A walk down memory lane at the Kea Lani + a gorgeous full moon!
Before I left for Maui, I knew I wanted to visit the Kea Lani at some point while I was there, for old times' sake. The last time I was in Maui was when I was 7-years-old, with my parents and maternal grandparents to celebrate my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. We stayed at the Kea Lani :)
actually, every time my parents and I went to Maui when I was growing up, we always stayed there. They had several pools, one with a water slide, and the resort overall was very kid-friendly and family-friendly. I have so many pockets of memories from the time I spent in Maui as a little one, from spending all day in the pool going down the water slide again and again, painting coconuts into fish with little felt fins and glued-on googly eyes (which my parents still have!), to watching the pig burial before the luau we attended...
I had flown all the way to Maui. I just HAD to go to the Kea Lani.
So I headed out early on a Tuesday morning to catch the bus from Kihei to Wailea. Can I just say, the bus system in Maui is FANTASTIC!! And the bus is air conditioned, which feels incredible after all the walking you do in the humidity to get to the bus stop.
It took about an hour to get to Wailea with all of the stops along the way, but it went by pretty fast. So fast actually, that when we got to Wailea, which was also the end of the bus line, I stayed in my seat because I didn't realize we had gotten there already! I started the 1-mile walk to the Kea Lani and had to bust out my camera after a mere few minutes.
I mean, WOW!!!! You would not believe the beautiful smell of all the plumeria trees!! The fragrance is very light and soft but as soon as I could smell the plumerias, I was immediately transported to my time spent here all those years ago. Smell can be such a powerful memory! I picked up several of them, admiring their simplistic beauty and beautiful fragrance. I even walked with two in my hand on the way back to the bus stop so that I could close my eyes and be transported, and also to remember the moment :) a very literal reminder to stop and smell the flowers...
This is one of the flowers I picked up on the way back. I wish I had taken a picture of the underside of the flower, because it was just as breathtakingly beautiful!
Just when I thought I couldn't walk any farther, there was the Kea Lani! I walked around the back of the resort and towards the beach, through some random parking lot where I thought I was lost, and somehow wound up exactly at the beach in front of the Kea Lani :D my mom has great parking karma and I apparently have really good always-ending-up-where-I-need-to-be karma!
Oddly enough, it looked NOTHING like what I remember. Granted, I spent 99% of my time in the pool as opposed to the ocean since I was so little, but it all seemed so much smaller. I laid out my towel, drank water and just sat for a while, taking it all in. It seemed strange being back there. Even though there are no private beaches in Hawaii (I had no idea!), I felt like an outsider, sitting on the sand with everyone around me sitting on lounge chairs under bright blue umbrellas.
This is the view from where I laid down my things. You would never know that there were tons of people around huh??
Here's the other side ;) lots of blue umbrellas!
I decided to walk around and see if I could remember the lay of the land at all. I didn't want to be walking around with my huge camera, so I just took my phone, you know, to seem less like paparazzi and more like I actually had a room there ;)
At first, I didn't recognize anything and felt a little bummed out...but then...I found the pool! Well, one of the pools. I lit up! I remembered spending ALL DAY at the pool. Playing, jumping in and out, diving for those toys that you would throw in and they'd stay at the bottom, waiting for you to find them...even the one time my dad and I were in the pool and it started to rain! And I mean, really rain. I remembered going underwater with my goggles on and looking up to watch the rain fall on top of the water. And then all of a sudden, the rain stopped!
I continued to walk around. A lot of the grounds looked brand new–fountains, a little garden with a gazebo–and then I stumbled upon another pool. From what I can recall, this pool, which was now the 18 and over pool, had once had music playing through underwater speakers! I kept walking and just as I was about to head back to the beach, I saw the end of the water slide into the pool I thought was the only one for kids. A rush of energy and excitement came over me as I quickened my pace to follow the very wet walkway to the top of the water slide AND the other pool. THIS was the pool I remembered!!! The one I've held in my memory for all these years. They even still had the stools underwater for people in the pool to order food or drinks as they swam (which of course I thought was THE coolest thing since sliced bread when I was little!). It made me SO happy to see they didn't get rid of that! I even snapped a picture.
It's not the best resolution, but do you see the stools under the water?! There's a sign to the right of the bar that says only 21+ allowed in that area, but I'm still happy they kept it! I used to get smoothies and virgin strawberry daiquiris while I was in the pool and thought it was a slice of heaven!
On my way back to the beach, I took a few more photos of the condo we stayed in with my grandparents and even snapped some of the place I thought my Grandad used to sit and watch the sunset. I even said hello to him while I was there, because I really felt his presence. He loved Maui :)
I was there for another hour or so, mostly in the ocean because it was HOT!! The water was so cool and clear...it felt really healing to be there again.
Not too much longer, I was packing up and headed back to the bus stop.
One of my housemates met me at the Safeway that was near the house (and was one of the bus stops which was super convenient because I needed to stock up majorly on FOOD). One our way back to the house, she mentioned that a few people were going to go watch the sunset and chill and asked if I would want to join. How could I say no?!
And I'm SO glad I didn't...
May I add: NO EDITS HAVE BEEN MADE TO THESE PHOTOS!! NONE. ZERO. ZIP.
So we were at the docks first, letting the dogs play in the water.
Then walked over to the huge grassy area across the way...
And then look who we saw! Can you spot Mr. Turtle?! He was there for quite a long time, eating non-stop. I t was too cute! I even got some video footage ;)
This was the magnificent view from our spot on the grass! Stunning, isn't it?
One of my housemates, Rita, and me watching the sunset :D and some random family photo-bombing...
And then some rowers came by...yes, this actually happened! I'm pretty sure this could be a postcard
And then the full moon came rising up SO FAST behind us. It was absolutely incredible to watch!! How often do you watch the sunset in front of you, turn around and watch the full moon rise?! This night was pure magic. It was one of those moments you know you'll never forget.
I was SO stoked that I got this shot!! I've always wanted to get a shot like this of the moon :)
As a group, we felt so humbled to be able to experience such a beautiful evening. We sat around marveling at what just took place in front of our eyes, talking and laughing about who-knows-what, played a few rounds of glow-in-the-dark bocce ball then called it a night.
Solo adventure. Quiet time at the beach. A beautiful sunset with new friends. The full moon rising. Playtime while barefoot under the stars. And even a turtle appearance! Now that's what I call a full and beautiful day!