Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Ginger's Guide to Surviving Maui.

I just returned from spending 8 days in Maui, Hawaii with my husband, celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. And I'm a ginger. What I'm about to share, may be helpful to 2% of the human population (the current estimation of the surviving ginger species) as well as anyone else who is fair skinned, or anyone who has just been cast as a vampire in a movie, who has been told by the director to stay out of the sun.

There are a few tools that you will find essential in surviving (and enjoying) your trip to Maui. First, get some 100 SPF lotion. Any brand will do.

Then get yourself a sun hat that has a listing of 50 SPF or higher. No matter what they say, size does matter. Bigger is better.

Now gingers and other fair-skinned varieties should avoid the actual beach part of Maui. And especially the ocean. Why? Because there are sharks in the water, and even scarier... concentrated sun, which we all know is the ginger's worst natural enemy. Besides, there are signs posted like this all along the beach. And that's good enough for me.

If for some reason, you are a ginger and crazy, and STILL want to venture onto the beach and in the water, there are specially made swimsuits to protect you from the sun, and should help you avoid painful sunburns. (though under full disclosure, does NOT help you avoid sharks and may perhaps make you look like a tasty seal.) However, if you are still interested, you must buy a burkini. ( A burkini is a burka in bathing suit form.

Though I'm not sure of the amount of ginger muslims in the world, there are some other styles in the burkini line that even the most discerning ginger infidel wouldn't mind wearing.

See? It even looks Hawaiian. And yes I own one.

Now that you've arrived in Maui, you have just gotten off the plane and are headed to the hotel. You most likely have not yet applied your sunscreen. So when your blue-haired husband stops at the first Vista Point to take pictures, you can sit safely in the shade of the vehicle and take pictures of said blue-haired husband with your iPhone while he takes pictures with his fancy camera.

Soon you should arrive at your hotel. Go ahead and splurge for a nice, spacious hotel room so you won't mind spending time reading, and doing various other activities with your blue-haired husband during the sun's peak hours.

Preferably a hotel room with a nice view of the ocean that you can enjoy from the safety of your room.

If you MUST go out on the balcony during peak sun hours, take a look at where the shade line is, and move the chairs into the shade. Shade is a ginger's best friend.

Now take a look at the hotel surroundings. Do they have many trees? What kind of trees do they have? Not all trees are good for providing shade.

For instance, these are not good shade trees.

And neither are coconut trees.

FYI, more people are killed each year by falling coconuts than by sharks. So say your chance of getting eaten by a shark while in the water is 100%, getting killed by a coconut while under a coconut tree is closer to 200%. Better to take your chances with the sun, until you can find a safe, shade tree. Speaking of... these are acceptable shade trees...

What are safe activities for gingers to do in Maui? Well you can get lei'd as often as you want.

You can take a helicopter ride in the early morning hours, where you won't even need to wear your sunscreen.

You can't get any of those shots while laying in the sun on the beach.

After your thrilling helicopter ride, you can spend some time at the spa... relaxing while you wait for them to call your name...

while sipping the yummy orange, vanilla and sugar cane-infused water...

Then go for a couple's bath, followed by a couple's massage.

You may enjoy it so much, you decide to go back later in the week for a 2nd couple's massage, then return for a deluxe facial with hand and foot massage, then return once more for an 80 minute hot rock massage. You know... if you're just looking for ideas.

You know what else gingers can do? They can take the Road to Hana. FYI, take a tour bus driven by a Hana native. You do NOT want to attempt to drive that road by yourself. #trust.

While on the Road to Hana, there will be all sorts of quick 5 minute stops where they will let you out, so you can take one or two pics. Very minimal sun exposure, though still it would be wise to wear your 100 SPF, just in case. Along those stops you will see...

Sites like this

Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees

Waterfalls. (notice I'm standing under a tree while taking a picture)

Black Rock Beach

Now this beach had very little shade available, so I took a break from sun exposure by entering a nearby cave. Hiding from the sun + photo op = 2 birds/one stone.

On the bus tour, there is a stop for lunch at a sunny flower farm, but the actual tables are under shade umbrellas. If you're skilled with your iPhone, you can venture out in the sun for very brief periods to take a picture, then quickly retreat to the safety of the shade.

You can even take pictures of the sweet smelling "ginger" flower. Very appropriate name, I think.

The entire tour is a 12 hour bus ride, so you have plenty of time to ride in the shaded, air-conditioned bus, enjoying the view, or making fun of the Japanese couple stuck in the back with you who spoke no English and paid decent money to sleep their way through most of the tour. That is, when they weren't talking loudly to each other in Japanese making it difficult to hear the bus driver's narrative. I never did learn how to say STFU in Japanese.

Also on our tour, we saw a church made of coral (Palapala Ho'omau) where Charles Lindbergh (the dude that flew planes & had a child kidnapped) is buried. On a side note... those Hawaiians sure are fond of their vowels and apostrophes. Just saying.

There are some other graves there as well. It was really quite beautiful how they were lined with lava rocks and trees.

Another quick stop to see Haleakala. (which is apparently no longer considered a dormant volcano, but rather just a sleepy one that will wake up sometime in the not too distant future)

Later in the tour there is an hour stop at the "Seven Sacred Pools". Though you're only allowed to swim in 3 of them. Guess they should call it "Four Sacred Pools With Three Slightly Less Sacred Pools." Now, I'm sure these three natural pools with their natural rock slides are da bomb, but for a ginger that just screams "place where I can get badly sunburned". Best to hang out in the Visitor Center and read all you can about the history of Maui.

