Geckos, Mangoes and Mai-Tais

Hawaii has some interesting wild life, produce and tropical libations. While you're here on Maui visiting, you're likely to encounter a few new critters (most of them won't hurt you, but it's good to know which ones would and which ones wouldn't), odd-looking fruits and $15 drinks with umbrellas stuck in them. Here are some key things to know and experience:

Critters - The good news is...there are no snakes in this state any where.  Well, maybe there are one or two illegal ones kept in cages in someone's house, but rest assured you will not come across any slithering reptiles in your travels. Geckos and lizards are plentiful here and they're harmless. In addition to eating the ugly bugs (cockroaches), geckos are great at making noises. Their chirps often sound like loud kisses. And then there's the cane spider. Imagine a very large tarantula with the ability to travel at mach five speed, Despite their somewhat terrifying presence, these arachnids are harmless. Go ahead and Google them or watch a YouTube video, but don't say I didn't warn you that they're creepy as all get out.  

The not-so-good news is...we do have a couple of creatures that can cause a bit of pain and anguish. Centipedes and scorpions live here, but fortunately they tend to stay outdoors and under dark, damp places. Never garden without gloves and don't go digging in the dirt without proper shoes. I'm not putting photos up of these nasty beasts (I don't want to completely freak you out), but here's the best advice I can give you if you happen to come across one - KILL IT!

Funky & Delicious Fruits -  Pineapple is delicious and mangoes are heavenly, but be a daring fruit foodie while you're here and try lilikoi, ulu, cherimoya or soursop. Rambutans look like something out of a Dr. Suess cartoon and taste like grapes.  Abiu looks like a lemon with very smooth skin and tastes like pear custard. One of my personal favorites is Jackfruit which tastes like juicy fruit gum and their insides are sticky as all get out. There's one fruit I have to mention that comes with a warning. If you're going to give durian a try, know that it smells A LOT worse than it tastes. It really is a sensory experience. In my opinion, a very stinky one.     

Mai-Tais, Pina Coladas & Lava Flows - These are probably the three most popular drinks that visitors order and depending on where you order them, they're either going to be outrageously expensive and delicious or really cheap and taste like crap. The best tropical concoctions are made with real fruit juices, home-made syrups and top shelf alcohol. I'm happy to give you my recommendations on where to go and what to order. And yes, I'm a cocktail snob.