In the year before we (Susan and Glen) met, Susan had gone for a holiday with some friends to Maui. She fondly remembered the time, and always wanted to go again. Glen however had never been to anywhere in Hawaii. To celebrate our tenth anniversary, we decided this year we would go to Maui (late September and early October).

In the months leading up to our departure, we did some research. We had out from the library both excellent Maui guides Fodor's Guide to Maui and Maui Revealed. I gave serious thought to ordering and taking both guide books, but ultimately sanity prevailed and I made the tough decision to just get Maui Revealed, which we didn't regret at all. Susan did the research as to how we would get there and where we would stay. Melissa, being under 2, flew for free. The other three of us flew 100% covered (both there and back) by Airmiles points. After hearing a few recommandations, Susan picked a condo to stay in in the Maui community of Kahana. She found the condo on the web site Vacation Rentals by Owner. If you've never used Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO), what it is is a web site that hooks would be travellers up with owners of places looking to rent them out. The dealings then happen directly between the traveller (us) and the owner (a lady living in California in this case). It entered both our minds numerous times how susceptible this method all is to cons, especially when we first sent our cheque to cover the deposit to rent the condo, and again when we sent final payment a couple of weeks before we went. We did various research and tests including calling the lady at work and making sure that her company was actually in the California phone book before we sent our payments. If it was a con, designed to eke out of us one week of rent for a condo, we knew it would have to be a very elaborate one.

After eating dinner at the Burget King near the gate at YVR, we departed the evening of Saturday September 25, on a Westjet 737-800. About 4 hours into the 6 hour flight I (Glen) started to feel very nauseous. Apple juice given to me by the flight attendants made the sick feeling come and go. We landed at about 10:00pm Maui local time, and rented a Jeep Patriot from the Alamo counter. The lady at the counter was recommending we get a Ford Flex since it was only a few dollars more and quite a bit bigger, but since our planned time to have the vehicle fully loaded was our initial drive from the airport to the condo, and then in return a week later we decided to just get the smaller Patriot. I puked lots on the side of the road as we took the 45 minute drive from the airport to the condo. Before reaching Kahana we stopped in at a 24 hour Safeway and got a few groceries so we would be able to eat on Sunday morning when we got up. At 12:50 we arrived in Kahana in the condo's underground parking lot. Seeing some luggage carts, and myself still being nauseous we loaded everything onto the luggage cart so that I wouldn't have to return to the basement, and we took the elevator to the 6th floor where the condo was. The number we were given was a condo directly behind the elevator shaft, which made the door at 1:00 in the morning very dark. We had been told the combination to a lockbox on the door, where the key to the condo was. Susan opened the lockbox, and we found NOTHING (no key).

We tried calling the lady in California who we had sent our cheques to (our only contact), but got no answer (it would have been 4:00am in California at the time). We went down and looked around the site, saw a caretaker number for the building, tried that, but got no answer (no surprise). We left messages at both the caretaker's and the owner's. We talked about what to do, and decided to cram everything back into the Patriot. We had a restless rest that night, I was nauseous, every hour or two Melissa would awaken and cry out. It was hot and muggy, I had groceries around my feet on the floor and was regretting the turn down of the bigger Flex. A couple of times during the night we went for a drive around to use the AC to cool down. We of course were talking that maybe it was all a con and it was all hitting home. At 5:30 we started to look for a place to go, and found mention in a brochure of a restaurant that supposedly opened at 6:00. We went to the restaurant, which actually opened at 7:00. While waiting for the restaurant to open, we received a call from the laday in California! Hallelujah! She severely apologized and said she would immediately get someone over there with a key. It turns out the last renter was supposed to return the key to the lock-box but didn't, and the cleaning staff never checked the key was there. She did get us a key within an hour, and did refund some of our money. Needless to say, we spent the morning of that first day resting in what turned out to be a lovely condo. Thankfully I did feel better later that day as well (food poisoning maybe?).

During our week there we spent many a night enjoying the sunset while eating dinner on our deck. We overlooked the ocean and the condo pool below. Kayla had a great time at the pool, falling in love with swimming. She wasn't that keen about time at the ocean as the waves were quite strong our week there, and our first visit a rogue wave came in when the tide started to come in and it tried to carry our sandals and gear back out to sea (we grabbed it before all was lost).

Due to Susan having to do so much due to my being sick and our initial check in challenges, her back flared up and so she spent a few days where she had to visit a doctor and a physiotherapist. The physio wasn't of much help, and she got better mostly on her own during our time there.

A few days into our trip we took the very windy road to Hanna, which is on the far side of the island. A few nights before I had almost thrown up in the front passenger seat, on this trip, Melissa got car sick in the back right seat, and then Kayla later in the day got car sick in the back right seat. Boy, isn't this a holiday of highpoints ;-) Truthfully we had a nice day. On the way there, we saw many beautiful and neat things. We stopped just outside Paia where watched some very good surfers. We also stopped numerous times roadside at some very picturesque spots. Kayla and I took a flashlight and went into a neat cave roadside and a few hundred feet in until we came out into a grotto. Driving almost fully around the island, we arrived back late that night (and attempted to sanitize the car as best we could).

A couple of days later we got up very early (before 4:00) and got in the car to drive to Haleakala, the famous crater in Maui. We got up so early because the sunrise is supposedly heavenly to experience there, and our GPS told us the sunrise was at 6:25, and our driving GPS told us we were about 2 hours drive away. Imagine our anxiety when we realized that on our drive that a sunrise of 6:25 at sea level is actually about half an hour earlier when a couple of miles up in elevation as Haleakala is! We pressed hard, and arrived in the parking lot maybe 2 minutes before the sun came up. The girls were still asleep, and it was cold! So Susan told me to rush over and take a picture as the sun came up. I watched a few minutes, then traded with Susan and finished getting the girls dressed. I would have to say on the day we were there it didn't live up to it's potential. It was still fun, but nothing particularly life-changing. After the sunrise, we went up to the summit, then went for a hike of a couple of hours in the crater itself.

Susan and I had a good time snorkelling at Kahekili Beach, just a short distance away from our condo in Kahana, we saw many colourful fish swimming through the neat coral. Even though she was loving swimming in the pool, and was even trying snorkelling there, as mentioned earlier Kayla wasn't keen on the strong waves so didn't get to see the fish here. To give her an opportunity, a few days later we went to the Maui Ocean Centre, similar to the Vancouver aquarium, which gave her an opportunity to see many of the same colourful fish (plus other things we thankfully didn't see such as sharks and stingrays).

The day we checked out, we left late afternoon for the airport for our redeye flight back home. On the way there, with everyone else sleeping, I got lost so we enjoyed dinner in Wailuku before pulling out our driving GPS to direct us back (to the thankfully close) airport. Before returning our car to the rental counter we of course went to fill it up with gas. While there, I needed to pull out my old infusion set for my insulin pump, and imaging my anxiety when the old injection spot started to bleed, badly! While I applied pressure, Susan drove the one block to the nearest pharmacy (thanks driving GPS). She went inside and got bandages and gauze. Once back she applied them all, and thankfully it stopped bleeding, although my shirt looked like I had been stabbed or shot! Great, good time go to the airport :-/ We changed my shirt, and went to the airport. Thankfully we got through fine and the flight back was uneventful, arriving early Sunday morning. After driving home, we rested in the driveway for a few hours since the girls were of course asleep on the drive home from the airport.

Monday morning I had to go back to work, and to continue the string of unlucky events, I was rear-ended on the drive in to work. Nothing serious, no damage. And so ended the string of unluck that seemed to plague us for the week. Although I wouldn't want to repeat it all exactly, we did have a good time.

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