How could we not stop in Honolulu on the way out. We had a driver pick us up at the airport, haul us around town all day and then back to the airport. Made life quite simple and we got to see a lot of the island with out much hassle.
First thing was Pearl Harbor. It is really important to get there early. You stand in a line where they give you a ticket which tells you what time you get to see the USS Arizona. We got there at 1045 and our ticket was for 2pm. That gives you an idea of how many people are there. You can check out other things in that area but we decided to leave and return for the 2pm event.
We drove over to the Dole Pineapple factory which for all intensive purposes doesn't really exist anymore. They own lots of land and there is a small train tour and a huge maze and of course the retail area but picking pineapples and canning them in Hawaii is a dying business. Every pineapple is grown and picked by hand, no machine. Labor costs are too high and a few years ago the Government stopped subsidizing pineapple farming. Needless to say we had a variety of conversations around subsidizing and what we each thought about it. In the end, we decided that subsidizing is something that should be in a five year plan. Help create other businesses in the area but not pull the plug one random day but have some type of Grandfather clause built in. Maybe it does work that way but we weren't sure. The question is what is Dole going to do with all the property that they own. The land is worth plenty. Time will tell. We basically took a walk through the gardens, bought some pineapple goodies and got back in the car.
We drove over to the North Shore where serious surfing goes on when the waves are high. Today, the waves were dead, actually like a bath tub. The area is like a step back into the 60's. I said the area was very organic, Jess said it looked like they smoked a lot of pot. I think she was right on the money. A very mellow part of the world. One guy has a store where he paints surfboards and cranks out music with his kids. Our favorite spot was the local shrimp buses. Shrimp, supposedly local at one point but doubtfully now, is served up in a variety of ways from local buses that have been written all over. We went with the shrimp with lemon sauce, 5 corn and an Oaju bowl which was granola, sliced bananas and a mixed ice berry sauce. All very good. Loved the local vibe too.
We drove back down to Pearl Harbor after lunch and were there about 15 minutes before check in. Just enough time to check out the museum. This is probably one of the best memorials that I have ever been too. Believe me, growing up I went to plenty. My father worked for and in the navy and I saw my share of boats and memorial. Pearl Harbor was really well done. First you see a short documentary to give you the history of the actual day and what happened leading up to it. Then you get on a boat and go out to the actual memorial. The memorial looks like a the bones of a white open hull that is about to be closed in and turned into a big ship. It is set on top of where the USS Arizona sunk. The USS Arizona has never been moved, all the people who died there, stayed there. Inside the memorial there is also a wall with every persons name who died that day on the USS Arizona as well as other people who served on that ship that requested to be buried there. Very moving and really well done. Talking about WWII with the kids afterward and then talking about what is happening in Iraq now is food for thought. Young men were signing up during WWII to serve for their country, the US came together and we moved out of the worst economic downfall. Now we are entering a questionable economic period with a war that has and is costing us millions and nobody wants to go because we aren't exactly fighting for our freedom. Love hearing the kids talk about this stuff.
When the tour ended, we got back in the car and drove over to Waikiki beach. A beautiful park that buts against the beach with high end shopping ( think Madison Avenue ). The water is so packed with swimmers, surfers, sailors, etc that is looks like a playground. Very cool. We hung out at the hotel which is owned by Westin but the hotel is over 100 years old and had a drink on the water. Lower right hand pic.
We left and drove up past Waikiki and into Diamond Head. You can drive up to the park. From afar Diamond Head looks intense but once you drive in there you see a huge crater where a park resides. Really beautiful. We also got to drive through some of the highest end real estate on the island. Sweet spot. See picture below.
At this point we had bagged all the Hawaiian fare and went decided to go to Sasbune for dinner. We had dinner there before in Los Angeles and New York. Unbelievable sushi, we went for the omikase. I could go on and on but the high point was calamari that had been stuffed with Brazilian crab meat, sliced into pieces with a ponzo sauce and toasted sesame seeds over it. A total wow wow wow. Each piece of sushi was better than the next. Well worth the experience. Ambiance, forget about it, it is a hole in the wall but the sushi is unforgettable.
We got on a plane out at 945 pm and headed to Salt Lake City to spend the week with my brother, his wife and their brood to hit the slopes.
Aloha and Maholo.