MATT´s email to me:
This is excellent it will be so much fun to keep going back to this Epic Hawaiian Adventure we shared! However, I’m going to make it more fun and just write very detailed, one day at a time so you will have to wait longer which will be great in the end! 😉
I had just got to Maui the night before after finishing a 38 hour Journey with no sleep due to climbing the stairway to heaven in Oahu. Completely exhausted, I couldn’t wait to get my own private room and comfy bed at one of the few hostels in town, The Banana Bungalow. A steep $54 a night… not what I was used to in Europe or ready for in Asia. However, this is a small Island in the middle of the massive Pacific Ocean. Not too many places to stay here and the demand is high. Non the less I felt rested and was ready to start the first full day on this Maui Adventure. Went downstairs to cook my “free breakfast” which was just pancake mix and water. I was a little dissapointed in this because I know I suck at making pancakes and after $54 a night at least get me some cereal, toasts, eggs, bacon… but I ate them to get the energy for the day ahead. A ton of girls from Spain were staying here, a few other Europeans and Austrailians. A typical fun hostel with plenty of people to meet. I sat down for coffee and was talking to a Young German by the name of Tom. We shared some quick travel stories and wished each other the best on our roads ahead, but he had different plans then me. Before I left I talked to some other travelers at an outside table and the main guy from Sweden rolled us all a Spliff and started smoking away. Great start to the day! He made an interesting comment I wouldn’t forget. What does it truly mean for us to be open minded? It went something like this… “If I may want to be gay in the future, then I’m perfectly fine with that. It will be what I want at that time.” I was listening to this concept but I don’t believe that being open minded means to try to do anything and everything. I wouldn’t ever want to know the feeling of murdering someone or having sex with a child or very old grandmother or eating a dolphin, etc. So I don’t feel I need to open my Ass to another man or vise versa… I don’t think that he is open minded on this. I think he is gay and would simply like to try it but not yet courageous enough to express that fully. I have no problem with it, never will but that aint me. Damn do I love women too much. They are soo beautiful, so sexy and so opposite from men. This feels natural and it feels good. We all went our seperate ways as I threw on my backpack, a heavy bastard with a tent, sleeping bag, clothes and more shit that adds up to about 55 lbs. I began my walk into town.
As I walked towards the first bus, I chatted with a friend on the phone from Florida trying to inspire him and his girlfriend to come visit me in Asia somewhere. This wasn’t easy… all Americans are so worried about the money and their jobs, I will hope for the best. Still technically in the US so it is easy to use my phone. I get on the bus to Lahaina.
Quickly I learned Lahaina was where the rich tourists go to do their shopping. I don’t hate shopping but I certainly don’t NEED it. I have only one backpack, how much more shit can I own on the road??? I don’t travel to buy more things, I can do that back in the US mainland. Im here for the nature, the city nightlife, the food, the people, the culture and any other fun experience. A man had a sign that said $5 whale watching!!! Wow!!! Lets go! Then he says you are a single male and we need you to see a time share after I wasted 30 minutes listen to him trying to scam a married couple into this deal. Thank God they didn’t give into his pressure. Im not a fan of how this guy operates or this whole town. However, I do talk to a very old man sitting on the stones looking at the water. I tell him of my journey to Asia, he sounds excited. So he tells me it is worth my time to get to the Northern Point of the Island, plenty of great things to see. I thank him and leave out of Lahaina.
With no car and no interest in paying for the bus I decide to keep walking. This was about a 3 hour walk towards Kaanapali. I listen to music and then decide to call this girl Crystal back in LA to share a story as I walk. I love walking with my backpack. Not because it is comfortable or easy or fun. Because it makes my body stronger and healthier. I can see things I would not have seen otherwise if I was zipping by in a car or on a bus. I can have time to myself to think, think deeply. My money can be saved for another unique experience like tasting the local food. I can use a vehicle any where in the world but I can only get fresh Hawaiian food here, so anything to save money helps. I tust in my feet, so I keep going forward. After sharing an emotional story about the Stairway to Heaven with Crystal. She points out something new I hadn’t thought of before. It was important to walk in the dark up the 4,000 steps because you can’t even see up the whole mountain. All you can see is maybe 10 steps in front of you. Had i worried about all the next 2,000 steps ahead it would be so much more stressful. Just like in life itself. Focus on what is right in front of you. The top of the mountain will be reached eventually. Take it ome step at a time. So after enjoying the sunset at kaanapali with Crystal on the phone I decide to keep heading north up the road till atleast 8 or 9 when I will rest and set up camp. Walking up the beach side of a busy road against traffic, towards Kapalua.
