Maui (pt. 3)

This was my first time in Maui. Pretty much anyone I know who has been to all the Hawaiian Islands, says Maui is their absolute favorite so I was really excited about this one. I’ve got to be honest, my first few days I didn’t see why so many people were in love with Maui. I mean yes it was beautiful, but most beautiful of all the islands? Well after spending two weeks there, you certainly get to know the island a little more intimately and start to see why this is. Maui is like the perfect mix of city and uninhabited. I would describe it as a mix of the Big Island and Oahu. I think this balance is what attracts so many people. When you vacation in Maui, its truly inevitable to relax.

Our first stop was Kapalua Bay.img_1548

I loved this place particularly because it’s a great beach for lounging, the waters are so calm and there are a ton of fish . Maui really has magical beaches, and this is just one of them.

To watch the sunset, we went to Makena Beach.

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After doing a ton of research on the web before the trip, this was one of the most popular beaches on the list. I had some very interesting experiences with Makena beach. This picture is of the first time I visited the beach. The water was still so warm from the sun and the tide was so calm. The sand here is also so silky and soft, it just seemed like the most relaxing beach.

Fast forward to a week later. I come back to Makena Beach with a boogie board ready to play with the waves. The water was nothing like what I experienced during that sunset. The waves were huge, great for boogie boarding. We had such a great time, we came back the next day. This time though, the waves were even bigger. makena-wave

Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the water that day, so I googled this image of Makena Beach to give you an idea of what we experienced that day. This picture is not even the worse Makena’s got. I am talking about a  wall of water, way taller than me, coming crashing down on the shore and making a loud crashing sound. Naturally, I thought I could conquer this water. No biggie.

Big mistake. I made it into the water and realized these waves were way too big for me. So I swam inward trying to avoid the water breaking on the beach. There I was, floating in the water, waiting for  a wave small enough that I could escape without being tumbled over by the water like a little pebble.

I was so deep in the ocean that the waters were calm and the waves would only break ahead of me, or so I thought. I guess the ocean did not like my plan because all of a sudden, I felt the water rise and rise and rise. This is bad. This is a sign that I am on the crest of the wave and I am about to come crashing down. This is extremely bad though because if the waves that were crashing ahead of me were big, this means this is a massive one.

So do I try to ride the wave or escape it by swimming further into the water?

The fear in me told me to swim! Desperately I swim inward with all my might! I did not swim fast enough though. Before I knew it, the wave had me at its fingertip and squash me it did. I close my eyes and brace for impact. My boogie board was ripped out of my grasp, the wrist strap comes loose, I feel the weight of the water come crashing down on my body and the sand suddenly feels rougher than ever. Before I can make sense of anything, I can feel the water disappear again. Hurry! I tell myself. Get up and run before the next wave come! I get up as fast as I can, I’m not even sure my bathing suit is still on the right way, and run towards the shore. I made it. I survived!

That was enough boogie boarding for me. I got a pounding headache after that so we decided to search for a spot where the water was somewhat calmer. So I look on Google Maps to see if there is a small bay nearby we can go swimming in. I find Makena Little Beach! Sounds small and friendly, and its nearby so we decide to go. We climb up a some rocks and at first sight notice that the beach is crowded. So many bodies, and so little bathing suits! I was so confused at first, and then it finally hit me. This is a nudist beach! Oh my goodness.. I do not belong here, I think to myself. I turn around quickly and head back to the parking lot.

Besides my interesting experience with Makena, we also drove the road to Hana twice! The road to Hana is about 64 miles, but takes about 6 hours to drive. Along the long windy (extremely windy) road, there are several stops. Some of which are historical and others which are scenic. The town of Hana and the road leading to it are rich in history. Hana is a town favored by the old Hawaiian royalty. It became a place that held much of the power in Maui at the time. Hana became a busy town at the peak of its sugar production. The road was mainly used for transportation of the sugar. However after World War II, many of the sugar mills were shut down and the road to Hana slowly became a scenic route tourists frequent.

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All in all, Maui was absolutely great. Two weeks in Maui may seem like a long time. I can promise you though, it is just simply not enough time to even begin to get to know the island.

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21 days in HI for 21 Bday Pt. 2 OAHU

Hawaii is a people pleaser. You can find just about everything you could ever want there. If you like surfing, snorkeling, atv-ing, snowboarding, dirt biking, hiking, I mean I could really go on forever. Its basically like a big beautiful playground for humans, but that sounds kind of disrespectful as I type it. It’s not a playground FOR humans, its just home to a lot of beautiful nature in which humans get to play in.

