We left last night on a direct flight to Paris with American Airlines. The flight was about an hour delayed due to maintenance. On the flight I tried to sleep, but didn’t get much sleep; it was so uncomfortable. The only movie I remember watching was Vice.
We landed in Paris around 11:45 am. Finding the train to Paris was pretty easy. We made it a little more difficult on ourselves by not transferring and deciding to walk from a train stop that was a little further from our hotel. I was tired, grouchy, and hungry so this was a mistake. It was cool to see the Notre Dame Cathedral as we came out of the train though.
We got to our hotel in the neighborhood of Saint Germain around 2 pm and was able to check in. The hotel is called Hotel Des Deux Continents. Unfortunately, it is a 3 story walk up and we are on the 3rd floor haha. The staircase was tiny and winding. The room, though, was nice and cute.
We got settled in and took a 3 hour nap. Once we woke up I was ready to eat so we went out to walk around. It was cool to me how much New Orleans really looked like the streets of Saint Germain. We found a cute American diner called Coffee Parisien, which was really weird, but cool. The place mats at the diner had all of the American presidents on them, including the newest idiot. The food here was pretty good. I had a cheeseburger with fries, and they even had Dr Pepper! Don had steak and eggs, which was more like a hamburger patty and eggs. After dinner we walked around a bit and stopped at a grocery store. Then we got back to the hotel around 9 and fell asleep.
Let me start off by saying this game is completely crazy. December did not turn out how any of us thought it would. When we started the month our journal entry reminded us that our supplies were almost gone and that we needed to reach Lake Baikal to find the PEARL Lab. Once we get there we would get whatever cure they had and bring it to Johannesburg.
We made it to Lake Baikal within the first round of the game and what we found out was really unexpected. The cure was here but it would be too dangerous to carry it out in the open so we had to inject massive amounts of it and carry it in our bodies. This dosage would kill the carrier. We only have 4 doses. In order to win this game we would have to kill characters.
Our goal now was to build a supply center in Johannesburg and Self-Infect at the PEARL Lab in Lake Baikal. To self-infect we had to scratch off exposures until we found a scar or died. If we found a scar we had to add the carrier sticker to our character card. This carrier sticker would cover character abilities and once your a carrier life gets even harder. As a carrier you can only move by doing the drive or ferry action and once you enter a city you have to discard a card matching its color. Finally, once the game is over, win or lose, the character is destroyed! We realized it would be impossible to win this game because we didn’t have the cards in order for a carrier to move to Johannesburg and our plague cubes were out of control. We decided it wouldn’t be worth it to infect anyone, but to work on a building a couple of new routes to make it easier and build a satellite tower we could keep. We were able to accomplish this but this next game just seems impossible. It also just feels awful that this is the way its ending. None of us expected that we would have to kill off characters to win. Yeah, it’s the last month, but still, they couldn’t find a more satisfying way to end the game?
During our second game in December we actually managed to pull off a win. I have no idea how this happened but we did it! Somehow we were able to manage plague cubes, build the supply center in Johannesburg and successfully deliver the sample. Claire, being the Laborer and Architect, was able to make the supply center in Johannesburg early on. She did receive her first scar of the game in the process but it had to be done. The scar she chose was called “weak”. This scar meant that Claire could only hold 3 supply cubes on her character card and that seemed ok because we didn’t see a need for carrying cubes anymore.
Aofie was the character we decided should self-inflect because she had room on her character card to carry the scars. Also her most useful job as an Administrator would not be helpful in moving the carrier. We were able to build a broadcast station in the red area to give her cards. Once she had the majority of the cards she self-inflicted.
The game couldn’t have been won without Goods. He was essential in managing stockpiles in cities. His Courier action which allowed him to deliver supplies to an adjacent city was huge. Goods was also a Smuggler which helped us out a few times because he could discard a card to move a supply cube from the reserve to the city that was discarded.
Once Aofie was infected and had moved herself towards Newt he was able to move her on his turn all of the way to Johannesburg. He did this because he was a Coordinator and as a free action he could move a pawn to his location if they were in an adjacent location. We thought this was the only way a special ability could move the carrier because it was still a drive/ferry and Aofie had all of the cards necessary to discard to enter the city.
After winning we were able to draw the final legacy cards. We thought they were a bit anticlimactic. I don’t know what we really expected but it just seemed like after spending a year on this game the whole ending was not what we expected. We learned that the world now belonged to the Faded and non-Faded. We tallied up our score and got 719. With this score we found that we had persevered and saved some cities. There are hopes that the Faded, non-Faded, and Hollow Men can co-exist.
Even though we felt the first season was better we are anxiously awaiting season 3.
This game is getting hard. October was weird because we were now able to use the satellite towers to communicate with the Hollow Men. We had to move the Hollow Men into 3 different havens to win October. The objective of building 3 supply centers was also still there. We thought that by moving the Hollow Men into the havens we could get them on our side and it would also help us move around the world more freely.
