Sunday, August 2, 2009

Whirlwind Tour of Oahu


We arrived on Friday morning, a "Ground Hog Day" for us because we had already lived through more than half of Friday in Guam. Tired from 11 hours of flying, we didn't get much more done than ogle the sights at Ala Moana Shopping Center. [Can you say, "Jamba Juice"?]


Saturday was a bit more inspired, but even I managed to sleep in past 8 am (normally I never sleep past 6:30) and we didn't get going until around 10:30. We met Sherry, Mike, and their two sons, Ethan and Alex, for lunch at Sam Choy's where we caught up on all the latest information. After lunch, we spent a couple of hours exploring Iolani Palace. I lived in Hawaii for nearly 7 years (not continuously) and I hadnever visited the palace. It was beautiful and we learned a lot about Hawaiian history. The self-guided audio tour is great; Drew nearly cried when he heard the king had died and all the happy bunting and celebrations were changed to mourning.

We returned to the hotel to swim in the pool and ocean and eat dinner at Bibas. It was a quiet night watching television.


We knew today was going to be busy and it was. We attended the service at Pearl Harbor Subase Chapel. Instead of the congregation of retired submariners, the chapel held a handful of younger members in a contemporary service. I really missed singing The Navy Hymn and the in-depth description of a submarine lost during World War II, but the sermon was good and the stained glass windows were still there.

A quick lunch and the Arizona Memorial were next. I have my flag and certificate attesting to having flown over the Arizona Memorial when I re-enlisted in 1987. I remember I didn't even buy breakfast for my re-enlisting officer, Captain Heaton, and for that I am truly remorseful. I certainly didn't understand military etiquette. Gregg wanted to tour Ford Island, so we drove over, a true novelty as only a ferry linked Ford Island with the main island when I was stationed here.

Then it was on to the Dole Plantation and its Guiness Book of World Records Winning Maze. We didn't come anywhere close to the record for finishing the maze (8 minutes, in case you were wondering), but had a great time navigating it. Drew gives it two thumbs up! Some pineapple juice and pineapple ice cream for the road and we were on our way back to the hotel to change clothes and slather sunscreen for a trek to Diamond Head. We were taking our leisurely time until I noted we had to be in the park by 4:30pm. The current time was 4:08pm. We grabbed the receptionist's attention and asked, What is the fastest way to get to Diamond Head?" She said, "By car."

Quickly piling in, we whipped in and out of Honolulu traffic, every light magically turning green as we approached. We made it through the gates at 4:25pm. Snatching bottles of water at the base of the crater, we started our hike upwards. Drew led the pack and we were treated to breathtaking views of Waikiki.

For dinner, we wanted to recreate our dinners at a local Thai restaurant. Back in 1994, Gregg and I would buy our alcohol at Safeway then walk over to Mekong. We couldn't find it on a brief run through the neighborhood and everyone was starving so it was one last dinner at the food court at Ala Moana. [Jamba Juice again!]

Gregg, Anna and Drew went down to the pool for one last swim and now we're busy packing for a very early morning flight to Legoland!