|Hawaii - Part 5: Oahu, Pearl Harbor & Waikiki|
Pearl Harbor & Waikiki (Honolulu Area), HI (Map)
Since I had to have my rental returned by 9 am and my flight was leaving at 11, I already had used plenty of the day by the time I sat at Kailua-Kona airport waiting for my flight.
I loved the look of this strange airport when I landed here in the dark four days ago, so i was pleased to take some pictures in the daytime. This airport was like no other I had been to, whereas my normal airports can usually be interchanged quite easily - Cincinnati vs. Washington? Pretty similar. Maybe not Goose Bay though.
Usually when I'm sitting in a secured airport, I'm not 'outside'.
I sat on a garden ledge and grew amused with the sight 5 feet away from me.
Throughout this trip there were Common Mynas everywhere, as they are about as recurrent as starlings back home. They kept being rascals though, by hiding in shadows or not letting me get close enough.
Finally this one wasn't bothered enough to fly away.
I had scheduled a flight to leave at this relatively early hour as I had to fly out of Honolulu eventually anyway. I would need to book a separate Hawaiian Airlines ticket just for this island hop, so why not see Honolulu for a day by reducing my time on the Big Island by a little bit?
With a flight time under one hour, we didn't get very high in the sky and there's something to be said for flying over the Hawaiian islands and being able to look down at all of the beautiful coves and sandy beaches. I was happy to have a window seat.
Landing in Honolulu, I dropped off my luggage with an off-site storage service, then boarded the first bus headed towards Pearl Harbor.
One of the first things I came across was the waterfront memorial, where 52 monuments stand in tribute to the 52 submarines lost during WWII.
Each monument had the ship's name and the men lost at sea.
Most people who plan in advance go to the USS Arizona Memorial while at Pearl Harbor. Since I simply showed up here this afternoon, the USS Arizona was sold out & I took the bus over to Ford Island to go see the USS Missouri instead.
You can see the Arizona Memorial in the above picture, the large white structure in the water at the top right.
The Arizona Memorial stands over the wreck of the USS Arizona, bombed by the Japanese and destroyed to the point that it couldn't be salvaged like other ships attacked at Pearl Harbor.
1,117 crewmen and officers died aboard the Arizona.
The monumental, concrete islands you see mark the other ships struck in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The USS Missouri sits here at Pearl Harbor because it was the site of the surrender by the Empire of Japan to end WWII.
(The above document is the Instrument of Surrender signed by the Japanese, Americans and various other army leaders representatives.)
The interior of the U.S.S. Missouri was amazingly restored and up kept.
I've never been on a battleship before, so it was really impressive to explore the maze of amenities and tight quarters.
I had ulterior motives in going over to Ford Island for the USS Missouri as I knew about a disused/abandoned control tower at Pearl Harbor.
I had to laugh once I was actually over here though, as with the controlled access, buses you couldn't get off and military housing all around - it was comical what was actually on the ground after seeing the words and pictures of a disused control tower online.
So much for that one!
As for the whole experience, Pearl Harbor moved me more than I ever imagined. I know I'm not an American - as much as I travel there and love America - but standing at the harbor and envisioning the atrocities that happened upon this seemingly idyllic cove; actually brought tears to my eyes. It felt odd to be welling up as families took smiling group shots nearby.
For the afternoon I bussed 11 miles across Honolulu to the Waikiki area. I didn't have much interest in seeing Honolulu - or more accurately, I didn't have the extra time - so I went right to Waikiki.
Apparently a friend of a friend knew about my travels and questioned why I'd go to Waikiki, as it didn't seem like my 'type of place'.
They were correct. Gucci stores, Hard Rock Cafes, large crowds...I mean the beach was nice, but the beach was also tiny as the resorts are built right onto it & you have very little space to move from beach to beach (it's a law in Hawaii that you can't make the beach itself private).
Plus, y'know, I couldn't bring my shopping cart onto the beach at Waikiki.
Although, after Don and Steve's failed attempts to find a mai tai in Windsor after visiting 15 different bars, I was pretty excited to get one in Waikiki and subsequently bust their chops about it.
I was envisioning getting one right on the beach in Waikiki, with a mai tai overlooking the mountain and beautiful beaches here. The problem was the aforementioned resorts, which all line the shore and keep peasants walking along.
The best I could find was a Mexican place only one block up from the beach; but this wasn't Windsor anymore, so even a Mexican spot made fantastic mai tais.
"A guy has to go to Hawaii just if he wants a mai tai?!?" - it was all worth it though to send the above picture to Don.
In addition, now I can relate to all of these rap lines...
It ended up being pretty close to my flight time by the time I had a second mai tai at the Mexican spot, waited forever for the bus, then iceheads0 kept pulling the cord when they thought they were close to their stop, not getting off the bus, but waiting until the bus started moving and pulling the cord again to stop at the next stop (sometimes doing this 3 or 4 times).
I was actually more worried about making my meeting with the dude who had stored my luggage and bicycle for me; as I left plenty of time after that to catch my red eye flight.
Reading about Bill Bryson's adventures in England while sipping on another mai tai at the Honolulu airport, I was ready to continue onto the next leg of my own.
Continue onward to the next leg of this journey...
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|Hawaii, Day 1: North||Hawai'i, Day 2: East||Hawai'i, Day 3: Mauna Kea||Hawai'i, Day 4: South||Hawai'i, Day 5: Oahu - Pearl Harbor, Waikiki|
|New Zealand, Day 1: Kaipara North Head, Dargaville||New Zealand, Day 2: Cape Reinga||New Zealand, Day 3/4/5: Thru North Island & Back||New Zealand, Day 5/6/7/8/9: The Wedding|
|California: Fort Point, Sacramento Kings & Gold Country Courthouses||California: Preston Castle, Ione|
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1 - USS Arizona Memorial - Wikipedia
2 - USS Missouri - Wikipedia
3 - USS California - Wikipedia