Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cloud Nine =)

Friends, I am officially back from our honeymoon and am officially a married woman! Needless to say, I am still teetering back and forth between reality and Cloud Nine - a place I have become quite enamored with the last couple of weeks. I feel.... Incredible!

Our wedding weekend was nothing short of magical. I fully intend to blog all about it, post pictures and reviews, and recap as much as I can recall - but since a piece of me is still thinking flawless sunscapes and serene beaches, I am going to post our Maui pictures first.

Aloha From Maui!
Picture taken from our Lana'i (balcony).
The Sheraton in Ka'anapali does not disappoint... It is gorgeous! I 100% recommend it for honeymooners. Even with its 6 buildings, we still felt the intimacy of a resort and never was it noisy, crowded, or congested. Then again, I was informed that May and September are the slowest months in Maui. This was evident everywhere we went. You will notice that nearly all the pictures were taken by us and that's because for the most part, there was no one else around. Imagine having a whole island to yourself - Bliss! The Sheraton's backyard is the fine sand stretch of Kaanapali beach that's adjacent to Black Rock. Every night at sunset, you can watch the nightly ritual of Lele Kawa (cliff diving).

Legend tells us the last chief of Maui, Kahekili (Thunderer), proved his spiritual strength by leaping from sacred Pu’u Keka’a to the Pacific. With sunset painting the sky, a young cliff diver honors his heritage each evening by re-tracing footsteps in the sand on Kaanapali Beach. A chant of old Hawai'i begins the progression of our warrior; the echo of the conch shell announces his arrival. He leaves a trail of glowing torches surrounding the lagoon as he makes his way to Black Rock. Upon reaching the summit, he offers his torch to the ocean below, casts his flower lei into the sea; and finally takes the breathtaking dive from Black Rock into the rolling surf below.

At Cheeseburger in Paradise in Lahaina...
YUM - the best coconut shrimp ever!

Under the famous Banyan Tree in dowtown Lahaina

Kelly gifted us tickets to the Old Lahaina Luau
This was said to be the luau to go to in Maui. We had heard so many people rave and brag about their experience and now we can rave and brag about ours! From start to finish, everything was TOP NOTCH! We arrived early, received a lei greeting, and then walked the grounds to view the imu where the pig was cooked, watch young Hawaiians make hand crafted souvenirs, and of course, visit the open bar ;) Everything was all inclusive, yet the quality was in no way sacrificed. The staff there is exceptional and the show was authentic and flowed well. I can think of nothing but good things to report on it.

One of the first few days we were there, we decided to take the advice of many and do the sunrise bike tour of the Haleakala crater. This required us getting up at the ungodly hour of 2am (while on vacation!) and meeting our tour providers, the Haleakala Bike Company.
They took us up to the summit of the crater, over ten thousand feet above sea level to view the sunrise at 5:38am. I am sure that, at the time, all Mark was thinking was "where does she get these stupid ideas sometimes?" because all I was thinking was "where do I get these stupid ideas sometimes?!" I was praying to God that it would be the most spectacular thing we had ever seen or Mark will never let me drag him out of bed before sunrise again!

Here I am just before the glorious sun made its arrival. I am freezing cold as always (hey it was 40 something degrees!) and as my luck would have it, our camera battery died out on us right before the big show...

Some have described this sighting as the 8th wonder of the world. I may have to agree with them. One minute I was telling Mark how I have never seen so many stars in my life, and then the next moment the light starts creeping in and you suddenly realize that you are standing ABOVE the clouds with nothing but glorious sunlight smiling at you. It was positively a little slice of heaven. And I was no longer sad that my camera had failed me, as I know my photo skills (or lack there of) would have never been able to capture the spectacular light and feeling.

Next, they pack us back into the bus and stop at about 6500 feet, where they give us our bikes and gear and we intently listen to their directions on how to get back to their shop, a thrilling 28 mile, unguided bike ride. Left-Right-Left-Right-Right. That's the only thing you needed to remember to get you safely back to your car in Haiku, right?! Um, sure... I was actually thankful that we opted for the self guided tour; it gave us the freedom to go at our own (sluggish) pace, instead of having to keep up with the clan. Shamefully, I haven't been on a non-stationary bike for years and never on a mountain bike! And never down a volcano! But with great pride, I can now say that I did. And I didn't even fall, though I supposedly caused Mark's brief encounter with the asphalt. A great benefit of marriage: you now have someone to blame stuff on! haha JK!

Some not to shabby pictures taken on my blackberry...

Afterwards, we headed to Kihei for a nap on Wailei Beach, then a drive thru tour of South Maui.

