Scattered Showers

Slightly jet-lagged today – my body tried to wake up at 5, 6 and 7AM local. So I started out a little bit behind. It’s late so this may be short and the Intertubes are not co-operating so may only get a couple of pics.

We dragged ourselves out of bed way too early (for us anyway) to try to make it out to the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor and still didn’t end up getting out there until 11AM. Mostly due to the shuttle ride that wasn’t much of a bargain. Probably should have just bitten the bullet and taken a cab. *shrug* Well, live and learn. Also, since we couldn’t take any bags to the memorial site (heightened security requirements) we managed to forget things like the umbrella (it’s been raining on and off, but fortunately it’s pleasantly warm.) In addition the admission to the memorial is free and it is a very, very popular tourist spot so we knew it was going to be crowded. (Fortunately due to the rain it wasn’t too bad.) And in the end it was worth the hassles.

After we finally got to the visitor’s center (after a detour through the Honolulu airport *grrrr*) we got in line and found we could get on the 1:15pm tour to the memorial site – the National Park Service provides a boat (manned by Navy personel) out to the actual memorial built over the ship. So while we waited for our chance to go out on the boat, we explored the small but really cool museum (and were glad there weren’t MORE tourists out there), popped over to the USS Bowfin Submarine Park to check out the free exhibits there and get a bite to eat. There are some cool exhibits you can actually touch and climb on including a model conning tower of a submarine and periscopes of same.

Went back over just a little while before our scheduled tour to spend money in the gift shop (hey, the money goes to the memorial) before lining up to go into the theater  for the brief documentary on the Pearl Harbor attack, which is really good and is voiced by Abby Bar… I mean Stockard Channing. The ranger who did the intro is obviously really into his job and he blended his practiced spiel with enthusiasm so it didn’t sound either overdone or dry. After the movie, we filed out to the boat for the ride out to the memorial.

We’d been asked to remember that we were going out to what is essentially a cemetery and to please remain silent while on the memorial. Well, for the most part people did so, though once again American parents fail at the basics – parents whose kids are old enough to control themselves were not reminded to do so – you know it is bad when the 2-year-olds are less trouble than the 10-year-olds. *sigh* Also, I know it’s going to sound old-fashioned but, guys, removing your friggin’ hats! Yes, your ball cap counts. Yeesh! (I am married to a gentlemen by the way, folks. Man, I love him!)

The memorial is indescribable. The Arizona sank with full tanks and fuel is still seeping out of them after 60+ years so the area smells like a refinery (not overwhelmingly so, just noticeable.) You can see the rainbow sheen of the oil as it rises slowly to the surface. Contrary to what some reported on the trip sites I read, parts of the ship herself are visible from the memorial. The hall with the names of the crew who went down with her was… well, moving is too trite a word but it is what I have.

One doesn’t get very long on the actual memorial. It was only designed for 200 people at a time and the NPS tries to maximize the number who get a chance to visit. But the time is sufficient; anymore and it might lose some of the impact.

Back on dry land, we thanked the NPS and Navy personnel and ventured out to a few more outdoor exhibits we hadn’t gotten to see earlier due to the rain.

After catching our shuttle back to the Outrigger (no detours via the Airport this time) we decided to head over to the  Halekulani (‘house befitting heaven) for Pau Hana (literally ‘time to stop work’ aka: Happy Hour) in the House Without a Key (from the very first Charlie Chan book – the hotel is on the site of Charlie’s home in that book.) Sat out on their patia to watch the sunset and listen to an incredibly good Hawaiian group, Pa’ahana (which means ‘busy’) doing actual, you know, Hawaiian music. Absolutely wonderful. The group is three cousins, one of whom is very clearly Hawaiian and the other two more obviously of mixed European and Hawaiian heritage. Interestingly the two cousins with more European features have the very Hawaiian names and the lead singer, the very Hawaiian boy, is named Doug.

Paul H, I’ll send you the email I got so you can ask him about the family. (BTW: get your butt to Hawaii! ASAP! And that mother of yours too. You must, must see the Aunties. It is imperative.)

A couple hours and several drinks later, we decided to go find dinner. Wandered through the major shopping areas around our hotel and got lost looking for my first choice of dinner. Ended up back here to have dinner at the hotel restaurant, which was worthwhile.

Tomorrow I am going out for a snorkel trip on the Maitai catamaran. And then either the zoo or hiking Diamond Head. I’ll see if I can add a couple of pics then I’m for bed. Edit: Sorry, no pics tonight. So-called high-speed not being very wiki. 😉




One Response to “Scattered Showers”

  1. Paul says:

    Thanks for reminding me. I was at dinner with the family when I got your text. Made for an interesting discussion about planning a trip to the Islands sooner, rather than later. And yeah, about that email… I’m waiting.

    Talk to you soon.

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