Sure, we've been on Maui for ten days, enjoying the great mid- 80's weather on Napili Bay while Portland, Oregon is 54 degrees and rainy today -- according to the Honolulu paper.
We check the mainland weather report daily, because our friends always lie about how nice it was back home while we were gone. "Oh, you missed some great weather. Sunny every day, didn't rain a bit."
Yeah, right, I think to myself, not wanting to let them know that I'm on to their Hawaii vacation envy.
But things are definitely not totally paradisaical here. We've accumulated some pretty serious gripes, which need to be aired before we leave.
Vegetarian eating. Yes, we realize fish live in the ocean, and people like to eat them while they're on Maui. Along with the usual meaty fare they're used to at home. Still, restaurateurs here need to throw us vegetarians a bone. Even better, tofu or tempe.
Laurel and I would have been happy to leave more dinner VISA charges in the pockets of Maui restaurant owners. However, there aren't very many that want vegetarian business. It's pathetic, the lack of non-fish and non-meat items on menus.
We ate twice at Mala Ocean Tavern.
Love the quartet of hummus, babaganoush, raita, and Greek feta (plus other stuff, including terrific grilled pita bread). Otherwise, it was Chinese and Thai take out for us, plus what we got at the natural food store in Kahalui after we got off the plane.
You can do better by us vegetarians, Maui. Hop to it, so we have more eating choices on our next visit.
T-shirt and trinket shops. Browsing up and down Lahaina's Front Street yesterday evening, we were struck by the sameness of so many of the shops. Most have the same t-shirts, the same cheap Hawaii trinkets, the same everything else.
It seems to us that some creative shops offering something different would be successful. Yet we noticed that the Gecko store in Lahaina is gone, as is the Endangered Species store at Whaler's Village.
These offered some different stuff. And they've gone out of business, apparently, while the same old, same old establishments carry on. Something is wrong here. Tourist tastes can't be that routine and predictable. Or, maybe they are.
Maui wowie. We've been to Maui many times. In the old days, every visit I'd hear a muttered "Want some buds?" or the like as my baby boomer, longish haired self trundled down a Lahaina sidewalk.
That always made me feel good -- part of the local drugscape, in a minimal fashion (very minimal, because I'd never respond). Recently, though, I've been ignored. Except for yesterday, when I heard a Maui wowie? as some local youths passed by.
Thanks, guys. But you need to do a more consistent job at making gray-haired flower children relive their 60's youth for a moment.
Screeching birds. Some people think that a Maui vacation is relaxing. Well, you should be in my bed (an appealing idea, depending on who you are) at 5:30 most mornings. That's when some annoying birds decide that it's vitally important to let every sleeping vacationer within earshot know that the sun is coming up.
I'd like to sleep another half hour or so. However, at 5:30 I'm too awake to go back to sleep, and too sleepy to get up. So I lie in bed for quite a while, mentally cursing the birds.
I don't understand how the Hawaii tourist industry allows those screeching S.O.B.s to stay on the islands. At the least, the birds need to be trained to stay quiet until at least 6:00 or 6:30.
Why the state legislature hasn't mandated that this be done is beyond me. And believe me, I've spent a lot of time the past ten days pondering this matter. Mostly shortly after 5:30 in the morning.
Ice cream on beach. Laurel has a special gripe of her own. When it's sunny, warm, and you've melted into your beach mat, the will power simply isn't there to get up and seek out ice cream.
We believe it can be purchased at a Napili Kai Resort snack bar that's a ways behind the beach. But Laurel never has had the energy to walk a couple of hundred feet when she's in her "melted mood" and find out.
So she sits on the sand and wishes that Maui had beach vendors, like those at a baseball game, but barefoot and dressed in tropical attire, who would appear whenever she wanted ice cream. And, naturally, give her some.
Well, those are the core gripes that we were able to come up with this afternoon while -- no big surprise!-- sitting on the beach.
To Maui's credit, it took us quite a while to come up with even a small number of gripes. Still, they're serious to us.