Then something happened I would have never planned for or expected to happen in a million years. A man pulls up in a beat up white car. He passes me due to the road being a fast one. As I notice it seemed he wanted to speak to me. Why? I appologize to Crystal and tell her to hang on as I pull off my blue phone headset, then as he is reversing back to me I walk to him through the passenger window. He is looking around frantically, has no shirt on, the car looks a mess then he asks me. “Where are you heading? Do you need a ride?” I’ve only hitch hiked one time before on Oahu. Similar scenario, I was walking on the right side of the road and a white ford mustang pulled up. Inside was a Kiwi family from New Zealand. It was a mother and her 2 daughters. We drove maybe 30 minutes down the road towards my hostel. I showed them the beach with the biggest waves, then we went our seperate ways. A nice experience, but I felt a different energy. I knew something was different about this Man. I wanted to learn more about him and could certainly give my feet a nice rest. I told him yes, let me throw my backpack in the trunk. Now I told Crystal I will have to get off the phone out of respect for my new comrade. However, if you would have known that by someone asking you do you need a ride also meant… “Are you ready to share an Epic 3 week Adventure?” Would you say yes or no? Well I say this… when Marek Mrazik pulls up on the side of the road to offer you a ride, you say yes!
Im sitting in the car with him and we instantly begin to talk. He is surprising very easy to talk to and get along with. From Slovakia and currently living and working in Munich, Germany. As Americans we always need to know what people “do.” So I held back as long as I could before finding out he is an Investment Analyst for an Oil Company back in Germany. What the heck??? This quirky solo world traveler, with no shirt on, picking up hikers while eating cookies and drinking milk is an Investment Analyst? This is funny to me as I’m sure I will find out there is soo much more I will learn about my new friend Marek. Such as, the many languages he speaks. With some very strong English and just a few pronunciation issues. Then I find out he also speaks Italian because he lived in Italy for a very long time. “Ahhhhhhh Ciao! Io sono Americano mi Italiano è cosi cosi” I tell him. This starts a fun weird thing where we always chime in with random Italian words, sayings and proverbs. God I love Italy and the Italians… I can’t help it… it’s in my blood. I also find out he is a Couch Surfer like myself. This brings me a ton of comfort as I trust this community deeply after all my travels and guests I’ve hosted back home in LA. As we get to know each other more we soon realize we are driving around aimlessly. Sometimes horribly through red lights… shit was he a bad driver. Confused with signs, rules, speed limits and much more. As I tell him about my business Angel City Limo, a small limousine and car service. I was hoping he would guess Im an excellent driver with a ton of experience and confidence. I can’t demand anything he was the nice one to pick me up in his car. However, we are on an Adventure and I don’t truly care as I trust in my faith I will be safe this whole Journey, start to finish. Woaaahh watch out… a car to my right… wrong lane! Maybe my faith will be tested, I’m laughing to myself.
With no plan we begin to think of what is next. He tells me he also has some camping gear but never had tried it out yet. Not much expeience but that didn’t matter. I am an Eagle Scout, thanks to being in the Boy Scouts of America all my childhood. Basically… I’m a bad ass in the wilderness. I tell him about a weird law for Maui and some other Islands in Hawaii. I plan on camping every single night for free. No more ecpensive hotels or hostels or Air Bnbs. My business is struggling back home as I am away and I need to be smart. Not even $5, $10 or $20 do I want to spend on a legal and organized campsite. Apparently, the weird rule is if you are in the process of fishing you can camp anywhere on the island along the beach. No problems!
Now we are driving up and down the Coast on the north side of the island trying to figure out where to camp. We need supplies for the night so I get some food a chicken with rice, waters, sweedish fish and Coronas with lime. I also discover a super tasty banana hot sauce popular for Hawaii. Wow, such good flavor! My new friend gets some Milk and Cookies… of course. He also finds a cool hat and I decide to pay for everything as a kind gesture to thank him for the car. The night is looking good!
