Archive for November, 2008

Maui, Hawaii: Surfing Goat Dairy

Sure, Hawaii is best known for it’s beaches and surf culture, but little do most people know that after a long day windsurfing Maui’s Kanaha Beach, you can take a short trip to Kula to sample some of the best goat cheese on the Hawaiian islands. They say, “Da Feta Mo Betta” which, in Hawaiian slang means, “Better than Feta.” We agree. That’s why we’re recommending a light lunch and a milking tour at Surfing Goat Dairy on the slopes of Haleakala crater. I’m tellin’ you now… there’s no better way to remedy that depression than some honest goat milking. I milked them with my husband and, of course, he was a natural. The kid’s will love it too.
Owned and operated by German expatriates Thomas and Eva Kafsack, Surfing Goat Dairy represents one of only two goat dairies in the state located on 42 acres with almost two-thirds dedicated as pasture, giving the Dairy’s three bucks and over than eighty does plenty of space to roam. Surfing Goat Dairy houses over 25 different varieties of cheese and soaps and they’re also organic so that means… no hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, or colors.
Winner of 16 National Awards including “Best Goat Cheese spread in North America 2004, 2005 & 2006, you can chose from Daily Tours, Evening Chores & Milking Tours ($12/pp), or Grand Tours ($25/pp), a 2-hour experience where you can feed and milk a goat, see the cheese making process, and sample most of the cheeses produced at the Dairy.

Surfing Goat is served at top restaurants and hotels on the island and beyond including:


Maui, Hawaii: HST Windsurfing

Our crew of Jauntaholics is an adventurous bunch. We like to ride fast and feel the wind in our hair and our sails…

Which is exactly why we swear by the instructors at HST Windsurfing. A trip to Maui really isn’t complete without a trip to Kanaha Beach to learn to windsurf or kiteboard. We’ve done both. As a result of our absolute adoration of water sports, we now contribute regularly to Kiteboarding Magazine.

To learn how to kiteboard, you’ll need at least a week or two on the island so that you can get some good wind and take three or more lessons. The good news? All kiteboarding lessons are private and one-on-one with the first lesson running about 3 hours long, depending on conditions. Be sure to ask about their 3 day Learn to Kitesurf course. It’s 9 hrs. over the course of about three days for only $599. That’s what we did and thus began our addiction to wind. We won’t lie… it’s a costly hobby to learn, but once you do, you’ll feel like Superman (or Wonder Woman) zipping through the Hawaiian skies to kite some sweet waves. Ask for Daniel, if he’s available. A veritable Swedish stud with a firm eye on the waves and your safety, you’ll be in good hands as the waves challenge your swimming skills.

If you have a little less time and a little less cash to spend, we also recommend trying your hand at windsurfing. The good thing about windsurfing is that you’ll likely ride a wave your very first lesson. Our instructor, Jack, another foreign fox, is a great first time guide who will certainly make you come back for more.


All entry level equipment included
CLASS 2.5 HOURS, 2 or 3 students with 1 instructor $79 each person
2 class lessons, 5 hours $158
3 class lessons, 7.5 hours $229
4 class lessons, 10 hours $299

PRIVATE LESSONS 1.5 hours One-to-one. $105
Privates are recommended for Levels 3 and up.
Hire an instructor for the whole day $450
2 hrs private instruction with Matt Pritchard $250

All lessons are taught at lower Kanaha Beach Park and include all kite equipment, helmets, integrated impact vest/harness and water shoes.

Cost is $75/hr.

So have a Mai Tai, some lazy beach time in Wailea, grab a bite in Paia, and surf the great winds of Kanaha. If you don’t, you’ll simply have to admit to yourself… you’re never going to know Maui like a local.

1-800-YOU-JIBE (968-5423)

Maui, Hawaii: An Insider’s Restaurant Guide

Every summer as a child, my family would escape the blistering heat of Arizona to vacation in the Hawaiian Islands. A little R&R and the yearly Western Trial Lawyers Convention brought us to the laid-back tropical paradise of pineapple plantations and sugarcane fields. The summers defined my youth and fostered an island spirit within. Years later, it would do the same to my parents. They picked up and moved to Maui. As a tribute to the islands that I know and love, Jaunt Magazine will be running a special series on where to eat, stay, and shop in Maui and beyond.

