Feb 17, 2014

Visiting Oahu, Hawaii

Given the many places we have visited people were often
surprised when we told them we had never been to Hawaii. Well, we have rectified that situation!  In fact, our son rented a house for a week in Laie for 10 family members.  It had a great view. Those who wanted to fish could walk down the road and fish off the rocks. Those who wanted to swim had just a short walk to one of two beaches.  There was something for everyone.

Laie is not far from the Polynesian Cultural Center where we spent the day.  Actually, we could have spent two days there because there was so much to see and do. The Polynesian Cultural Center offers a trip to “villages” in Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Samoa where visitors can learn about the various cultures and participate in a variety of activities. Each “village” had a 30-minute cultural presentation plus hands-on traditional craft making and/or a game to learn. We had a good spot along the “river” at 2:30 to watch the colorful canoe pageant where each “village” was represented by a float of dancers and musicians.
When the canoe pageant was over we went to the Hukilau Theater for a video overview of Hawaii’s scenery, food and culture. At 5 p.m. we walked over to the Hale Ku’ai Restaurant for a fabulous luau complete with a pig roasted in the traditional fashion. After dinner there was just enough time to amble over to the evening show, “Ha: Breath of Life,” which is a circle of life story with fire, song, dance and special effects with a cast of 100. 

Another day 10 of us went to The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, the place to learn about the beginning and end of World War II. We arrived early and were lucky to get tickets to see the USS Arizona Memorial later in the day. Most days the free tickets are gone by nine. We had time to take a shuttle bus to the recently refurbished battleship USS Missouri on Ford Island. The Missouri is where Japan’s official surrender to the United States that ended World War II took place.  Some of our family toured the battleship but John and I had toured many battleships so we viewed the displays outside of the ship and then took the shuttle to the Pacific Aviation Museum. There are two hangars filled with
airplanes. At the assigned time we all met at the Pacific Memorial
Theater to view the 23-minute documentary that relates the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that led to the United States declaring war on Japan. I noticed that some visitors without tickers came as standbys and also got in.  Not sure how they knew enough to do that. After the video a short boat ride took us to the Memorial built over the sunken Arizona which is basically the graveyard for 1,102 who died when the Japanese attacked.  It was a solemn experience.

Our rental house was near the north shore where the waves are great for surfing and people stop to watch the waves and surfers.  A couple of family members took a surfing lesson. While they were learning to surf John and I did something “sweeter,” we took a chocolate tour at the Manoa Chocolate Company, a bean-to-bar artisan chocolate company.