Maui Fever: 8 Days in Popular Paradise (Day 1)

Day 1:

Traveling to Hawaii takes about two hours too long. I got a cramp in my knee while trying to pull Cheez-its out of my backpack.

This was the first time I’ve been on a plane since last May. I was slightly worried I had outgrown the seat. Since returning home from living in Germany for a year, I’ve gained at least 40 pounds. American gluttony attached itself on to me like a moth to the flame so quickly I didn’t notice until stepping on the doctors scale. But there it is, my body is larger than it was. The ebbs and flows of being a human being.

I can also tell I’m getting older. The fatness this time around feels sticky and permanent. My depression seems to come and go at will with all-knowing confidence. I’m gaining my mother’s freckles and classic italian dark circles under my eyes.

“No, I’m not tired.” I have to answer to literally everyone I’ve ever met. “Are you sure? You look tired.”

“I’m sure. It’s just my face.”

Due to lack of internet, I opened up my first book in months, maybe even over a year now. I genuinely couldn’t believe how enjoyable it felt to hold a paper book in my hands, to roll the edges, to feel the weight. This book was about solving medical mysteries in the Amazon.

Getting off of the plane, I was immediately hit with that humid tropical air. Not a cool or refreshing breeze, more of a static hug. The wind whipped up my already awkward hair into an unintentional pompadour. It felt good to be in a place different than where I came from.

The Maui airport is older, with shades of brown and beige everywhere. Everything is open air, with little kiosks filled with trinkets, goodies and flower leis. I instantly realized I packed completely inappropriately for this trip. The weather report said rain, but what it really meant to say was spontaneous outpours from the heavens, followed by hazy hot sunshine for 15 hours.

Basically, I forgot to bring shorts. I know, I know. This was amature hour. Sigh!

I grab my bag and head over to the rental car bus loading zone. A little bus zooms around in a practical figure eight, swooping up passengers and dropping them off accordingly.

I preordered a Ford Focus. I wanted something so basic and nondescript I could forget where I parked it and get lost for a while trying to find it. Instead, the lady behind the counter gave me a Mustang. I blinked and giggled at the same time.

At first I thought it was a mistake. But the license plate checked out. I accidentally revved the engine in the rental parking lot, and a man with very large muscles and shaved head slowly nodded. Well, that sold it.

This is my car, I thought to myself. This is WHO I AM NOW. While leaving the lot I went over several speedbumps way too fast. But when that baby purrs, she purrs like no other.

First thing I see on my way to my AirBnb is a McDonalds. Famished, I order everything horrible, (yes, including that and that) and then as an afterthought I ask for a salad “for later” (read: I threw it away because it got gross quickly).

My AirBnb was dark and cool. Just what the doctor ordered. Everything is nicer than I can afford. I collapsed in my travel filth with french fry dust on a king sized bed.