No, I'm not talking about the surfing, though I did take a lesson with “surf teacher to the stars,” Tide Rivers, whose dad founded the Maui film festival…and I got up on the first try! Nor am I talking about communing with the gods at Haleakala, aka House of the Sun, the summit of this volcanic island. I am not even referring to the copious quantities of Ahi and Ono and other heavenly local fish I gorged myself on, raw whenever possible, or the very much alive reef inhabitants I swam with on my last morning. I speak, Style Council friends, of the Salvation ARMY. In Hawaii, that joyous thing called thrift shopping still exists, and I had so much fun poking around the racks, digging up a few genuine treasures among the standard stained tees, and, as you might expect, a disproportionate number of Hawaiian shirts.
Please pardon my sad little still life, but I wanted to share my finds and gloat over the nostalgic prices: one blue straw '70s beach hat with attached scarf accent, $2; one pair of coral leather Italian sandals, circa late '60s, $2; one floor-length pink-and-green mirrored dress from Pakistan (early '70s?), mint condition: $3. The playing cards aren't vintage but they look it, don't they? The fake flower leis, also new, were only 99 cents, but I did get lei'd for real (as in orchids) by an adorable waiter named Raji. He told us he visited his mother before she was pregnant during a meditation and announced his arrival: “I am coming, my name is Viraji.” His explanation, which is a common refrain among the young people born on Maui: “hippie parents.” Speaking of hippies, the only thing I didn't get to do was visit Charlie's, a bar/restaurant co-owned by Maui resident Willie Nelson. Next time…and there will definitely be a next time.