Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Map of Maui and Directions, Insider Tips on “How to Get Around Like A Local”

If you tilt your head to the left and look at a map of Maui, the island is shaped like a bust of a statue. The “head” is the left side of the island and the chest is the right side of the island. Once upon a time, the island of Maui was two separate islands. The waterway was filled between them to create one land mass.

Maui Landsat Photo. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Doesn't Maui look like a person bending over a shoe?

One thing that people find frustrating is that some roads do not connect one part of Maui to another. Sometimes one has to drive 20 or more miles out of the way to get to a place that is only 1 mile away! More on this later...

Insider Tips On Getting Around Like A Local -AKA “How Not To Stick Out Too Much As A Tourist”:

1.      Distances do not give an accurate idea of driving time. Mostly, they do, but for the Road to Hana, which is under 40 miles, it takes at least 3 hours, if you don’t stop. (Ok, seriously, this is not a secret tip.) 

2.      No one uses highway numbers except tourists. Saying Highway 36 or Highway 30 marks you as a tourist. Also, even though there are only a few highways on the whole island, no resident can remember any of the highway numbers except for hotel concierge or car rental staff. 

The problem is this means learning to pronounce Hawaiian. Who wants to say “Honoapi’ilani Highway” instead of Highway 30? On Oahu, locals do use highway numbers like H1, H2 or H3 (I guess there’s only three big highways there!)

3.      Using compass directions like north, south, east and west when giving directions* is also a dead giveaway that you are a tourist. We tend to use directions in terms of places. “Drive towards Kahului” (if you’re in Paia) is like saying go west.

4.      Just because the smart phone shows there is a road doesn’t mean there is really a road, or it could be a private road with a locked gate. Also when smart phones give wrong directions, they are really, really wrong. Did you hear about the four kids who drove into the ocean because their smart phone directions told them to?

5.      Don’t ask for help finding a street that begins with M, or L, or K… because they all do! The Hawaiian alphabet has fewer letters than English does, so many streets sound the same or start with the same letter.

6.      Learn what north, south, east, and west mean for the different areas of Maui. It is like a trick test question, guaranteed to trip up any newcomer.

  • Hana is located on the east side of Maui.
  • Kihei is located on the south side of Maui, even though it’s facing west!
  • Lahaina and Ka’anapali are considered the “West Side” of Maui NOT the north side, even though they are located in the north.
  • Paia, Spreckelsville and part of Haiku are considered the “North Shore” of Maui.
  • The real south side of Maui on the map is called the “Backside” of Maui. 
  • Looks like a crazy doodle. My map of Maui with regions highlighted: Upcountry, Back Side, South Shore, West Side, Central Maui, North Shore, East Maui, Areas along "The Road to Hana" and along the "Road to West Maui."
7.      Learn to use the Hawaiian terms mauka and makai when giving or receiving directions on an island. These terms are used throughout Hawaii.

Mauka) means towards the mountain and makai means towards the ocean. Example: “Take Hana Highway (aka Highway 36 which no one would say because it uses a number), and look for the street after the row of 10 mailboxes on the makai side of the highway.”

Makai could mean left or right depending on how you’re coming, but it will always be the side closer to the ocean.  Mauka and makai are very sneaky terms, since they sound similar. One trick to remember the difference is using a mnemonic. Makai rhymes with “aye” which is what sailors say. Sailors sail on the ocean and say aye, so you know that makai means towards the ocean.

Pronunciation tips: Mauka rhymes with now or General Mao. It sounds like Maui, but with a “ka” at the end. Makai – rhymes with “aye” – “mah-kaye”

There's so much more I want to share about the map, but it'll have to wait for another time!

Here's a shortcut to the archives for the A to Z Challenge and other blog posts.

The theme of this year’s A to Z Challenge is Living on Maui: A Beginner’s Survival Guide. While I can’t include everything in only 26 short blog posts, this is my foolish attempt.

If you are participating in the A to Z Challenge, please use either Disqus or Facebook to comment below. Please include your link so that I can visit you back, but it might be as late as May!

1 comment:

  1. Amazing post! I've always wanted to visit Maui, and I don't know why I haven't done so yet! Your series about living there is interesting, things that tourists would never realize!


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