Next we decide to rip off the local high end resort! The esteemed redort of Kapalua. Equiped with spas, pools, jacuzzis, golf courses, fancy rooms, bell hops and many other amenities we would not have at our campsite. So we pull in and decide to make ourselves comfortable by the pool and jacuzzi. As Im eating the chicken with my bare hands sitting outside the passenger seat in a parking lot we don’t belong in. Marek is searching for the best way to get to the pool. Once we get there we talk some more and try to be quiet and respectful. As typical as any European… out comes the speedo. I don’t know why us Americans always laugh at these chonies these tighty whities… but we do. I decide to remain open minded however and just enjoy the moment. Now we talk more, mainly about Travel, Women and the World ahead of us. Back and forth from pool jacuzzii pool jacuzzi. I soon learn that as an Eastern European he gets colder much faster than I do but also gets too hot to quickly. I blame it on the “Swimming Costume” which I later tell him in English it is best said as a Swim Suit. The cool thing is he was so excited to perfect all his languages so he loved my constructive criticism.
After a relaxing night of him promising me a lifetime of these wonders like a constant honey moon, I laugh hard. He tells me about a book called the 4 hour work week, which I am now excited to finish. No one ever bothers us, no problems at all andvwe dry off with a towel and go on our way. What a great idea to enjoy this expensive hotel… for free. So far I gotta say… I like this guy Marek and feel very lucky to meet him. Once we get to the chosn campsite Im sure he feels the same with his brand new tent. However, it seems combined together we have the best luck of all. We find a fishing line complete with a hook, bobber and sinker. This is one of those moments where you gave to ask yourself, what is truly happening here on earth. Is this all just some coincidence, complete luck or are we on the right path and someone or something knew we would need this new found permit. I took a picture of Marek holding the line outside the campsite by the car. This would eventually become my favorite picture of Marek Mrazik.
The campsite is beautiful! A big rock platform sticks out into the ocean and the coast is covered with nice green pine trees. I decide to use my hammock over the tent since the weather is nice. First I wanted to help him set up his new tent. We figure it out quickly and I think he is quite happy about his investment. A great tent indeed! Im a little perplexed by the “sleeping bag” he bought though. A ton of money on a tent but no money on his sleeping bag. This shitty thing may have well been 2 free blankets he could have stolen from the airplane on the flight over here. I like both of our spots we choose not to close but not too far.
As we begin to unwind for the nights sleep sharing some beers, my cozy hammock and more stories. I learn how we are more similar then we think. He is only 4 years older than me and has some similar issues. I tell him he should start his own business as I have and how much it greatly changed my life. Risks are always worth taking. Also, how our Mothers are a heavy impact on our lives. Sometimes seems the older we get the more negative it is. I say I think one of our purposes of life is to care for our Mothers as they had when we were young. Lets not give up on these wonderful Ladies that brought us into this wonderful world. Lets make a pact to promise to always pump positivity into their lives. They need it. One day we will look back and feel good about the relationship we gave them. That if they pass away onto whats next, we can say we did good. That we lived our own lives as we dreamed and that we shared all the great positive things in the world with me.
Then he tells me “I would have never guessed a man on the side of the road with a big backpack would have been like you. With such wisdom and kindness.” He tells me goodnight and heads to his tent. As I laid in my hammock looking up at the night stars, this made me think. How many people have I judged before based on looks? How many hitch hikers have I ignored or turned down? How many people and opportunities have I missed? I decide to try and live with more Social courage, a skill my new friend is a master at. You never know who you might pick up on the side of the road and neither did he, but the Journey has begun. Im excited to wake up the next morning and explore Hawaii with Marek. I finish one more beer about 4 in total and eventually fall asleep staring at the sky above.
Well… good start. I wake up in the middle of the night thumping to the ground thanks to the rope on my Hammock breaking. Did I eat too much or have too many beers the night before? I’ve slept in this Hammock 3 times already on Oahu. As I’m laying on the ground now, looking up at the stars… I think. I don’t care what goes wrong during this whole Journey because my attitude will always stay positive. I remembered the last time I tied up the Hammock too tight and had to use my pliers to pull off the straps from the tree. I’m certain that this is what caused the Hammock strap to snap as I fell to the ground. Sure once Marek finds out in the morning he will make some dumb joke about my weight… I will be ready to rebuttle. Mainly I was just thankful that my head missed the big rock underneath me as that may have caused an entirely different situation. Made a mental note for next time to avoid setting up the Hammock with any major rocks sticking out below.
Luckily I had some extra rope inside my backpack so I could re tie a new strap to the tree. Not the ideal materials but it will do so that I can atleast get back to sleep. No reason to bother Marek’s sleep over this, I’m sure he is just fine sound asleep in his tent. I get everything fastened tight before putting my fat ass back in to give another try. The ropes squeak but it stays strong no problem. The tree above me is also dripping some sap onto me and my sleeping bag. Was this campsite as awesome as we thought it was yesterday? I suppose every good comes with some bad. Eventually, I get back to sleep.
