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    Frumpy Mom: Marla goes to Maui
    • February 21, 2024

    Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, you should be reading this just as I am returning from a brief vacation to Maui. Which, in case you’ve forgotten, is in Hawaii, our 50th state.

    The reason I’m taking the family to Maui is because I got super cheap airfares, which, as some of you know, is essentially the reason I go anywhere.

    “A cheap airfare to Afghanistan? Where do I sign up? I’m bringing my burka so that pesky Taliban won’t be a problem.”

    Okay, that’s a lie, even I have some standards, low though they might be. But when I saw $123 roundtrip nonstop fares to Maui, I had to snatch them immediately. Some of you are wondering why I’d want to go to Maui after they just had those devastating fires. But, see, here’s the thing: It’s a well-known fact that whenever there’s lots of press about a natural disaster – or really a disaster of any kind, including a visit from the Kardashians – people immediately cancel their reservations and change their plans.

    They do this regardless of whether their vacations would actually be affected by the disaster. In fact, for decades I’ve made a habit of immediately buying plane tickets to any place suffering a disaster for six months hence, while the prices are low, knowing that things will almost certainly be better by then, and the locals will be happy to welcome my tourism dollars.

    In the case of Maui, while the terrible fire there was devastating and essentially turned the charming town of Lahaina into a pile of cinders, the rest of the island was untouched. So the most famous attractions, such as the Road to Hana, the Haleakala volcano and such were still there and waiting to be explored.

    That’s when Hawaiian Airlines offered this $123 airfare, to get people back to the island. And I was happy to be one of them. Because, you see, I’ve never been to Hawaii.

    This always makes people laugh, because they know I’m a nonstop addicted maniacal travel junkie. So how could I have missed Hawaii for all these years?

    Simple, really. When I was a teenager, our family was sent to a U.S. Air Force base in Puerto Rico where my father was stationed for three years. In case your geography is sketchy, Puerto Rico is an American territory in the Caribbean. Our mission on the base there was to keep a fleet of B-52 bombers warmed up and ready, just in case they had to fly over in a hurry and bomb Cuba. Even our high school football team was called the Bombers.

    So, when I moved back to California, I figured I’d done tropical islands and I was ready for other adventures, such as being humiliated by rude Parisians for the crime of getting lost in Paris and going commando in Thailand after I forgot to pack my underwear.

    However, my kids had other ideas. When they went back to school after any break, the teacher would invariably ask the students what they did on their vacation.

    One by one, each student would stand up and say, “We went to Maui.” “My parents took us to Maui.” “We went snorkeling on Maui.”

    And my kids would slink down in their seats and mutter “Egypt. We went to Egypt,” hoping no one could hear their uncool response.

    In fact, the only place they ever wanted to go was Maui. So now we’re going, since at one time we reached the rare nexus of cheap airfares,  everyone able to get off work at the same time (which never happens) and the entire clan getting along with no one threatening to stay home because they’re mad at someone else.

    Now what I didn’t expect after I bought those miraculously cheap airfares is that finding a place to stay was going to cost more than my entire college education. Seriously. Not making that up.

    Holy moly, that island is expensive. I’ve already told everyone not to expect to eat for four days because I can’t afford the food. We can all stand to lose a few pounds, so we’ll just treat it like a fat farm.

    I did splurge on a whale watch, because it turns out we’ll be there when humpback whales come down from the Arctic Circle to breed and give birth, right off the coast of Maui. I guess even whales find it romantic there.

    I’ve been to Baja countless times to see gray whales there, but this will be my first view of a humpback nursery and I’m excited about it.

    I rented a condo right across from the beach and am bringing a book to read. Yes, we’re bringing my grandson, Floyd, who’s now 10 months old and a great traveler, obviously thanks to my tutelage. He doesn’t even cry on the plane, because he knows we’re going somewhere exciting. The kid has already been to more places than I had been in my first 10 years of life.

    I told my daughter, Floyd’s mom, to watch the movie “Auntie Mame” to get an idea of what kind of grandmother I intend to be. Hopefully, by the time you read this, he will have seen his first whale.

    I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Related links

    Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: I got spit on by a whale in Baja
    The space shuttle is quieter than my kids
    Marla Jo Fisher: Costco, the land of the giant carts
    Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: I lived through a Zumba class. Yes, I really did.
    Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: We made it through the wedding. And no one died.

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    ​ Orange County Register