Oahu I love. Well I love all the islands I’ve been to, but Oahu definitely provides the most amenities to us tourists. I remember my families first time in the Big Island, my dads phone got soaked. He even had one of those life proof cases everyone was raving about at the time, but that didn’t stop the silky Hawaiian water from sneaking its way into the case. We went to a Verizon store to try to replace it, and learned that the only store that will do in-store replacements near by was in Oahu. My dad almost had a heart attack, as he’s just as attached to his phone as us millennials. Luckily, we were leaving for Oahu the next day where he could be happily reunited with a working smartphone.

I also learned from a side conversation with a Verizon employee that Oahu was the only Island with a real mall. I couldn’t believe it. Well I came from Los Angeles, and we had everything handed to us. Theres not a thing you can’t find in LA. Now that I live in a relatively smaller community, I don’t find this as shocking.

Any who, I got to spend 8 wonderful days in Oahu. Can anyone guess our first stop?? Giovanni’s Shrimp of course! Man I was so excited to taste their delicious food again. For some of my family members this was their first time. So naturally they got hooked too. I didn’t think it was possible to get tired of eating their shrimp until..

I’m almost ashamed to say this. I think we had their shrimp 5 times in 8 days. After eating it nonstop for  a week, I’ll have to inform you.  You can certainly get tired of it.img_1545

But still so good.

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We stayed at the Illikai which has this awesome lagoon next door, and an awesome view of Diamond head, and is just awesome overall.img_1543

This is my second favorite beach, Lanikai. We only came here once and it was raining and cloudy, but as you can see, that doesn’t take a bit of the beauty away.

Unfortunately though, it did rain on my parade when we went to my number one favorite beach. Waimea was soo rainy our whole trip. Waimea Falls drains into Waimea Beach, and when this happens the beach gets muddy until the sand gets a chance to settle.

This is what Waimea Beach looks like on a beautiful day.waimea-beach

The shade of blue this water has is indescribable. It is just breathtaking.

k. but here is what we got..Image-1.jpg

So that was unfortunate..

We went to Haunama Bay (below), which is a must see. This beach is protected by the state, and is an awesome place to snorkel. Just a tip for anyone who plans to come here: snorkel by the edges!!! So many sea cucumbers and odd variety of fishes. Just please, PLEASE watch your step! I saw many sea cucumbers being stepped on. (insert cringing emoji)

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We had an authentic Hawaiian dinner for the first time too! Heres what it looks likeimg_1541

We went to Ono Hawaiian Foods in Honolulu. Its a small hole in the wall restaurant that has a line out the door almost all hours of the day. They were out of a lot of food by the time we got there, but  heres what we got to try. Chicken long rice, which is kind of like a soup with chicken and bean thread noodles? (had to google that) They are basically rice noodles but thicker and less starchy. Lomi salmon is the small bowl on the upper left. It has veggies, mostly tomatoes and onions and chopped up salmon. Kalua pig is the shredded meat in the bowl in the middle. I can’t say I ate this food the traditionally correct way.. I was mixing and matching all night, but I sure enjoyed it. This food was the definition of comfort food.

The ultimate feast however, not to steal Ono Hawaiian Food’s thunder, was Chief’s Luau. That was my first luau ever, and of course I made sure it was the night of my birthday.. I can finally understand everyone’s love for luaus. Chief, the host, was hilarious, the show was awesome, the food was delicious, just great.

Our short week in Oahu went by way too fast. Before we knew it, it was time to go.

Goodbye Oahu, here we come Maui

21 Days in HI for 21 B-Day (pt.1 Timeshare Terror)

Let me just say, I know I am extremely fortunate for having had the opportunity to spend so much time vacationing in HI of all places. I’m not sure if I am the only one who experiences this, but certain places just call my soul. My soul feels happy and at home when I am there, when I am not there I have a strong yearning to go back. Hawaii and the Sequoias are the two places that give me this feeling. So when I found out I was gonna be spending this much time in such a wonderful place, it was pretty unreal. What was more unreal though, was that it just so happened this trip landed on my 21st birthday. What a gift!

