Aloha from Hawaii!!
We arrived in a busy Honolulu which was full of surfers and sunbathers, this was the first part of our American venture. We spent a couple of days in Waikiki people watching on the beach which was made famous by the birth of surfing.
We then headed off to Kauai which is a smaller neighbouring island which has one main road which almost circumferences the whole island but not quite. Unfortunately the weather didn’t start off very good but it did improve as the days went on.
We visited Limahuli Gardens which are dedicated to preserving ancient Hawaiian plants that were used by the indigenous population to make houses, boats, food, tools and used in ceremonies. The gardens were founded by Juliet Wichman and her early work is continued today. Plants include the Hala, Autograph and Breadfruit Trees (the fruit is used as a substitute for potatoes) and also the Alula plant which is described as looking like a cabbage on a baseball bat!
We also visited and hiked a bit in the Waimea Canyon which when the cloud lift offered superb views. The volcanic soil in the area was very red and very slippery when wet!
We headed out one evening for a Mexican meal which we discovered the next morning contained something that Clare had an allergic reaction to. We had found our very own contestant for the elephant man competition!!! Fortunately the swelling of the face and red blotches only lasted a couple of days and Clare was quickly back on her feet.
We then caught our flight back to Honolulu and took the bus back to Waikiki. On boarding the bus at the airport we were brusquely instructed by the lady driver that our bags had to be stored under our seats, not on the conveniently situated shelf or in the aisle. One rucksack did fit under the seat, but we had to store the other out of sight besides us. Half way through our journey a wheelchair passenger got on and there were two options for them to be positioned, one option meant moving one person and the other option meant moving three people and two big rucksacks. Yep, you got it we got moved. Paul moved to the seat opposite and managed to get a bag under the seat and Clare moved to a seat just along from him, but didn’t have room to get the bag under the seat so put it on the floor at her feet. She was then told that this was not acceptable, no bags were allowed on the floor!! All Paul saw for the rest of the journey was this rucksack with two arms wrapped around it jiggling up and down whilst making giggling noises!!
Back in Waikiki with Clare excavated from under the rucksack we spent time visiting the USS Missouri battleship which is three football fields long and towers over 20 stories tall. Nicknamed the ”Mighty Mo” it was launched on 29 January 1944 during World War II and was the last US battleship ever built. After joining the battle for Okinawa, she became the site of the Japanese surrender on 2 September 1945 which officially ended WWII. She stands overlooking her fallen sister ship USS Arizona which was bombed and sunk by the Japanese in Pearl Harbour. Later on the USS Missouri also saw action in the Gulf War in 1991 firing its massive 16” guns and launching its tomahawk missiles against targets in Iraq.
We also went to the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island in Pearl Harbour. The planes and other aviation icons are housed in two hangers that survived the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. The windows still have numerous bullet holes from the attack. There are also Jet Fighters displayed here which were flown in the Korean War and Helicopters that were flown in the Vietnam War. In one of the hangers you could see various aircraft being actively restored.
Then it was time to move on to the next part of our American venture, LA.