We’re here!! And OMG is it gorgeous!!! (Click the links for a few pictures. More to come later).
There’s so much to do and things to see that if we had a month here we would not even come close to seeing/doing it all. It’s overwhelming!
We spent the first day exploring our immediate surroundings. We walked and walked and walked and walked, then we walked some more, we took a taxi once, and a shuttle, and a bus, and walked and walked. We had lunch by the pool at our Hotel, walked along a lagoon full of fish, stepped into a Pacific Ocean unlike the Pacific Ocean we’re used to on the mainland… it’s actually WARM! Then we ate a wonderful dinner with live Hawaiian music in a restaurant called the Chart House. After that we came back to the Hotel and crawled into bed where we fell asleep the second our heads hit the pillows.
Today we got up early and took a taxi to pick up our rental car. It turned out the Duke Kohanamoku statue was right across the street so we got in front of it and the live cam and called home to Ralph and Denise so they could see us on the cam. Cody got to see us too!
From there we went to Pearl Harbor and Bowfin Park. We got our ticket to the Arizona Memorial and had a few hours to spare before our turn so we toured the USS Missouri. That was a neat treat and what a fun lesson in history! We took many pictures and walked a mile and a half along the decks of the Mighty Mo. We stood on the spot where the Japanese surrendered in World War II, which marked the ending of the war.
We got done with that just in time to begin our tour of the USS Arizona. We watched a 25 minute movie with actual footage from both the Japanese and American sides of the events that led up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. We also learned that of the 26 ships that were sunk during the attack on December 7, 1941, all but 3 were resurrected and sent to attack the Japanese fleet at Midway, where they sank 4 of the Japanese aircraft carriers that had carried out the Pearl Harbor attack. The movie was quite moving, and at the end, it was quiet and not many dry eyes in the room.
The tour guide reminded us on numerous occassions that the Arizona was more than a museum. It was a cemetary for more than 1100 service men who died that day on the Arizona. They asked that we treat the memorial site as such, so there was little to no talking during the viewing of the sunken ship.
After the movie and the history briefing, we boarded a boat that took us to the actual site. It was an erie silent ghost ship sitting on the ocean floor with few pieces of the ship sticking out of the water. The memorial was built right over the top of the ship so you could look down and see her.
One of the most touching things we saw were the “Tears of the Arizona”. The tears, are actually drops of oil that rise to the surface. The USS Arizona has been leaking oil since she sank to the ocean floor over 63 years ago. The tour guide explained that it’s believed the “The Tears of the Arizona” will stop when the last survivor passes on. About a dozen survivors of the Arizona who later passed on have been buried in the Arizona with their fellow shipmates. It’s a very touching story.
We left with a mixture of emotions: sadness and gratitude for those who sacrificed their lives that day and the years to come, and excited and awestruck that we got to see this massive piece of our history.
We were also famished. Thus began our journey to find a good place to eat that had parking within a mile. This proved to be impossible. We drove around (mostly lost — but we enjoyed the scenery) for nearly two hours and finally, FIVE hours after we left Pearl Harbor, we got to eat. This was after we gave up and somehow found our way back to the hotel, and asked there, “where’s a good place to get a Plate Lunch?” (It was dinner time of course). The valet peoples told us Rainbow Drive-in.
Oh yeah… on our way to find food we saw the Waikiki aquarium and pulled in there for a visit. we figured there’d be food there. Well, there was food, but unless you like whole raw dead fish, and wanted to wrestle that out of a seal’s mouth, there wasn’t much for human consumption. We did see lots of neat coral reefs, colorful fish, seals, and sharks.
Anway, never heard of a Plate Lunch? Neither did we till we read about them in an article while on the plane… We were determined to find this local Hawaiian favorite. A plate lunch basically is: two scoops of white rice and a scoop of macaroni salad, some kind of meat, and brown gravy. A diabetic’s nightmare. But oh my god it was good!
By the way, when you ask for directions in Hawaii, and someone says, “oh it’s up the road about 3 blocks”, in mainland terms that’s actually about 1.5 miles. However, if you ask how far it is to drive somewhere, they will tell you it’s way too far! Even if it’s only a half hour drive. For some reason people here think driving any longer than a half hour to get somewhere is not worth your time. 🙂
Until next time, mahalo and aloha!