My Travel Memory

Since I was perhaps nine years old I have had a vague memory of the most incredible pool I have ever visited. My memory of pool opens up at a dark water slide. I can hear the sound of the water as it rush towards water fall beyond where my sight goes. The water slide ends into a slow river that moves through a jungle and giant stone lizards peer down at me as I float under rope bridges and past yawing caves. All around me brilliant mosaics of sea turtles and mahi are set into the bottom surface of sapphire pools and shines from below the lapping water. I can remember winding the film reel on my waterproof Kodak (my love and happiness at 9 yrs old) and trying to dive down deep enough to take pictures of the tiled sea life set on the bottom of the pool.

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As I remember, the pool was a wonderful place with hidden hot springs steaming at the peak of small volcanoes and with rope swings and sandy beaches.

This is fixed into my mind. Now that I’m 30 I know how childhood memories can distort like a water stained picture left in the flooded basement, becoming grander than the reality we see as adults. Over the years, I even began to think that perhaps the pool was my fantasy. After all, I couldn’t remember where I was when I visited it. I used to tell Tania about sliding down lava tubes and riding a giant inner tube up the caldera of a volcano as it filled with water. She approached these memories with an acceptable level of skepticism.

Two years ago, we were invited to come stay at the Grand Wailea on Maui. The property is so beautifully designed and thoughtfully spread out that you feel like you’re entering a dream fantasy or a scenery. The resort begins with a waterfall as you pull up and a massive statue of King Kamehameha, spear in hand.

As you enter the open air complex you are completely surrounded by water and a lush jungle. The sky pours into the courtyard and bronze figures of Hawaiians blend with the shadows. The real magic for me though began when we turned the corner and saw the pool.

As we came over a small river studded with languid koi, the shape of pool began to define. It was instantly as if 20 some years melted away like cotton in the rain. It was all there. The river, the bridge, the pools, the mosaics. Not as I had remembered them. They were even bigger.

So i found out, my mom had brought me here over two decades ago for a medical conference she was attending. The pool was as real as I had imagined it.

You can start at first pool and take a series of slides down to the main pool. Through rapids and winding rivers, all along jungles and past caves and grottos. The thing that truly blows my mind is the water elevator.Yes you read it right water elevator. The world’s first ever water elevator. There is a small silver door at the base of a two story volcano. When the guard of the door waves you in, you swim into the opening and find yourself in the center of a volcano with a massive inner tube inside that has seats on it. Find a place and take a seat as the volcano starts filling with water. In the course of about 5 minutes the whole caldera fills up and you can swim out at the upper most pool. You can move from top to bottom in the water all the day and you will still donot wnt to leave the elevator. My favorite thing to do is to get a floating ring and drift along the lazy rivers all day long, stopping only to pick up a pina-colada or to hit up one of the seven water slides.

I could honestly spend an entire day in this pool. Here I am, thirty years old, and I am instantly transported back to childlike wonder and elation the moment this pool comes back into view. It’s like meeting an imaginary friend  in real life, or finding out that magic is real.

 

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