The Road to Hana - Hands down, our favorite thing we did in Maui! With the exception of our picnic lunch and ABC store snacks, this was truly a priceless adventure. The fact that every turn out and trail was a new adventure really did it for me. Never before have I hiked through a unpaved trail of bamboo, or made walking sticks to navigate upstream through boulders of rocks, in search of waterfalls, nature pools, and the most amazing views ever. Any other day, if Mark tried to convince me to take my motion-sickness-prone-self onto a one and a half lane, 40 mile highway- unguided to the point where we could scream at the top of our lungs and no one would hear us - he would probably have little to no success getting me to willingly come along. But being a firm believer that there is a first time for everything - I popped a Dramamine, putting every last ounce of faith in my new husband's driving skills, and ventured way beyond my personal comfort zone for a journey that I will never forget.
We made a series of stops, or should I say a serious amount of stops that were described in our Maui Revealed book. I will talk about this lifesaver of a guide later.
You will notice that mainly Mark got the "me-under-a-waterfall" pictures. The water was too COLD for me so I happily volunteered to photograph him :)

We stopped so much to hike, swim, picnic, and frolic that it took us nearly 8 hours to get to our last stop, the Seven Sacred Pools. Instead of posting more water pics, I will share with you the incredible view above the falls. It is a landscape that, prior to this moment, I could have only dreamed of...

Again, notice how in every single one of these pictures we are completely alone - it was so tranquil and serene. Have you ever seen the movie "What Dreams May Come?" I would imagine that this would be my heaven.

Everything about our honeymoon will long have me dreaming of moments like this...

Some Misc Maui/Honeymoon advice:

  1. Don't skip your honeymoon! A week before our wedding, Mark and I nearly cancelled everything since we were worried about where we stood financially. However, our philosophy is this... there will always be money to be made, and only one shot to do this the way we had always dreamed of. Even if you put off your big trip for a later time, take a mini-moon. You don't have to go for very long or very far, but trust me... you need this time together more than you realize, more than I realized!
  2. SPF & Bug Spray! Mark would be glowing red right now if it wasn't for his SPF Sport; the sun is way more intense out there. And unless you want to end up like me, with a collage of insect bites plastered all your legs, get some bug repellent! I forgot and am paying for it! You have officially been warned.
  3. Maui Revealed (Author: Andrew Doughty) - If you forget everything else, remember to bring this book! It is jammed pack with unbiased reviews and info. I had it in my bag everywhere we went and referenced it for maps, food finds, tips, phone numbers, everything! I promise you will find it invaluable.
  4. Stock up. I can't calculate an exact number off the top of my head, but I imagine we saved a pretty penny by purchasing snacks, drinks, etc at the grocery store. If you are in staying the Lahaina/Ka'anapali area, the Lahaina Cannery is a good place to stop early in your trip. We made the mistake of going to Safeway first, only to find that Longs Drugstore carries lots of our items for significantly less. Prepare yourself for island prices - everything costs more! But we stocked our hotel fridge with water, cheese and crackers, sandwich stuff for our picnics, fruits, etc. You know how it is when you get back to your room from the beach - your typical options would be $16 hotel nachos or to starve. I rest my case.
  5. Other fabulous finds:
  • Roy's in Kahana - Our meals were flawless! Macadamian Shutome, Filet, & Chocolate Souffle'
  • Leilani's on the Beach - Best drinks, inexpensive too!
  • Gazebo Restaurant, Napili - Pancakes & a view to die for!
  • Kahuna Kabob's - One hell of a meal for less than $10!
  • Warren & Annabelle's - We didnt eat there but it can be a dinner show. By far, the most funniest magic show I have ever seen. Warren will leave you in awe for days. I would definitely recommend this show!

Lastly, do not have a life or death itinerary. This is coming from a girl who lives for itineraries! Maui is just not the place for it, especially if you are honeymooning. I would think of a few things you absolutely want to do and book those well in advance. But leave lots of down time in between to have the freedom to just kinda go with it. It was this adaptation of easy going-ness that made this vacation so different for us; we pretty much made it up as we went. For example, one of my favorite favorite moments was getting ice cream at the mall and then on the way home just deciding to pull over on the side of the road to eat it. We sat on rocks that neighbored the ocean and just soaked up the view, ate our ice cream, and then practiced skipping rocks... all the while, enjoying the whatever-ness of it all. It was so simple, yet anything but ordinary for us. I loved it. The abolute best thing about Maui is that it can be anything you want it to be... relaxing, adventurous, a shopping mecca, a foodies paradise, expensive, cheap... really whatever you make of it. Maui moves at a much different pace then what you are probably used to and if you try to rush it or plan too many things, you are more than sort of missing the whole point. Take it easy & have fun, you won't regret it!

For more pictures and videos from our Maui honeymoon CLICK HERE


Lyca said...

Awwww...looks like you had an awesome honeymoon, girl!!
Congratulations!!! Can't wait to see pictures of the wedding!! :)

Platinum Weddings by Kerrie said...

I am SO glad you had a good time! I didn't even realize you were going to Maui- that's where Greg and I honeymooned. I SO know how you are feeling right now, all day-dreamy. Enjoy every minute of it- I long for those carefree Maui days often:) XOXO!

Catherine Tang said...

congrats and welcome back! i'm so glad you had a great time...made me think about our honeymoon in maui. wasn't the bike ride exhilarating? a little scary but adventurous. i also felt so proud after completing it. let's get together.

Jonilyn said...

Looks like so much fun! You guys look hot :)