I wake up feeling the Sun on me and I feel someone else’s presence. There is a middle aged couple up by the road looking out to the Ocean but it wasn’t them I was sensing. Here comes Marek walking Hastily towards me and he seems irritated. Why did he wake up and come over to me so early I was thinking. He says he has some bad news. Last night after saying goodnight walking towards his tent on only 1 or 2 beers mind you. Marek is a light weight… he thinks I’m an Alcoholic… a fair balance. He shows me his hand and explains to me that as he was heading to his tent he placed his hands in the bush for no more then 3 seconds and was right away bit by something. He saw to puncture marks with blood coming out of them. After calling a medical assistance line he confirms there are no snakes on Maui. This must have been a large Centipede. These large centipedes are slightly poisonous and are very popular on Maui. I’m not scared of bugs, but these big creepy bastards are a different story. I felt very bad for Marek, his first night camping in Hawaii was a very tough one. He tells me he got absolutely no rest. Tossing and turning on his sleeping pad trying to find a comfortable spot. The 2 bite marks were on his hand where you could see it became severly swollen. Apparently he pissed on it 4 times throughout the night to help ease the pain. Gladly he didnt try to give me a good morning hand shake after I found this out.
After he tells me about all the research he had done on his phone regarding these types of bites I ask him what he would like to do next. Hopefully he will just tough it out and the body will naturally work it out before the end of today. After he tells me he is unsure of what to do but doesn’t really want to see a doctor. I suggest we hope for the best, start the day, have some fun and it will all work itself out. Marek agrees.
I head over to help him pack up his tent since his one hand is almost use less. With it being bug bitten, swollen in pain and marinated in his urine. Happily I help and we get him all packed up. I wonder with him just arriving from Molokai and me from Oahu… was Maui going to be tougher on us? Let’s start the day and find out!
After we get all packed up we decide to enjoy a morning swim in the Ocean. It’s a great spot to get in, a nice tide pool, decent waves and our first Maui Sea Turtle. He was swimming around peeking his head up and down. Seemed as if the little guy was trying to eat something off the rocks too. Marek has his speedo and Goggles on, ready for action. He lets me know Snorkeling and Swimming are one of his all time favorite things to do. My $9.00 Goggles don’t work too well. Marek was sure to teach me eventually “We are not Rich enough to buy Cheap things.” I get it… kinda. Off to the car to see the rest of the North/Western part of the island.
I realize there is not too many stops when it comes to civilization for the next 40 miles at least, so we stop in town for gas. Also, Marek always needs his milk and cookies. I was lucky enough to grab some diet coke. After filling up we take this bad boy up North. Thank the heavens… he is letting me drive! Yay! I will live for atleast another few hours. The car itself however… you are lucky if it starts. The ignotion is tricky but once she gets moving it works fine. Besides he got such a good deal from a Slovak connection, I believe $150 for the week, not bad.
Views are beautiful left and right. I always need some type of big meal to start the day or no later than lunch. Alongside the road was a guy cooking some shrimp and fish tacos. $10 for only 2 was pretty steep, but luckily it was very tasty. God I love food while traveling. We have a little conversation with the cook about his business. Good thing he warned me just in time, otherwise my tacos would have blown away in the strong ocean winds. It was a good idea putting them in my belly right away. While eating and relaxing we enjoy a nice view of boats in a Marina life area where people are snorkeling. I had to remind Marek let’s not stress about snorkeling in every single cove, every day all over the island. Mi piace picante cibo e Marek… not so much.
We had a good balance. Marek is more of a planner and I like to mix plans in with a little go with the flow. Sometimes I would need his sense of initiation to have direction and he would need me to chill out his anxiety to be more free flow. Further up the road to the Nakalele Blowhole!
I was very excited to see this thing for some odd reason. Whether it’s because water is involved, the weird name of blow hole or the fact that I expect a big explosion of some sort.
Way too many sexual inuendos with this thing. Once we start hike down I notice a bunch of fat and lazy tourists that just take pictures of it from a distance and express disgust at the thought of a hike. It is hard for me to relate to these people as hard as I try. They see no appreciation in life. The many small things and moments that I so greatly adore. Yet I am in no place to judge. They all missed out on an up close look at this very weird blow hole.
I start recording with my phone to get some good video. The anticipation on this thing whether it will be a big or small explosion is oddly entertaining to me. I go up real close to it with my camera rolling and I heard it prep itself for a big one but by then it was too late to do anything about it. Boooooooosh! Water everywhere! It hit me right in the face and my shirt was drenched. Marek was over there chuckling at my wet face. Great to cool me off on a hot day. After taking a few more pictures and Marek making a few more friends, we hiked back up to the car.
