SKAGWAY, ALASKA - So you are wondering what one of those cruises to Alaska can be like that are so popular with Mauians when they are not going to Vegas? Read on.
Missing the whales, Kapano Gecko, the fictional character who lives in the Lahaina Library, decided to go on vacation and follow the whales on a cruise to Alaska last month.
Used to confined spaces, Gecko was intimidated by the ship - the 15-story Celebrity Solstice that recently docked in Lahaina before heading off to the land of the glaciers. Gecko had stowed away on Alaska Airlines (appropriately) to begin the cruise in Seattle.
Pristine Kaanapali Parkway is now less pristine thanks to this sign. PHOTO BY VOICES OF MAUI.
Gecko gained quite a bit of weight (160 chefs/cooks on board all cooking gourmet dishes and making pastries). Gecko attended an art auction where 1,000 artworks worth $6 million were displayed on different days, but he could not afford to bid on any work. He got free champagne, though.
The Gecko saw three floor shows dominated by a 24-foot-tall video screen in which an awesome pianist played "Phantom of the Opera" while a 1924 version of the movie served as a backdrop.
Off ship, the Gecko's favorite port was Skagway, the place where Klondike gold miners climbed a humongous mountain on foot with a ton of required supplies to find gold. Some did...
Unlike highly touristy Juneau - if you think Lahaina is touristy, go there - Skagway reminded one of our town, with its Broadway lined for some eight blocks with colorful shops wonderfully lit in the same way Maui is before dusk. Except that the shops are all painted in the brightest of colors (a no-no in historic Lahaina Town), and former bordellos were celebrated in places like the Red Dog Saloon.
Gecko did not see the whales he came for (some did), saw no polar bears, but did come across a brown bear and cub on a trail, backing away as fast as he could sliver.
Back on home sweet home Maui, his new-found bulk kept him from wiggling through the library back door, so he had to wait for Madeleine to show up at 7 a.m. the next day to let him back in to recover from his jet lag before borrowers would arrive.
To view Gecko's trip, or if you would like to know what an Alaskan cruise is like, Google YouTube and search Norm's "Cruising to Alaska: 100 photos in 100 seconds."
KAANAPALI - Gecko returned to find a letter to the editor in one of his two favorite newspapers by Su Campos, 43 years on Maui, writing about the beauty of untouched Molokai.
She urged politicians to "please take time out and see what Maui has become." But it is not just the politicians. The Kaanapali Beach Operators Association people ought to pay attention to Su, too.
Previously pristine Kaanapali Parkway - created by farsighted people who had extremely good taste - now has the kind of traffic warning worthy of a big city (which in case anyone looked, we are not).
The sign (though tastefully done) says 25 mph, and adjoining it, a light flashes whenever a car goes over the limit.
So, from now on, those who love driving through once picturesque Kaanapali Parkway will be reminded that our pristine places are disappearing, and the Maui we love is heading toward replicating Waikiki. What could KBO decision-makers be thinking?
There's a simple choice. Take it down. Or watch the demise of the world's first and award-winning planned resort development, where if this keeps up, the world will no longer come to play. If KBO has a defense, we'd like to hear it.
(Send ideas or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org).