Monday, March 8, 2010
Stories, much like life, wind and wend
Through stages of beginning, middle and end
This chapter ends with much success,
Filled with excitement and just a wee bit of stress'
With rest & relaxation as the overarching trend
Friday started with an Island hop
As we made Waikiki our final stop
Oahu has a much different pace
As people seem to be all over the place
From our 33rd floor room, we went out on top
Our visit to Pearl Harbor had an effect
As it caused us to take time to pause and reflect
On how war and its incessant ensuing strife
Can have a huge impact on a individual's life
And leave a world that's partially wrecked
We toured the city for sights to see
As we marveled at mountains and ogled the sea
As our energy diminished, we brightened our mood
By stopping in Wailua for good Mexican food
Then returned to the hotel named for the Banyan Tree
Our final day dawned sunny and bright
As we summoned the courage, strength and might
To pack our bags and head for home
As the time has ended for us to roam
And our odyssey ended with a much smoother plane flight
In general, I think things went quite well
As we enjoyed the company of Aunt Eula Belle
We'll miss the sunsets, and the soft ocean breeze
The sight of whales jumping and Merlin's knees
But the memories and photos will provide a great story to tell
Our trip comes to an end with a 48 hour visit to Honolulu. We packed up and bade farewell to Makahuena and headed off to the Lihue airport. With only 6 gates check-in is pretty quick so we had time to eat some sandwiches and play cards while we waited for our flight. When we landed, I rushed off to get our car and returned with a Jeep from Enterprise which had less legroom but more suitcase capacity. We piled in and took the scenic route in to Waikiki where we checked in to the Aston Banyon, on the east end of Waikiki a block from the beach. We had a 1 BR with 3 beds and kitchen on the 33rd floor with a great view of Diamond Head. Mary, Dianna, And I ruched down to catch a sunset and arrived just as it plopped into the ocean and before a rain shower greeted us. Merlin & Mary had stayed in the Hilton Prince Kuhio next door a few years ago, so we picked their restaurant for a meal and were served 1 foot diameter plates of Chinese Chicken Salad, Beef Stew, and Chicken Fried Steak. Fortunately it was a short walk back to our hotel and the elevator was sized for extra capacity. No internet connection was available, so I needed to save up my memories for a recap when I got back to Portland.
We had to be up early for our Grayline tour so we bounced out of bed and were picked up by our bus and its driver Ty for a full day of sightseeing. Tickets often sell out for the Arizona Memorial as tourists are shuttled by boat 150 at a time, so we hurried to ge our tickets. The Visitor Center is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation and is partially open. so we milled arounfd until our 9:20 boat arrived. It was sunny but windy and our visit to the Arizona was sombre and emotioanlly powerful. Eula had lost a chilhood friend, CV Lee Jr. and she found his name in the center of the plaque. We then headed over by bus to the USS Missouri, the site of the signing of the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on Sept 2nd 1945. I had hoped to pick up more of a peace vibe but both the Arizona nad the Missouri resonated with the sense of sadness and loss that war brings. There never seems to be a winner when war is the mindset... We ate at the Missouri and then had a bus tour of Honolulu on the way home including a drive through the National Cemetery at Punchbowl. I had hoped we would stop since my dad had always told an eerie story of their 1984 visit when he sat down after walking the grounds and found we was seated next to a marker for T.J. Ponder. No stopping is allowed these days, so we drove on through and arrived back at the hotel by 3:00.
Since we had a car and some wanderlust, we drove out East toward Hanauma Bay but found the $7.50 charge/person a little steep. We worked our way around past scenic visitas to Kailua where we found a Mexican restaurant as a change of pace. We had a good meal and still made it back in time to catch a sunset by coming back on the Pali Hwy. We came home and started pre-packing before some card-playing. When everyone went to bed, I decided to stroll around Waikiki since it was only 9:00 and it gave me a little more sense of the Waikiki nightlife. I'm definitely more of a Kauai lifestyle kind of guy.
Leisurely morning as we packed and then headed into the heart of Waikiki so Mary could see the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. My dad had talked about playing volleyball on the grounds of the hotel when he was stationed here in 1944-45 so it was fun to imagine what life was like 65 years ago. Parking was a challenge, but I was able to find a small lot after dropping people off and letting everyone people-watch. Eula finally got to visit one of the ubiquitous ABC Stores, so with our checklist complete, we returned to the hotel, packed up and headed to the airport. Our flight left a little late, but the pilots shifted into high gear and we had a smooth and uneventful flight home. Merry picked us up about midnight and we gratefully got to bed about 1:00 AM. All in all, I think we can mark this trip down in the plus column as, from waht I saw, we all had aventuresd we enjoyed. I'll let the internet cool off for a few days and then I'll comment on how reentry to non-vacation life progressed. Aloha & Mahalo...