Naturally we’re familiar with Oregon rain. Tropical rain is different. It comes in waves, like the ocean. You think the rain is over, then, swoosh, it’s back, raining harder than you thought rain could rain.
Here’s the good news (for Laurel, at least): rain, and lots of it. We already were planning to go to Kihei and Wailea to shop today. The weather here in Napili caused us to leave earlier than we otherwise would have, which added an hour or two to Laurel’s shopping time.
I say “Laurel’s” because my shopping time always is inexorably limited by a genetic factor. Namely, a Y chromosome. After several hours of shopping with Laurel I hit the sort of “wall” that marathon runners speak of. I am psychologically, if not physically, drained. The sight of a T-shirt display or jewelry counter almost makes me ill. I have to stand outside the doors of stores while Laurel merrily shops on.
I’ve shopped with Laurel for 15 years. I’ve never yet seen her hit her shopping limit. I don’t think she has one. Laurel gets energized when she shops, so a little bit of shopping can turn into a lot, and a lot can turn into a (seemingly) never-ending shopping ultra-marathon that leaves me staggering for breath while Laurel bounds on as fresh as when she started out.
This is the last of three long corridors that we traverse when we visit the marketplace. At the end of the corridor lies a walkway to Pita Palace, a restaurant with wonderful grilled vegetarian pita bread sandwiches. If I can make my way down this final shopping challenge, I get to eat. Laurel will too. But the difference is that when Laurel is shopping, eating is an afterthought. With me, it quickly becomes a forethought.
Our traditional last stop in Kihei/Wailea are the Shops at Wailea, a mix of ritzy and down-to-earth stores, and the Grand Wailea resort itself. The grounds of the Grand Wailea are amazing—waterfalls, birds, fish, a full-blown artificial tropical forest, complete with swinging rope bridges and a swimming pool that any kid would die for. After wandering around for a while, trying to look like we’re actually staying there, we end up in a charming bar off of the main lobby:
click to enlarge
Here Laurel has a glass of wine, and I order a non-alcoholic beer. We listen to a woman sing, and look at the beautiful (and not-so-beautiful) people at the resort. Birds fly freely through the lobby, since much of the ceiling and walls are open. We observed some sort of Darwinian avian evolution occurring before our eyes. Sparrows apparently are learning to survive on the peanuts served in bowls at the bar. A bird will swoop in and perch right on the lip of a bowl, teasing out the smallest peanut chunks with its beak (a whole peanut seems to be too large to swallow).
Walking back to our car along the beachside path, we paused to take in the finale of a luau being held in between the Hyatt Regency and Grand Wailea. A fire dancer capped off the evening, wowing the crowd—and us—with what fire dancers do. We were happy to view some of the luau entertainment without having to see a roast pig with an apple in its mouth.
We kissed on the beach under the stars on a blessedly clear south Maui night. We walked along the path with our arms around each other. We strolled toward the Hyatt Regency lobby, heading toward our car, happy to end the day on a much brighter note than how it started.
And then…we shopped. Rather, Laurel shopped, as I tried to stifle an involuntary gag reflex when I saw Laurel making a bee-line for a Fresh Produce display at one of the still-open Hyatt Regency stores. At that moment I recognized the truth: I am married to the Shopping Terminator. She can’t be stopped. She is invincible. She never runs out of energy. The only thing to do is step out of her way and follow three steps behind. Be the Robin to the Shopwoman. I did just that. Mercifully, we were out of the store in just a few minutes. I’m praying for sunshine tomorrow.