I have always wanted to drive on the Road to Hana since I saw it on some travel channel years ago.
In one of our earlier versions of the trip plan, we planned to stay overnight in Hana and explore the Seven Sacred Pools and hike in the vicinity.
Of course, this time we didn’t really want to change hotels etc. So we just decided to do a day trip. Drive as far as we could go and then turn back. the trip was more about the journey than the destination.
We didn’t want to wake up early just to complete the drive. The drive one way is about 45 miles and there are several guides/maps that list what to do mile by mile. The roads hugs the coast and crosses many single lane bridges as it winds its way to Hana. On a busy day there is a pile of cars and that tends to slow folks down. Most folks tend to drive all the way to Hana, have lunch there and then stop at different attractions on the way back.
We took it easy and left Wailea after breakfast and decided that we will probably go up to mile marker 17 or such and then head back.
First stop – Paia Town
This is the last big town before you embark onto the road to Hana drive. We stopped here to pick up picnic lunch, water and use restrooms before continuing further. Didn’t really spend much time here though it has some excellent shopping opportunities – jewelry, clothes, restaurants etc
With our lunch packed we headed to our first real stop on the drive.
Mile Marker 2 – Twin Falls
Varun hates long drives. To get him excited about the trip we told him about waterfalls and how he could splash in them and get wet. In fact the only reason he agreed to sit in the car for this long was to see waterfalls. So, we were very happy to find a decent waterfall right off the bat. Parking was a bit tricky here as this is the first stop on the trip and almost everyone stops here but we managed to find one along the road. Varun hiked the almost one mile gravel trail to the falls.
Flowers, fruits, singing and dragging a stick behind him helped him walk on the uneven trail.
The falls were strictly ok but Varun loved getting wet in the big pool.
And holding a big green gecko on a stick.
As a reward for walking, we treated him to coconut water and bananas at the fresh fruit stand right outside the trail head to the falls.
Exhausted he slept in the car. So now, we had a dilemma – should we stop along the way and carry him or drive a bit further and then stop on the way back. We decided to do the latter.
We stopped and ooh-ed-aah-ed at the views from the car but our real next stop was in Ke’anae Peninsula.
Mile Marker 16.5 – Ke’anae Peninsula
Tall waves spraying over rocky lava coastline, taro fields, a beautiful old Hawaiian church and not to mention the most amazing banana bread. Need I say more why we stopped here. Shaved ice was heaven. It was dramatic and hypnotizing. Inviting us to stay, lay a blanket and have a picnic lunch right there.
The open green fields next to the church would be perfect for Varun to run around but he was still asleep.
We sat there taking in the dramatic scenery and munching on the warm banana bread and then drove down further south to see more waterfalls and coast.
Mile Marker 25 – Nahiku Landing
Nahiku landing promised a drive through forest and a hidden waterfall on the beach. We though this would be perfect for Varun. Wake up from his nap, have lunch on the beach and then spend time in the waterfall before heading back. The drive was beautiful. But unfortunately the waterfall had dried up. We met another couple who hiked around the beach to find the waterfall with no luck.
This was the least touristy spot on the drive thus far and the solace was very comforting.
Varun was a bit disappointed about the waterfall but was happy to see the giant waves splash on the rocky shore below.
We decided to head back as it was past 3 by now and see if we could wrangle in one more waterfall stop on the way back.
Mile Marker 17 – Pua’a Ka’a Park & Falls
We stopped at the Pua’a Ka’a park for late lunch and rest room break. Across the road there was a small waterfall and Varun was very impatient to cross a little stream to reach it. He wanted Vipul to help him jump from one rock to another while crossing the stream. The water was a bit cool to actually bathe in but it was fun splashing around in it.
We spent some time here and then decided to drive back home. Clouds started gathering and it was bit dark. We drove back playing car games like I Spy games and asking him to recognize animal sounds.
It was a lovely day out – away from the resort to see the real Maui.
I am sure areas around Hana are even more prettier but we got a glimpse of it on this lush green tropical drive. Wonderful seascapes, quaint one lane bridges, thick bamboo forests and taro patches. A must do while on Maui.
While in Dubai, a visit to Jumeriah Mosque is a MUST.
As a non-muslim, there are probably very very very (did I say very?) few places in the world where can you can enter a mosque. The enticing domes, the calls for prayer, the water tank outside where pigeons and humans wash their feet, the carvings have been very enticing to me. After living in Hyderabad I have seen a couple of mosques from outside.
I have seen beautiful pictures of people praying together during Ramzan inside the mosque.
When I found out that Jumeriah mosque welcomes everyone to their place of worship so that they can educate people about Islamic culture and Emirati way of life and traditions; I was all up for a visit. The mosque in itself is very beautiful and the educational tour was an added cherry on top. Everyday (except Fridays) at 10:00 am, a tour is offered at the mosque. Arrive by 9:45 am to buy the nominally charged ticket and don a head scarf or a hijab is you are not dressed modestly (head, shoulder and knees must be covered inside the mosque).
The tour starts promptly at 10:00 am. The guide talks about how to prepare to enter a mosque ( washing and ablutions) , the importance of Mecca, five pillars of Islam ( There is only one God, Pray 5 X day, Fasting and Self Control during Ramadan, Donate saved money that you are not using for anything else to charity, Visit Haj if financially/physically possible without taking credit), how is the prayer done, what does it mean for an Emirati to dress modestly etc.
Oh, kids are welcome on the tour. Varun sat in the women’s prayer room which is off to one side playing quietly with toys while Vipul and I listened to the talk. He also liked seeing the books kept on the low stands and pretended to read them. Most older kids sat patiently listening to the talk with their parents as well.
I think all cultures are riddled with myths and stereotypes (some more negative than others) and having a program such as this in a landmark setting in the most modern Islamic city is a great start.
Probably if every big city in the world had such a program for all religions it will dispels so much negativity and let us civilians live ( and let others live ) in peace.
If you do have a free morning in Dubai, do visit this program. It can be combined with a cultural lunch or breakfast where you can learn and sample Emirati cultural foods. We couldn’t go on that tour but the photos on SMCC site are very tempting!