The dreaded last day came. It was our eighth day on the island. This Hawaiian vacation was unusually short in duration for us. We like going to Hawaii and spend up to nearly 2 weeks, so 8 days came so quickly.
- 8-day vacation – return on July 7 (in time for Nancy’s Mom’s birthday, plus she can also report to work July 8th
- 12-day vacation – Nancy, Caitlin, and Madison will go with option A, while the boys and I will hang around the island (just the 3 of us) until Sunday or Monday morning.
As much as Option B was inviting, I just knew that once the girls leave us, we’d feel very incomplete, so we all opted to go with Option A – 8 days of vacation. Hey, that was better than no vacation at all so we took it. As far as our last day, we planned to be on the island the entire day and in to the evening. We scheduled a red-eye flight back home.
|Cream Filled Malasada – Home Made Cafe|
Okay, back to our Day 8. We intentionally missed doing our malasada morning trip on Day 7, but we made no mistake on Day 8. I woke up Evan, and after we started to get ready, Madison and Caitlin also joined us on our 10 minute drive to Home Maid Café. We mixed it up a bit. We ordered sugar malasadas and 3 “cream” malasadas. So glad we did this on our last full day on the island. I told them we’ll have no malasadas for awhile 🙂
|Caitlin patiently waited for the malasadas at Home Maid Cafe|
|My little Bat Girl and Robin at Foodland around 6am on our last day|
Once we got back to the resort, we packed for a bit, got ready for our day. We chose to start our morning by going to Ulua Beach, it was situated to the right of the Wailea Marriott. It was only a short 5-minute walk and bam, we were on the beach. We got in the water, played in the very calm morning water, and just enjoyed the beautiful sunny morning. After playing in the water for about an hour, the kids wanted to go back to our resort and lounge by the pool. That was pretty much what we did for the next three hours. We swam, we ate, we played at Marriott Wailea Beach.
|Double Layer Haupia Cake from Foodland|
|Double Layer Guava Chiffon Cake from Foodland|
|Kimchee Tako Poke from Foodland|
|Chi Chi Mochi from Foodland|
|Beehive Cabana – I could sleep here all day|
|Panoramic view of the Adults Only Infinity Pool|
As Elite Members we were allowed to stay in our room until 1 or 2pm, by the time we decided to leave the property, it was already 3pm. We were given access to their “hospitality room” – it’s just another term for locker room. We showered and changed in to our travel clothing.
Our flight was scheduled at 9:50pm out of Kahului. We had over 5-6 hours before our flight so we took our time. We finally tried Monkeypod in Wailea. What a big surprise! It had an upscale feel from it’s décor to the service, but the pricing was moderate. They have a great happy hour menu and we took advantage of their appetizers. I would come back here again the next time we’re on Maui.
|Pumpkin Patch Ravioli|
|Kauai Shrimp and Hamakua Mushroom Dim Sum|
|Coco Corn Chowder|
|Hamakua Wild Mushroom and Truffle Oil|
Finally, we drove off to Kahului, made a quick stop at Costco to fill up the gas tank, ran a few errands, and although we weren’t extremely hungry, we knew we had to eat dinner before our flight. I remembered going to Ba-le Vietnamese Food in Kahului a couple of years ago. It’s a walk-up type of restaurant….there’s an order window, and they cook everything as ordered. It was already 630pm, a little breeze. For a change, I ordered their Special Pho….aaahhhh I can still taste it. The pho was served in a huge bowl big enough for me, Ethan, and Nancy to share. We also ordered their BBQ plate and took it with us to the airport.
|Ba-Le Special Pho|
So that’s it. That was our last day on the island. I can feel the sunburn as I typed this blog. Here’s a little bonus….Ethan created a GoPro video of our vacation. Click here…. #franciscosgonemaui2
|All-smiles after a red-eye flight (LAX at 5:50am)|
What were my TAKEAWAYS?
To those who never read my blog before, every time I finish blogging about a trip, I end my blog with the takeaways. What does that mean? What did I learn from the trip? What were my lessons-learned? So here goes.
Think Fast – When I found out that Ethan and Madison couldn’t join us in Europe, I could’ve easily given up on having a family vacation this summer. But I didn’t. I had to think and act fast and I’m now looking back at the result of reacting to the bad news they gave me.
$11/person – No Regrets – To pay for our airfare, we used our points earned with Chase Ultimate Rewards, and the out of pocket expense from us was only $11/person (around $67.20 for all 6 of us). You just can’t beat that. Well, I guess, paying zero, nada, zilch would beat it. The points we used were points earned as a bonus for signing. Just by signing up, we were able to get 2 free roundtrip tickets, and we earned more points along the way just by going with our regular day to day spend. I’m now sitting at home finishing this blog and looking back, “Wow, I took six of us to Maui for $67!”
3 Days free suite upgrade – I earned 80,000 bonus points by signing up for a Chase Marriott Rewards card. I was able to use those 80K point to get us a “standard room” – which was then upgraded to a one bedroom suite. The cost of the suite per night was $750 ($1,500 total). The suite was roomy, had 2 lanais, had a sofa sleeper, fridge. It was extremely comfortable. We felt at home that we were able to relax and watch TV during the day and night.
You can’t do it all or see it all – Yes, we’ve been to Maui before (this was my 4th visit). I had no itinerary. I trusted what my family loved to do. A drive up to Haleakala would’ve been nice, but I know that waking up my 7 and 10 year old at 2:00 am was not a good idea. We’re saving that for our next trip (TBD). We didn’t need to visit every single tourist spot. As long as we’re by the ocean, we were content. Even with no itinerary, we were just fine. The less we moved, the less we drove, the better.
In case of a disaster, then what? – Our cell phones had no service on the day of the 6000 acre brushfire. The landlines were also dead. I didn’t know what radio station to listen to. I tried to tweet @MauiPD or @MauiNow but I couldn’t send them a tweet. I reached out friends over at Tripadvisor, but at the time, cell phone signals were very spotty. So the lesson learned here, make sure I have ways to get information about anything (disaster, current events, etc.). Social media failed me that day. We endured 4-hour drive to Kihei from Lahaina (that drive would’ve been 45 minutes on a normal day). So God forbid, whatever disaster may come, I’m hoping to find ways to get information as part of my disaster preparedness plan while on vacation.
- Evan – he said he will remember the malasada mornings. Evan was also so sweet by not leaving the last person behind since we were always on the go. He waited for the last person (usually me or Nancy) – no one should be left behind, he said.
Evan at Charley Young Beach
- Ethan – his takeaway was revisiting his favorite beach, Kamaole Beach Park III aka Kam III. We spent many days swimming and body boarding at the Kam III. One of our sunset shoots was taken at the same beach. Parking was never a problem. Very easy access – picturesque.
Ethan at Kamaole Beach Park III
- Madison – she said the brush fire was something she will always remember, but not for the disaster. Although we were stuck in the car for 4 hours, we were able to use that time and talk as a family. There were no cell phones, no so social media. Just the 6 of us in the car.
Madison at Kam III
- Caitlin – she said she won’t forget the bunk bed that she shared with her siblings, the countless hours we spent swimming, and our visits to Foodland to get her Yogurt and bananas.
Caitlin at Charley Young Beach
- Nancy – the infinity pool was her takeaway. We both loved it. It was peaceful, quiet, serene, and just purely beautiful.
Nancy at Wailea Beach Marriott’s Infinity Pool