Band on the Run: Golf Carts = Wildlife at Resorts

Ember Swift, Canadian musician and touring performer, will be keeping us up-to-date on what it’s like to tour a band throughout North America. Having just arrived back from Beijing where she spent three months (check out her “Canadian in Beijing” series), she offers a musician’s perspective on road life. Enjoy!

I wonder about resorts. Here I am in this perfect fantasyland and I am quietly contemplating it all with head slightly cocked to one side, brow furrowed. I wonder if resorts are about the illusion: the illusion of having enough money, of having a “staff,” of having food and drink plentiful and always available that has been prepared by others, of having a life of leisure.

I mentioned this to my close family members and the response was: “No, Ember. This is what normal people call a vacation.”

Uh-huh. Okay then. I’m clearly not normal. But, to be fair, that’s true. For me, a person who travels for work, my ultimate vacation takes place at home in my own bed with my own kitchen and the quiet of no strangers and no action. In fact, I could probably use some pointers on “vacationing” like a normal person.

I’m also clearly being told to relax and get into it. Live a little. Enjoy.

And, I’m working on it.

(Besides, I don’t play until tomorrow and there will be no sound check to be on time for and no band to assemble. I should be living it up! Don’t worry, it shouldn’t take me long…)

I went for a run this morning after a long sleep. Maui is six hours behind Toronto and so I slept until one p.m. in my body and found it was only seven a.m. here. Getting up and going for a run in the not-quite-killer heat was refreshing and a great way to start the day, (especially since I’m not really a morning person and it was great to feel rested before the day had really begun!)

Not to mention an excellent way to get the “lay of the land” here. I ran through the resort section, which is several resorts all squashed together here in Lahaina, Maui. In fact, it reminded me of Beijing and the university area (Wudaokou) where every corner seems to have a new gateway to yet another educational institution. So it is here with resorts. I can’t keep track of how many there are or where one stops and another begins. They are all beautifully coiffed, however, and each has beach access. We’re staying at the “Royal Lahaina Resort.

Also, there is a large golf course that seems to weave around them all. This sign made me laugh since the last time I saw a sign for anything “crossing” it was for moose and elk in Northern BC. I guess golf carts are the wildlife in resorts! (This thought made me laugh out loud to myself while running. A passerby heard me laugh and looked up, smiled and said good morning. It was all a really great moment.)

I soon discovered that the golf course cart trails made a decent running path this morning as there weren’t any golfers out yet, and it led me to the edge of the water and an historic plaque:

It seems that this part of the island – Lahaina – was once an important shipping port for the sugar cane industry. The port is called “Keka’a Landing Pier.” There were railroad lines that led from the plantations to this port and vice versa for supplies. Now, there is just this plaque and the crumbling remains of a pier that is no longer functional. The resorts are all edged up around this once-bustling pier and I’d imagine that not many people actually even see this little jutting section that holds so much history.

I stopped running then, for just a moment, to both read the plaque and do a full 180 degree turn to check out my surroundings. Staring at the ocean, the golf course comes right up to the cliff, which then weaves down overtop of large volcanic rock boulders on the right towards sand and beach. The resort on my left also hugs the cliff and the resort we’re staying in farther down on the right has outbuildings and cabins and various pools right up against the golf course and stretching into the distance. Its far side is flanked by another resort yet again. The beach continues, of course, and the water was sparkling.

I started running again then down across the volcanic rock boulders to the beach where I took up the hardened sand just above the waving water line. I couldn’t stop thinking about the way this land must have looked a hundred years ago and more. I wondered about the liveliness of the shipping port, the commerce or businesses that must have sprung up around it, the general din of boat horns and railroad steam engines. I imagined the people then. Could I imagine the scene even remotely accurately?

I got my running shoes wet then, daydreaming rather than avoiding the surf. It’s alright, though, because they’ll dry in this heat. They’re fine.

I turned around and headed back to the resort after awhile. When I got to the edge of the walkway back up to the lobby that led to the elevator that lead to my room (!), I took one look at the ocean and knew that I had to go in there. I stripped unceremoniously to my sports bra and white y-fronts and ran in.

For the first time in my life (even after numerous trips to Hawaii and New Caledonia) I understand now why the inside of swimming pools are blue in colour. They’re actually trying to replicate the beautiful blue of the ocean in places like this! (duh!#@ — and that’s directed at me!) Swimming under water, you could see the reflection of sun through the ocean and hitting the sand below, the turquoise water shimmering like sequins above my head.

It was gorgeous and I came out wearing the same shimmering grin as the ocean.

I then put my running pants and shirt back on, and, carrying my sneakers and walking barefoot, I dripped sand and salt water all through the patio, lobby, elevator and hallways and up to my room. I got back looking like a soggy sea urchin.

No, I should say: A smiling soggy sea urchin.

The ocean at my fingertips? I could get used to that.

And, check out the view.