TASHA OLSEN

Tasha Olsen


What kind of vacation is it without being pampered at the Spa, don’t you agree?
Personally, I am a frequent spa guest and I shall admit: I am a very spoiled customer. We shopped around and checkup our opportunities at Ritz-Carlton and Montage Hotel, as both of them were conveniently located at Kapalua Bay. We chose Spa Montage.

What I loved in the Spa the most (besides their fantastic customer service and complimentary parking) was the Oceanview Infinity Pool. Huge plus right away: the pool may be used by adults only.

Very clean and quiet inside.

Besides therapy treatments, the Spa offers their guests the following retreats: eucalyptus steam room, cedar wood sauna and therapeutic cascading waterfall whirlpool.  The whirlpool’s waterfall helps to release neck and shoulder tension.

We had access to all of the spa’s amenities for the entire day because of our treatment reservation. It allowed us to leave the Spa and come back any time we wished. My therapists – Henry and Michelle – were truly miracle workers, very professional. Mariann, Cindy, Nicky (sorry if I missed any of you) all of you were simply great! During our stay in Maui we visited several Spas, but I will talk about our other experience a little later.

After our treatments in the early afternoon we went to snorkel at the Montage Hotel beach. As a tip: bring your own snorkel gear and enjoy the beach! It was unbelievably quiet there. I think it’s THE best beach on Maui.

It’s a very well protected bay by two cliffs from both sides of the beach. We were very pleased not to be beaten up by the strong surf (as we experienced at Andaz Hotel in Wailea and Ritz). We snorkeled till we could hardly move our arms and legs. We even saw the sea turtles! There was a lot of them; huge and irresistibly cute, sea turtles enjoyed their afternoon sea bathes. They were not afraid of people at all!

Here, do you see two black stones popping up from the water?

The black round black spot closer to us is a head of the sea turtle. She (or he?) swam up to the surface of the water to get some air. I tried to take better pictures as I watched the “sea beast” as a hunting cat, but no luck! The turtle behaved as a true Hollywood movie star, well skilled to avoid the naughty Paparazzi. The “Star” disappeared like a Cheshire Cat when I was ready to take a picture and suddenly appeared again when I was distracted.

We returned home after sunset.

 

Another beautiful Maui day came to its end.

Сезон цветения здесь совершенно другой, чем на моей подмосковной даче. В наше предгорье зима не приходит. Жаркое лето длится с начала мая до конца октября; оно действительно жаркое, 35-40 градусов тепла без осадков для нас привычное дело. Теплая осень радует понижением температуры до 20-15 градусов в ноябре и заканчивается в феврале. Вслед за осенью, минуя зиму, приходит кратенькая весна в марте-апреле. Ежегодно (игнорируя уровень выпавших осадков в осенне-зимний перид), уже с февраля месяца местные власти напоминают о грядущем небывало-засушливом лете (и возможной нехватке воды в регионе) и призывают к экономии. А мои цветы требуют много воды.

Май-июнь – самое цветение.
Сначала тюльпаны, ирисы, лилейник и сирень.

  

Потом чубушник. Здесь его называют жасмином. Аромат волшебный.

Потом гортензия, пионы (китайские), розы и ранние лилии.

         

        

В июне-июле будут цвести флоксы, лилии и азалия.  И, конечно, розы.

   

А потом жарища и «мертвый сезон» до конца сентября. В октябре опять зацветут розы и камелия.
Меня потряс рассказ одной любительницы цветов (прочитала в садоводческом журнале, но в каком?), которая проживала в поселке на Крайнем севере. Она писала, что лето у них длится всего 2 месяца, и она начинает выращивать рассаду уже с января. Она прислала фотографии своего прекрасного сада. И я подумала, что если возможно разбить цветущий сад на Крайнем севере – это достойно уважения!

А что растет у вас в саду?  Поделитесь фотографиями и историями!

6 лет назад я решила, что настало время превращать свой приусадебный участок в «мою прекрасную дачу». Но я не знала – с чего начать? Какие цветы приживутся на глиняно-кислой почве Северной Калифорнии? На подмосковной даче в саду цвели пионы, флоксы, гортензии, тюльпаны, сирень, жасмин… Всего и не перечислить! И это в условиях жутко холодной зимы и дождливой осени!

