Surf's Up

Trip Start Jan 06, 2010
Trip End Mar 12, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday 19th Jan 2010
Plane arrived just about on time and the hotel pickup service was there to meet me.It was nice and warm at 26 C. That's more like it! The Ohana East Hotel seems a nice and friendly place and the room is comfortable, it even has a small balcony with a couple of chairs and table, just the job for taking the evening air whilst sipping a aperitif before dinner. I dumped my bags and went out to get my bearings. The Waikiki beach is just for surf bums, and there are lots of up-market shops, they have even got a Ferrari shop, just like Rome. I had a nice evening meal which cost me 24 bucks (15) and then ripped me off $9.50 for a beer (5.80). Won't go back there again! Had a nightcap at the hotel and turned in…

Wednesday 20th Jan 2010
Early start again, to catch the 6.45 a.m. coach to do the Pearl Harbour tour. The driver/tour guide was very good... they have to be to earn their tips! First stop was the welcome centre where the guide went and got our tickets. We had an hour to wait for our slot, which I didn't mind as it gave me the chance to grab a bite of breakfast and look round the museum. They even had 3 surviving Pearl Harbour veterans there signing copies of the official history, at a price of course! First we were shown a film explaining what actually happened at Pearl Harbour. Then we were put on a large launch and taken out to the USS Arizona Memorial barge, which is anchored over the sunken remains of the USS Arizona, which is the grave of over 1,000 sailors and soldiers. Some of the rusting gun turrets protrude above the surface and other parts of the superstructure can be seen just below the surface. There is also a slight oil slick on the surface. When the ship went down it was fueled ready for sea with over a million gallons (u.s.) of diesel on board. It is estimated that about a quart a day is still seeping out.

  Next stop was the Battleship the USS Missouri. This ship was originally commissioned in June 1944 and it is where the signing of the Japanese surrender took place. It was moth-balled in Feb1955, and was re-commissioned in May 1985 and re-fitted and modernised. It was used in the first Gulf war and fired 32 of its 36 Tomahawk missiles. The remaining 4 couldn't be used as they were fitted with nuclear warheads! It also used its 9 enormous 16in. Guns which could fire at a range of 23 miles.

   On our return the driver took us through the Military Pacific cemetery which is in the bowl of a defunct volcano. He also pointed out the former Royal Hawaiian Palace and the statue of the last King of Hawaii King Kalakaua I.

   I went to a sports bar for dinner, had a pizza for less that $20 and that was with 2 beers, result! Then I returned to the hotel to catch up on my blog only to find that the Internet connection had gone down... oh well back to the balcony and a nightcap.The next update from your roving reporter will be from Oz....

Thursday 21st Jan 2010
Lazy start, today’s tour doesn’t start until 10:30. Went and had a leisurely breakfast at a place the concierge recommended, called Dukes. This is an open sided atap on the beach.  Great sea view as your having your breakfast which is the full monty for only $12, so I had the works! When I got back to the hotel I discovered that the internet connection was up again, so I published yesterday’s blog before heading for the coach. Today’s trip was to the Polynesian Culture centre, yeah before you say it I could do with a bit of culture!  It took about 40 minutes to get there from Waikiki and we had to cross the central mountain range which provided some spectacular mountain scenery. It was a bit more cloudy on the Windward side of the island. I thought it was a bit misty, but the driver called it "vog" which is a word the islanders use for the volcanic smoke that sometimes gets blown across from one of the active volcanoes on one of the other islands.

The centre has areas showing the heritage and traditions of the Polynesian nations which include Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti and Atearoa (NZ).  It took all afternoon to go round the different nation’s displays, which also included a canoe pageant. At six o’clock we were treated to a Traditional Hawaiian meal called a “Lu 'au”. The pig had been cooked in the traditional way in a pit wrapped in banana leaves. It melted in the mouth. After dinner they put on a show called “Breath of Life” which was a portrayal of how a Polynesian lived from the cradle to the grave, which included all the traditional ceremonies of birth, coming of age, marriage and finally death.

   I arrived back at the hotel at 10:45 p.m.  totally knackered, but having had another great day out. I had a quick nightcap, the tour was totally dry, and headed for my room to pack my case, once again, and collapse into bed.

Watch out OZ here I come....

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