart was racing (no joke), I had the impression I had yet again landed in another bit of paradise! The views were astonishing, and the little town was full of colors and happy people. I bought 5 postcards there, and wrote them out this morning. It was a really lovely discovery, and was happy to jump back onto the same bus an hour later to see the coastline views once again – I made sure to sit on the right side of the bus this time to get the best views! I took a couple of videos.
Last night Ina took me out again to sing with his Polynesian buddies. We were sitting in an outdoor spot, which was just as comfy as the last place. It was next door to that giant chill room. Again, people came in and out to join us and have a drink of Kavah. We played some music, and I also managed to get a bit of film of them playing some traditional songs together. They told me I was welcome anytime to their home, and that it was a pleasure to hear and play with a different type of musician. They said I had a ‘cool spirit’ and that they were so happy to meet me. The feeling is entirely reciprocal.
This morning I got up and walked down to Paia and had coffee this time in Café Mambo, which is another great place to have breakfast. I wrote my postcards there and had two cups. I then went to a little henna boutique and met Addie, who does really beautiful henna tatoos. I’m thinking of getting a traditional looking one all the way up my fingers and forearm, which she said would look great – I looked through all her work, and it looked amazing. We got talking and after having told her I was from France she told me to go next door and meet Nathalie, a french lady, who has a boutique called ‘Oh La La!’
So I happily went over, and as soon as I arrived there she was joking around in French with another friendly looking chap. This guy was called Peter, and he was from Switzerland! We were speaking in french and really bonded. They suggested I come to their francophone bashes (every 4th Friday of the month), and mingle with the french speaking community of Paia. Yes, please! Nathalie said that I could come to her boutique whenever, and that she will introduce me to Magda, her good friend from Tahiti.
Voilà, so on my way back to the house today I went to sit on the beach for a bit and took a few more snaps of this incredible place. It bought tears to my eyes as I sat in front of the ocean (I know I am so soppy!!) and realized that what I have been dreaming for for so many years is happening right now.
This is truly amazing and I am so thankful!!