However the Visitor Center is pretty small, so you should be done reading in about 10 minutes. Afterwards, it would be best to find a place to sit under a shady tree and read a book while enjoying the ocean breeze. You may even spot some wildlife. Check out this mongoose.

Stop acting like you aren't impressed by my mongoose pic. Only so much you can do with an iPhone. (notice I'm safely in the shade while observing the wildlife.)

At the end of the Road to Hana Tour, they take you to the winery at Ulupalakua Ranch, where everyone gets to sample 4 different kinds of wine. Exactly what you need after hours of windy one-lane roads with 2-way traffic and sheer drop-offs into the ocean with no railings.

After tasting the wine, you can walk along the grounds of the winery, which is mostly in the shade, enjoying the various flowers and buildings.

And there was also a cat at the winery. It either had too much wine, or was dying. It didn't look so well, and in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have been petting it. That's when my husband and I started playing the guessing game of "is it dying or just really sleepy?" Sadly, it was time for the tour bus to take us home and we will never know the answer.

Other ginger-friendly activities are... SHOPPING!!! Now many of the malls are outdoor malls, so you must still wear your 100 SPF and sun hat while walking from store to store. While shopping, they will have reminders of why exactly you should spend your time out of the water.

Also, after shopping, you'll probably want to get lei'd again.

I mean, when it's the sun's peak hours, you can get lei'd as often as you want.

Now, a great time for the gingers to go out is early in the morning. Morning time is when you can have your breakfast and watch the birds as they try to take the food off newly abandoned tables...

and even sometimes from occupied tables.

Hey, little birdie!!

Breakfast is anything but boring when you can do things like this...

Around 5pm is another good time for the gingers to come out of hiding. That's a good time to step onto your balcony without fear of the sun's harmful rays, and take pictures of the view.

If you're lucky, when you leave your hotel room, you can even see the shirtless native lighting the tiki torches along the hotel property. If you're very lucky, he might even pose for you.

Then you can walk to one of the nearby fancy restaurants, pausing along the way, to take pictures of the beautiful sunsets.

You know what goes great with sunsets? A Mai Tai.

While you are there in Maui, don't forget to attend a Luau. These are always held at dinner time, which is a ginger-friendly time to be outdoors. They often have unlimited free drinks. (like Mai Tai's and Banana Madness)

You can occupy yourself between courses by taking self-portraits of yourself with your blue-haired husband on your iPhone, between sips of free alcoholic drinks.

And then... FIRE DANCING!!! Who doesn't love fire dancing?

If you're still looking for ginger-friendly activities, you could always attend a museum like this one. Though I don't know that I'd recommend this particular one. Whatever they use to fertilize the sugar cane fields around it, makes the air smell strongly of diarrhea, and everything you learn about sugar cane from the museum will be repeated to you in your Road to Hana tour and again during your Helicopter Tour.

I'm sure there are some other non-diarrhea-smelling museums that are great to visit on the island. I didn't see any of them because I was getting lei'd again.

You can also go for a drive in your rental car and stop at shaded farmer's markets to try out the Coconut milk you've always wanted to try. Though, sadly, coconut milk looks and tastes much like dirty water.

Still looking for activities for gingers??? Well, if you stayed in a nice hotel, like I suggested, you can always take pictures from the shaded, open hallways. Even the same view at different times of day can be breathtaking. Take these, for instance...

Early morning


And Evening, when you can see the people diving off Black Rock into the water. Later all these people were eaten by sharks. At least they provided a nice photo op for me before they died.

After a week full of ginger-friendly activities, it's time to return to the airport, with a stop at a Vista Point to take pictures. It's likely you applied your 100 SPF earlier that day, so it's safe to get out of the rental car and snap a picture.

And that folks, concludes the Ginger's Guide to Surviving Maui. I didn't even touch the sand, or set foot in the ocean, yet you can see I was able to enjoy Maui just as much as my melanin-enhanced friends. If you are a ginger, a fair-skinned person, or recently cast in a movie as a vampire, don't let the sun keep you from enjoying Paradise.



  1. You should write a travel guide for gingers.

    Because this is the first time I have ever been interested in going to a sunny/beachy vacation destination.

  2. Wonderful post, Ginger!! Your pics are gorgeous and I REALLY want to visit Hawaii now. Well...more than usual. : )

    I'm so glad you enjoyed your romantic trip and you didn't get burned! You are definitely an expert at avoiding the sun ; ) A fun trip is often spoiled by a sunburn, so that was brilliant of you. Cheers!

    p.s. missed you. : )

  3. Love the pics Ginger!! I'm glad you guys had a good time!

    P.S.: I'm sure the cat was fine ;) probably just being lazy...

  4. Haha - no one describes a holiday break quite like you do - loved it!

  5. Ugh that looks like a ridiculous amount of fun. I hate you ;-)

    Please tell me you packed the muslium bathing-suit? That is kind of awesome. Totally shark bait with that. Giant seal...

    LOL did your feet touch the ocean at all?

  6. @Jamie, yes I did pack my muslim bathing suit, though I didn't actually get a chance to wear it. No, my feet did not touch the ocean at all. And I still had a blast!! ;)

  7. I think you may have broken a record with the longest "gingersnaps in the morning" post ever. I can't wait for the whole travel guide to come out.

    LOVED the pictures. Glad you got lei'd so many times.

  8. How funny!! And lovely--GREAT pictures! I'm completely jealous and want to go to Hawaii RIGHT NOW!