Monday, December 28, 2009

Jaws, Maui on Christmas Day

Maui photographer Jimmie Hepp, is sharing a fantastic photo with us again. Jaws or Pe'ahi as it is called by the locals, is a deep water reef break where dare devil surfers enjoy an epic challenge. The waves can reach a dangerous 70 ft. height and move as fast as 30 mph so unless you are a very experienced surfer you would be advised to settle with watching. Jimmie went out on Christmas morning and took 1000 shots of the waves, which he says were the biggest he has ever seen. Jaws is located on the northern side of the island between mile markers 13 and 14 on the Hana highway and sits at the base of rolling sugar cane field hills. For more great photos by Jimmie, visit his website where you can also purchase prints.

If you are visiting Maui in the New Year and haven't found a place to stay yet, try these Maui Vacation Rentals.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas on Maui

If you have ever spent Christmas in the tropics then you will understand that it is hard to get into the spirit of things, because conjuring up a White
Christmas is like imagining how things are on another planet. That is of course if you are not a local and have never known anything else but surfing, fishing and walking the beach on Christmas day.We did however, discover that the the glue that holds this nostalgic season together, no matter where in the world you are you are, is Christmas music. A few strains of "Silent Night" and a choir singing the Hallelujah chorus puts you right into the Christmas spirit big time and Maui is blessed with a wonderful collection of performing arts groups which treated us to Christmas on this beautiful island. Home for the Holidays by the Maui Concert Chorus and Maui Community College chorus conducted by Celia Canty was a wonderful concert that reminded us so much of our beloved Naramata Community Choir back in Penticton, BC, Canada. In our imaginations we really were going "Home for Christmas", if only for a minute.

The Maui Pops Orchestra put on a wonderful "Holiday Pops Concert" topped off by two outstanding soloists, Bob Wills and Leighanna Locke.We also attended the Sing it Yourself Messiah at the Hyatt Hotel in Kaanapali, and enjoyed the same two soloists once again. Singing the Hallelujah chorus with such a large group was a thrilling experience to say the least.

One of the most lovely concerts we attended was in the historic Keawala'i Church over in Makena. The church has a spectacular oceanfront setting, and we drank in more beautiful Christmas music as we listened to the polished sounds of Sarah Oppenheim Beggs' Olinda Chorale and a Maui Madrigal group decked out in full Renaissance costume.

Sarah invited us to sing with a small choir on Christmas Eve upcountry at the Makawao Union Church. We went to rehearsals but as fate would have it my husband came down with a bad sore throat and we weren't able to attend. I'm sure it was another magical Maui Christmas evening.

I must also mention the Maui Onstage production of the musical Annie which was one of the best Maui productions we have ever had the pleasure to attend.

I can't leave this blog without mentioning another glue known as the internet which brings families together at Christmas no matter how far away they are. Imagine being able to watch as your grandson shows you the things he got from Santa. Not as good as being there in person, but the next best thing, especially when we blew a few kisses back and forth over the web cam. My daughter even gave me a guided tour of their house and holiday decorations. My other daughter sent photos and slide shows of their Christmas morning with Ellie their dog, and our son in Spain also communicates via skype. So don't think I am complaining about being in the tropics for Christmas. I only have to see photos of snowstorms in the newspapers to remind me how fortunate we are to escape the cold of winter. Music and the internet will keep us all in touch and in the Christmas spirit!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Will Family Christmas Traditions Continue?

Do you remember the times when giving and receiving Christmas cards was one of the most joyful traditions of Christmas? We used to receive so many that we would string them up all over the house. They always got recycled, usually to schools, and children would use them in Christmas projects the next year. I still love the card giving tradition because even though the whole world is more in touch because of email, there is something exciting about getting mail the old fashioned way. Writing cards to your close friends and family is therapeutic and gives you a chance to reflect on the past year and how these special people have touched your lives. I also send e-cards because I admire the clever people who create such delightful animated and interactive cards. Here on Maui we have chosen Aloha cards this year with the message "Wishing you a Wonderful Christmas Season from our Hale to Yours" If you don't know Hawaiian, "hale" (pronounced ha -lay) means house here on the islands.

Another tradition we still keep is to work on a jigsaw puzzle during the Christmas season. Anyone coming to our home during the holidays has a chance to exercise their brain and try to fit some of the pieces together. It was quite a challenge to find a puzzle this year so perhaps that means that this tradition is on its way out or never arrived on Maui. In case you are looking for a puzzle to work on doing your Maui vacation, we finally found one called "Puzzle me Paradise" in Ben Franklin after searching every other store on the island.

Even though our new age of technology has chosen the interactive video game Wii as the top favourite Christmas gift this year, something tells me that our children and their children will still want to carry on traditions they remember from home. For example our daughter who now has a family of her own, called to get all my Christmas recipes because the baking was a big part of our seasonal celebrations. Now she is making sugar cookies with her son just as she did with her twin brother, older sister and me as a child growing up in Canada. I know that she will probably also bake fruit cake, Nanaimo bars and Chinese noodle cookies and maybe will try a new recipe which will become part of their own unique family Christmas traditions.

If you have a Christmas tradition that you still keep alive, please leave a comment and share. Also we welcome any thoughts you may have regarding the following questions.

In the future will card giving the old fashioned way be totally replaced by e-cards and sending Christmas cheer via facebook, twitter and other social networks?
Will Christmas traditions continue to be passed down through the generations?
What kind of changes do you foresee around Christmas traditions?

If you are staying on Maui for the holidays and don't have a place to stay yet try these Maui Vacation Rentals.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Maui Swap Meet in Kahului

If you've never attended the huge Maui Swap Meet, held every Saturday in Kahului, then you haven't lived. A nominal 50 cents will get you into the grounds where you will be treated to a colorful display of countless vendor tents and a thriving market place atmosphere. A far cry from the early trading days when sailors swapped weapons, nails, ducks, turkeys, chickens and pigs in exchange for food and cloth, the Kahului swap meet is alive with tradespeople selling everything from fruit and vegetables to plants, tropical flowers, ethnic foods, baked goods, clothing, jewelry and countless made in Maui arts and crafts. There are even some stalls selling second hand tools, collectibles and other items reminiscent of a garage sale. My husband and I managed to pick up the very rachet we needed for a household chore for only $1.00.
The Maui Swap Meet is also a great place to buy gifts for any occasion and for any age group so we did lots of Christmas shopping without hurting our pocket books too much. Many of the Maui artists and craft people own a shop somewhere on the island but when they sell their goods at the Swap Meet, they always give bargain rates and some will even enjoy bartering if you are game. Our friend picked out a lovely pendent for her sister, and we bought some clothing and hand made toys for the grandkids.We also picked up a beautiful bouquet of tropical flowers for $3.00 and a plant for our lanai for $5:00.Last but not least we loaded up on some fresh Maui grown vegetables and fruits to see us through the week.
Attending the Swap Meet is not only a fun way to spend a Maui Saturday morning but you will go away with the satisfying feeling that you that you have supported the local artisans and growers who work so hard to make a living in this current struggling economy. I definitely recommend the Maui Swap Meet located on the grounds of the Maui Community College. For more information about this Swap Meet and Maui's Own Gift and Craft Fairs go to the following website.

The Maui Swap Meet is held every Saturday from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM

You will find excellent directions to the Swap Meet location here

If you are coming to Maui for a vacation search for Maui Vacation Rentals and enjoy the special touches that only owners provide.