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What To Take Back: Souvenirs and Gifts - Part 2

Tip 3: If you need to take back something for all the women in the office or all the guys on the crew, don't try to shop individually...you will have spent five grand on a vacation where all you did was try to find something different for the new receptionist. Buy them all identical puka shell necklaces or some other island symbol...jewelry for the women...t-shirts for the guys... Puka shells work for either, except for Ralph, your 60 year old foreman who still tells Korean war stories at lunch...him you're on your own. You can find inexpensive yet high quality puka shell and hand carved shell jewelry at Rochelle Kai's little shop at the Grand Wailea down at the recreation pool. These gals don't get set up until about 11 am (that's 10am Hawaiian time if you're new to the island), but they do the best quality and since they are local girls you also will make a new island friend which is fun. Tell them Maui.net sent you and they will give you a great deal. They're lifelong friends. We've known Kai since hanabata days. Make the effort and see one of the world's great hotels while you're there...lunch can be had somewhere on the grounds for around $10...just ask Kai or Rochelle.

Maui Family Vacations

T-shirts are probably best found at the swap meet in Kahului on Saturday. Ask any local at your hotel and they will direct you. Easy to find and plenty of parking. Go early to avoid the heat and get better parking. It is a fun morning excursion and chances are you will find something for yourself as well. This is the old style Swap Meet where people still bring their personal stuff to sell plus farmers bring in fresh island fruit and flowers that will become a lifelong photo op.

We figure bigger gifts will need to make the top of the list and you can find them on the Rainy Day plan or the Day After Hana plan, when you will probably spend the better part of a day in Lahaina shopping Front Street, where you'll find some of the best shopping in the universe (sorry fellas, but here's secret tip number 4...go to Kimo's and have a leisurely snack while they do their thing...it's oceanfront and reasonable and right in the middle of the street... or beg off and play golf...you can rent shoes, clubs, etc.).

Remember...you can carry a piece of your vacation home with you and extend the memories for years every time you look at the art print on the wall or clasp the island jewelry around your neck. And your friends and family are going to love telling their little group all about their new Maui gift you brought just for them. Aloha...the spirit of generosity and love. Now doesn't that take the edge off of shopping...to know you are just being culturally sensitive to your new adopted island home? See you at the suitcase store...maybe.

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