Sun July 15
- get some malassadas ("hot fresh goodness") in Kailua
- drive to house of friend MC and family in Honolulu
- drive to friend MC cabin in the Wai'anae mountains and hang out to late afternoon with MC, wife, and kids
- dinner at Lucy's in Kailua
- stargazing at Kailua Beach
- hotel and crash
Mon July 16
- drive to Pearl Harbor
- see USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin submarine, USS Missouri, and Pacific Aviation Museum
- drive to Waikiki, park, do some emergency shopping and cleanup for dinner
- tasty sushi dinner at Sansei in Waikiki Marriott
- walk down main Waikiki drag, do some shopping
- walk along Waikiki Beach
- hotel and crash
Tues July 17
- fantastic hike up Kuli'ou'ou Ridge north of Honolulu
- walk to Manoa Falls
- hotel, scarf down leftovers, sit on porch and do Internet, crash
Sunday, July 15
We grabbed some malassadas from Agnes's in Kailua and zipped up to the house of MC's family in the Nu'uanu Valley. They have a lovely house with a great front living room that used to be an enclosed porch, old-fashioned double-hung windows that squeak wonderfully, and a nice backyard with fruit trees.
We drove over to the Wai'anae Mountains and up to their cabin way up near the ridge. It's a simple, rustic place perfect for hanging out, chatting, and having lunch. It was great to catch up with MC as I haven't seen him and his wife NC in many years. The visit ended far too early, but they had to get home and get the twins' evening started.
C and I went into Kailua and had dinner at Lucy's Grill. Duck and fish were our selections, along with a couple drinks, and afterwards we walked to Kailua Beach and C taught me some constellations I never knew before we headed back to the hotel for the night.
Monday, July 15
The day was devoted to a visit to Pearl Harbor and all the museums there: the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin submarine, the USS Missouri, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
The USS Arizona was touching - it's a nice simple memorial with a lot of meaning. I was worried at first about what the focus would be but it really went for the personal stories of the tragic day and presented information from both the US and Japanese participants to really flesh out the scene. What touched me the most were the US soldiers talking about their friend and compatriots and how, even now, they go to the memorial and see the names of their friends and immediately see their faces and know that this is the place where they died (and are buried).
After that, I checked out USS Bowfin submarine. This confirmed for me that there's no way I'd survive life in the cramped, warm, humid space of a submarine even if they did have really good food. Emerging from the submarine onto the deck was a joyful breath of cool, dry air, which shows one how bad it gets in a submarine.
The USS Missouri was impressively massive, both horizontally and vertically. Now I could see being on a ship like that, if I were to be an armed forces person. Overall, I like the open water the most but the Missouri really is too big for me - I think I'll have to check out one of those "work a real clipper ship" adventures one day.
The Pacific Aviation Museum was good, with recreations of various planes and presentations on their importance during WWII. There was also a nice film covering the history and influences leading up to WWII, and short films on various important battles. Interestingly, these battles were usually for pieces of land in the South Pacific that were barely big enough to hold one or two landing strips. Yet, pitched and bloody battles were fought for these small dots of land in a large ocean.
Overall, I realized I don't know a lot about WWII and should learn more about this war because it really did shape the current state of world history and politics. We picked up a couple books and vowed to learn more.
After that, C and I crawled through traffic into Waikiki. We realized we were a complete grime-fest, so we did a little shopping for cheap, easy clothes, went to the hotel bathroom and cleaned up, then had some tasty sashimi and rolls in Sansei (contained within the Waikiki Marriott complex). After dinner, we wandered the shops and beach in Waikiki (a town that apparently doesn't sleep very much) and headed back to Kane'ohe.
Tuesday, July 17
Tuesday was the day of hiking. We decided to tackle the Kuli'ou'ou Ridge Trail which goes to the top of some peaks north of Waikiki. Halfway up, we met Larry and Caprice, a military couple making the hike for the second time and walked with them the rest of the way. Larry had been there before, so it was really helpful to have someone who could say "we're not much farther" or "this is the worst stretch of steps".
At the end, we were rewarded with an AMAZING view of Oahu, stretching from beyond Diamond Head around to Kane'ohe. I don't like open heights but I was still stunned and only a little nervous by where we were standing and what we could see. It was a perfectly clear day and the view was marvelous. We stayed at the top for a while, looking at the sights, then finally headed back when the wind and clouds starting kicking up. C and I had a great time hiking with Larry and Caprice and bid them a fond farewall and best wishes.
After that, we quickly drove to Manoa Falls and did the walk to the falls. It wasn't too bad and was more of a top-off to the big hike. We didn't go under the falls or in the pool (the big "DANGER" and "LEPTOSPIRIDOSOS" signs kept us out), but it was a nice walk there and back.
We went by the store to get a few things and headed back to the hotel to eat leftovers, drink mojitos, hang out on the hotel veranda and do email and Internet, then call it a night.
Tomorrow (Wednesday, me thinks) is snorkeling, surfing lesson, and Big Official Anniversary Dinner at La Mer.
Thursday is a daring hike up the Haiku Stairs and a tandem parasail ride. It will be a day of chattering nerves for me.
Friday we return to Sacramento. Sigh. The end of the vacation is in sight.