Maui Vacation: Perfumes, Flora & Fauna, Food and Perfumes

What perfume are you wearing? It smells great!” – I asked a flight attendant on my way to Maui. He seemed pleased by the question and told me that it was a custom blend made for him “by this great lady from Oakland.” He also told me that it was a very potent and tenacious perfume oil (“because it’s all-natural, you know“) that required only a tiny drop of it (he wore it on the neck below the collar line) to last for many hours – to that I can attest: I kept smelling it every time he would walk by. Later he brought me a note with the perfumer’s name and phone number. The scent was beautiful amber – completely wrong for Hawaii but perfect for the chilly flight.

We landed and the summery tropical atmosphere took my mind off ambers and fall on the calendar. As we were driving to the resort where we rented a condo, my vSO drew my attention to the words on a dashboard of our car and asked if I thought it was a sign.

Seek Cat

We followed the instructions but this time (unlike the previous Hawaiian vacation) our residence didn’t come with a ginger cat and the only feline we encountered during our vacation was scrawny black cat hunting a lizard.


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Choosing the right time to go to Hawaii is always a balancing game for me: I love swimming in warm ocean so if we go too late it might start cooling off (back to the temperature that most other people consider good for swimming) but if we go while water is still perfect by my standards, the weather is too hot for anything else but swimming in mornings and evenings. Last year I didn’t get to swim as much as I wanted to so this year we decided to err on the side of caution. We succeeded so to speak: we went a week earlier than we usually do; water was great but hot humidity kept us inside most of the time that we didn’t spend swimming or snorkeling. I still can’t complain: we’ve got to read, watch some shows from Netflix and just relax. And a view from our condo was very picturesque.

Maui 2014 Kaanapali Alii

Maui is my favorite island: its flora is more tropical than volcanic Big Island’s but at the same time it’s more developed than Kauai. The downside of the larger tourist population is a much poorer selection of tropical fruit at the local markets. But don’t worry: we didn’t go hungry. Or thirsty.


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Even though we didn’t move around the island much we got enough of the true Hawaiian flavor – tropical plants and fish, ocean sunsets, tropical penguins… Yeah, I also had to do a double take when I saw them first at Hyatt’s lobby pond. But they didn’t look psychotic so after some deliberation we decided not to look further for zebra, lion and hippo.


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Usually when I travel I do not take any perfume bottles bigger than 10 ml. But I make an exception for my vacations in Hawaii: I always bring my 50 ml bottle of Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess. It has previously traveled with me to Big Island and Kauai and this year it came to Maui. I think I gave a hotel maid a good story about “those crazy tourists” by putting the bottle in the fridge (I noticed that the box was rotated after her visit so she was clearly surprised to see it there). It felt extremely pleasant and refreshing to spray it all over my body after taking a shower.


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I hope you didn’t think that I brought just one perfume for the whole week on Maui. It was a single full bottle. But in addition to that I packed some travel bottles, decants and samples. As I usually do for vacations, I didn’t bring any new scents for testing – just those that I previously wore or at least tested and thought they would be nice on a tropical island.

Do you want to know how many perfumes I had with me on Maui this year? Take a guess in your comment (without reading responses from others). As a prize for the closest guess without going over I offer a small bottle of the custom blended oil perfume, with the story of discovering which I started this post. After coming back from the trip I contacted the perfumer who makes it and we’re trying to work out the ordering process (it is a very small company). I don’t have it yet so I have no idea if I like it on my skin but I thought that the story itself and the joy of smelling it during the flight were worth ordering two bottles – one for me and one as a prize for this guessing game. If there is more than one right answer I’ll let Rusty to pick a winner. The game is on until I publish the revealing post.

Maui 2014: Perfumes


Images: my own; new header is created from a gift picture I got from Asali (The Sounds of Scent) right after my first swim in the ocean. If you haven’t done it yet, check out her blog for wonderful illustrations to her evocative perfume reviews.


A reminder: you still have until 11:59PM PST on September 29, 2014 to enter into the draw and/or participate in the poll for this month’s statistics in hajusuuri’s guest post Make Way for hajusuuri – Perfume Shopping in Boston


As Wild as It Gets (for me): My Hawaiian Vacations


Reality almost never lives up to great expectations or formed mental impressions.

A decade ago when I came to Hawaii for the first time I was slightly disappointed: it was nothing like I imagined a tropical island would be. Waikiki Beach where we stayed looked like Las Vegas Strip but with an ocean one block away. As much as I like big cities in general and Las Vegas in particular, that felt wrong. But I should have known better when I decided to start my trip from Honolulu, the state capital with one million people population.


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In three days we moved to a much more tropical (and fitting my imagination) island – Kauai – where we got to appreciate the only good thing about Waikiki Beach that we left – the beach itself where you could easily walk into water and swim.

Being a well-known favorite place for windsurfing, most of Kauai’s beaches are too rough for swimming and corals and rocks of the ocean floor make it an injury-prone activity. We got enough nature from those four days on the island where we were moving from one place to another trying in vain to find a beach where we could swim. I didn’t like Kauai much.


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Whereas it’s hard to repeat a perfect experience it’s much easier to improve something that wasn’t ideal the first time around.

Ten years and several visits to other islands later, this year we decided to go to Kauai again.

We rented a house on the North shore on Anini Beach that is one of the calmest beaches in Kauai since it’s protected by a large reef. From the bedroom window I could see the ocean and during the day we heard coconuts falling down from palms. There even was an owners’ cat – Money – who visited us making sure I’d get my daily “orange cat fix” – that’s what I call “service”! I’ve experienced the first in my life real tropical rain. It was exactly like it’s usually described in books or shown in movies: a wall of rain falling vertically down and soaking everything within seconds. It was wonderful! And the wildest part of my vacation was a very spotty … WiFi connection, ceiling fans instead of an A/C and a mean wild hen who tried chasing me off the beach park a couple of times. I was scared first but stood up to her in the end and won.


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It was one of the most relaxed vacations I had in a long time: since during the first visit we couldn’t swim we visited most places recommended to tourists; so this time we spent all our time swimming, reading, talking to friends who were there with us and eating tropical fruits and local fish.

Tropical Fruits

Pitaya/Dragonfruit, carambola/starfruit, papaya, mango, longan, canistel/eggfruit, pouteria caimito/abiu and avocado

Speaking of fruits, what is your most favorite fruit (including berries) to eat and as a perfume note?

My answers: mangos I ate in Hawaii (on all islands, not just during this trip) were probably the tastiest fruits I’ve ever eaten. Black currant is currently my favorite berry in perfumery.

Give me two fruits, not necessarily tropical, that you like the most (one as food and one as a note or one if it’s the same for both questions) and I’ll use your answers in belated September statistics post where I tell you which eleven perfumes I took with me on this eight-days tropical vacation.


Images: my own