Неужели я не смогу вырастить эти цветы здесь?

На помощь пришли журналы «Мой прекрасный сад», «Дом в саду», «Сад своими руками», «Цветочный клуб»; сейчас уже и не припомню всех названий. В каждом я находила множество советов. К моему великому изумлению новичка-садовода, я обнаружила, что общего правила ухода за цветами не существует. Цветы имеют свои пристрастия и капризы. Они болеют. Каждому цветочку нужна особая почва, чтобы расти «со вкусом». Одни требуют обильного и редкого (или наоборот) полива, другие ненавидят тень и обожают (или ненавидят) прямое солнце… а еще мерзкие вредители и тля… Голова кругом…

Если бы я только могла предположить, в какую авантюру влезла, поддавшись очарованию фотографий цветов из глянцевых журналов! Все казалось так просто: купил, посадил, полил – и сад готов. К счастью, нам не дано заглянуть даже в ближайшее будущее, в противном случае вряд ли многие из нас имели бы смелость прожить свою жизнь до конца.

Так мы начинали.

             

                                                                        Что получилось.

          

Пионы – это было мучение, видеть как гибнут кусты, пока не сообразила, как за ними ухаживать.

Розы, пожалуй, были самые адаптированные к нашей местности цветы.

         

Клематис.  Думала, что погибнет. Но цветет! Правда, из горшка в почву я его пересадить так и не решилась. Иногда бывает, что «лучшее – враг хорошему». Раз нравится ему в горшке, то пусть там и остается, лишь бы рос и цвел.

 

I simply fell in love with Kapalua Bay! If I come back to Maui one day again, there will be no doubt where to stay: at Kapalua Bay, my favorite resort area. It’s located on the north-west of the island.

Here, you will find two 5-star hotels: Montage

and Ritz-Carlton

I read so many negative reviews about the Ritz’ location. Now, after seeing the hotel (and Spa) with my own eyes, I may say that I don’t agree with those angry writers. Ritz is not for everyone – that’s for sure. If you love to jog in the mornings, play tennis or golf, relax in a hammock and swim in the ocean in the afternoons, if you love nature, big trees, birds singing – make a reservation at the Ritz, you will not regret it, it’s your destination. But if you dream more about “city-like adventures”, then, definitely, this is not your cup of tea.

I was impressed by the huge lawn in front of Ritz (not at the entrance, but from the coast line). It’s a lovely walk towards the beach.

We found out why Ritz has it. Ritz was supposed to be an oceanfront hotel, but during its construction the developers had to relocate the building – due to the ancient Hawaiians burial site. The hotel had to be moved a little bit away from the coast line, leaving a lawn which is bordered by a stone wall. Behind the lawn and the wall, you will be able to see “Dragon’s Teeth of Kapalua” which is a part of the ancient burial place.

 

For those, who love walking along the coast and enjoy the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, there is a lovely path – 1.5 miles – between the Ritz and Montage Hotel. Beautiful place, peaceful and serene, but don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and apply sun-screen lotion on your face!

 

As we walked from the Montage Hotel towards the Ritz, Bay Villas were on our right. I took a couple of pictures of them just in case if you may be thinking to rent one.

      

       

Some ocean front villas have direct access to the lovely beaches. The beaches are tiny but they have nice sand. We saw hardly any tourists there. If you are looking for quite time, this area may work for you. I am not sure if it is a good place for snorkeling; both times we visited Kapalua Bay it was windy and the waves were rather big. Those days, definitely, were not good for snorkeling.

Tip. You might see wales from the Bay Trail. We saw some.

Before taking our walk to the Ritz, we ate lunch at Montage beach bar. Montage – no doubts! – is an expensive hotel; in low season, its rates start from $ 800.00 per night and up. For our afternoon snack we paid $75.00. It included two sandwiches, two non-alcoholic beverages, nice service, birds’ singings, fresh air and fantastic ocean view from the terrace.


