Vana or Wana or Sea Urchin

One minute you are frolicking on the beach, and the next you are bent over in searing foot pain. What could it be? Broken bong? Beer bottle? (Both are typical finds) Believe it or not, it is neither. It is vana.


Watching the blue waters break from a lounge chair while sipping a mai tai, one would never think Maui is poor and has severe disregard for people’s feet. Well they are and they do. Maui County is poor and it is apparent once stepping outside those resort gates and onto Lahaina’s “paved” roads. The dangers of stubbing your big toe go from nonexistent to a bona fide daily occurrence. Not dangerous you say, well turns out you need it to walk and such.

In a place where the most dangerous of situations is forgetting to put on sunscreen and spotting an old man in a speedo, Maui is relatively safe. There are supposedly zero snakes on this island and apparently few shark attacks (I had a bizarre fascination with both). As it turned out, we found ourselves in more trouble with the most unlikely of sources.