After this point the taco man said there was nothing up ahead. Nothing worth seeing or doing. Before Marek even gave that thought the time of day I said screw that! Let us decide that for ourselves, so further around the North West part of the island we went. Of course as we continue the drive both me and Marek notice some great landscapes with rolling hills, cows, ocean scapes and timy homes. We agree it was already worth it.
There are maybe 3 cars parked to the left. This always raises an eyebrow for Marek. “Why are there cars here? Should we check it out? I wonder what these people are looking at.” This is something he would say often throughout the trip. I heard there were some tide pools here and that is exactly what it was. The Olivine pools. Another sign says Danger. Serious injury or death may occur, do not enter. I take a picture with the sign for my collection of do not enter moments.
While heading down the hike we come across 2 Argentinian guys. Did I mention Marek talks to everyone? He will make a friend with almost anybody. His Social Confidence is amazing! He tells me of a girl he traveled with in the past how this annoyed her so much. It wasn’t my normal way of doing things but I was certain I could learn a lot from Marek. The guys tell us to be ready with the swim suits. Its a great spot down there.
Once we get there we see one other family enjoying the pools. A fun little rock to jump off. Fish swimming everywhere. Great hot sun beaming down on us with cool water to dip in. This was a very peaceful spot to enjoy for the hour. Some real sexy girls walked past us and we tried to catch up but by that time they made it to their car and were gone.
As we continue the Road becomes a one lane road for both directions of traffic. Most drivers are using caution on this road. All except one crazy lady… A School Bus driver! The irony of this made me laugh so hard. What the hell was this lady thinking? She was whipping that big old thing around like a sports car. Going around sharp corners, edges of the cliff and against oncoming traffic. I try to speed up and keep up with her but her local skills and confidence are clearly better than mine. Eventually another driver has to go reverse a ways back just to even allow her to continue.
After taking a break from the road raged school bus driver we stoped at a small hut for some fresh juice. A small family run business, cute little spot. She let us try her snacks and Marek was nice enough to buy me some Strawberry Lemonade. Damn that was some good fresh stuff. The scenery here was unique compared to what we have seen before. Again proving Taco Man wrong.
I look to the sky and notice some rain clouds rolling in… I wonder how bad that will get.
As we keep moving forward the tip of the island has a huge hill top peak. The area is fenced off to keep animals in…I believe. We were concerned about tresspassing but more concerned about the regret of not hiking in to see with our own eyes. A common themed practice for all of Hawaii. The hike is nice but we have already done a lot earlier today. Marek does notice a whale though… far out into the Ocean View. That was nice.
It starts to drizzle and the clouds keep rolling in darker as the evening approaches.
The loop around this side of the island is almost complete. The rain has now kicked in a little stronger. We notice another beach that is by a golf course, so we decide to check it out. The rain slows down now. I get out of the car and notice two things. A free public shower and a stick that is the best possible thing to make a fishing pole out of. This shall be our Maui camping permit! I tied some fishing line onto it, apply the shrimp bait to the hook and head to the ocean to go fishing!
I see some other pro fisherman with their lines out. They see me with this ghetto rigged up piece of “junk.” I walk out deep into the water to have a better chance. 2 hooks with 2 pieces of shrimp bait. No bites until… wham something is on there I can feel it. I pull it above water and it set loose. The Shrimp was gone! Dangit! So close! I would have loved to rub that catch in the other fishermans’ faces. I laugh to myself.
I continue trying again as Marek finishes his phone conversation he watches me attempt some more untill… the storm really starts to brew. Apparently Marek had gotten a warning from his connection on the other Island. That a massive storm was approaching with heavy rain and strong winds. He thinks I’m crazy for continuing to fish in these conditions and he heads back to the car for shelter. What I don’t think he understood is me living in Los Angeles for 10 years. A city with constant Sun day in and day out. I was happy for the change, I loved this storm. It was going to be an Adventure tonight and I was ready for every minute of it.
The rain picks up so I decide now is a great time for a shower. I go to soap up snd have a combo of the shower and the rain washing me off. It feels great and was quite fun! Now that Im no longer dirty or stinky from the day I’m ready to proceed. Marek thinks I’m crazy, he has been ready to move on. He takes the wheel… we soon have another moment where he makes a left turn but doesnt see the car next to my side, so I warned him quick! Good thing, we just missed them.