As a bonus, our friendly waitress shared with us the low-high seasons’ time frame. The end of April is considered to be a low season (my husband and I were happy to hear that; our trip wasn’t planned, it just happened and we were happy to avoid crowds of anxious tourists). High season for Maui is: the month of November (especially Thanksgiving week), New Year, the month of March (spring break). The summer is a high season; it lasts from the middle of June till the middle of August. In February it may be pretty overcrowded as well; this is the favorite vacation time for our Canadian neighbors.

 

When we were approaching the foothills, we noticed that the top of the mountain was covered with clouds. We were warned that in Maui weather is very naughty, it changes frequently.


It didn’t take us long to make the decision to keep driving, and we didn’t regret it. It cost us $ 25.00 to enter the National park. Be ready to take a credit card with you! Cash is not an option.

Despite an overcast sky, it was an exquisite and unforgettable trip. I would say that Haleakala is my most striking impression of Maui, and even the fog didn’t spoil it.

               
The fog was rising over the grass; it was sliding above and between the bottoms of the cliffs forming mysterious patterns out of its own mist. Here and there it slowly wandered to the top and covered it with the fluffy blanket of clouds. The surrounding nature was serene. The light wind gently shook the top of the flowers as it was singing a lullaby song to the surrounding nature. We reached the end of the world…

Do you see what I saw?
A hunter is lying behind the stone and nearby him a dog lifted up its head…

Crater. What weird unrealistic colors! Breathtaking.

The last eruption of the volcano happened in 1794. Scientists describe Haleakala as a “sleeping” volcano. There is always a possibility that the volcano “wakes up” one day and will surprise us with a new eruption.  Haleakala means “House of Sun”. Long ago, in ancient time, one of the local gods got upset with the Sun that it finished its “run” over the sky too fast. The furious god caught the Sun with the net and forced his hostage to promise not to be in a rush – ever again!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Visitor center and parking.

           

Summit (10,000 feet above sea level).  Observatory.

            

Maui is often named as the Rainbow Island. Haleakala may be called Rainbow Mountain.

Tip: stop at the first and second turn outs, don’t ignore them! At the first turn out you have to walk a few minutes to see an outstanding view of the canyon (if there is no fog!)

         

For those who are looking for complete solitude, there are “primitive cabins” (with no electricity or running water) to rent in the National park. You have to make reservation six months in advance with a maximum of 3 nights stay, and still there is no guarantee you will be lucky to get it! The only way to get the cabin is hiking or riding a horse. I should admit that after visiting Haleakala, Maui justified the reputation of “magical” and “unpredictable island”. I could never imagine that the “primitive cabins” would be so popular!

On the way back it rained, and we stopped at Kula Lodge Restaurant.

Kula is a charming tiny town in the foothills. It was getting dark and cold and the manager started the fire. Real fireplace, no electric or gas imitation!

The bill given to us by a polite waiter, didn’t shock us. Within the week we gained the skill to control our blood pressure rocking up when we signed the bill for $75.00 for two sandwiches, coke and a hot cup of tea. Besides, the warm fire place in alliance with the beautiful view of the mountain outside made us less vulnerable.

Our trip to Haleakala came to the end in the Lodge’s garden. Nicely groomed flowerbeds with exotic flowers and bushes.

As the previous day, we came home exhausted, happy and full with new impressions.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Trying to figure it out where to go first, we looked through travel sites. I will remind you: we have never been to Maui before.

What did we see?

Ka’anapali – Wailuku – Wai’anapanapa – Nahiku – Haleakala – Molokini – Lanai…

Ah? Do these names mean anything to you? Well, they didn’t to us either. Therefore, again, we shut down the Internet and drove to Hana.

Why Hana?

Tour operators exited us to see the tropical “utopia of Maui”: majestic waterfalls (many of them), bamboo forests, exotic flowers, Black Sand Beach, Red Sand Beach and other excitements. Very promising, don’t you agree?

