Wednesday, June 9, 2010
A Really Long Post-Trip Post
As I wrote in the previous post, a couple of weeks ago, May 19-26, my new spousal unit took me to Hawaii. It was so much fun! We visited the island of O’ahu, where I lived and worked from 1992-94. Until this trip I had not been back to the island and it was such a neat experience to see how much some things have changed and how others have stayed very much the same in the past 16 years.
When I lived there, I sang 50’s/60’s music at a club in the Hyatt Regency, Waikiki, so that is where we spent the first half of our trip. The Hyatt is still very much the same except for one thing… the club is gone! It has been turned into a couple of little gift shops and an employee-only area. It was a bit disappointing not to be able to show my hubby where I sang for those two years, but I had plenty of other places to show/take him.
To name a few… (Click on the pics to see a bigger view.)
The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor - I’ve been here at least 6 or 7 times, and it always puts a lump in my throat. But my husband is a history buff, and he is especially intrigued with that which involves the strategies of war. So as a first time visitor to the monument, he was a little overwhelmed. As our awesome guide for the day, Gabe Brady, said, “This is not a tourist attraction. This is a cemetery that houses the hundreds of men who died while serving our country.” Pretty heavy stuff. But it’s a must-see if you ever take a trip to O’ahu. It makes you even more thankful for the sacrifices our brave men and women in service make every day.
Diamond Head – If you’ve ever been to the beaches of Waikiki, then you know that Diamond Head is the most famous volcanic crater in the world, located on the Southeast Coast of O'ahu at the end of Waikiki overlooking the Pacific Ocean. What you may not know is that you can hike up Diamond Head and get a 360 degree view of the south side of the island. Now, I remembered that I had done this in the past. But I must have blocked the pain involved in the climb out of my memory. The trail is a 1¾ mile climb, mostly on uphill rocky ground… until you get to two sets of stairs, one with 99 steps and the other, 76 steps. There is also a 225-foot unlit tunnel, and at the very top, a spiral staircase that is like none you’ve ever climbed. For experienced hikers, I’m sure it’s no big deal. For us, it was a challenge. I’m sure it was easier when I was 24 years old, but at 42… not so much. On the way back down, Hubby and I were encouraging those who were passing us on the climb. But there were several times when we said to each other, “Nope, THEY will never make it!” Among those who we thought would probably give up before reaching the top were a group of Japanese females in high heels. Not sure what they were thinking… fashion and hiking typically don’t mix. I’m fairly certain that did not end well. (Here are some views from the top.)
Eggs n’ Things – I was thrilled to find out that this little breakfast nook still existed in Honolulu. It has become a “touristy” place now, much to my chagrin, but the fruit-filled pancakes and the fresh squeezed guava juice were still just as delicious as I remembered them to be. The restaurant is open from late in the evening until just after noon, and serves nothing but breakfast. It’s fabulous. I remember many an after-gig meal here… eating pancakes with the band while watching the sun come up.
The North Shore – I was worried that my favorite past off-day hangout would become a haven for tourists, as well. But I was pleased to see that it had remained much the same. The North Shore of O’ahu boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is a joy just to drive along the coastline and see the gorgeous blue water and smell the plumeria blooms. We spent the second half of our trip at a resort on the North Shore called Turtle Bay. It was gorgeous, and had several delicious restaurants on site, as well as a staff of very helpful and friendly employees. It was nothing short of a beautiful experience all the way around.
What I did NOT know about the resort was that the radar equipment that spotted the Japanese planes as they made their way toward Pearl Harbor that fretful morning of December 6, 1941, was located here. (The guy in charge at the time thought the “blip” on the radar was a flight of Army B-17 bombers that were due in that morning. He told the radar guys, “Don’t worry about it.”) When my hubby and I happened upon this spot, he was like a kid in a candy store. I got the beautiful beach and he got more war stuff. It was the perfect end to a great honeymoon.
A few extras...
That’s a lot of bread! - It’s not cheap to go to Hawaii. But even this surprised me.
A $15 GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH? Seriously?! It’s bread and a slice of cheese! Wow.
Rainbows - Within 30 minutes of our arrival in Waikiki, we looked out our window to see not one, but two rainbows! The perfect beginning to a great week.
Let the Sun Shine In - Most restaurants and hotels are open air – no doors or windows. Just wide open spaces. This is the entrance to Turtle Bay… I took this picture from my car window while Hubby was checking us in.
Silver and Gold - I’m not sure why, but there were 3 or 4 guys who were spray painted either silver or gold standing like statues on little boxes along Kalakaua, Waikiki’s busiest street. They were street performers, I suppose, except that they really didn’t do anything but stand there with their money boxes by their feet. But I will give them this… the same guys were in the same places from early in the morning until late at night. I couldn’t help but wonder, though: Couldn’t they be making a whole lot more money actually DOING something else? And do they ever bathe? I can’t imagine a person spray painting himself silver every morning and then scrubbing the paint off every night just to spray it all back on first thing in the morning. But if he DOESN’T bathe… well, EEEEWWWW!
The Hawaiian Hobo Charge - In our circle of friends, my precious husband is known as being a “hobo,” because when we all go out to eat, he will sometimes order only a salad, knowing that my daughter and I (and sometimes the other people at the table) won’t eat all of what we order, since serving portions at restaurants have become increasingly and ridiculously large. (Another blog for another time.) So he will allow us to order what we want, and then we will get an extra plate so he can just eat what we can’t possibly finish. So our friend and pastor, whose nickname is Biscuit, started calling him “The Hobo.” Well, apparently in Hawaii they don’t appreciate this sort of thing, because they charge you extra to “hobo.”
Beaches - We traveled to both the windward and the leeward sides of the island and found some beautiful white sand beaches on which to soak up the sun. A couple of them were Kailua Beach and the lagoons at Ko'Olina.
Okay, this has been the longest post EVER. So I close by saying this… life is wonderful and full of miracles. So until I write again… love Jesus and love each other!