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You’ve probably figured out by now, this trip was not planned. In fact, it came about thanks to the error of a couple customer service employees that work for a time share company. Today, everyone knows timeshares are a waste of money, but several several years ago my parents got sucked into this trap and here we are today. My mother assigned to me the duty of planning a trip that would use up all of our left over “credit” with the timeshare so that the balance would be empty when she decided to end her membership. (Got to take advantage)

So here I go on my quest to find the perfect trip that we could afford just using our timeshare credit.You know how these things go, and if you don’t, then hope you never have to learn! These timeshare companies feed not only on your money, but on your time as well.

After talking to several customer service associates, I hang up the phone thinking I have found the perfect 1 week vacation in HI. I quickly go to my phone to confirm in our family group text that everyone is available the dates I have reserved. They all confirmed their availability, and I eagerly called back the timeshare to confirm my reservation. Only, when I call back, there is no recollection of the reservation I had just made. Not only did they have no reservation under my name, they claimed that there was no availability in any of their hotels in HI until next spring! I was obviously very frustrated, as I had just informed my family about this great trip I had just booked for us. Here I am on the phone, talking to the manager naming all of the sales associates I had just spoken with, giving them confirmation numbers and nothing popped up. I clearly had evidence of my reservation, and it was obvious this was a mistake on their part.

My head was pounding, but here comes the good part. I wait while the managers scramble to find a way to keep their customer (me) happy. She comes back and not surprisingly, she has found availability in one of their hotels in Maui for.. here’s the catch, different dates!! So I exaggerate saying I’ve already booked my flights, and I am just appalled that they would make me go through such trouble. (I mean I kind of was, but  they couldn’t even sweeten the deal for me after wasting half a day of my time?!) Finally, the manager speaks to her manager, and comes back to me with a “deal” straight from her supervisor. Two weeks in Maui for half price it was going to originally cost for 1 week! And with the left over points, we were able to book one week in Oahu.

Thank you, to the disorganized customer service associates, for constantly messing up and letting us customers get free stuff for your mistakes…. jimmy-fallon-thank-you-notes_featured_photo_gallery

Seriously, thank you

 

 

 

From City to Country

 

WHY? Why would anyone ever leave the sunny sandy beaches and glamorous Los Angeles for the hot Central Valley of California? Well, a lot of reasons. Mine was actually one of the biggest risks I’ve ever had to take in my short 21 years of living. Say you become best friends with someone who lives 3 hours away from you, and after 2 years of close friendship you become lovers. This could’ve been the start of a story about a dumb decision, but so far it’s leaning more towards the start of a love story about two passionate lovers whom not even the distance was able to keep apart.

But, I’m really not here to talk about my love life. My goal with this post is not to offend anyone from a small town, but to share the true journey of what its like to do the opposite of what todays generation is doing. And that is, going from city to country.

After months of driving up to Visalia, or boarding these tiny shaky airplanes to get here, my parents drove out with me to help me move into my new home in January.

Goodbye friends, goodbye family, goodbye favorite restaurants/ places to hangout, goodbye beaches, and goodbye traffic! This is what I felt and missed (except for traffic of course) for the first three months. I think “miss” is a light description of what I was actually feeling. Every day I’d find something to compare Visalia with Los Angeles and thought, could I really call Visalia home forever? To this day, I can’t answer that question for you. Take it from someone who’s only had to move once before in her entire life, and that was from Los Angeles to Los Angeles County. Long story short, it is a tough transition, but that doesn’t mean it was bad.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Sequoias. I have so many beautiful memories with my family there, even before I moved out here or even met my SO. I mean, how lucky am I? I went from having to drive 3-4 hrs to 30 minutes to get to the Sequoias! Seriously, what are the chances. Right away I was super excited to live so close to them, and all the farms, and the farm animals!! I was so excited, and still am to live so close to an agriculturally based society. In fact, my SO and his roommate made possible two personal tours. One, with a kind lady who owned many sheep. This was my first time ever seeing a sheep, and as I love animals, you can imagine my excitement. The second, at a friends family farm, where I got to see ag up close and personal! I learned about the extreme complexity and variety of farming that there is. Like how they breed new fruits, and how oranges are made seedless, and how expensive and complex it is to extract kiwifruit pollen.

So in the end I got to a mindset I didn’t think I’d get to, and thats being comfortable in Visalia. I love the closeness to several national parks, the agriculture, the small town feel, the traffic free streets and the super affordable living! I could see myself living here for a long time. Forever? Lets not get ahead of ourselves.