Sunday, December 1, 2013

"Get out of the road!"

Tonight is our last night on vacation in Maui, Hawaii. We did a lot of nice stuff, this place is beautiful. But this post is solely about bitching on the crap stuff about being here.

I am a driver. I drive to work every day, even though it would take me about 15 minutes to cycle to work. The reason I do that? Because I want to save time. It takes me less than 10 to drive. And I feel an asshole about it. While I am on vacation though, I don't want to drive. I want to walk to places, and see how people live in the place I am visiting, learn about their local life style.

In Maui, though, you can't walk anywhere. I stayed in a place near Lahaina, and the main road that connects the housing neighborhood, the hotel neighborhood and the "downtown" is a big motorway with no sidewalks. As far as I can tell, there is no bus lines either, and there's no parallel streets you can walk in either.

The first evening we walked through a pitch black seaside park that had signs saying "this park is closed after 8pm" to be able to get to a restaurant. As much as I know Hawaii and Maui in particular is a safe place, walking in the complete dark and not being able to see whether you're stepping on poop, grass or any weird animal is actually pretty scary. Anyway, we got there, we got food and we took a cab back.

A few days later, we tried again: we walked from our Bed and Breakfast to Roy's, a famous restaurant that was serving delicious Thanksgiving dinner. That time, since we knew that walking through the closed park was pretty scary, we preferred to walk by side side of the road, yes, that motorway. It was pretty scary. When we were near the restaurant, Mark suggested we crossed the road in the classic "Frogger" style, but I told him that I could see a pedestrian bridge and that we should walk to that bridge. We did. We did so we could be pissed off by the fact that, if you walked from the motorway towards that pedestrian bridge, there was no way to access it. It was basically a bridge from nowhere to nowhere else. So we played "Frogger". When we got to the other side, we had also zero sidewalks to walk on, and ended up walking through a grass field that had those water sprinklers that would go on by timer. Luckily we did not get a shower and made it to dinner with only my feet, in summery sandals, completely soaked.

The day after that we took the "road to Hana". Supposedly a very nice adventure. I have to say that the trip was nice. We were advised that sometimes there was no space for two cars in the road, so someone would have to back off to let the other car go. What I wasn't told though, is that the road was perfectly signalized with the right stuff so people would know when to stop and wait for upcoming traffic. The other thing I wasn't told is that nobody respect those signs, making the journey into a complete life threatening nightmare. We gave up half way and came back home, to the bed and breakfast.

We decided then to once more walk to dinner, because it was towards the old town, and not towards the same direction as the "no fucking way there's no side walk to get there" restaurants.

We found out that we could walk through the houses in the neighborhood and then just cross the motorway to get to the other side, where Lahaina downtown is. We did that. The funny part about that walk is that the pedestrian crossing that cross the motorway literally brings the pedestrian to motorway crash barriers with no sidewalk in the other side. Literally once you got to the other side, you had to walk against traffic for a block before you found a sidewalk. We made it to the restaurant, and got a cab back home.

We repeated the same today to see the Old Lahaina Luau. I won't go on and on how the whole Luau thing was a sad celebration on killing local culture and turning it into a circus. On the way home, when we were approaching the pedestrian crossing that took us from the crash barrier to the other side of the street, a stupid asshole driver yells at the window: "Get out of the road!". Seriously? What the fuck in hell people think that cars have more right than humans walking? I just yelled "Go fuck yourself" back, because at this point in my vacation, I was just way too upset to have a discussion on how there was no other possible place for me to walk about than the stupid road, and that yes, I thought it was a stupid thing to do, but I had no other options at that time.

So, I got this awesome tip for development in Maui. Its a means of transportation that allows people to move from place to place, it avoids drunk driving, and spends very little energy: build stupid sidewalks and let me give up on a car, at least on my vacation time!

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