day 6 :
saturday, 9 february
Breakfast this morning was purple, Ian's favorite color. We'd bought some Maui blueberry bagels from Mana Foods yesterday, made by S & J Bakery. They ended up in our shopping basket because they are fully purple, through and through, including the dough. While these are your fairly typical American fluffy bready bagel, they were clearly very fresh from the bakery, as they were super-soft when we bought them.
And since we hadn't had enough carbs yet, we followed this with more malasadas from Home Maid Cafe, on our way to the Maui Ocean Center, the island's aquarium, in Maalaea. We'd bought discounted tickets online the night before, which also allowed us to bypass the line by using express entry.
We headed straight to the underwater tunnel, a good move because we had the whole building to ourselves for a while, even though we hadn't gotten to the aquarium until 45 minutes after opening. Inside the big acrylic tunnel, we spent a while staring at the graceful sharks, stingrays, and schools of tropical reef fish swimming on all sides and above us. There was even a hammerhead shark! This was our favorite part of the aquarium. The sea turtles were also fun to see, as were some of the indoor reef mini-tanks. Ian especially liked the seahorses, along with the garden eels that burrow their bottoms in the sand and look like sticks poking out.
Every Saturday, the Maui Community College hosts the Maui Swap Meet, the biggest open market on Maui, so we drove up to Kahului next. It's a great place to shop for souvenirs, as the prices are significantly less than what the same items cost in shops around the island. In addition to crafts, there are farmers and other food vendors, so you can find tropical fruits, flowers, food trucks, and baked goods. The market is not just for tourists, as the locals shop here, too.
After shopping for some items on our grocery list, we sampled several of Jeff's Jams and Jellies, and a few jars made their way into our bag. The guy there let Ian pick out a tiny jar to take home, complimentary with our purchase. Ian of course selected the Maui strawberry jelly.
A must on our list was to find the guy selling whole coconuts. He hacks a small hole in the top and pops in a straw for you to drink the sweet coconut water inside. After you're done, go back to him, and he'll cut it in half for you so you can scoop out the coconut, too. Look for the guy with a machete and a pickup trunk filled with coconut husks - there are other coconut vendors there with pre-cut coconuts, and we heard that their coconuts are not as sweet.
Across from him was a woman selling delicious baked goods, offering samples of anything you'd like to try before buying. Ian loved the mini chocolate chip cookie she offered. We bought her last loaf of lilikoʻi bread, and wow, was that ever delicious!
Eric also bought some coffee beans from the Mantokuji Soto Zen Mission stand. The mission is in Paia, and a portion of the proceeds from the coffee sales support their mission.
The swap meet is well worth the $0.50/person entry fee. Our advice: go earlier in the morning than we did, as the sun gets pretty intense on the dark asphalt where the vendors set up. And allow for at least an hour or more to shop.
Lunch was from the Eat Gogi Korean BBQ taco truck at the swap meet. Eric had the Gogi Dog and Dawn the Gogi Sliders. Both were messy and excellent, but could have used a little more kick. We did buy some delicious lemonade to go with our Gogi truck selections. Another reason to go early to the swap meet: the truck selling Belgian liege waffles sold out mere minutes before we arrived. They also advertised a speculoos waffle, which sounded awesome.
When Ian woke up from his nap, we walked down to Kamaole III Beach Park. We were hoping to play on the playground, but it turned out to only have swings. We'd heard this was a popular park for locals, and there were lots of loud parties going on in the grassy area above the beach, some which even had inflatable bouncy houses. But at the south end, we found a quiet, protected wildlife area with lots of pathways heading down to Wailea, and breathtaking overlooks. It was a super-windy day, especially up on these bluffs. In fact, this afternoon, signs were posted on every beach warning of dangerous shorebreak and currents.
We took advantage of the grill at our place and grilled some delicious local corn on the cob (sweeter than most we'd bought in Seattle last summer!), and sausages, as the sun was setting in a nearly cloudless sky.