Wow—time has well and truly flown since we started our trip. But it’s flown in the best possible way. I’m writing this from the far south-western tip of Upolo in Samoa, having arrived on the island at 6am this morning (last Saturday). The flight here from Hawaii only took five hours, but we lost a whole day because of the time difference, which slightly blew our minds: We left Honolulu, HI, at 2am on Friday morning (GMT-10), flew for five hours, and arrived on the beautiful, but remote, island of Samoa at 7am on Saturday (GMT+14).
We’ve been on numerous Hawaiian islands for the past 11 days, starting on Maui, then on Kauai, then for a short stay on Oahu. We were doing so much on each of these that we didn’t find a minute to sit down and write a single blog (let alone multiple), so this is when we’re going to try to catch up on lost time!
Our first experience of Hawaii was a five-night stay on Maui. We hadn’t done much planning before we arrived, aiming instead to live in the moment and go on recommendations from people we met. All we’d done was book our flights from the mainland to Hawaii, our internal flights around the islands, our flights out 11 days later, and a hostel in Maui for when we first arrived. So, after two pretty easy five-hour flights—one from Columbus, OH, to LA, and the other from LA to Honolulu, HI—and a short up-and-down flight from Honolulu to Kahului on Maui, we arrived at our hostel—the Aloha Surf Hostel in a small “town” called Paia—ready to see what Maui had to offer.
And as it turned out, Maui had so much to offer. The first evening that we arrived, we did the usual sussing out the surroundings/walking around the town in a bid to fight off jet lag. We weren’t expecting much as many people had told us the food on Hawaii was distinctly average, but in Paia we were presented with an abundance of organic, fresh produce. In fact, you’d be pretty hard pushed to go to Paia and find a restaurant/café/store that sold anything but organic food. The fresh fruit was also amazing, with the mouthwatering dragon fruit (also known as pitaya), pineapple, and starfruit probably our favourites.
Price-wise, food wasn’t necessarily cheap, but it certainly wasn’t extortionate, especially if you looked out for offers. Although, of course, you had to look out for ridiculous pricing anomalies. One day, for example, we were grabbing some bits and bobs in Paia’s only supermarket (Mana Foods, solely organic) and a few of the staff were chucking an enormous onion around and cracking up at the price. It turned out that this superhuman, onion-equivalent of a marrow would set someone back the extortionate sum of 15 dollars!
As for our hostel, while we aren’t planning on doing too much of this trip in hostels, the cost of accommodation in Hawaii meant this was the only sensible option. And we are so, so glad we stayed in the Aloha Surf Hostel. It must be one of the cleanest, friendliest, and most enjoyable hostels we’ve stayed in—it really did make our stay in Maui all the more special. We also made some really good friends—special shout-out to Sarah, Sammy, Rui, and Omer—who made our time in Maui, and then in Kauai (more on this in another blog), more fun than we could’ve hoped for. We ended up spending most of our time on the island with these guys, making the most of the free trips (less a tip for the driver/person leading the trip) offered by the hostel and even hiring a car to explore parts of the island as a group when we wanted to do our own thing.
Our first impressions of Maui were that it was a lush, extremely green, beautiful, and laid-back island and we couldn’t wait to spend the next few days exploring all it had to offer. We’ll save stories of the things we did and what we loved on Maui for our next blog, though, which will hopefully be much sooner than the gap between this and Lauren’s first blog over 20 days ago!
Oh, and because the internet is so bad here we’re struggling to upload any pictures, so unfortunately we haven’t added them to the image gallery yet. Stay tuned!