November 2, 2017
I do not read Japanese! And if the settings on your GPS have been changed to Japanese it’s really hard to figure out how to change the language when you can’t read the directions. So, I did the only thing a girl can do when faced with such hardships… beg the car rental attendant for help. But I finally made it off to the windward side of the island. You know, I’ve been thinking about it and if I lived here I think I’d be a windward girl. It seems just a little more relaxed, and cooler (because of the trade winds).
I started the day with a trip to Kualoa Ranch for an ATV tour. In addition to offering tours and ziplining they are also a working 4000-acre ranch. They farm shrimp, fruit, and raise beef cattle. And on top of all that they are one of the biggest filming locations on the islands. They’ve filmed scenes from Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Fifty First Dates, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, and Kong: Scull Island just to name a few. But more than all that, it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
We started the tour with a quick instruction video where I learned that to turn right you turn the handle bars to the right. My world will never be the same. Then we were off! They don’t let you take pictures while you’re driving, but they stop several times along the way for photo ops. My tour was two hours long, but I would have happily kept riding for another couple hours to see more of the scenery.
There was a movie filming there today called The Islands. According to IMDB it is “The sweeping, epic movie based on the incredible true stores of Hawaii’s beginnings from Captain Cook’s arrival to King Kamehameha’s unification wars through the chaotic last months of the monarchy of Queen Liliuokalani.” I mean, I’d watch it.
After the ATV tour I had originally planned to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center this afternoon. But the vog still has the island extra hot and hazy so I decided to postpone that until tomorrow. Instead I headed back ‘Iolani Palace, and enjoy my afternoon in air conditioning.
‘Iolani Palace is the only royal residence in within the United States. It had electricity and telephones before the White House, and indoor running hot and cold water, along with several bathrooms. It was commissioned by King David Kalakaua who was the second elected monarch of Hawaii. He was the first Hawaiian king to travel around the world, and wanted a house that helped show that Hawaii was a strong and independent country. The building itself is considered “American Florentine” and is seen nowhere else in the world.
In 1893 during the reign of Queen Liliuokalani the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown. In 1895 royalists launched a rebellion against the new government. Ultimately their attempt failed leading to the arrest and imprisonment of several royalists as well as Queen Liliuokalani. She was imprisoned in a sparsely furnished bedroom on the second floor with a handmaiden that willingly joined the queen in imprisonment. While imprisoned the queen composed music as well as sewing and embroidering a quilt. After eight months of imprisonment Queen Liliuokalani abdicated her throne in return for release for herself and jailed supporters. This included releases for six royalists that had been sentenced to death.
After the royals were evicted from the palace it became an office building for the new government, all the original furnishings were sold off. In 1930 the interiors were remodeled, replacing the wood framing with concrete and steel. The palace was added to the National Historic Landmark in 1962. Restoration began in 1969 after the new State Capital was built. Restoration was complete in 1978 and was opened to visitors. They have recovered as many of the furnishing as they could find, but are always on the lookout for more. Keep your eyes peeled at garage sales for royal artifacts!
During my conversations with folks today I learned that everyone here has a cousin who is in pharmacy school at Pacific University, near my home town. Luckily, I have a cousin who went through the pharmacy program at Pacific as well, so we have a lot to talk about.
I ended the day with a stop at the ABC Market for that lilikoi cheesecake; and a macaron for good measure. Mmm…