Sunday, March 1, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Maui County Ocean Safety Video

This has been in the works for some time now - and here we have it!

Maui's Visitor Bureau and the County of Maui have put together a new Ocean Safety Video that will be playing at Kahului Airport OGG. It will also be broadcast on the Channel 7's Visitor Channel. The Hawaii Tourism Authority supposedly also have a video in the works that will hopefully soon be shown on all flights arriving in Hawaii - I think this is the perfect place to show it! They will have a captive audience!

Ocean Safety? We don't need to watch a video on ocean safety! Well.... the numbers would indicate otherwise. Every year there are water related fatalities, and if watching a video will help teach people how to stay safe in the water, than that is a great thing! Hopefully you won't run into problems, but if you do, it's good to know what to do.

Please, take a few minutes to watch this 5 minute video! It's a good refresher even for experienced swimmers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dinner and a show at the MACC

Did you know? When you attend a concert at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, they often have a 'dinner and a show' option. At the bottom of the concert listing, check for a mention of a 'pre-show dinner'. These are catered by different Maui restaurants - there will be a menu with several options together with the price.

Come early and eat dinner in the courtyard (Yokouchi Pavillion Courtyard). It has the added advantage that you get one of the better parking spots because you arrive way in advance of the concert!

Jake Shimabukuro concert follow-up

On Saturday Feb 22nd, 2015 my son and I attended the sold-out Jake Shimabukuro concert at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului. The concert was awesome.

Jake Shimabukuro is a well-known ukulele player, a 'local boy', raised and still living on Oahu.

Ukulele is big in Hawaii. You know how in many main-land schools kids learn to read music by playing the recorder? (at least that's how it was done when I was growing up). In Hawaii many kids are fortunate to have group ukulele lessons at school. Yes, an ukulele is 'just' a small four-string guitar, and I personally have wondered why it is considered cool particularly by so many boys/men to play the ukulele. Regardless, many consider it cool, and when played well, it is beautiful to listen to.

My son loved the concert and was hopefully inspired to continue practicing. One of the highlights for us was staying behind after the concert to meet Jake. Yes, we took a picture of my son with Jake, but.... I don't post pictures of my kids on this blog, I'm sorry.

I do have a funny story though. As we walked into the Maui Arts and Cultural Center courtyard, we were surprised at how many people were bringing ukuleles to the concert. Frankly I was a bit concerned - after all, I had paid for tickets to hear Jake Shimabukuro play, not his fan club. However, I'm happy to report, I couldn't hear extra strumming from the audience during the concert. However, during intermission and after the concert there was a group of ukulele enthusiasts (perhaps 8-10) sitting in a circle in the courtyard, playing their favorite ukulele music as a group. Sort of an 'after-glow' to the concert, if you will. Additionally there were a few individuals in other nooks and crannies of the courtyard, playing their versions of Jake's songs. I sure have never seen that before at a concert. A number of them did have Jake sign their ukuleles when he came out, about an hour after the show.

In addition to the regular ukulele-playing 'groupies', we also spotted two 'supreme groupies' leaving the property, one carrying four ukulele cases, another six. I don't think they were selling ukuleles on property that night, so I'm not sure what their deal was. It did give us something to laugh about as we waited for Jake post-concert.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Is your truck on Maui?

Saw this pick-up today in Kihei. Straight from Alberta, Canada. A long way from home! I wonder if he has his snow tires on....

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Oh rental cars....

How do you book your rental car? Do you wait until you arrive at the airport and then take your chances your favorite agency will have the car you want for the right price? Or do you book it in advance, or in conjunction with your flights?

A number of years ago my friend Janna told me her trick, and I've been doing it ever since.

When I book a trip, I automatically look at the rental car situation. We always rent a mini-van. I know, what a horrid thought, I refuse to own a mini-van, but with kids and luggage, they are so practical, especially for road-trips. Next to luxury cars mini-vans are one of the most expensive vehicles to rent. My rule of thumb is, never pay more than $500/week all in for the mini-van, preferably less.

Janna says, book your rental car, and then regularly check back to see if you can find a better deal. If you do, book that and cancel the old booking (naturally this only works if you aren't pre-paying). You would be surprised to see how much rental car rates fluctuate.

I am currently looking to book a mini-van for an upcoming trip. I like to start my search by checking I rarely book through them, but they give me an overall feel for where the prices are at. Then I will go directly to the rental agencies and check their prices. This gives me the opportunity to enter coupon codes. Another place I will look is If you are a Costco member, check with them - at the very top of their website is a TRAVEL link. For our past few trips Costco has always had the best rates. Additionally the spouse drives free (always a perk).

