Leah and I had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii recently. I haven’t written about it because I can’t get over that, prior to the opportunity, I had always rejected the idea of traveling that far to go to an island. I mean, we can leave our home at breakfast and be on just about every island in the Caribbean in time for lunch. I had always thought that spending a day traveling and not ending up in another country was kind of a waste of a day.
I was a million percent wrong. What an amazing place.
In full disclosure, I’m one of those people that loves the places where I travel. I love the different ways that people live day-to-day – where they get their groceries, where they go to school, where they live – the accents, the pace, the plants and trees, just all of it. I also like to learn something. I mean, if I’m going to travel that far, I want to take a little knowledge back with me.
On the first day of our trip, we awoke at 3:30AM Central in order to get up, get dressed, and get to the airport for our 6AM flight. I won’t take you through the itinerary, but we landed on Maui at about 1:30 local time, or 6:30PM Central time. We got our bags, took the shuttle to the hotel, checked-in and, finally, stepped foot in our room at about 3:30PM local time, or about 17 hours after our alarm clocks went off that morning, but still 6 or 7 hours from a respectable bedtime.
We had dinner reservations that evening at 7:00 at a place called Monkeypod Kitchen. I’m not going to give a full review, but it was awesome. Our waitress, Shea, was incredibly friendly. I had been up for about 22 hours, but adrenaline had taken over and I was awake and ready to learn something. The question that I wanted to ask Shea was, how did they come up with the name Monkeypod Kitchen? What does monkeypod mean?
Unfortunately, I asked about a dozen questions before I could ask what I really wanted to know. I asked about the sunset time. I asked about the menu. Some of you will not be surprised at all that I asked about the soup of the day, but I also asked about appetizers, main dishes, desserts, everything. I might not ever be back to Monkeypod, and I didn’t want to waste the opportunity.
After about 12 questions, Leah saved Shea by telling me to let her go so that she could help her other customers. I would have to save my Monkeypod question for later. Of course, after eating dinner and dessert, I was full and sleepy and forgot to ask.
Fast forward to our last day. I still didn’t know what Monkeypod meant.
We were in a taxi on the way to the airport and I, again to no one’s surprise that knows me, was sitting in the front passenger seat talking to our driver – a delightfully funny lady who moved to Maui 30 years ago from Singapore who just referred to herself as Mama (because she was the mom of the driver of the taxi carrying the other half of our group to the airport). As we drove, I asked her where she shopped (Target and Costco), about any fear of the volcano (no), about the little town of Pa’ia (all the white people like Pa’ia, she said), and about a tree that I had seen on the island. I saw them beside the path along Wailea Beach, on the ranch where we rode ATVs, and along the beaches of West Maui. The trunks were tall and the tops branched out, almost like an umbrella, providing tremendous shade below. They were awesome trees. “What are those trees”, I asked.
I’m sure there is a Greek or Latin phrase for moments like this, and I wish that I knew it because this sentence would have been a lot shorter and more intelligent, but in a moment that wrapped up the trip like a perfect Seinfeld episode Mama answered, “Those are Monkey Pod trees.”
MONKEY POD TREES! And now I know.