First up: Your Restaurant Cheat Sheet, Maui Style.
Fairmont Kea Lani Resort
4100 Wailea Alanui Dr
Kihei, HI 96753
(808) 879-7224
First and foremost, we love the Fairmont Kea Lani. It just might be our favorite hotel on the island. An all-white Moroccan inspired design, enormous suites, and home to a restaurant with some of the freshest and widest selection of fish on the island, what’s not to love? The food at Nick’s continues to live up to it’s excellent reputation. A perfect spot to dine with couples or your significant other/spouse, you may walk away spending $200 or more for a couple dining with wine, but it’s well worth it.

Kihei Town Center
1881 South Kihei Road #KT-116
Kihei, Hawaii 96753
(808) 879-0004

Believe it or not, much to our chagrin, there isn’t much sushi on the island. Sansei is the best, hand’s down. Using unique twists like Ginger Lime Butter and Cilantro Pesto, they’re even on par with some of LA’s top sushi spots. If you don’t mind waiting in a long ass line for about 45 minutes before they open at 5pm on Mondays, you can even get half-off.
845 Front Street
Lahaina, Maui
(808) 661-4811
Fish and chips, their famous burger, a seared ahi appetizer… it’s another classic Maui staple right on Lahaina’s waterfront. PS. They’ve also got adorable soft cotton tee-shirts on sale right now. Worth feeling like a lame tourist when you slip it on and look like a sexy surfer girl.
889 Front Street
Lahaina, HI 96761
(808) 661-3111

Yes, it’s a chain. We know. The things we love most about Bubba Gump’s in Maui are the following: The buckets of Cajun Shrimp and it’s sweet location on Lahaina’s waterfront. End of story.

30 Baldwin Avenue
Paia, Maui 96779
(808) 579-8021
Three words. Hot Chicken Salad. Two more. Duck Salad. Four more. Maui Burger & Beer Combo. This is my family’s favorite healthy lunch spot after a nice workout, day of shopping, or windsurfing in Kanaha. You can get two of the best salads on the island (if not two of your favorite salads in the US), and you’ll be waited on by smiling girls from the mainland or Waylon, our favorite cook in the kitchen.

799 Poho Pl
Paia, HI 96779
(808) 579-9764
No, it’s not a steal, but it, too, is a classic. My husband and I even shared an appetizer and an entree – it was plenty of food for the likes of our little Euro bellies. So, if you’re not a typical American who eats their entire enormous plate of food, Mama’s might not break the bank. The place for another romantic dining experience.
1792 Main St
Wailuku, HI 96793
(808) 243-9560
The best – and most authentic – Vietnamese food on the island is tucked in a small corner of Wailuku. You just might miss it if you’re not a local. This is a great place to stop before you fly home for a quick bite if you’re staying in Wailea or Lahaina. Ask for Wing Wing (or Nguyan Nguyan). Friends (like the Revis’) call him Chicken Wing. He’ll make you laugh, he’ll make you cry. Every dish on the menu is fresh and excellent.
425 Koloa Street
Kahului, Maui
(808) 871-7782
Only five minutes from Kahului Airport, Da Kitchen is in a mini-mall near most of the windsurfing and kiteboarding shops of Kanaha Beach. Serving up traditional Hawaiian food like lomi (salted salmon chopped with tomatoes and onion), lau lau, Kalua pork, chicken long rice, poi and plate lunches with teriyaki chicken, Korean Kobe ribs, hamburger steak cutlets or fish tempura (served with rice and macaroni salad), prices are as low as $6.00-$8.00 and 2-3 people could easily eat one meal.

Next up: The best digs on the island to rest your weary head.

Part III: Palmyra’s Ruins & The Aleppo Underground

Fresh from the press! Part III of Singapore-based Contributor, Hajar Ali’s series on Syria.

When I left Damascus for Palmyra, I was told by the helpful doorman that traveling by bus was a comfortable, cheap alternative. I immediately grabbed a ticket.

Air-conditioned and, indeed, comfortable, the best part of the trip had to be the dates passed around in wooden boxes with mother-of-pearl inlay. If I remember correctly, they were also screening a Hindi movie.

Arriving in Palmyra, I’d stayed at a hotel highly recommended by Lonely Planet (The Cham Palace remains the closest to luxury accommodation available in Palmyra). There was a group of Italian tourists checking into the hotel at the same time and I spent a part of my first night in Palmyra in fear as I overheard two Italian ladies whispering in the hotel corridor.