Now it is becoming a planning issue of… where the hell are we sleeping tonight? We can’t seem to find any good campsites and the storm is kicking in so we are considering a hostel or an emergency couch surfing host. Couch surfing hosts were actually few and far between. I feel most people move to Hawaii to become less connected with the world, maybe that is why. Nature versus Social Society.
Using a Mcdonalds for shelter and wifi we are trying to figure this all out. I see that Marek begins to get very worried and stressed. I tell him don’t worry it’s all going to be okay even if we set up camp in the rain. I certainly have no budget for a hotel and we can see all Hostels are sold out! Maybe because of the storm.
We head into the fun small town of Pahia. Two options remain… work a deal with this local hostel or set up camp on the beach in the storm. The hostel is all booked up, no couch surfers helping so to the beach it is!
A small beach next to a basketball court looks like the winner. It has a bathroom with a sink and plenty of legal parking for the car. Only problem is the constant rain and these speedy winds. Marek’s stress levels are very high by now and I telk him I would be happy to set up his tent for him after mine is done. Not only am I more experienced at this but I find it Adventurous and fun!
Holy shit… this is one hell of a storm! The winds are whipping my tent around like its nothing. My poncho is on but the rain is constant. I put rocks down, use rope to tie the tent to trees and make a sand wall around the base. Anything I can do to secure it strongly. It is done and looks like it will hold! Marek is still in the car while I finish his tent too. Then like clockwork as soon as I’m done setting up the camp site. Go figure… the rain stops. This Island seems to have its own sense of humor.
Marek is tired as am I but he decides to read a book and fall asleep early since it has been a LONG ass day. I just want to unwind with a beer in town before bed.
I found a nice little spot with only ine bar tender and 4 customers. A guy ends up chatting with me about a fight he had gotten into with his girl friend earlier. I try to send some positive vibes his way. Also tell him the Single life aint always all its cracked up to be. Maybe its not a matter of the grass is always greener on the other side mentality but more…
“The grass is always greener on the side you decide to water.”
After enjoying my talk, my tasty portobello Quesadilla and a few beers I head back to the campsite. Marek is sound asleep and soon will I be. As I lay down in my tent the wind picks up on and off. Some times I am not convinced my tent will hold but I trust in my faith and my skills. I will be fine. I think this was a great Maui day as I fall asleep.
March 8th – To Haleakala
Never shall I forget the storm of Paia. Survivng that night with the strong winds and rains only 10 meters away from the waves… it was mad! However, I woke up truly feeling refreshed and accomplished for not giving up on the campsite during the night. We wake up to much better weather. The Sun has showed his beautiful face and our tents are already beggining to dry off. I can see more than a pound of sand had blown onto tge front side of my tent. Also made a mental note to never set the wide side of a tent facing towards the wind (or ocean) in a storm. Maybe not ever at all.
Im awake before Marek and what a surprise, I bet he still continues to get some of the best sleep in his life that night. It was an extremely long, busy and tiring day yesterday for the both of us. What would be in store for us today on this Maui Island?
After brushing my teeth and putting in my contact lenses I see Marek has awoken. Go figure, I was right… he had a big old smile on his face. I told him despite the wind rattling my tent to death I also got some good rest. The only thing that was missing now was breakfast.
While we are packing up the campsite we both end up talking to two different strangers. However, Marek usually goes out of his way to find someone. Who happened to be some lady with some very scientific device, measuring some bullshit with the ocean. Marek will find out soon enough, but this other man found me. An older dark tanned white man with a type of beach blonde gray hair. Clearly a hippie image. I used to think California was where all the hippies lived. Clearly I was wrong, those are just the amateurs. The Hippies in Hawaii are on an entirely different level. His clothing was not impressive and neither were his teeth, but I had time to listen so I entertained the thought. Turned out all of his rambling had a few interesting points. He was excited to see that we picked this specific spot to camp in. Then takes the conversation and talks about meeting past American Presidents, making coconut Ice cream, doing charity work, spotting a white octopus, heaven in Hawaii, the people adopting a new level of conciousness, voting for Bernie Sanders and many other peace and love topics. He didn’t ask me much but he did re assure me that I was on the right path and to continue my travels. I wished him well as he went on his way to make the coconut Ice Cream.
After finishing his talk with the lady, Marek came over and gave me a look of frustrated concern as if the old man was bothering me. I told him not at all, that he may have come off weird but had some very interesting points to make. Besides, the type of wisdom I was after on this trip was not something some weird scientific device was going to teach me. I was thankful for everything he had spoken to me even if at times it was hard to keep up. We finish packing up the site and throw our gear in the car. Off to find some breakfast, my favorite!