The road to Hana is full of incredible scenery, but it is an adventure to drive along the curvy, serpentine, two-lane (in many parts one-lane) road for 3 hours one way. A mere 42 miles separate Paia from Hana. It’s definitely an all-day experience. Be prepared that the local drivers will stubbornly sit on your tail, regardless how fast or slow you drive. Also, all of them are possessed by a weird habit to pass your car right after the severe sign: “Do not pass!”  So, if you want to visit Hana only because you would love to say to your friend “I have been there!” – don’t do it! Postpone your trip till you have enough time to enjoy your journey.

The first major sight: Twins Waterfall.

Another waterfall and happy adventurers.

We didn’t take any food with us and we found out that grabbing a bite to eat can be a challenge on the way to Hana. We missed the few cafes; we didn’t have a chance to slow down because an angry islander literally glued his car to our rear bumper. Finally, we let him pass us and stopped at a road stand. We had a tasty lunch: chicken, sausages and pork were sliced, BBQed and placed on a sugar bamboo leaf.

 

                       

It was pure luck. The friendly local gentleman does not cook BBQ lunches every day, only when he is in the mood to do it. I would recommend you bring some food and refreshments and do not rely on luck.

Somewhere in the middle of our trip we stopped at the rest zone. This couple shared their lunch with homeless kitties. I don’t know who they were, but they have heart! Thank you!

 

There are over 1,000 wild cats on Maui. They look horrible – skinny, hungry and sick. Cats do not have enough food (birds and mice) and they have turned into scavengers. To see those miserable creatures was painful. I wish the tour operators had informed us. If we knew we would have brought cat’s food with us. Unfortunately, we had our lunch before we stopped at the rest zone. I experienced a shock: tropical island, hundreds of thousands of tourists, million-dollar hotels everywhere and… starving animals. Whatever stern veterinarians say about the danger of animal obesity I prefer to see fat cats rather than cats dying from starvation. It was very sad.

Next stop: Wai’anapanapa National Park and Black Sand Beach.

                        

Here is another native islander, but he is in full camouflage. Can you find a cat in the picture?

The volcanic black sand. Awesome sight!

It’s really black! Never in my life have I seen such an amazing place!

Next stop: Hana Bay.

Hana is a small community town, green and full of flowers. The main attraction is the famous Red Sand Beach. By the way, there was free parking at the local middle school not far away from Red Sand Beach, but I am not sure if it was again our lucky day, or anyone may park there anytime?

Red Sand Beach looks more like a bay or tiny harbor.

         

You will have to walk up and down along a narrow path grabbing the tree branches to secure yourself from falling off the cliff, but the natural beauty of Red Sand Beach was worth the effort!

In the past this place was closed to the general public by the wish of the owner (because of the liability and legal issues). Now, since it is open again, be careful getting there: you are responsible for your own safety.

Here, in the bay of Red Sand Beach, our trip was over. It was time to go back. The way back took us less time – about 2 hours. Maybe we got used to the sharp curves in the road?

The red sun was half gone and most of the sky was covered with the clouds, when we reached the highway. Gradually, the sky turned from a bright-pink into gentle-lilac. Last flash; the sun disappeared.
We were overloaded with impressions of what we saw. Yes, as Maui Revealed Book promised us, Hana “doesn’t hit you, it seeps into you”.



 

  HOTEL vs CONDO   

Before purchasing our flight, I had to find the place to stay. As my husband and I were first-time visitors of Maui and were not familiar with any resort, I shall admit that it was a challenge. Hotels and travel websites have a kaleidoscope of beautiful pictures, but to my huge surprise I found too many negative reviews about the accommodations.
Usually I use TripAdvisor; from my previous experience I came to the conclusion that their visitors’ reviews are pretty close to reality. But this time even 5-star Hotels were criticized to no extent! I fully understand that to rent a nice condominium may be problematic. Each condominium has separate owner and, therefore, the standards are different. You may only hope for the owner’s honesty; to get a good condo is the same as to buy a pig in a poke.

But 5-Star Hotels?

                

That was something new.

Also, when I compared Mexico’s prices (we have traveled to Mexico frequently for many years) with Maui’s hotels’ prices I had to make an effort to stop my jaw hitting the floor. I had an impression that Maui hotels’ designers and builders are tricking us into believing they built palaces for pharaohs with gold and precious jewelries for hotels’ walls, otherwise how can you explain the minimum price of $500.00 per night (if you are lucky and it’s a low season)?

