In an hour’s time, I will be picking up my friends at the airport for their first visit to the islands. On the way, I shall stop by Walmart’s to get a couple of fresh leis so that I can give them a Hawaiian welcome. If I had the time and knowledge, I would make the leis myself.
When I first arrived in Hawaii — in Honolulu — I was eighteen. My friend Wendy greeted me with a lei. I left Honolulu with seven leis, a coconut from her garden, and a box of Hawaiian pineapples. When I first arrived in Maui many years later, my sister welcomed me with a lei.
After welcoming my mainland friends, I will bring them to Safeways to get whatever they need. I am sure they will have a shock when they see the prices of milk and other staples. If they want beer, I will bring them to Wholefoods. But where to buy sun block lotion? Longs Drugstore.
I will bring them to my apartment so they can relax on the balcony. I will tell them not to drink the water directly from the tap but that it’s necessary to filter it, that’s why I’ve made iced tea beforehand. There are many things I will tell them so they can enjoy my apartment the next few days.
On Sunday we will go upcountry and to Paia. On Monday they will attend a wedding in Kihei and join friends in Wailea. That evening while they are at the wedding festivities, I will take my mother to the free concert at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. I have not attended an orchestral concert since I left the Netherlands. I’m not sure if my mother has ever been to one in her life.
On Tuesday, before they return to California, I will treat them to a gourmet lunch at the Maui Culinary Academy cafe in Kahului before seeing them off with souvenirs from Maui: macadamian nuts and coffee.