When I first started looking at rentals for our up-coming trip, minivans were pricing at $720/week. Yikes. One early Saturday morning I happened to check, and I found one at $520/week - and booked it (though I hope the price will come down yet)! The next day the price had jumped back up to $740. This morning I've found one for $693 directly with Advantage. Enterprise is showing $926 for the same week. Avis wants $973. I am hoping the price will drop yet. Closer to the actual travel date I may check Their deals seem to get better the closer to your trip you get.

The one thing I haven't figured out yet is what to do about that rental car insurance. Our car insurance for home will cover rental cars in the US and in Canada (if you stay within 70 miles of the US border). But what about if you are traveling elsewhere? What do you do? I do hate shelling out the exorbitant insurance fees at the rental counter. I'd love to hear your ideas on this.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Art in the Park - under the Banyan Tree!

Looking for that perfect locally made souvenir? Sadly I have some news for you - chances are you won't find it at the convenience store, you know the one I'm talking about! Instead, check out the Art in the Park fair, hosted this Saturday (February 21st) by the Lahaina Arts Society under the Banyan Tree.

What will you find? Ceramics, original oils/watercolors/acrylics, hand-made jewelry, photographs, baskets, glass sculpture, fine-art giclees etc. Something for every budget!

Not on Maui this weekend? No worries - these fairs are held on several days each month. Meet the artists, check out the variety!

Can't make it to Lahaina for a fair? Check out the two Lahaina Arts Society galleries in the Old Lahaina Courthouse (right next to the Banyan Tree) - the Banyan House Gallery and the Old Jailhouse Gallery.

What is the Lahaina Arts Society? This is a volunteer organization which started in the 1960s, continuing to operate with a mission to promote the fine arts on Maui, host free children's art classes and offer partial scholarships to Maui's high-school students.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Another morning, another coffee

Sig bought a new coffee maker for our house last month. It's sleek, it's different, it is.... well.... It makes good coffee, but we won't be putting these in the condos - we'd just get too many calls from our guests on how to use them! One of the differences I've noticed is that the cheap coffee I sometimes pick up tastes just awful now (I thought it's fine in the regular drip coffee maker). Sig just loads it up with cream and says it's fine, but I drink mine black, and it's not fine.

So it was time to open a new coffee this morning. This one from the Maui Grown Coffee Company in Lahaina, the one under the smoke stack. I recently ran into them at the Maui Coffee Festival at Shops at Wailea. The manager (a friendly gentleman) is, according to all the coffee growers there, the most knowledgeable coffee expert on Maui. So if you have any coffee questions - ask him!!

This morning's coffee is this Dark Star Mokka. Mokka beans are significantly smaller than regular beans, and while you'd think it tasted chocolatey (as per the name), the beans actually smell like honey which I'm told is due to the fermenting process. The coffee itself is delicious.

When in Lahaina, stop in at their coffee shop to sample some of their coffees and shop! Incidentally, we currently have a starter pack of their regular mokka (not the honey version) in our condos. Yum. One pack makes one (12 cup) pot of coffee.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Moana Bakery in Paia

Yesterday morning we stopped in at Moana Bakery in Paia for a little treat to go... I've heard about Moana Bakery which recently re-opened (it is now a part of Dazoo Restaurant). It's open from 7am-12pm (that's right, they close at noon), so despite my early morning drive, I wasn't too early!

I had a lilikoi-cream cheese turn-over. It was oh so very good. While I was there, more goodies arrived, but no matter, I was very happy with my selection.

One thing I noticed, how reasonable the treats were. My lilikoi-cream cheese turn-over was only $3 as were many other items in the display. How refreshing!

a few more lilikoi cream cheese pastries.... so good!

Monday, February 16, 2015

March opening at our Sugar Beach condo!

I've had a cancellation at our Sugar Beach condo. This is good news for you - it means we now have March 21-April 1 2015 open! So how about it? How about a Maui trip?

This is a ground floor one bedroom one bathroom condo (sleeps 4) in North Kihei's ocean-front Sugar Beach Resort. While our condo faces the courtyard, you are 50 steps from the beach, 30 steps to the ocean-front salt-water pool and hot-tub. This is our kids' favorite pool! And you know, end of March is still great whale-watching!

This condo is centrally located, only 20 minutes from the airport, a great starting place for your Maui adventures. Then after a day of adventuring, enjoy sunset at the ocean-front bbqs!

sunset at Sugar Beach!
Check out our listing on VRBO for more information, reviews and to book!