We drive through the downtown area of Paia. Despite using a combonation of our eyes and smart phones to find a place to eat… we couldn’t find anything. We drove too far out of town and decided to drive backwards back into the town. We both spotted a cool little cafe that looked good for coffee and grub. Parking was a little difficult in this area though and after searching for one we finally find a lot where qe grab a spot. Which was literally only 100 ft from our camping spot last night. This was silly… another dis advantage I feel to always relying on the wheels of a car. You miss so much.
The place was quaint but the prices were not. Seems most things in Hawaii are quite pricey. I get my coffee and breakfast sandwich and before I can find a place to sit down, Marek has already made yet another friend. He flags me down to come over and have a seat. At the table already was a woman who seemed to be in her mid 30s and came off a little stand off at first. Actually… she came very stand offish the whole time. I felt so awkward sitting at the table with this girl for some reason. She was trying to write things down in her journal, diary, notes, book, I dont know… she wouldn’t say. Now Marek is very positive socially with almost anyone. Where this can be one of his greatest strengths normaly, he may also lack the ability to know the difference between which people have a geniune interest in him and those who don’t. This girl did not. She came here for Solitude… to be alone. Seems many people in Hawaii have this mentality. The moment I knew the interaction was over was when she said “Im doing my work.” Then I asked what work is it that she does… then no answer at all. As she is staring me in the eyes. I didn’t feel respected so I decided to leave right then and there. After using the bathroom, I tell Marek I’m ready to leave. He says you don’t want to say goodbye to the girl. I told him no worries I can assure you she does not care… I could feel her energy and she didn’t even want us there from the very beginning.
We decided the plan for today should be to head up the mountain. Head to Haleakala. I knew however after that wild storm and from my previous Adventures on Oahu I was in desperate need for some clean clothes. Laundry is certainly one of my favorite things to do because when I have clean clothes I feel like I can conquer anything. Marek agreed this would be wise before the next journey begins.
We drove for a while past Kahului Airport where we both flew in. There we found a great spot to do laundry for a fair price. This was also a chance for us both to catch up with our Mothers on the phone. Talking about the usual family issues, Limo business but also how Hawaii was effecting me so far in a strong spiritual way. My Mom seemed excited to hear this news, which always makes me smile. As Im talking I see Marek folding towels for some Asian lady in the laundromat, he smiles and I just laugh.
Now that we have clean clothes and a fresh attitude we just needed one more load up of supplies, full tank of gas and a full meal in our tummies before we go to this mountain top. He says we need to try this Thai place nearby. Trust me he says. Of course I have no worries, I love Thai food! He sees a Thai restaurant but is not convinced that it’s the right one. I’m confused… it looks good enough to me. Then he goes crazy and asks the girl at the front ‘Excuse me, I’m looking for a Thai Restaurant but I’m sure it’s not this one. Can you tell me where it is?” I was shocked at the bluntness but also laughed inside. That would be like some one calling my limo company and asking “Excuse me. I’m trying to find a limo company that I would like to use but I’m sure it isn’t you guys.” In American mainland I would love to tell that person fuck off. But this was Marek. After some back and forth confusion we decide to eat here. I find out the deal was he was hoping for some discount if it was the same place for the lady that he helped with the napkins. I remembered the napkins looking the exact same, I was sure this was the place. The food was great but it didn’t come with the nifty discount he had hoped for. Anyways, back to the car we went.
As we are driving slowly up this hill I can see the car is struggling already. We knew brakes might be an issue on the way down but certainly transmission can be painful on the way up. There also became a clear altitude factor as we got higher. Outside temperature dropped, ears are popping and I can’t stop yawning. A common adjustment I suppose. There are scenic over looks left and right so we decide to stop at all of them. Before we move onto the next one… uh oh. The car won’t start… we try it several times before thankfully it ignites and we are back in the game. Stalling out on the side of the road on the mountain of Haleakala was the LAST thing we needed right now. Maybe we should do less stops and just get to the campsite.
