Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A Holiday in Hawaii

Have you watched the movie, Roman Holiday? I have been fascinated by Audrey Hepburn and her movies for as long as I can remember, and of course, it does not hurt to have the dashing Gregory Peck in the frame. It has been a while since I last saw the movie. With a somewhat unreliable long term memory, I am sure watching it again will be like it watching it for the very first time. 

But some particularly memorable shots from the movie are still vividly clear in mind. There's that shot of a Vespa driving Audrey Hepburn through the city (rather than the other way round) to the sound of her delightful squeals. I also remember a scene of her smelling the summer air and languidly enjoying an ice cream cone, and her monologue on the many things that she wants to do on a day off - enjoy coffee in a cafe, look at shop windows, walk in the rain. Of course, those things held special meaning for the princess that she played in the movie. But it truly is the little things that make any holiday special. 

We were in Maui, Hawaii recently on vacation. We did all of the things that Audrey Hepburn wanted to do on her Roman holiday. Except walking in the rain, that is. Inviting a cold which could take a whole week to sneeze off in exchange for a few minutes in the rain has always sounded like a  a bad bargain to my inner pragmatist.

We spent a few quiet hours, as often as we could, in a delightful, if somewhat overpriced, French cafe, Chez Meme Baguette Bistro. They serve up the check inside a book, which I thought was a nice touch. We spent as long leafing through the books as we did demolishing our brunch orders.  

There were other great finds, chiefly the charming 808 Bistro that is decked up in fairy lights at dinner time, making for a magical, twinkling setting in which to enjoy a great meal.  I've had banana bread for breakfast and I have always loved french toast but have never thought of combining the two to make one spectacular meal. Well, 808 Bistro did. They serve up a decadent banana bread french toast that I have resolved to attempt in my own kitchen some day. We couldn't help returning for dinner one night. I had a deliciously creamy (and I could tell, calorie-laden) pasta dish with sun-dried tomatoes which my thoughts continued to obsessively return to every now and then for the rest of the vacation.

We gave local Hawaiian cuisine a shot, but found it somewhat underwhelming.We did enjoy some of the local food trucks though. In fact, our very first meal in Maui, as we made the long journey from the airport to our hotel, was a plate of spicy shrimp and rice at the Geste Shrimp food truck. We enjoyed our shrimp and rice by the water, in the heat of the afternoon sun, with the wind threatening to overturn our flimsy styrofoam plates. It was a messy introduction to Hawaii's food trucks, but every bit worth a war with the elements.

We looked into shop windows, and inevitably stepped into some, parting with more dollars than we would have liked. We did a spot of snorkeling, and discovered a multicolored world that silently chugs on under water. We stepped tentatively into the sea only to have the waves rush out and pull us in entirely. We climbed up a crater, and got as close to the clouds as we ever have.  
Halakalea Crater
We watched the sun go down by the beach. Before we knew it, it was time to head home, but not before we gathered many reasons, each one as beautiful as the next, to return.