Paradise is a state of mind: Maui 14


For years I imagined the real Maui was what I had experienced at a hotel on the “touristy” side of the island. Everybody is always happy, greeting everyone they pass with a warm smile and aloha. The rooms are clean and the only sign of critters are the sweet little geckos scurrying around. It’s paradise!

Paradise is a state of mind (Go, See, Write)

Koki Beach

Paradise is a state of mind (Go, See, Write)

The grounds of the Travaasa Hana Hotel

But paradise, we found out years later, is all smoke and mirrors. The resorts and hotels are devoid of critters because they are “taken care of” before you check in. We found this out when we rented a cottage on the other side of the island. One evening I was outside playing with the cats when I noticed the grass moving. I looked closer and noticed dozens of beetles scuttling about. We would get up in the mornings, walk out on the lanai or through the treed areas and quickly be wrapped up in cob webs. There are tons of spiders in paradise.

Paradise is a state of mind (Go, See, Write)

Hammerhead worm

Paradise is a state of mind (Go, See, Write)

Grasshopper

Paradise is a state of mind (Go, See, Write)

Garden spider

Paradise is a state of mind (Go, See, Write)

Camponotus habereri

The paradisiacal image I had in my head vanished. This was the real Maui. It’s beautiful, but different.

It’s like when you first discover your parents aren’t perfect: you don’t love them any less. And the same was true for us and Maui.

Paradise is a state of mind (Go, See, Write)

Passion fruit flower

Paradise is a state of mind (Go, See, Write)

A view of the ocean from Kipahulu

Three years after this realization, we’re back on Maui, care-taking two properties and pet sitting a dog, 3 cats and 74 chickens for one month in Hana. One week in, and we have been woken up by a cockroach scratching the bamboo mat next to our bed — the thing was so big it cast a shadow. We also have had to dispose of a dead rat killed by the cat, and deal with fruit flies; so many fruit flies.

Paradise is a state of mind (Go, See, Write)

Petsitting for the month

Paradise is a state of mind (Go, See, Write)

Type of gecko

Getting called out by the universe

Bird of Paradise

Getting called out by the universe

Sunrise from Kipahulu

Getting called out by the universe

Venus pool

But for all the creepy crawlies and rodents, there are an infinite amount of wonderful things to experience and discover.  There’s nothing like eating fruit fresh off of the trees, smelling the gardenia and plumeria perfumed breeze, swimming in the ocean, and rainbows at every turn.

There is a different, less-perfect side of Maui. But it’s still paradise.


About Nat and Tim Harris

Together for close to a quarter of a century, A Cook Not Mad‘s Tim and Nat have indulged their passion for life and experience to the fullest, but they feel most alive when traveling, cooking and eating. An award winning chef, Tim has dedicated his life and career to cooking and the pursuit of honest food. As a professional photographer, Nat records their adventures with incredible pictures of everyday life and the extraordinary. They believe that everyone should get to know a culture by learning about the foods they eat and living like locals as much as they can.

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