No, not us. The couple I’m watching right now from the deck on our condo at Napili Shores Resort that faces beautiful Napili Bay. The sun has just set and the wedding, on a sandy spit facing Molokai, is winding down. Soon the sounds of a conch shell will echo over the bay from the Napili Kai Beach Club, where every evening at sunset an authentic-looking Hawaiian guy runs around with a torch and fires up the Tiki lights around the resort, pausing at the end for photos with happy tourists like us.
We’ve been to Maui thirteen times, I think, almost every year since 1991. George Bush made us miss coming to Napili Shores in 2003 because of his wrecked economy (we felt broke) and the Iraq war (we didn’t feel like flying anywhere last spring). But we love coming here too much to skip another year. Everyone has a favorite place to vacation; this is ours.
Today, our first full day here, was a microcosm of our typical Maui experience. By ten a.m. Laurel already had gone shopping, while I was spending some quiet time meditating in the cozy just-barely-fits-me closet in our studio room (meaning, one room, two beds, a kitchen in the corner, and a bathroom).
We’ve been here so often I’ve got my meditation nesting routine in the closet down to a science: pull out one removable shelf, drag in two cushions from a chair that fit the closet width perfectly, slide the door closed, and I’ve got a meditative center for starting a Maui day. Quiet, aside from the clicking of the shuffleboard players on one side of me, and the rhythmic booming of the ocean waves on the other. Yes, it’s a hard life. But someone has to live it. And it won’t be our life for long, sadly, so we enjoy it while we can.
Which, for Laurel, involves the afore-mentioned shopping. Having bought at 10, she had returned by 2, trading in a hip bag that she decided she didn’t like for a sweatshirt that she knew she did. Soon we’re off to Lahaina for—guess—more shopping, and also some eating. Another traditional activities today had us hanging out on the beach, with me anxiously waiting for decent boogie-boarding waves that didn’t seem like they would ever come. I had just about given up by late afternoon, but decided to put on my fins and hop on the board to at least bob up and down where the waves break over some rocks in the middle of the bay.
I was about to paddle back to shore, having grown bored of bobbing, when a kid paddled past and immediately caught a fairly decent wave. I went up to him and said, “You must be bringing luck. I had just about given up on getting a wave.” The little jerk replied, “Yeah, you just have to know where to go.” Not quite having entered the blissful hang-loose Hawaiian mentality, that comment rubbed me the wrong way, since I consider myself a near-expert on wave-catching in Napili Bay. Plus, where has the respect for elders gone? Tony Soprano wouldn’t put up with disrespect from someone a quarter his age.
So that meant I had to stay out long enough to make sure I caught more waves than the kid did, and rode them in farther to boot (they were breaking sloppily, with a lot of foam, so it took more kick-strength than the kid could muster to stay ahead of the wave, heh-heh, which gave me great pleasure when I kept going and he petered out). When I got in and told my tale, Laurel said, “Gosh, you sound so competitive.” Well, she hasn’t experienced the subtle unstated competition of body-boarding, which I assume is similar to surfing. Sure, you congratulate the other guy when he gets a wave you missed, but you still are thinking, “It’s mine next time, brother.”
Another daily job for us on Maui is people-watching, with some people more worth watching than others. There is a never-ending parade up and down the beach, all ages, all sizes, many nationalities, many appearance ranges from “Wow!” to “I’ve got to avert my eyes, quick!” On the “Wow!” end I had to put in some serious time this afternoon researching the “fake or real” question concerning a platinum blonde in a bikini ensconced on a towel not far from our beach mats.
After careful study, observing her in as many poses and activities as possible, aided by my prayer to God being fulfilled to have her get up and prance around playing paddle ball with her boyfriend, and followed up by some binocular research from our balcony, I am both pleased and dismayed to report “fake.” Of course, like all scientific research my conclusion must be provisional, subject to change after additional observations. The search for truth continues. Tomorrow is another day on Maui.