Sat Dec 26th
Matt and AB got away for their early flight and we then made it to the airport by about 9.40 am for our 11.30 flight to Maui. The 30 min flight was uneventful but, on arrival, it became clear we needed to hire a larger car than first planned due to our expanded luggage capacity post Mark’s shopping. It was only about a 15 min drive to Paia, where we were spending our first two Maui nights, and we found our lodging easily. It is important to remember here what I had said earlier about hoping our subsequent lodging would be as nice as that in Ko Olina. The first thought that entered my mind after seeing the kids room, and then ours, was that… Susan Scarf wouldn’t stay here. In fact, I don’t think Matthew would have stayed here either!! ‘Basic’ is a very generous description, Ali likened it to a ‘Hostel’. Get the picture? It was a B&B without the second B and was a rabbit- warren of a place located behind shops fronting the main road through Paia. There was a central grassy courtyard with a covered outdoor eating area off which the rooms were located in various directions. The rooms were fairly small and airless with poor lighting, no TV and pretty pathetic wi-fi. You can image the looks I was getting from Tom. He had on this ‘why would you bring us here’ face. Our room was adjacent to the open corridor to the toilets of a neighboring cafe. The noise and traffic from that was a constant for us in our room. My initial choosing of accommodation had been compromised due to our desire for a two night stay whereas most lodgings I’d requested had a three night minimum for this period. Note to self: next time just pay for the extra night regardless! Anyway, we unpacked a bit and then headed out to find somewhere for lunch with the whole area being rather what Byron Bay must be like in peak season. Crowded! Luckily, we managed to find a cafe for lunch and it turned out to be quite a good find. We then strolled around looking at the shops and discovered Mana Foods, which the ‘Whole Foods’ concept was based on. I later found a necklace and earrings to remember the area by although I think I’m the only one who might want to remember this place. Paia is an eclectic mix of alternative hippy types and grunge shops but then dotted with some very expensive art and fashion shops. How the two meet is anyone’s guess.
We’d found a restaurant that would take a dinner booking for 7pm and headed to Charlie’s before turning in early. We had a long day ahead of us the next day with a trip along the treacherous Road to Hana.