And so our last full day in Maui has arrived. Which sounds kind of sad, but really isn’t. Usually by this time in a vacation, I am ready to go home, and the same is true on this one – I’ve had an excellent time, and I will be glad to get home – win:win.

Yesterday we woke up tired (no doubt due to our drunken carousing of the night before) and so decided to take the day off. We sat out on the lanai, where some Grey Francolins came and visited with us (we looked them up in the condo bird book), and then lay about reading and surfing the web and napping. For lunch we made a salad and had our leftover pizza. It was really quite a lovely day – definitely what the doctor ordered.

Round about 4pm we started mulling over our dinner options, and ultimately decided to head over to the Four Seasons for their afternoon hula show. We weren’t sure if we wanted to just do pupus, or try their (fairly spendy – $49 per) tasting menu – we figured we’d decide when we got there. We eventually ended up doing neither – just ordered off the bar menu – Lis had a burger and I had a Cobb salad. Still way expensive, but half of what the testing menu option would have been.

The hula show was a very low key affair – just one (somewhat weary seeming) hula dancer and one guy with a guitar accompanying her. But they were both quite good – we enjoyed the musician very much (sometimes he performed by himself – the hula dancer came and went) and the dancer, though not as young and athletic as the luau dancers, really seemed to be doing more actual story telling with her movements, which were also incredibly graceful and beautiful. She was more subtle – you really had to watch to notice this. But she was awesome.

At 6:10 there was a torch lighting ceremony. The hula dancer was joined by a strapping young man with a conch shell (he was really something – the hostess came over later to see if we enjoyed it, and gigglingly said “They’re so physically fit; it adds to the enjoyment of the performance,” which I took to be her polite way of saying “He is SO HOT!” He really was perfectly built and beautifully tanned, and of somewhat regal carriage – very impressive). They performed a dance together, apparently a traditional Hawaiian end-of-day ceremony, that involved repeated long soundings of the conch shell, which moved me to tears each time, as long soundings of conch shells always do. Then he lit a torch and went all around the hotel grounds, stopping at each tiki torch, sounding the conch and then lighting the torch. Then the hula dancer did a couple more numbers, and it was done. I enjoyed the whole thing much more than I’d enjoyed the luau.

Lis:  I love the Four Seasons.  I love their graciousness.  They are spendy, but they are also an amazing value.  Both times we dined at the Four Seasons, the parking was free.   I don’t know if it is also at the other resorts, but I’m guessing it might not be.  When we wandered into the lounge, trying to decide what to do for dinner, the hostess gave us a stack of menus (for 2 restaurants plus the lounge pupu and lounge food menu)  and said, “You could go sit down there on the couch, while you decide.”  As we perused the menus, a waitress came and brought us a dish with spiced nuts on one side and marinated mushrooms and olives on the other.  I must have looked alarmed when I said, “We’re still deciding what to do.”

“Oh, that’s okay,” she said.  “Take your time.  Whatever you decide to do, these are complimentary.”  The hostess came back and said, “If you have a lot of time, this is really a lovely place to just hang out.”  She told us all the different types of music being played at different times and showed us the best table for viewing the hula dancing.   How could we resist?

I believe the total for our evening came to something like $78 including the tip.  In addition to the cobb salad and burger which Mary mentioned, we shared a mango margarita (the most delicious smoothy ever, basically) and I had a coconut sorbet for dessert.  The burger was huge and came with both fries and onion rings, which I barely made a dent in.

This was so much more lovely than the luau which we paid a little over $200 for.  I sort of think of it as the “poor man’s luau”, even though most people would never think of the Four Seasons as the Poor Man’s Anything.   But we could have shown up there at 6:00 for the conch ceremony, each ordered a $4.00 dish of sorbet (which was delicious, non-dairy, and came in quite a few flavors) and been treated just as well as if we had purchased $400 worth of food and drink.   And yes, the burger cost $24 or something outrageous like that, but the view was amazing, we were treated like royalty by the staff, and there was great music and entertainment.  Really, that is a value.  Okay, end of my Four Seasons advertisement and back to Mary.

After dinner we came back to the condo and went to the upper pool for an evening swim. The stars were out and the water felt perfect. We went for a dip in the sand-bottomed hot tub and ended up in conversation with a young couple from Sacramento who are police officers. We asked them lots of questions about police work – the woman in is a mounted unit, which I also thought sounded pretty cool; she assured us that it is – and had a very interesting chat. Then a couple games of Millionaire – I won both and am now ahead 3 games to 2.J

This morning we managed to find Ulua Beach (after virtuously checking the surf report, and seeing that the conditions were calm), and really, really loved it. It’s a pretty little beach, and has some incredible coral on the right hand or north side. The coral is very rugged-looking – lots of hills and valleys and nooks and crannies – but easily accessible and in this gentle surf not at all scary. We again saw tons of fish, plus swam a ways with a turtle, plus saw a moray eel and an octopus.

Another neat feature of this particular location is that many of the fish where in large schools (as opposed to lots of individual fish), including a large school of sergeant majors hanging at the surface. The cool thing about this is if you stop swimming and just float, the fish accept you and let you hang out with them – it’s like you become part of the school. We hung with the sergeant majors for quite some time.

After snorkeling we walked a ways along the Wailea beach path that Lis had wanted to walk a couple days ago, and soon found ourselves at the Wailea Beach Marriott outdoor grill. I had some money on me and it was lunchtime, so we ate here. We both had the Ulua burgers, which were still a little spendy (though not Four Seasons spendy) but quite good.

We’re going to spend the afternoon trying to get as packed and ready to go as possible, and our plans for dinner are pupus at the Five Palms Grill – half price pupus if you get a drink. Then we’re going to do some in-depth planning for tomorrow morning – we want to snorkel before we go, and Lis wants to have breakfast somewhere, plus we’ve still got to get sandwiches for the plane and turn the rental car in – all before our 1:45 pm flight. Wish us luck!!