We were able to complete October with a win on the first try and to be honest I didn’t keep many notes about the game so I’m not going to say much.
November was a different story. In November we were told to destroy the objectives of building 3 new supply centers and get hollow men to defect. Now we had only one new objective to complete: complete the plan. The plan was we had to recon in Shanghai with 4 different recon missions. The nice thing about this was we didn’t need a supply center in Shanghai to recon. We had to Locate Hidden Entrance with 5 different red cards, Decode Access Key with 4 different black cards, Devise Distraction with 3 different yellow cards, and Prepare Containment Units with 3 different blue cards.
We knew this objective would be impossible because we didn’t have 5 different red cards yet. So we worked hard and completed 3 out of 4 recons and we accessed new red cities like crazy. With our game end upgrades we made sure to upgrade city cards to make them red cards. Even though we lost it still felt like a win and productive.
The second half of November was pretty hard. We are struggling now with keeping supply cubes on cities to avoid plague cubes. Things were not feeling great but all of the sudden the cards fell into place. We had one of the cards that could be any color and another card that could either be it’s original yellow or red. We even got lucky and on our way to complete the plan we drew another red card and was able to recon Jarkarta. Luckily Claire has the ability to recon without a supply center. With the recon we found another lost haven. We were told the haven was in ruins and we named it Assie (because all of our havens begin with A and this is in Australia). We are able to recon here if we get the opportunity. It felt good to win this game.
By completing the plan we accessed Utopia. Things seemed to get crazy when we did this though, we now have 8 Utopia infections cards and 4 more Hollow Men cards.
Today was our last day and we are definitely not ready for this vacation to end! Hawaii has been awesome. We tried to sleep in today but that lasted until about 7:30. Don found a breakfast place called Kihei Cafe. This place is kind of different because you wait in line and order then you can find your seat. The line may seem long but it goes fast and it seemed everyone was able to find a seat when it was their time. So even if it seems like you’ll never get a table, just try it, their timing of everything seemed to make it work! It was also good. I had the huevos rancheros and Don had the pork loco moco. I would recommend the loco moco over the huevos rancheros, but everything was good.
We started the day by heading to Po’olenalena Beach. I chose this beach because of the name and it had really good reviews. It was a beautiful, quiet, uncrowded beach with very fine soft sand. We went to the North side first. The visibility was low due to the sand being brought up by the surf, but almost immediately by the rocks we saw a sea turtle. Then 2 more turtles and another—there were at least 4 turtles just hanging out and eating here. It was so cool! We saw some really small turtles here and honestly after awhile I lost count I think we decided there were 6 turtles here. It was hard to stay in one place due to the waves but we were able to hang out and watch them for awhile.
We swam South to the middle of the beach where there was supposed to be a middle rock but we couldn’t find it so we went furthest South to a the rocky edge of the beach. Around the corner of the beach in the rocks we saw 3 more turtles. They would get so close! The coral here looked really cool also; it was a lime green. The water here was pretty rough and we had to be careful around the rocks so we swam around the rocks to the next beach and rested there in the water a bit. While we were here we talked about how awesome the snorkeling had been here in Hawaii and how we had seen so many turtles. Every day we have seen turtles, even on the day we didn’t get in water! I did make a comment though that I was a bit disappointed not to have seen one shark. We decided to swim back to the beach where our stuff was.
On our way back I heard Don start yelling for me and I felt a little scared because I didn’t know what was happening. He said he saw something cool but I couldn’t see it. Could it be a shark?? Then he told me it was a giant ray. I was so disappointed that I missed it. We sat, treading water for about a minute looking around and the ray came back!
It would circle us, leave, and then come back. It was huge! It also seemed super curious about us. It kept coming back. We swam with this manta ray for a few minutes. Don said it was starting to freak him out because neither of us knew if it was dangerous or not. I didn’t think it was but it was time to get back anyway so we left the ray.
On our way back to shore there was another small turtle, so if you’re looking for turtles in Hawaii this beach seems to be the place to be!
Once we got back to the hotel we hung out at the pool for a little bit then we got cleaned up and had a beer. We then went out to look for some postcards. During our shopping we found a little wooden turtle and manta ray to add to our whale shark we got in Mexico. It seems like a cool tradition to get wooden carvings of all the really cool things we have swam with.
For lunch we had to try Outriggers Pizza. Outriggers Pizza is a food truck with a wood fired oven, so that was pretty unique. The pizza was good so check this place out! After eating I wanted to go to a bar that had the Cubs game on but we couldn’t really find one. I also for some reason was kind of grouchy. I didn’t feel great for some reason and I was a little tired. We did go to a tiki bar, called South Shore Tiki Lounge, and had some calamari with wings. I tried their mai tai and it was different than any mai tai I’ve ever had. I don’t know if I would recommend it. We talked to a couple here that had moved to Maui from New Jersey. They were interesting.
