Our second stop in our south pacific vacation was the island of Oahu. From the Big Island it was a very short 42 minute flight and we landed on Oahu.
It was very different from the Big Island. Very metropolitan and was by far the most commercial of the places we had been so far. Our hotel was smack dab in the middle of the high end shopping district. So if I was a rich person I could have purchased a Gucci bag, some Prada shoes or a Ferrari, but I restrained myself.
We enjoyed out time on Oahu, we did not however enjoy our time at the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort. First of all let me state for the record that one should only use the name Beachcomber if in fact you are actually on the beach and there is some actual beach property that can be combed involved in your stay.
Wanna see our ocean view?
Wanna see the view from our balcony?
We could see the pool from our room. Why anyone would want to sit buy the pool and listen the the ambulances drive by, the busses, the trolley cars, the semi trucks…it just didn’t look appealing at all!
Oh well, you get spoiled real fast when it comes to hotel amenities. The room was clean, the bed was comfortable, the noise from the road just out side our room…not so much. The hubs woke up the next morning and the first words out of his mouth were “What a horrible place to put a hotel!”
My recommendation…if you are ever in Oahu skip the Holiday Inn Beachcomber Resort! But hey you get what you pay for or in this instance you get what the hotel points allow and this was a roof over our head so we just kept our mouth shut and enjoyed the sights of Oahu!
We did take a short walk across the street out to Waikiki Beach and as soon as as our feet hit the sand we got a glimpse of Diamond Head in all her glory! It was pretty impressive!
We arrived late in the afternoon and were a bit tired after our airport exertions so we opted to take a very short walk directly across the street to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We could see this from our room as well.
I had never been to one of these before and have mercy I think my head would explode if I had to work in one of their kitchens. There were almost 300 different things on the menu. I can’t imagine having to work in the kitchen and keep all that straight not to mention producing a consistent product with so many different choices and all at the same time. I tried to take a picture of my salad but the restaurant was a bit on the dark side. We did leave with two pieces of their famous cheese cake for later. Can you say amazing! I had the Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake, it was a Chocolate Cheesecake Topped with a Layer of Belgian Chocolate Mousse, OMGosh it was to die for! In fact it was so huge I had to save some for the next night!
The next day we our first stop was Pearl Harbor.
We took the free tour of the Arizona Memorial. It starts with a short movie about the events that preceded our involvement in WWII and then the attack itself. It really brought home for me the impact this event had on us as Americans. It also gave me a very vivid picture of exactly how tragic this attack really was. There was list after list of casualties. Each one from a different battleship, but what I had never considered before were the civilians that were killed in the attack. Just look at the ages of some of the casualties. Some only a few months old!
After the movie we all get on a shuttle boat and are driven out to the memorial.
From the day it was sunk it has continued to leak oil into the harbor. It was a very poignant reminder of just how real and how tragic that day really was.
By far the most casualties were on the Arizona. This is the huge white marble wall with row after row of names carved upon it. Casualties of War. It was one of the most solemn moments I think I have ever experienced. The reality of how horrible it must have been was overwhelming. Even now the thought of what was below me just moves me to tears. Truly hollowed ground!
What I learned next just pushed me over the edge. Not being the history buff I was unaware that many of the solders who survived the attack on the USS Arizona requested that upon their death they wanted to be interned with their shipmates. This patriotism overwhelms me. They explained that over the course of the years many memorial services have taken place at the Arizona Memorial. After the funeral the ashes of the lost loved one are handed off to a scuba diver and the last glimpse they see of there loved one is in the hands of a service man as they head to the bottom to place their remains with the rest of their fallen crew members. Y’all it just breaks my heart to think of this.
Here is a list of those who survived the attack who have been interned with their shipmates. The last one only a few years ago in 2010.
This is the Battleship Missouri, you can take a tour of this but with our time constraints we were not able to get over to see it!
After Pearl Harbor we headed inland to the Dole Plantation. I am not sure what I was expecting but I guess if you’re on Oahu then you probably need to at least give it a visit. Folks started trying to sell us stuff before we even got up the steps good, but we were able to firmly make our way thought most of the sales force with a friendly “No Thank You!”. This building is basically a large retail center with numerous different venders in it. I did pick up a couple of inexpensive gifts for some folks back home and I watched a demonstration on how to properly carve up a pineapple. The demonstrator also gave us detailed instructions on how to start our own pineapple plant from the crown of a pineapple. I am not sure I am willing to invest the four months it will take to root it in a bowl of water and then the additional 20 to 24 months for it to bear fruit, but hey ya just never know!
After successfully escaping all the commercialism of the Dole shopping complex we found ourselves with two options. They had a walking tour with an audio headset of the gardens or a combo deal that gave you the garden tour and a train ride around the entire plantain. I wasn’t really interested in hopping a train with 100 other folks so we chose to head to the garden. It was a nice 45 minutes as we strolled around all the various different section of the garden. Y’all know me and flowers. The Hibiscus, the Birds of Paradise, the water lilies. It was just beautiful! Not to mention just about every type of pineapple know to man. They had a small section where all the various hybrid were on display.
Check out these red ones. I have never seen a red pineapple have you?
They did have the worlds largest maze.
This was copied from the Dole Website: “In 2008, Dole Plantation’s giant Pineapple Garden Maze was declared the world’s largest maze. The maze stretches over three acres and includes nearly two and one-half miles of paths crafted from 14,000 colorful Hawaiian plants. Walk through the flora of the islands as you seek out eight secret stations that each lead you closer to the mystery at the heart of this larger-than-life labyrinth, one of only a handful of permanent botanical mazes in America. The fastest finishers win a prize and enter into the history of Dole Plantation, with their names recorded on a sign at the maze’s”
After the Dole Plantation we hit the road and just drove for a bit to see what we could see.
We went for a short walk on Waimea Beach. I am told that if you want to see some really big waves then this is the place to come. You have to time your visit for the winter months. Most of the surfing competitions are held from November through February! It must be totally radical dude!
What stood out the most to me was this lovely bright yellow sign we saw upon first stepping on the beach.
Then a few yards down the beach we saw this! Please take note of the first young man who does a wonderful flip and then lands in the water with a giant splash….oh to be young and invincible. So much for obeying the posted signs!
Then we found an amazing spot called Makapu’u Lookout. The information I read said that this location during the winter months was an excellent location to see humpback whales. It actually listed as the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Sadly we did not see any whales. I did think this small rocky island poking up out in the bay looked a lot like a humpback whale though!
Practically everywhere we went we saw these small piles of stones. I have no idea what the significance is but they were interesting.
We also saw many small arrangements that looked like this as well.
It seemed that around every curve in the road there was a place to pull off and this is what you saw!
Well that’s it for this installment of Hawaii 2011.
My next adventure…A funny thing happen on the way to the crater, a little comic relief!
Blessings & Mahalo