Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oahu Days 1-2

Day 1, Sunday, Nov. 18. Sandy wanted to see the USS Missouri docked in Pearl Harbor. (I honestly didn't know the significance of the ship.)

It was the battleship where the WWII peace treaty was signed. Sandy's sister, Gail, had suggested we take a guided tour like she did in June. It was quite interesting and we learned a lot. Right away we were surprised to see that the deck was made of wood (we expected metal). It was 2 inch thick teak. It turns out that teak is not slippery when wet. We also watched a movie about the history of the Missouri. The last thing it did was fire its guns and cruise missiles in Desert Storm.

Also docked there was the USS Bowfin, a submarine. We took an audio tour of that. What small quarters!

I had really mixed emotions looking at these warships and the torpedoes. As interesting as they were it was sad to think so many people died because of them.

When we visited the Botanic Garden north of Hilo some people suggested we visit the Waimea Audubon Botanic Garden on the North Shore. There's a path to the Waimea Falls, through lots of trees and bushes and flowers from all over the world. The falls weren't that impressive but it interesting to see what they had done to the area. It was like a water hole with a park. There was a life guard and even bleachers set in to the side of the hill. We chose not to swim. The water was cold and it was cloudy and a comfortable temperature. We just enjoyed all the foliage, banana trees, and flowering trees (although there weren't too many of these).

We went through a driving rain to and from this garden but it was only for a few minutes.

(The GPS system continues to be very helpful to us.)

We went to a melodrama put on by a local theater group tonight. It was a lot of fun - just over-top stuff. The setting was typical Hawaiian but different for us. It was in a park under a roof. There were small round tables surrounded by 4 chairs each. These were on concrete tiers with room for about 150. They just had one set. By Hawaiian prices the ticket price was a steal, only $5.

We asked George about the ethnic makeup of the island since almost everyone at the play was caucasian. He said that about 40% caucasian, about 40% Japanese, about 14% Filipino, and the rest Korean and Hawaiian. Most of the causasian are or were military since there's a big naval base. The area where the theater is is mostly caucasian.

Day 2, Monday, Nov. 19. Our last day in Hawaii!! It was kind of sad. We'll miss the trees, the shape of the mountains, and flowers and you certainly can't complain about the temperature.

The last time we were in Oahu we spent a few hours in the Bishop Museum and needed longer so we made it a point to visit again. This time there was even a new building, a science building that was very much hands-on. We got to make a volcano erupt. We saw lava (melted volcanic rock) flow from a container. There was a great display of the entire island chain above and below the water and a computer generated model of all sides of each island. There was info on tsunamis, volcanic rocks, and plants and animals.

There was also lots of info on natives of other polynesian islands and planetarium shows. We saw how the night sky looks here. Some was a rehash from our trip to Mauna Kea with lots more added.

We took a night flight and slept fitfully on our 7 hour flight from Honolulu to Dallas. Then it was a 2 hour flight to Hartford. It was about 75 when we left Honolulu and 34 when we arrived in Hartford. And, they had just had their first snow!! Just what we wanted to see. We're glad we're back to New England to see our friends and relatives but won't be too sad to get back to Florida and some warmer weather.

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