February 1, 2008

Hawaii Vacation '08 Day One

This time I figured I'd lead with the photos.....

Technically the first day of our vacation was filled with travel to Oahu. That was a long, long flight. When we landed we were too early to check in to the hotel, so we drove further up the west side of the island and got some groceries and postcard stamps (we figured we'd send out daily postcards like we did last summer).

We got out stuff, ate a quick meal at a local Korean BBQ place, and headed back to the hotel. We were wiped, but it was game night so we started our weekly online HackMaster game.

Anyway...we woke up fairly early, around 6:30 AM, and got prepared to go visit Pearl Harbor. The guidebook said we'd probably want to get there early as it's pretty much first-come first serve. After a mis-direct on the highway (^&%$@# book had directions that only worked if you were driving from Waikiki...) we got in to the park and....suprise, suprise, free parking. We got in a short line to get our free tour tickets for the Arizona Memorial and then had a couple of hours to kill until our turn came up. We visited the gift shop and the displays then headed over to check out the submarine next door. A group of conservationists (most likely old sub crewmen and families) restored the USS Blowfin. For a small fee you can tour the ship with some audio guides. That was fun. As you proceed through the ship there are little red and blue placards with numbers on them. I think the red placards were for the kids tour and the blue ones for adults. At some points I listened to both.

Our time came to tour the Ariziona Memorial. We watched a 15 minute movie (may have been longer) and then headed out to the memorial on a Navy-crewed tourboat. The memorial itself isn't that big, but it was impressive. You could still see some oil slick where the ship is leaking from it's oil reserves. At the end of the memorial is another room with the names of all the Arizona men who died during the attack. Befitting it's status as a tomb, the Arizona itself has not been explored. All of the survivors of the attack have the option of having their ashes interred aboard the Arizona upon their deaths. The names of these few are also part of the memorial.

The only problem I had with the Arizona Memorial were the other visitors. There were LOTS of rambuncious Japanese teenagers there and I for one was quite pissed that they were all giggling and screwing around on the Arizona Memorial....on a fricken tomb! Granted, they were a bit quieter than they were back in the visitor's center, but I think they should have been respectful and shut the fuck up....like I was. I may have been extra pissed because they were Japanese, but I think mostly because they were disrespectful teenagers.

After the boat ride back Carolyn and I went back and toured the submarine museum associated with the Blowfin. That was another expense, but well worth it. Pretty cool and with another audio tour.

It seemed like we had been in Hawaii for days already. It was pretty cool.

After visiting Pearl Harbor we headed down to the Aloha Stadium to tour the "Swap Meet" held there every Wednesday and weekend. Only cost us a buck each to get in, but it was totally worth it. The absolute best place for souveniers on the island. We spent a bit, but saved TONS of cash. We also had a great "take out" meal at a vendor there.

We finished up in Honolulu around 3 PM and we were bushed. We headed back to Ko Olina and discovered a DVD rental machine down the hall. $5 later and we had entertainment in the form of "Hotrod".....that movie blew chunks BTW.

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