However, there was an absolutely beautiful Sunset occuring… we HAD to stop for this one. It’s pretty cold outside so I start changing out of my shorts and T-shirt into something warmer. Next to us there is also a middle aged man standing alone with a very nice camera as he is capturing the Sunset. He has a nice car too mind you, some type of BMW SUV. Certainly not the hoopty we were driving. Marek initiates a conversation with him and quickly there are speaking in German together. It’s always nice bumping into other Europeans and North Americans. Atleast we have something to relate to and as of now Marek was living in Munich (Muenchen), Germany. I join in the conversation and we learn how he will be on Maui for a whole month because he won a law suit against his own family. We didn’t dig too deep on that topic but we did find out that he was staying at the fancy Kapalua Resort. Holy shit! This guy must have a lot of dough. We joked with him about stealing the pool and jacuzzi over there for a night. Then I tell him hitch hiking wise, I should have gotten in the German guys car instead of Marek’s. We all laughed. Watching this sunset was certainly something to remember.
After saying goodbye to our new German friend we headed further up the mountain. The campsite was known as Hosmer Grove. It was told on the internet that it would be a free first come first serve type of campsite. However, I wasn’t ready for the $15 Haleakala National Park entrance fee. I really don’t like paying for anything that involves nature. Luckily when we get out of the car to try the self automated payment machine… so lazy I thought. We noticed that there were a few others having a hard time and the maxhine wasn’t excepting their bills. Perfect I thought! Always better to ask for Forgiveness than to ask for permission! We took a video of the dollars not going in just in case a Park Ranger would give us a hard time. Only a little bit further to go before the left turn into our campsite.
It was already very dark, very cold and very damp. This mountain was a completely different climate from down on the beach of Paia. We move quickly to get set up before any rain kicks in. A fun little competition between Marek and I. There are a few other campers already at the site and it seems more keep arriving. What started as a small campsite grew into a bit of a big lively place for people to call home for the night.
We started to mingle with the other campers and made some good friends. There were a group of about 5 Canadians. 4 Men being lead by a Woman. Highly prepared with a ton of supplies and a big old white Suburban to drive around in. Then there was a family of 3. An off duty park Ranger, his wife and her brother from St. Louis. The married couple seemed very experienced in the outdoors but this may have been the brother’s first Rodeo. Mix in a few other odd characters here and there that went to sleep way before we all did. However, the one Man that stood out to me was Mike McGaffey. An Irish Bostonian with a still heavy Boston accent whose currently living in Los Angeles, CA. He is traveling and camping using only his bike. A lot of good excercise and one hell of a story to tell. What really caught me off guard though was finding out that he is also an Actor/Comedian and that he also trained at the LA Comedy Connection. The same Improv theatre I performed at for years! We already hit it off as fellow East Coasters but this “Coincidence” really got us both excited. We kept going on and on about our days over at the LA Comedy Connection and when I told him the specific Friday night group I was in he confirmed I was ” A Funny Motherfucker.”
We kept talking over whiskey, beers, vino, passion fruit and sausages. First time I’ve ever had these two different types of passion fruit, very tasty! I preferred the less Sour one. We are chatting with the whole group about going to see the Sunrise tomorrow morning. Everyone is in love with Hawaii and we are all sharing that feeling. The Park Ranger is telling us many stories about his job and the wilderness. Mike is prepping a bowl of weed for me to smoke. All the while I decided to “bake” some cookies. I just took the dark chocolate Reeses cookies and heated them up in my pot over my little flame. Wow they came out soooo tasty. Best idea I had in a long time. Probably since deciding to come to Hawaii in the first place. I offered them to everyone and all loved them except when I offered a cookie to one of the Canadians. He said he had already brushed his teeth…never heard a cookie turned down like that before. The Park Ranger’s wife wouldn’t stop making fun of him over that as she kept chomping down on the tasty deserts.
Marek started to debate with me on what time to wake up in the morning to go catch the sunrise. First he said 3 a.m. I said nooo way! 5 a.m.! Sunrise is at 6:45 a.m. “Parking will be an issue though. Let’s wake up at 3:30.” Thanks for the whole extra 30 minutes Im thinking. “Marek come on… there will be plenty of parking. Let’s say 4:30.” As soon as I said that I knew he would counter with 4:00 a.m. and not a moment later. I hate the morning but I was excited to see the sunrise at the top of Haleakala. He was heading back to his tent to get ready for bed while telling everyone goodnight. Stumbling around from the Wine just a bit. I finished some whiskey, weed and conversation with Mike. I told him if I don’t see ya in the morning. We will have a drink together after the trip when I’m back in LA.
When I was heading back to the tent I couldn’t stop but think about a few things. Why is it that I ran into this Actor from LA who went to my same school as me? How is the world so big yet so small at the same time? Should I ditch the thought of coincidences entirely or what? I loved these signs and omens. Most bothersome of all though… why in the hell would you turn down one of those baked cookies because you brushed your teeth!?