Hawaii 2023, Part 2

Waikiki, Saturday, 20230304

After breakfast we took the car and headed for Pearl Harbor. It is now a National Monument, and the most famous thing there is the USS Arizona, which was sunk with majority her crew in the Japanese attack. What is left of her can be viewed as a memorial. We took the boat over to the memorial, then went through the exhibits using an audio guide. They went through the background events that led up to the attack, then the attack itself, which was very cleverly planned and thought out. Before trying to attack the ships, the Japanese planes made sure to hit the airfields and destroy the American planes. That gave them complete command of the skies, and only then did they attack the ships. American Navy experts didn’t think they could launch torpedos from planes in such shallow water, but the Japanese had developed a torpedo that could be launched in just 40 feet of water. The ships at Pearl Harbor were badly damaged, some of them (like the Arizona) totally lost, others could be repaired. But the real saving grace was that none of the US Carriers were there at the time. The attack on Pearl Harbor vividly demonstrated that the age of the Battleship as the heart of the navy was over, with carriers now taking the spotlight.

After seeing the exhibits, we went to the USS Missouri. This battleship was involved in supporting the invasion of Okinawa, where it was hit by a Kamikaze plane which did very little damage (I took a photo of the minor dent). But the body of the pilot was found on deck, and the Captain of the Missouri ordered that a replica of the Japanese flag be prepared, and then had the Japanese pilot buried at sea with full military honors. Perhaps this was to show that once your enemy is dead, he is no longer an enemy. This story never got a lot of publicity because it happened just as FDR died. Later, after the atomic bombs caused Japan to surrender, Truman, who was from Missouri, and whose daughter had christened the ship, ordered that the Missouri be the site of the formal surrender ceremony. We saw the site where it happened, and our guide showed me that if you set it up right you can get a photo that has the surrender site and the Arizona Memorial in the same shot, thus getting the beginning and the end in one photo.

After this we went back to the hotel to rest before dinner, and after dinner we went to Kuhio Beach, just down the street, for an exhibition of hula dancing. Spending an hour sitting on concrete with a slight backward slope darned near killed me, but I did want to see this show, which was free to watch.


Oahu Sunday 20230305

Today we did a “Circle tour” of Oahu, meaning a tour of sites around the island. We went up the east coast of the island, stopping at several points for photos, including a blowhole on the coast. We passed a number of celebrity houses, which was like, “meh”. I had a shrimp lunch which was OK, and several of the stops were shopping areas, which is par for the course. On the northwest coast I went snorkeling in the ocean, but Cheryl just waded. Then we worked our way back down stopping at a Macadmia nut farm, the Dole Pineapple plantation, and a coffee farm. If you only had a day or two to spend in Oahu you would be better advised to skip this, but we had done so much walking that sitting in a bus for 20 minutes at a time, then getting out for 10-15 minutes, actually was very attractive. When we got back, we headed out to get dinner, and on the street ran into the couple we had met at breakfast at Aloha Kitchen a few days before, and they pointed to an upstairs balcony right where were and told us it was a good restaurant (Goofy’s), and indeed it was. We both got Caesar Salads and mixed grilled vegetables and were very happy with our dinners.


Waikiki Monday 20230306

We woke to rain, which got a bit heavier as we walked to get breakfast, so we both got wet. Fortunately the rain stopped just before we left the restaurant so we could go back to the hotel and stay dry, more or less. We had considered visiting the Iolani Palace today, but learned that it is closed on Mondays, and since we were still a bit tired and sore, and have a full day ahead of us tomorrow as well as evening plans tonight, we opted to stay in the hotel for the rest of the morning, and do some shopping inthe afternoon whenever the rain completely stops and the sun comes out.

We had booked a sunset dinner cruise for the evening, but it got canceled due to rough seas, so we just went to a restaurant. After dinner, it was a very pleasant evening so we headed for the beach and got to watch the sunset there, which was very nice. And we got a photo of Diamond Head with a rainbow above it. After that it was back to the hotel. So it ended up being a day in which we didn’t do much of anything, but that was OK. We are at the age where a rest day from time to time is necessary. And we have a full day planned tomorrow.


Oahu Tuesday 20230307

After breakfast Cheryl did some shopping while I went back to the hotel. Later in the morning we got out the car to drive to the Polynesian Cultural Center, which is up the east coast of the island. The drive was very pleasant once we got out of the, city, wending its way along the coast. We got there and picked up our tickets, and started in. The PCC presents a variety of island cultures, though they are all related as being Polynesian: Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa (aka New Zealand), and of course Hawaii. Each has an area called a village, where it presents a brief cultural program (around 15-20 minutes), and the presentations generally change on the half hour. So you could not possibly see everything in one day, but that didn’t bother us, we got to see a representative sampling. Tonga was notable for the drumming, Samoa for the fire dancers, and so on. These presentations ended around 5:30, so we went to dinner at the buffet. Then at 7:30 was a 90-minute stage presentation that includes all 6 of the cultures, which was very good. Any photography was prohibited, but there is a video on YouTube that can give you a little taste of it. We thoroughly enjoyed it, and if you go you should plan to stay until 9pm to see this. We were told that the PCC was bought at some point by the Mormon church, and there is a satellite campus of Brigham Young University adjacent to the site. Most of the performers and staff are students there who earn the money to pay for their education by their work. Around 9 everything was over, and we drove back to the hotel.


Waikiki Wednesday 20230308

Our trip comes to an end, and we pack up and head to the airport. Our flight is scheduled for 4pm, so we got to pack in a leisurely manner. The main takeaway we have is that Hawaii is very expensive, which in part is explained by the fact that everything has to be brought in either by boat or by plane. The median home price is around $1 million, which means that half of all the homes here cost more than a million. And I can assure you that many of the homes here are not particularly desirable. So unless you are very wealthy, this is not a place to move to. And your Social Security check won’t go far here. But we can now say we have been to Hawaii.

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