Day 1 (pt I): Arrival in Lahaina – the slow withdrawal

Took this shot at the San Diego Airport before switching to airplane mode

Took this shot at the San Diego Airport before switching to airplane mode

I struggled to switch my phone to airplane mode. Not like a caffeine addict separating from coffee for the first time, but it took some doing. Once I made the switch, though, I haven’t looked back. Well, sort of. By the way, if you want to skip down to the first food heading, that’ll save you some—but not all—of my random musings…


Prologue
I wondered if the internal social media, legal career, community action-fueled movie running on a loop in my mind’s eye would calm while on vacation. So far, it’s starting to. Though, for a moment while listening to the slack key guitar player I found myself thinking about several people in my virtual and actual worlds back home (how Lucas O’Connor of the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council started a cascade of home memories on evening one of my vacation I’ll never know, but there it was). It’s amazing what happens in quick moments and how many people and places can spin through one’s mind in 30 seconds. Next time your mind wanders, observe how many people and places and thoughts race along in what seems like not enough time to formulate a coherent sentence. Amazing stuff.

A very, very good cup of coffee

A very, very good cup of coffee

This morning I realized I’d been paying a lot of attention to not paying attention. Maybe I don’t relax well. I woke up absolutely splendid and calm, though. It caused me to wonder if I could turn off the desire to achieve certain professional/social goals in favor of a life that is simple and calm and internal. I dunno. I am curious to see how my mind evolves over the next several days.  I finished The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine mostly on the plane and then during some first night insomnia. Great book. I recommended it to my wife, which seems weird to recommend a book about female brain chemistry to my wife. But the simple premise that scientifically based differences in male and female brain chemistry is a useful tool for understanding, not (as it has been) a tool by which men–and some women–maintain a male dominated society, is one worth sharing.

TMI warning: not carrying Twitter to the bathroom or while in line or between really most activities throughout the day has been interesting. Certainly it frees up space in my mind, but for me Twitter is an actual community, a social circle I value as much as the in person variety. This might make me an odd duck, but the way I see it, what we share most with our friends in person is what we think, what we care about, how we want to change the world or enjoy a good meal or laugh at something or think deeply.  These thoughts and ideas are all we have in a social community that happens to be connected through the Internet (and in some cases physical life as well). So if online and offline worlds share many of the same characteristics, is it really all that strange to have developed bonds of varying strengths in both ways?

All this to say, Twitter isn’t a means to an end to me–at least not primarily a means to an end. So while it may be good to unplug, it’s more like leaving friends and associates than like leaving work.

Moving on to Day One Food – Sea House Restaurant in Napili (West Maui)
As for food, we ended up at Sea House and here’s what I thought. The hostess was a lovely Hawaiian woman. She reminded me of a Samoan girl I once knew, very pleasant with a nice, bright smile.  We were mostly quickly seated and our Bulgarian server Lina was pleasant and the drinks were okay – Blue Hawaiian and a Mai Tai to start. The seafood chowder was fresh and flavorful, but could’ve used a bit of sea salt and more actual seafood.  The Poke Nachos were like sushi on a chip, and very good.

Poke Nachos from Sea House in Napili

Poke Nachos from Sea House in Napili

My Kai Trio main course was ordinary on the scallops, sub-par on the shrimp and overdone on the Mahi. The purple potato ravioli with coconut (and possibly nutmeg) was quite good.

Kai Trio of shrimp, scallops and grilled fresh mahi mahi

Kai Trio of shrimp, scallops and grilled fresh mahi mahi

This was the best thing I tasted, other than the Maui Brewing Company Big Swell IPA, which was more balanced and mild than I remember it.   Wife had Mahi Mahi encrusted with macadamia nut. It was, well,  meh.  Beautiful views though, look

View from our seat in Sea House

View from our seat in Sea House

I like supporting places like this because the Chef prioritizes sourcing from local farmers, which I appreciate. For this reason I’d probably give this place one more shot at redemption. Given the price point, I wouldn’t usually give this type of place a second chance, but I value what they are trying to do, so am willing to give it another go.

That said, the place was filled with patrons acting entitled, at least four of which I overheard treating their servers/bussers like furniture or servants. This was even true of one older floor captain named Linda, whose demeanor when speaking to some staff belonged in Candyland on Django Unchained, but the gentile ease with which she interacted with certain guests and staff she apparently deemed worthy reminded me of far too many bad stereotypes.  It was a world away from my conversation the night before with Eddie at El Take it Easy on 30th Street in North Park, San Diego about treating each other with respect and viewing a service experience as a relationship, not a transaction. I want more, even on Maui. I don’t pretend to be able to change anything on an island so dominated with wealthy tourist dollars and generations of class-based distinctions, but finding places where the owners foster respect among staff is something on which I place a premium.  Maybe these owners aren’t fully aware of how things happen or maybe I just caught a few folks in bad moods. Either way, they need to know people pay attention to how the service team treats one another.

By the way, thank you Bootique Fitness in San Diego for turning my wife into a fitness nut. No, seriously, I’m not even kidding. I used to need no motivation to work out, then craft beer and disposable income showed up and 30th street exploded and, well, lets just say there’s no way I’d have gotten back into exercise on vacation without a boost. Of course, boot camp by the shores of Lahaina doesn’t suck. Still, nice work Jaylin.  Our first meal and live music experience of the trip went off fairly well and it was time to adjourn to our condo. Click HERE to return to the index page and HERE for Day 1 Part 2, the next Maui entry.  Thanks for reading.

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