"If there's one thing you must see...it's sunrise over Haleakalā," Mr. Ka'Uhane insists.
We have to be out the door by 2:30 a.m., as it's a two-hour drive just to get to the crater. Then another 45 minutes to reach the summit and an additional 15 or so to carve out some volcanic real estate and plant your tuchus. "Don't worry, I don't sleep," I tell him. "Just the type of hard-working man I want to do business with," he grins as he silly slaps me with a meaty paw. No seriously. I don't sleep. But let him think what he wants.
As the sun rises, Mr. Ka'Uhane drops some Lonely Planet on me. I nod. Even widen my eyes for him a few times. “Haleakalā means ‘house of the sun,’ and here at 10,000 feet above sea level, you can see why. Dormant but by no means extinct, Haleakalā erupts every 200-500 years...with the last volcanic activity occurring sometime during the 17th century.”
After doing some quick math, I ask Mr. Ka’Uhane if Maui is “due.” Perhaps I look a bit too hopeful because my guide and future business partner drops the shtick and turns back to the vista. “Let’s watch the sunrise, shall we?”
As I watch the crater fill with boiling clouds pierced by shafts of ancient light, my mind turns...not as quickly as the gal spinning like a top at the edge of the precipice while her bff snaps her iPhone like a machine gun...but turns nonetheless.
A daytime eruption. There’s nowhere to hide. They can’t run because the sun will find them. If they stay, the lava will find them. An orgy of images copulates inside my head. Screaming vampires slathered in molten lava and choking on volcanic ash. Others flee towards the exits only to burst into flames as they’re bombarded by sunlight...
And just as I begin to smile, I hear the strum of a guitar. A group of tourists, wrapped in blankets, clink their champagne glasses as the charming one sings “Tiny Bubbles.”
C’mon Haleakalā…we need ya.