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Maui stays on your mind long after the vacation is over

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It isn't easy re-entering civilization after 20 magical days in Maui, even with the wonderful weather we're having in Los Angeles. If you've been to Hawaii's Valley Island, you know what we mean. If you haven't been there yet, let me tell you it's a tropical paradise hugged by lush, verdant mountains on olne side and the blue Pacific on the other. Sun rises and sun sets are mystical. Life moves to an island beat (except on the highways). The locals are warm and welcoming, even those who weren't born there take on the prevalent Aloha spirit.

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During our nearly three-week visit we shopped for groceries to stock our condo lauder, swam in the ocean several times a day, took long walks along the soft sand beaches of Kihei (just stone's throw from Wailea), went to happy hours and dined in some fabulous restaurants (mostly on local fish).

Due to a three hour time difference between the west coast and Hawaii, people rise early and hit the beach running. Surfers race the waves before work.

Summertime is spectacular in Maui when the water temperature stays in the 80s, the air about the same, and tropical breezes keep you cool. It’s a little more crowded then but you hardly notice because there is plenty of sand and surf to go around.

People, tourists and locals, dine early here, many making 6:30 p.m. reservations. Most happy hours start at 5 p.m., and feature reduced drink and food prices. A few begin as early as three in the afternoon like atg 5 Palms in Kihei (which also serves the bed, juiciest, tender ribs) and I highly recommend hitting ones such as Ritas, Sarento’s, Gannon’s and Botero at Grand Wailea. Dress is always resort casual with Aloha shirts preferred by men and colorful dresses, skirts or outfits by most women. The hottest swimwear seems to be fringe-top bikinis for women and surfer trunks for guys.

One thing we don’t miss about Maui is the prices which seem to have skyrocketed since our last visit six month ago especially at the grocery store and high end eateries. However paradise does come with a price, and on Maui it’s worth it.

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