Review by Joseph Bean Maui Weekly August 262004
I usually ignore things published for the comfort and convenience of visitors. For my own sanity I have to do that. If I look - well you know - if we look at the things being distributed to visitors we think Whoa since when? or we ask ourselves Shouldnt a person at least visit Maui before writing about Maui for visitors?
On the other hand when Bess Press does anything they have my attention. So were looking at the Bess Press series of Hawaii pocket guides and were finding that they are actually useful.
I have visitors from time to time. You do too I know you do. Visitors are good of course but explaining every beach to them can be tedious. Worse yet if you get six visitors in one season and they all want to do the road to Hana...ouch right? Ive tried giving friends tapes but they get confused. I loaned them books but its too much. Heres the answer.
Keep the Bess Press pocket guide called The Road to Hana on hand to loan to anyone who needs it. Its enough. Its not too much. Same goes for the pocket guide to Maui Beaches. It describes 10 beaches well and accurately. Perfect! Of course on the day I want to go to the beach with visitors Ill show them my secret beaches but theyll be fine with the Bess Press guidance on other days.
The other Maui-relevant guides are Plants of Hawaii Flowers of Hawaii Fishes of Hawaii and Birds of Hawaii. These are nice for me. Im the kind of person who needs to put a name to everything. You too? I thought so. I have books of course but I think Ill be keeping these pocket guides in the car. I always leave my bird fish and flower identification books at home. Theyre too valuable to be hauled all over the island. These laminated map-like sheets are perfect. I havent had any visitors who read Japanese but not English. If I did or if you do the birds plants and flowers guides have an added value: Japanese text for at least the identification titles.
There are some not-Maui pocket guides in the series: Oahu Beaches Kauai Beaches Big Island Beaches Waikiki Walks Pearl Harbor and Hanauma Bay. I havent seen the Luau Cooking pocket guide but I think that one is as Maui as the birds and plants ones.
There is a weakness that should be mentioned. As tough as they clearly would be if it comes to taking a licking and still being readable these beautiful multi-fold guides are laminated then trimmed. Thats important. Theyre still washable but they cannot be allowed to get soaking wet because in fact theyll soak and become wet...paper trapped in sealed-on plastic coating. It wont matter most of the time but Id pay twice the price for the same guides trimmed-then-laminated. Then theyd be sealed in plastic to the edges and beyond.