Tag Archives: Risk

Dare Devil Drive – The Day Maui Tried to Kill Us

Road to Hana, Maui

By: Rohan 

“It’s time!” The jeep driver said, smiling cheekily in the rear-view mirror. In front of us stood a little bridge, way too small to support our white Ford Escape that had already been through quite a beating. Regardless of whether or not we wanted to proceed, he slammed on the accelerator, and the car bounced along the stone-paved roads and took a hairpin turn to the right. This was the point of no return, we had crossed the line that divided civilization from the untamed forces of Mother Nature. It was here where anything could happen, where triumph could turn to tragedy in an instant.

I look out my window and marvel at the reassuring sight of driving adjacent to a solid hundred foot drop with nothing to protect you other than the lush canopy of trees swaying gently in the Hawaiian wind. We were passengers aboard the luxurious Pride of America about to spend the next two hours battling wilderness. The truck continued, ascending like a roller coaster without a peak. The road looked as if it went on forever until it eventually met with the sky. Everyone was pin-drop silent as the vehicle careened around closer corners and scaled steep heights.

Our journey to the top reminded me of the duality of nature. On one hand, here we are, a suburban family of four cruising along on one of the most dangerous drives on the planet. This is nothing like Jersey, this is nothing like anything we’ve ever seen before. This was miles and miles of pure adrenaline, with surprises at every turn. While some of these unplanned events seemed threatening, most were calming, like unnamed waterfalls cascading down shimmering rocks and falling into beautiful canyons. The lush rain forest, with its exotic smells and sounds, brought us one step closer to a simpler life , and yet, one where every day is a battle against the unknown.

The apex revealed a picturesque sight of the Pacific open, looking out towards Tahiti and Australia. The crystal-clear blue waters provided a fresh contrast from the grey rocks that separated us from the waves below. We got back in the Escape and the driver pulled a sharp right turn, almost sending half of us to the roaring waters below. We cruised down the mountain, winding back in and out of the rainforest like a serpent hunting its prey.

The drive in Maui, more commonly known as the Road to Hana is only crossed by a handful of people every day, due to its unpaved roads and uncharted hidden passageways. This excursion is meant for the truly adventurous, those who embrace nature and are not afraid to see danger at every turn.

Some insight from Siddhi: 

I also did the Road to Hana when my family and I were in Hawaii. We decided to pump the thrill factor to yet another level by going solo. Meaning, still in a jeep, but without a professional driver. We drove on our own. Everything Rohan described nails it when it comes to encapsulating the experience. If you’re truly an adventure-seeker ,then consider renting your own vehicle- preferably a convertible- and taking on Hana on your own. It’s really an unforgettable experience.

A Faluca ride on the Nile – A lovely evening with a dash of adventure

By: Lakshmi

For many years, Frommer’s travel guides have been our go to resource to get ideas on “must do’s” on trips.  “You shouldn’t leave Cairo without taking a sunset cruise on the Nile in one of these traditional sailboats (the Faluca)”, opined our guidebook.

Our first evening in Cairo, we asked the concierge at our hotel to write down “docks near the Four Seasons hotel” in Arabic, so that we could take a cab and be seamlessly transported to the spot from which we would take our Faluca ride.  As soon as we got in our cab, our cabbie was eager to converse with us.  Between the few words of Arabic that we knew and the handful of English words he could muster, he communicated that he was very excited to have Indians in his taxi.  We would find this to be an oft expressed sentiment during our time in Cairo, finding that the Egyptians have great love and affection for all things Indian….the music, the movie stars, the politicians and the people.

When we mentioned that we wanted to do a Faluca ride, the driver immediately suggested we ride with a friend of his and he would personally broker a great rate and an even better experience.  We kept insisting on him dropping us off at the docks near the Four Seasons, but he just decided to drive on.  We drove for several miles along the Nile and then he stopped the taxi and made us get out.  This was not a thickly populated area, and other than a few locals, we did not see anyone who remotely resembled a tourist.  We spurn guided tours and often take off on our own, but this time a sense of nervousness was setting in.  Was I being stupid and putting my kids at risk?  My colleagues in the US insisted that we always travel as part of guided tours with adequate security, and here we were off the beaten track with a cab driver who was brokering a Faluca ride with a friend.

He asked us for more money than the guidebook recommended and a few seconds later guided us to our Faluca that would be navigated by a teenager.   We scrambled on to the Faluca and were gently rowed away to the lilting tunes of an Egyptian melody.  The sound of the waves in the water, the beautiful melody being played, the everyday life along the banks of the Nile, the apartment complexes smushed together with colorful laundry flying on the balcony….it was Egyptian life encapsulated in a large frame.  Just as we were feeling more relaxed, watching the sun go down gradually, we were greeted by the loud noise of party goers singing and dancing on an adjacent boat.  As the boat passed by, we could glimpse young adults in their colorful attire, swaying to beautiful music, the happy smiles, the joyous beats, the clapping and the thumping.

Needless to say, my fears were baseless.  The ride was lovely and at the end of it, there was our cabbie waiting with the biggest grin on his face wanting to know if he had helped us have a memorable evening.

He drove us back safely to our hotel, not before offering to be our personal driver throughout our stay, including driving us to his home town of Alexandria.  The adventure certainly reaffirmed that the best experiences are to be gained when they are taken off the beaten track with a basic trust of mankind.