Before you read it, I just want to say that this post is mostly photos. I (or the hubs where my face is in the photo)- not a ‘real’ photographer – took all the photos in this post, mostly with an iPhone, a couple with a camera I barely know how to use. But I think the photos are beautiful, because, c’mon! How can you go wrong when you are snapping photos of paradise?
You are standing outside. It is 77 degrees. The humidity is a perfect 50 percent, not too steamy and not too dry. There is a gentle, cool ocean breeze, blowing the hair from your face. You hear the ocean waves lapping gently, in the background.
There is sun. It warms every part of you just right, but if you desire, you need only walk a couple of steps before you are covered with the shade of a lush, tropical tree. Hanging nearby you will see fruit, waiting to be picked and consumed.
Everywhere there is vibrant color. Flowers, sky, water, plants, black lava rock, iridescent shells, and, yes, the fish. Nothing is gray. Even the sand is full of warm color.
If you wander away from the water, look around. Eventually, you will see it again, and you will not be able to help but notice how clear and inviting it is. If you look further, toward the horizon, you may glimpse whales leaping in the surf.
You cannot believe the plants and flowers are real, so you must touch them, and then touch them again. Some shine as though freshly waxed. With others, you’d swear that color only exists in paintings.
You watch the bees pollinate flowers, inches from your eyes. You smell the sweet fragrance, your face close to the soft petals. Once exhaled, you are left only with fresh, clean air.
You hear birds gently call to each other, over the sound of the surf and the breeze. Your bare feet touch the sandy beach and sink into deliciously, warm comfort. It is as though you are walking on sugar, soft warm sugar, mixed with glitter. The surf tickles your toes with refreshingly warm, ocean foam.
This is only the merest glimpse into paradise.
My words pale in comparison with the reality. To know it, is to experience, live, and understand it. In the moment that you are there, standing on the beach, it is the ultimate gift, to drink in, with all your senses, the wonder that is Maui.
I, simply, cannot do it justice with words.
Despite the bumps, the fear and anxiety, we had on our way, we had arrived. My son was hungry. First stop in paradise – McDonald’s. Where else?
Twenty minutes later, we pulled up to the entrance of what would be home for the next five nights, the Grand Wailea, on the south shore of the island.
The Grand Wailea is spectacular in every respect. From the moment you arrive, you are treated as royalty. There is valet parking only. You pull up to the porte cochère and a parking attendant, dressed in a white uniform, takes your car. Not only is the luggage unloaded and transported to your room, the car is cleaned, vacuumed, and cold, bottled water is placed inside every time you request it be brought up front.
We were greeted with leis. My husband and son received a Ti Leaf Lei, while the girls received the traditional orchid lei.
Since our room was not ready, we decided to walk the grounds. Of course, we headed to the beach, with some stops along the way.
All of us were in awe, knowing we were somewhere very special. All my son’s anxiety and fear drained away, replaced with the joys of nature’s beauty everywhere.
My son loves routine, sameness. He had never before been on the beach, much less at the ocean. He did not miss home or routine. He did miss a couple of his toys but he was so busy swimming, playing, sliding and watching things that it was only at night before bed that he sought what wasn’t there.
After seeing our rooms and changing, there was time for my son to take his first dip in a series of pools linked together with “rivers”, slides and even a water elevator.
He stayed in the water as long as we would allow.
Then, we headed back to the room to change for dinner as we saw the sun head behind the ocean for the first time in Hawaii.
How would we ever be able to leave this? I still have no idea why I’m not living on that beach… What I do know? We forget the program to desensitize mom for the return back home…