Oahu, Hawaii

Early morning on Waikiki Beach
June 2, 2012     Arriving in Oahu three days ago, we spent the first 10 hours sleeping, or trying to sleep, to recover from jet lag.  With the 6-hour time difference plus the 5-hour layover in Phoenix we had an eighteen-hour travel day.  But we bounced back quickly and took off the next morning to explore.

Park near Waikiki at foot of Diamond Head
Oahu is the most populated of the Hawaiian Islands.  There are almost one million residents in Honolulu County and an estimated 4 ½ million visitors a year.  Even though the city of Honolulu is like many other large cities with an over extended highway system, and legendary traffic jams, the Waikiki area has numerous parks, gorgeous old trees and several varieties of birds that we were unfamiliar with. 

Diamond Head Beach
Staying just a short walk from Waikiki Beach, our first morning we went down to scope things out and wound up walking up to Diamond Head State Park.  We decided to hike to the top of the ancient volcanic crater another day, but the overviews on the walk up the side of the mountain road were beautiful.  The waters below us, at Diamond Head, were packed with surfers all vying for the next “big one.”

Lunch of red snapper with a sweet and sour sauce and sticky rice topped with seaweed, at a beach side snack bar, fortified us for an afternoon of lounging on the beach.  As evening approaches, throngs of people move along the sidewalks into shops and restaurants.  A hula show featuring native Hawaiian musicians and an Elvis impersonator with hula girls were among the entertainment we stopped to watch.  On Friday night, we enjoyed a short but spectacular firework show over the water.
USS Arizona Memorial
Pearl Harbor is the most visited site on the island with over one million visitors each year.  It is home of the USS Arizona Memorial, the resting place of 1102 of the 1177 sailors who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  The Japanese attack led directly to the U.S. involvement in WWII.  The sunken remains of the battleship lie beneath the Memorial, which is accessible by boat.   The Memorial is a solemn reminder of the heavy cost of war.  Also available for tour is the nearby WWII diesel submarine, the USS Bowfin, the USS Missouri Battleship and the Pacific Aviation Museum.  We opted for use of audio tapes, narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, that provided additional historical perspective on the Memorial.

On to exploring other parts of the island tomorrow. 

USS Arizona Memorial

Overlooking Diamond Head Beach

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach

Overlooking Diamond Head Beach
Tree of Life at Memorial

Brazilian Cardinal

Lighthouse at Diamond Head

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