Rather than share all my vacation details, which would likely make my readers jealous who are suffering through the cold of winter, I’ll instead post a few fun facts about Maui. Things visitors are unlikely to read in any guidebook.
1) Temperature changes with elevation rather than with the seasons. At sea level its 80-90F, 500-5000ft its 65-80F, and if above that you are probably going to the top of the Haleakala volcano (10,000ft). Snow/frost has been known to happen from time to time at the peak. I heard on the big island (larger island to the south) this winter someone surfed in the morning and snowboarded during the afternoon. I don’t know if there is any other place in the world other than Hawaii where you can do that.
2) Seasons only impact the waves. In the winter the waves are on the north and west shores and in the summer, the south. Freaks swells happen from time to time, but not often. And speaking of waves - lifeguards are almost nowhere to be found. If they are there normally they are there for the surfers, not the tourists, who get towed back by jet ski. The surfers are usually the ones who pull out drowning tourists and get upset when they have to because it means they missed a nice set.
3) Tourists can be found on either the west or south shores as these are the dryer and warmer sides of the island. Lots of hotels, resorts, shopping, and golf courses. I don’t recall many residents who actually golfed so that must be primarily a visitor thing. The rest of us are on the beach on the north shore.
4) 99% of the thousands of people who move to Maui every year catch something called rock fever whose symptoms cause them to move back within the first 12 months. You see, Maui is a small place with not a lot to do for most mainlanders. There are no pro/college sports games, theme parks, nightclubs, or anything like that. Those who are not REALLY outdoorsy who enjoy the beach, hiking, fishing, hunting, and a lot of the same everyday will catch the fever. Their stay on Maui will have been just an extended vacation.
5) Maui residents culturally don’t understand the concept of a 2-week vacation. - you know, where you go somewhere to get away from it all. I had no idea what it was when I got my first job in California when I was 19. Accruing time off? WTF!? No one from Maui really does that. I mean, when you’re from Maui, where are you really going to go? Oh right, Vegas, but that’ll be a very special trip and only once in a great while. When employees need time off it probably means the waves are up and they are not going to show up anyway.
6) Dressed up is considered closed toe shoes instead of slippahs (sandals), button down (aloha) shirt rather than of a faded T, and unripped jeans or pants of some kind versus surf shorts. And that attire you probably only where to a wedding, funeral, or hmmm, not much else. The rest is natural wherever you are or what your are doing. I don’t think anyone on the whole island actually owns a suit except for maybe the lawyers and then only worn in court.
7) A good car is one that runs and is street legal - the rest is basically luxury items. If a car doesn’t have any rust or dents, that’s considered mint. Lifted pickup trucks, hatchbacks, and minivans are the vehicles or choice. And driving distance is always measured in time, never miles. As it could take you 3 hours to go 15 miles depending on where you are.
8) Local food is NOT Hawaii food – BIG difference. Local food is an odd fusion of ingredients inspired by the Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, and of course the Hawaiians. Consist of a lot of spam, sausage, chicken, and steak which has been breaded and deep-fried or baked in pools of teriyaki sauce and covered in gravy then served with tons of white rice and macaroni salad. These dishes are referred to as plate lunched and yes this stuff will kill you, but slowly and it’ll taste good. :). Hawaiian food, which I’m never been fond of includes poi, Lau Lau, and kalua pig & cabbage.
9) Lingo, Maui – well Hawaii – has it own very unique dialect. Anything on the east side of the island is referred to as “upcountry”, unless on the extreme backside which is called “hana-side”. When going to “town”, that’s almost always Kahului. Town names are rarely spoken and travel plans are typically described directionally. For example “going to the south, west, or north shore.” And when one side of the island, to travel to the other, you are going to the “other side”. When some one yells at you and says “Eh Brah”, that’s the equivalent of “hey man”. And when someone asks you if you want to go “grind”, they’re not asking you to dance provocatively, but instead if you are hungry and want to eat – a lot. Oh, and don't try to blend in by trying to speak like the locals, it'll just make you look really dumb.
10) Yes, Hawaii is a state. This is for those so many people across the U.S. that I had to convince that my Hawaii drivers license was valid and not a fake. Trying renting a car in Alabama with one of these, I dare you.