My first introduction to giallo, a type of slasher horror flick typified by a developing background romance and spectacular sceneries of the Italian countryside, was Pupi Avati’s ‘Casa dalle finestre che ridono’, revolving around the creatively sadistic plots by two Italian sisters to entrap their latest torture victim. Hearing two female voices whispering in Italian brought to mind certain scenes of the movie.

The next morning (and evening) was spent touring the ruins of Palmyra where I encountered a guide who spoke, among other languages, Aramaic, a language spoken by Jesus and is still spoken in ‘isolated pockets of Syria’ in Ma’aloula. A veritable source of information on the ruins of Palmyra, he approached me while I was walking around near the entrance of the ruins. A morning (or evening) spent touring the ruins of Palmyra with him was well spent, never mind what the other guides tell you. I encountered another group of Italian tourists who’d asked their Italian-speaking guide to ask my English-speaking guide why I was travelling on my own. It was the same kind of concern the Italian ladies I’d met at the Lebanese-Syrian border and travelled around with in Syria had shown.
Palmyra, Syria

Why was I travelling alone? Wouldn’t it be better to travel with friends or parents? Well, sometimes, you just have to go it alone. Nights in Palmyra were uneventful, spent going through the tourist stores selling armor suits, old rings and porcelain pieces. The bus from Palmyra to Aleppo the next morning was nothing like the Damascus-Palmyra transfer. I took the bus with a few men – and goats – in an older bus with windows bearing a cobweb-like pattern from being hit by errant pebbles. We encountered little children on the journey practicing their shots by throwing little pebbles against the bus windows which, in retrospect, felt just a little like an earlier scene in the movie, Syriana, where an American lady travelling on a tourist bus was accidentally shot by a child practicing his shots on a rifle. I tried not to imagine these film recollections were ‘signs.’

Arriving in Aleppo, you’re immediately cognizant of a deep, rich history. A capital city that contests Damascus’ claim to being the ‘oldest continuously inhabited city in the world’ with a complex, intriguing history. Staying at the Baron Hotel (instantly recognizable by every local – particularly useful if you’re wont to getting lost), I was to spend my next few days in Aleppo exploring the citadel, locating an underground bar in the pedestrianized streets of Aleppo which the waiter insists was a way for the house’s original inhabitants to connect to the citadel during the multiple sieges laid on the city and experienced an authentic hammam session.
Underground Bar in Aleppo, Syria

Checking into the historic Hotel Baron, walking through the same hallowed hallways and reveling in its faded glamour, one can feel the cozy, family-like nature of the hotel management. From the receptionist to the waiter, who serves you breakfast every morning, everyone seems to have worked in that hotel for the longest time. I found my first room to be ‘too noisy’ , the second one which they’d suggested (and moved my bags to) ‘too creepy’ as it involved walking past an unlit hallway with unused furniture.

I was then shown another room- with a beautiful Juliet balcony lit by fairy lights. The balcony overlooks the busy main road, no doubt, but I figured by then that the hotel does have a road frontage and was won over by the balcony. I could see the brightly-lit stores across the street and the constant stream of alternately-honking traffic from my balcony.

Solitary moments in balconies with a view, even in cities I felt ill-at-ease (which Aleppo certainly was not!), make up some of my best memories in hotels I’d stayed in. My room at the Laleh Hotel in Tehran (what used to be the Intercontinental pre-1979) had a small balcony overlooking the garden and I spent, figuratively, my brightest moments on this balcony in a city I’d felt overwhelmed by.

The traffic on the streets of Aleppo must have ceased by a certain time as I was usually woken up in the mornings by the sound of birds near my heater grilles and the sound of traffic, increasing in both its frequency and loudness. My first day in Aleppo was spent with the Italian ladies, visiting Aleppo’s Citadel and capping off a visit accompanied by a most informative guide, with a chat with friends of the Italian ladies whom we’d met in the café opposite the citadel. We’d made an appointment (or rather, they made an appointment and I tagged along) to meet again that night at a friend’s house, which, the Italian ladies tell me, is beautiful, tasteful, and ‘like a museum.’

Stay tuned for Part IV of Hajar’s Syrian escape…

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