Posted by: Josey | December 4, 2008

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

Read part one here.
Read part two here.

by Josey Miller

“Are you from the mainland? I’m from the mainland!” a tall, blonde guy said to me only half-kidding, standing on the driveway while Jeff and his new friend Francis continued drinking at the table.

“I’m Sky.” (You can’t make this stuff up.)

Sky had moved from New Hampshire to work at Hana’s local high school and explained that, when he first visited the picturesque town, it was exactly what he’d envisioned as “true Hawaii.”

“See, the ‘true Hawaii’ in my mind was a black sand beach. But, when Jeff and I stopped at Waianapanapa black sand beach along the Road to Hana on our way here this afternoon, it was mobbed with tourists with cameras wearing too-small swimsuits. Not exactly what I was imagining!”

Sky looked disappointed on my behalf. “I don’t start work until 2pm tomorrow. Are you still around?”

“We’re staying until the day after tomorrow actually.”

“Great. I want to show you something. Just meet me at my house whenever you wake up. Follow the road past your hotel until you come to the sign pointing to different cities all over the world. I’ll flag you down from there. Wear swimsuits, but don’t wear open-toed shoes.”

No specific time. No specific address. I let my overscheduled, over-detailed New York City inclinations fall to the floor.

And, for the next hour, Jeff, Pranee, Francis, Sky and I hung out with Joanna, a housekeeper at the Hotel Hana Maui, where we were staying, her husband, Sonny Boy, their beautiful six-year-old daughter, Daisy, and Joanna’s sister. We sat around those tables on the gravel driveway illuminated only by Christmas lights. Joanna and Sonny Boy talked trash to each other about the Hana Men versus Hana Women softball game they’d be playing the following night on the community baseball diamond. And someone passed Joanna’s sister an ukulele (ooh-koo-LAY-lay, not yoo-koo-LAY-lee).

She told us a little bit about their mother, who had been offered a record contract and turned it down to raise her kids, then passed away a few short years later. And she sang a few of the incredibly touching heartland-like songs her mother had written, with a cry in her voice and a mythical vibrato.

Just as the night seemed to be taking a heavy, alcohol-infused turn, she belted out an X-rated song about a monkey that Daisy was clearly too young to hear… but to which she lip-synched every lyric. Our impromptu entertainer held the last note, everyone applauded, then another member of the Hotel Hana Maui housekeeping staff turned to me and Jeff:

“So you guys are staying at ‘the’ hotel, huh?”


She paused.

“You’re getting Ripped. Off.

We all broke out in laughter, but Jeff and I knew that we’d soon forget about our room’s overpriced oversized tub and ocean view—and that we’d always remember Hana for the night we spent making friends with locals.

Worth every penny.

(To be continued.)

Read part four here.


  1. It’s 28 degrees outside, even the word “Hawaii” makes me feel warm right now!

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