If I haven’t read a wonderful book “Paradox of Choices: Why More is Less” by Barry Schwartz just before our trip, I would completely forget about Maui and make a reservation to my well-known Mexico. The book gave me the straight answer why perspective tourists spend so much time shopping around instead of trusting common sense.

This is the answer.

Nowadays we depend TOO MUCH on somebody’s else opinions. It’s almost impossible to make your own decision, and – what is even more important – to be happy with it! There is so many choices that our subconscious plays a dirty trick with us. It doesn’t matter what we will choose, we already don’t like it! We hate it! Because we’ve missed the other opportunity!

I stopped “swimming” in the ocean of negative reviews, bought the book “Maui revealed” by Andrew Doughty and tried to focus on what WE want to get within our budget. Two business professionals were exhausted and ready to have a break from the office routine for 2 weeks. But on the other hand, we are too energetic to spent our entire vacations lying on the beach all day long.  How to combine comfort, budget, sightseeing, snorkeling and an ocean escape?

We split out vacation into two parts. For the first week we rented a condominium at Royal Kahana Hotel in Lahaina (close to Kapalua Bay).

The other week we stayed at a 5-star Astoria Hotel in Wailea. Now, we had the opportunity to explore different parts of Maui and compare the resorts.

s.                                                      

In general, the condominium in Lahaina was pretty good, quiet, reasonably clean with a nice front ocean lanai (balcony). We had everything we needed, but…

There is no doubt that a 5-star Hotel provided more comfort and delivered the true escape! Included in the astronomical (in my opinion) accommodation price of all the resort hotels in Wailea is their promise to the guests to relax and experience the feeling of a worry-free vacation.

I will mention pluses and minuses of staying at the condo and hotel in Maui a little bit later. I will also share some tips, you may find helpful.But now it is time to take a trip to Hana to explore Maui’s natural beauty.



My dear readers of TravellingMe Blog!

Before releasing this website and blog I was asked numerous times by different people: “Why do you want to do it? There are so many other blogs and travel sites, why waste your time?”

I think I found the answer to those sceptics:
“Wherever you travel in life, take chances, embrace the uncertainty of outcome, go with an explorer’s heart, and most importantly, share what you find with others”, Andrew Doughty, the author of Maui Revealed Book.

I took the liberty to cite Andrew Doughty’s words because that is what I believe in. Learning every day, share my knowledge and experience with others make me happy. If you like to travel, read, and learn – then, my blog is for you.

I have such a feeling that sometimes new technologies play weird tricks with the most of us. With new technologies we surely must have more time to explore the world. But it looks like that we have less and less time to do it! There is no time to read books, there is no time go to museums, there is no time to enjoy the beauty of the old canvases, architecture, monasteries, palaces, exotic faraway islands…

We are always in a rush.

Even traveling adventures seem to turn into sitting in a comfortable chair in front of your personal computer; why bother going somewhere after all? I will not be surprised if one day technology gets so refined that it will offer their clients to climb up the highest peak of Everest or dive into the ocean’s depth without even leaving their own house!

And it will not be a virtual game, it will be a reality.

But, lucky for those of us, who are interested to explore new and unknown destinations, we still have this opportunity!

Very soon many of you, I am sure, will have to think about summer vacations. As I have just come back from Maui, I decided to start my blog with videos and information about this island. Despite the fact that there is a lot of information about Maui, I still hope you will find my notes helpful. I wish you to make the right choice, go to Maui and enjoy it as much as I did.

 

 

Никогда ранее, путешествуя, я не заглядывала в guide-books, чтобы сообразить где бы перекусить. А на Maui пришлось. Maui Revealed Book, мой спаситель, стр. 265 и далее.

Попытки найти нормальный ресторан на острове – это отдельная песня. И очень грустная. Хотя, если вы испытываете трудности скинуть лишние килограммы, Maui будет идеальным местом для похудания. Днем жарко и влажно, вы пьете только воду, потому что ничего другое просто не лезет в горло, плаваете в океяне-море, а вечером обнаруживаете, что за малюсенький сэндвич с вас сдирают 35-40 долларов.

