October 31, 2017
I spent today driving around the island and exploring! Getting going this morning was a bit slow; there were some issues with the GPS in the rental car, but once I got on the road it was… also slow. Traffic in Honolulu can get pretty bad but I was finally able to make it to my fist stop, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument to visit the USS Arizona.
Being at the location where 2403 people, including 68 civilians, perished in an attack that lasted less than hour is sobering to say the least. It is a beautiful memorial and if you are ever on Oahu it is must take the time to visit. It is also wonderful to hear about how Americans come together in times when our country is threatened. There is a great video that talks about the causes of and responses to the attack; it is shown before getting on the boat to head out to the memorial and should not be missed.
A couple things to note… they only give out a certain number of tickets each day. You can reserve ahead of time online, or go on the day of to see if they have any tickets available. Tickets are free. They don’t allow you to bring bags of any type into the memorial, so be prepared to leave them in the car or pay the $4 fee to have them checked. Cell phones are only allowed for pictures while visiting the Arizona. And if you make a wrong turn on your way to the memorial and end up at the guard shack to the base with men in fatigues carrying automatic weapons, don’t worry! They’re really nice and will point you in the right direction. (Not that I know from personal experience or anything.) The main thing is to just be cool, man. Be cool!
After leaving the memorial I headed into the heart of Honolulu to visit the ‘Iolani Palace. I was super excited about this because I love house museums and this seemed like the greatest house museum of all! Which is why I’m so disappointed to report that I couldn’t get to it. I tried, oh boy I tried, but I could not find parking, and then when I thought I had there was a sign saying it was closed. I might see if I can try again on Friday.
From there it was a drive to Waikiki Beach and the on to the Windward side of the island (east side). It was such a beautiful drive! I stopped at basically every view point I could find. I think I might be made to live on an island, there is nothing I love more than the ocean and this place is surrounded by it!
I headed inland after a while to visit the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. This spot is known as the coldest and windiest place on Oahu. So just my luck, I was at the overlook when the promised rainstorm finally arrived. But you know what, I’m a loud and proud Oregonian and if I was stopped every time it rained, I’d be in my house from November to June. Also, their coldest turned out to be 77 degrees, and the rain was warm. Frankly I rather enjoyed it. I mean, it melted off whatever makeup was left on my face, but I think sweating in the morning had taken care of most of that any way.
Nu’uanu Pali is famous for being the location of the Battle of Nu’uanu in 1795 that finally united the island of Oahu under the reign of King Kamehameha. During the battle is believed that over 700 soldiers were killed by falling, or being pushed off the cliff. So that’s cheery.
Fun Fact: You are not supposed to carry pork in your car when you drive through the pass because according to legend the windward side of the island belongs to Kamapuaa this pig god and the other side belongs to his ex-girlfriend Pele. Apparently, they don’t get along and Kamapuaa will stall out our car until it won’t work at all anymore. Luckily, I only had beef jerky with me.
Next it was out the Dole Plantation. It has a huge maze, a garden to explore, and a train ride that takes you around the working part of the plantation. And they don’t just grow pineapples, they have a variety of native plants including sugar cane, cacao, bananas and star fruit among others. Not to mention the giant gift shop full of, you guessed it, pineapple merchandise! But most importantly, they have Dole Whip! The pineapple soft serve of Disney Tiki Room fame.
We love Dole Whip in my family! We even bought a soft serve machine and a giant bag of mix so that we can make it ourselves. It is now a part of family tradition to have Dole Whip anytime we’re all together, like for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, you know I got a big ole’ bowl of that!
To finish off my island drive I headed up to the North Shore and found a place to eat my Dole Whip while looking out at the ocean. It was perfect way to top off a day of exploring the island.
Tonight, Aulani is hosting a family Halloween Party, complete with costumes, crafts and candy! Might have to go check that out, even if it just to get some of the candy and to get to hear that elevator music again!