We started the week with another ‘home improvement’ project. We replaced the French doors to our lanai with a sliding door. After some initial hassles with Home Depot, we got it installed and it looks great!
The highlight this week was my birthday celebration on the island of Oahu. We had decided to forgo the taxis and shuttles and take the City Bus. It was a good idea since it costs only one dollar for seniors. We took the bus several times during our four days, and it worked well.
The traffic on Oahu, after kauai, is incredible. As in awful. What culture shock! And speaking of culture shock, we almost felt like we were in Tokyo. Japanese have always had a large presence in HNL, especially Waikiki. But it seemed that presence was even larger than we remembered.
There are at least two major downtown shopping centers, Ala Moana and Ward Center, and we checked them both out. The first night, Thursday we had dinner on top of Ala Moana Hotel, the 36th floor, at the Signature Lounge. The lights of Waikiki were spectacular and the food was as well. And my new favorite drink is the Lillikoi Collins – I’ll have to make that at home!
Honolulu seems to celebrate Halloween in style, the city was awash in ghosts, Pirates and goblins. They seem to take halloween as seriously as Madison. We spent the day exploring Honolulu shopping and the afternoon at the aquarium, where we took our time learning about Hawaii’s underwater world.
It so happened that Donna and another seal volunteer were there too so we spent some time admiring the two monk seals that live there. Both had been abandoned by their mothers and had to be raised by hand. One was from Kauai and almost blind, the other from the northwestern islands and also unable to fend for himself. The Kauai seal’s mom is well known to us and even had a pup on Kauai this year. Remember my earlier comment about the HNL traffic? After visiting the Aquarium, Donna and Mary Francis took a taxi to the airport. It took them over 2 hours to go about 8 miles, and cost over $100. They almost missed their flight. Of course it was a Friday afternoon, and it was ‘Rush’ hour. What a misnomer that is! Our bus trip to the airport on Sunday took 40 minutes, and cost $2.
Saturday we met a friend from Kauai that now lives in Oahu and again dined well. Nancy lives on the west side of Ohau, and has to leave at 6 am for her 2 hour, 12 mile drive to the hospital where she works. Ohau is putting in a light rail system, but it’s still a long way from being operational.
All of the eating that we’ve done will catch up with us. We have to go back home and work off all the extra calories, though we did walk several miles every day.
Even though Waikiki is largely Japanese, we discovered a taste of Wisconsin in our neighborhood and ate breakfast there. It is owned by a family from Phillips, Wisconsin and displayed the necessary Packer and Badger accessories around the bar/restaurant and TV as well as a Friday night special.
The last day of our city escape was spent learning a little history of the missionaries at the site of the queen’s palace and the old mission house. Walking there, along back alleys, we saw another side of Honolulu,
And of course no trip to HNL would be complete without a picture of our king, Kamehameha.