От ресторанных цен дух захватывает (увы, не от восторга, скорее от шока). На острове не найти морепродуктов и свежих фруктов. Как мне любезно объяснили: все привозится с материка. Ну, я понимаю – мясо, молоко, но морепродукты?! Это выше моего понимания.

Когда мы перебрались из Wailea в Royal Kahana, кафешка Mama’s Ribs’n Rotisserie буквально спасла нас от голодной смерти, так как мы возвращались ближе к 9 вечера и сил на то, чтобы разыскать приличный ресторан уже не оставалось.

И вообще, найти НЕдорогой ресторан, да еще с приятной атмосферой, достойным сервисом, приятным декором и, главное, – такой, где побаловали бы умирающего от голода и жажды туриста вкусной едой и хорошим вином… Господа! Такого места (со всеми вышеупомянутыми компонентами) на Maui просто не существует! Найти приличный ресторан на острове – это все равно, что гоняться за неуловимым Фиделем Кастро во времена кубинской руволюции. Тот же эффект, то есть «0» результата.

Никаких изысков и местных вкусняшек! Типичный американский fast food везде, даже в ресторанах. На тропическом острове ожидалось большего. Мы вернулись в любимую Калифорнию и наелись фруктов и морепродуктов. Viva California!

Теперь о перелете.

Мы летели Alaska Air прямым рейсом из Oakland, Са. Это был мой первый опыт общения с Alaska Air, и он оказался на ДИВО положительным. Вы не поверите, но стюардессы улыбались! Последние 20 лет, пользуясь сомнительным сервисом авиакомпаний Delta и United, я уже успела подзабыть, что бортпроводницы умеют улыбаться! Рейс не перенесли и не отложили, мы даже прилетели на 20 минут раньше как на Maui, так и в Oakland airport. Браво!

На этой положительной ноте я заканчиваю обзор своих впечатлений.

Несмотря ни на что, острова Maui и Lanai стоит посетить, они довольны необычны, культура Америки переплелась с местным колоритом, и тропические острова, в целом, оставили необыкновенно интересное «послевкусие».  И даже самые распрекрасные, мастерски сделанные фотографии, не смогут передать красоту природы островов.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Заповедник котиков, Lanai

Если вы терпеть не можете котов, то пропустите эту статью, пожалуйста! А если вы, как и я, любитель мохнатых безобразников, то у меня для вас есть интересная информация.  Я узнала, что в 2004 году Kathy Carroll основала на острове Lanai  кошачий приют – Cat Sanctuary. И мне ужасно захотелось приехать и познакомиться с этой удивительной женщиной и ее питомцами!

Сейчас в приюте находится около 600 котов и кошек.

       

      

Главное, они НЕ заперты в клетках! Климат острова мягкий и позволяет создать самые благоприятные условия для животных.

             

Коты живут в открытом вольере, но у них много места, где можно спрятаться от посторонних глаз или от дождя.

Этого котика спасли, он умирал от рака. 3 года назад ему пришлось отрезать ушки, но в остальном он чувствует себя хорошо. Очень приветливый, милый, перестал бояться людей.

А когда я увидела этого красавца, мне показалось, что он сейчас скажет мне: «Мы знакомы?» голосом Антонио Бандераса, который озвучивал Кота в Сапогах в мультике о Шреке.

Не подходи ко мне близко! Я тигр, а не киска!

Я корпулентен (а не толст, как некоторые могут подумать) и я неотразим!

В прошлом году приют посетили 1,300 туристов. Организация существует только благодаря щедрости неравнодушных людей. Я хочу отметить и желание хозяина острова Larry Ellison помочь и посодействовать организаторам приюта. Прежде всего, он дал разрешение на создание Cat Sanctuary, а ведь мог бы и отказать! И еще: очень многие гости отеля Four Season, Lanai – не только частые посетители Cat Sanctuary, но и щедрые жертвователи.

И это прекрасно!
О Kathy Carroll есть интересная статья и видео: www.hawaiimagazine.com/content/cat-sanctuary
А это сайт организации
www.lanaicatsanctuary.org