Art, architecture, history, travel

Honolulu 1979 Final Post

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Honolulu Final Post

Today was a long day as we crossed the international dateline. . .

It was a rough flight from Osaka (Itami/ITM) to Honolulu (HNL), once again on Pan Am. Jim got sick. The flight attendants (we used to call them stewardesses) were very nice. For part of the flight I talked to an 18 year old Japanese girl. She was going to visit her aunt in Hawaii by herself-–her first time abroad. She was a little scared.

Got to Hawaii about 10:00 am and cleared customs easily. We’re back in the Untied States now. I know for most people Hawaii is an exotic port of call but it seems tame to us after being in Asia so long. Good to be back in the United States. Big gas guzzling cars, US currency, telephones and everyone speaks English. It just takes a little something away not to have to struggle to get everything you want. It took a while to get used to that. People just stare when you start using broken pidgin English when they understand everything perfectly.

Took a limousine to the Aloha Pacific Hotel, where we decided to stay. Aloha Pacific Hotel a moderately priced hotel. Just three blocks from the beach at Waikiki. (one of my top ten favorite places)

After a nap of about two hours and time change we get to spend yesterday all over again and make up for the day we lost coming over from SFO. We went downtown to do some sightseeing. We saw the Iolani palace, city hall and the famous statue of Kameamea, the last king of Hawaii. My grandmother gave the number of a friend of hers who lives in Honolulu and I gave her a call. We saw a little kid at the capitol, I think it could have been Barack Obama.

Walked back to Waikiki and stopped for a beer—Budweiser of course. We’re back to those twelve ounce bottles again. Walked around the tourist area and had dinner at a Walgreens.

Honolulu is beautiful

Monday

Hawaii is made up of a chain of volcanic islands in the center of the great Pacific ocean about 20 degrees north of the equator and the geographic southern point of the United States. I visited the western most geographical point in Attu, Alaska with Katie in 2006.

Slept till ten. Spent the morning on administrative things, changing our flight home. It takes time but you got to do it., bought flowers for Katie and sent her a postcard. When those flowers arrived in Cincinnati from Hawaii, including bird of paradise, her mother must have thought I was a keeper. I was still courting my wife at the time. Not even engaged and living in separate cities to boot.

After settling everything I took a bus down to Diamond Head, the old volcano crater, that is the landmark of Honolulu–then rode back to town to catch #52 bus which circles the greater part of Oahu. All for the price of a regular bus ride, twenty five cents

The bus went through sugar cane and pineapple fields, up along the northern and eastern parts of the island. We then rode along the Pauli Highway and ended up back downtown. Last year,2008, we learned this had all moved to the Philippines because of high labor costs.

I spent seven hours on the bus and it all cost only twenty five cents. Got home abut 11:00 p. m.

One reaches Waikiki after crossing the canal. Kalakaua street is now one way going west, downtown. In 2008, we stayed at the Korean hotel.

Tuesday Honolulu/Maui

Today we got up at 4:30 to catch our 6:00 am flight to Maui. Thank goodness they gave us free coffee at the airport.

Once on Maui we rented a car and found a hotel-just a cabin along the roadside-the Silversword-named for a type of shrub that grows in the area. Silversword link accessed 8/13/09

Drove along the Northeast coast of Maui along the highway that leads to the town of Hana.

.

Figure 1 The Silversword Plant

The scenery was beautiful. We passed many waterfalls and drove along the coast. Stopped in one place for a hike-about two hours. Through muddy fields, bamboo forests and across more streams to two more waterfalls. Started driving back about eight o’clock after skipping a buffet dinner. Got stuck in a traffic jam-waiting to pull some wrecked cars off the road. Got back to the hotel about eleven. Went to bed.

Wednesday Maui

Today we got up at 3:30 am and drove to the top of Haleakala to view the sunrise. One of my favorite, top ten favorite places. It was not as spectacular as I expected but still worth the trip. Haleakala is ten thousand feet above sea level and is an extinct volcano, once used to practice moon landings.

We drove into a town, got gas and breakfast, called home then drove to Lahaina an old whaling town refurbished into a tourist delight. Drove on to the beach where we spent about and hour.

Spent the afternoon driving along the coast on the western side of Maui. The scenery was spectacular. A rugged coast and even a blowhole.

Had a Mai tai in a bar in Lahaina drove around the Northern coast, had Chinese food at McDonalds.

Returned the rented car, went to the airport at Kahului and flew back to Honolulu on the nine o’clock flight. Hawaiian airlines.

Thursday 26 July Honolulu

The last full day of the trip

Did something special, went to Pearl Harbor this morning. The navy provides a free boat out to the Arizona Memorial. A monument straddles the sunken ship only a few rusted towers protrude from the water. It is a very moving experience.

Next I went to the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in America. Except for the restored woodwork and one table and carpet, the palace is almost bare. The tour, which was conducted by a volunteer, was excellent. The guide could convey her feelings toward Hawaii and the palace by her descriptions of the various rooms.

Had pork tofu lunch at an interesting little café. Then rode the bus out to Kokohead another extinct volcano. Iolani Palace accessed 8/13/09

Figure 2 Iolani Palace Honolulu


Figure 3 Hawaii State Capitol

Rode back to a shopping center then walked back to Waikiki and down to the Hilton beach for some sunbathing. Watched the sunset.

Note: I returned to Oahu in October 2008, this time with Katie who had become my wife. The Ala Moana shopping mall was Hawaii’s largest and still in existence 30 years later. Bubba Gumps Unlike other cities with urban sprawl there is nowhere else to go so they have continuously expanded and improved this mall over the years including a Hilo Hattie. We ate at Bubba Gumps this time we rode home in a taxi.

Honolulu, after Los Angeles, has the second highest traffic congestion of any city in the United States.

Came back to the hotel at 8:00 pm, got my journal, had a beer and finished writing. Met a student from Japan and exchanged gifts. Had a drink and a final walk on the beach.

Apparently split up from Jim and David for neither of them remembered going to Pearl Harbor or the shopping mall. David denies ever having swum in the Pacific Ocean even though he lives in Long Beach.

Friday July 27, 1979 Honolulu /San Francisco

Got up at eight a.m. and went to the beach for about an hour. Waikiki is one of the greatest beaches and one of my top ten favorite places in the world. Took a shower and rode out to the airport. Met Jim and David on the bus they got on at a later stop. Picked up a letter from Katie-general delivery.

Checked in at United our plane stopped at Hilo on the big island.-before continuing to San Francisco. We caught the jet stream so it was a quick flight. The service wasn’t as good as on Pan Am.

Called Dr. Wilson after landing. He gave us a quick tour of town in his El Dorado. We even saw his house-Pat Brown lives next door. Boarded our 1:oo am flight for St. Louis. David stayed in SFO to visit Fischmann.



Saturday

Slept during the flight. Made some phone calls during our one hour stopover in Houston. The Hibbetts were already in St. Louis so they weren’t answering the phone. We did wake Gladys up-it was about 6:30 am.

A quick flight to St. Louis and we were home. Mom and Dad met us at the plane.

The End of a GREAT TRIP

Post script

After returning home we received many cards and letters from the many friends we had made on the trip. Our mother was glad for us to return. She was happy for our adventure. We learned that Dr. Wilson and Eddie the communist became fast traveling buddies and went on many trips together. We were invited to give a talk at the church about our trip.

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