It was our first day on Maui, and the Travel Gods  already scored their first point on this vacation.

At Kahului Airport’s baggage claim, Alexei and I retrieved our two suitcases, and Alexei’s golf clubs. We were rolling them along to get to the rental cars when some dude failed to estimate the amount of effort he needed to expend pulling his suitcase off the carousel. He fell backwards, breaking his fall on Alexei’s suitcase. The dude was OK, but the suitcase handle snapped off, thereby rendering it useless. One point for the Travel Gods.

Our first stop after picking up the rental car was now the Kahului Costco, to replace the damaged suitcase. The Costco Experience always reminds me of that scene from Spaceballs where Mel Brooks as Yogurt talks about the importance of ‘moichandizing’. You know, Spaceballs-The-Lunchbox – Spaceballs-The-Flamethrower – and so on. We spent a few minutes wandering around like lost souls before we found Kirkland-The-Suitcase. After signing the adoption papers, it became a part of our family. Problem solved.

Take that, Travel Gods. We’re not going to let this get us down. Not here.

On our drive to our condo, Alexei plugged his iPhone into the car stereo so we could relax to some nice music. As we rounded the corner to the oceanfront highway and the views of deep blue ocean shading to bright turquoise, our chosen selection was Handel’s Water Music. Breathe….. Breathe……

Ah the lovely waterfront in Lahaina...

By this time we were starving. Our first tradition, after dropping our stuff off in our condo is to immediately head to Lahaina and lunch at Kimo’s for their incredible fish tacos. Sitting on the patio with the waves gently breaking below the railing is the best way we’ve been able to find to start the de-stressing process. Ahhhhh. Lahaina……

Dinner that night is another tradition. We always go to the Hula Grill Barefoot Bar at Whaler’s Village. Their crab and macadamia nut wontons are the stuff of legend. I’ve never been able to replicate the soy-mustard dipping sauce, but it has to be the yummiest decongestant ever invented. Listening to the Hawaiian slack guitar music, sipping a Plantation Lemonade, and watching the moonlight playing on the ocean in the background is the perfect way to start a vacation.

Sunset view at the Hula Grill.

Mahalo, Travel Gods – The game’s not over yet.