We went back to the hotel pretty early because we were tired. We hung out, watched Big Brother, and tried to finish our beers and snacks since we leave tomorrow.
We had to wake up early today for our trip to Hana. The Road to Hana is a famous drive in Maui with many attractions along the way. The road is known for it’s natural beauty all around, including waterfalls,cliff sides, and views of the Pacific. There are many guides online about how to do the road to Hana and I used a variety of sites to help plan our day. We only had a day, which was unfortunate, but we did see and do a lot!
After having our leftovers from Da Kitchen for breakfast we left Kihei around 7:30. The plan was for me to drive the way to Hana and for Don to drive back. We first stopped in the town of Paia. It was a cute, small town. It seemed a bit hippy-ish. We didn’t really spend any time here, just made a bathroom stop and we were on our way.
The drive was pretty cool. It was a bit scary at times, but awesome. The road was filled with areas that were only one way and hairpin curves. At times it would be rainy and then a minute later the sun was out. There were often lots of cars and people also.
Our first stop was Twin Falls. There is a small parking lot at Twin Falls but a lot of people will end up pulling over on the side of the road like we did. The hike down to Twin Falls was not long but it was slippery.
The next place I wanted to stop was a lookout point in a Wailua Valley. We thought we had missed it but then we saw a small parking area. The walk up to the lookout was not long and it was easy. The views were incredible. We could see a waterfall in the distance. This is what I always envisioned Maui being.
Waikani Falls was the next place we stopped. You can see this waterfall just by pulling over on the side of the road. There are many signs saying not to pull over, but many people were so we did. It was pretty awesome.
The highlight of the road to Hana was the Waianapanapa State Park. We got here and walked around a bit. Then we decided to have our lunch before we did much more here. We brought lunches we had picked up at the grocery store the night before. We had sandwiches, chips, salad, and even a couple of Longboards. We ate in the car because they were no tables nearby. Once we were done eating we changed into some swimwear because we knew there would be a beach.
The beach was formed by volcanic rock so the sand was actually black rock. It was called Black Sand Beach. It was very hot walking down to the beach, but it was overcast. We got into the water and it was cold but refreshing. It started to rain a bit. Supposedly, you should be able to swim out to caves in the rock but it was too rough to do this today.
Once we were done swimming we got out and continued our hike. There were really cool lava rock formations. The sun started to come out and it was so hot. We walked around for about 30-45 minutes, but I felt like I was going to get burnt and it was so hot so we turned around. There were just incredible views on this hike. The water at the beach looked calmer now that it was sunny and a few people were pretty far out snorkeling.
We made our way back to the car and Don started driving. We drove to the town of Hana. From the park it wasn’t far, maybe another 20 minutes. We didn’t really know what to do in Hana so we found a place to park where we thought there was a beach. We started walking towards the water and it was pretty much a walk straight down a cliff. Don ended up falling and luckily he didn’t get hurt. I didn’t want to continue because it was so slippery and the water below was so choppy with rocks everywhere. It was beautiful but I didn’t want one of us to get hurt.
We made our way back to the car and decided to drive back to Kihei. Don had a lot of fun driving. He felt like he was in a racing game. I started feeling sick because I often get car sick. We stopped at a shop and got some coffee and chocolate chip banana bread. The bread was so good! We also found the Hana Lava Tube Cave and even though it was set to close soon the guide let us and a few other people explore the cave. It was a pretty cool cave and it was a self-guided tour. It took about 30 minutes and it was a little spooky at times, especially when you turned off your flashlight.
On the way back we wanted to stop at this restaurant area so we did but things were closing down and nothing looked that good. It seemed like a tourist trap. I did get an iced coffee and some cokes for the ride. I was able to take some Dramamine and I felt pretty good on the ride back.
We stopped at a lookout point that had incredible views of the sun starting to make its way down. There was a bench here with the name Sierra on it.
We made another stop by some cows.
Our last stop on the way back was a beach lookout. The beach was called Ho’okipa. The views of the sunset were awesome. Don noticed some people gathering on the sand down on the beach. They were looking at something. It looked like rocks on the sand but then Don realized they were sea turtles! The sun was starting to set fast but we wanted a closer look so we drove the car down to the beach and found a spot. The turtles were so awesome! They come up here almost every night to rest on the beach. A conservationist was there to keep people from getting too close. She told us sometimes there are over 150 turtles here a night. We stayed here until the beach was closing. Every day in Maui so far we have seen turtles!!
By the time we got back to Kihei we were both pretty hungry and the pizza place I wanted to try had already closed at 8. So we found a bbq place called Daddy’s Smokehouse and it was pretty good. It was a long but pretty awesome day.