Posted by: Josey | November 28, 2008

Hana, Maui, Hawaii: Tonight We Live Like Locals (Part One)

by Josey Miller

It was 7:30pm, late for dinner by Hana, Hawaii’s standards. Jeff and I bickered out of hunger. We were on the verge of a stand-off. “If we don’t leave now, we’ll never find somewhere to eat,” I snapped. Jeff reluctantly agreed, and we walked towards the Hotel Hana Maui parking lot in silence. listed few restaurants in the tiny beach town, but one reviewer recommended Pranee’s Thai roadside stand for delicious cheap eats. Less than three minutes later we were pulling up a gravel driveway, and a woman who couldn’t have been taller than 4’11” in heels warmly flagged us down as if we were old friends. She’d been standing under a tent lined with Christmas lights, by two pushed-together card tables where at least twelve people were eating a hearty meal. They seemed to be locals, and we were tourists through and through from our wrinkled button-downs right down to our Avis economy car.

“This can’t be right,” Jeff said.

“Well, it’s the address on the review,” I insisted.

The little woman approached our car.

“I think she thinks we’re someone else,” I whispered.

“Should I back up?” Jeff whispered back anxiously.

It was too late. She leaned through his driver-side window.

“Aloha!” she said.

I’d found the review. I felt responsible.

“Um, hi there,” I responded across Jeff. “I’m so sorry to interrupt your dinner. We’re looking for Pranee’s Thai restaurant?”

“I’m Pranee, and you’re not interrupting! But I only cook for tourists on Monday and Tuesday afternoons.”

“Oh, I see. Well, okay. Again, so sorry. Thank you…”

She was having none of that.

”No, don’t go! It’s my birthday party, and I cooked so much food! Park there and grab a seat.”

We started to object again—it was her birthday for crying out loud!—but she was already waving our car alongside the shrubbery like an air traffic controller.

(To be continued.)

Read part two here.


  1. My family is from Hana. You described Hana and its people well. I hope no one thinks you’re exaggerating because you are “right on the mark”… Can’t wait for part 2.

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