Trip Start May 29, 2010
31Trip End Aug 30, 2010
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The plan for Monday was to get up early to head to Pearl Harbor (Harbour!) but we both slept really badly (a choice of either hot stick bedroom with no air con or cool room but with very noisy air con!) so we ended up having a lie in! I headed off to collect the laundry and then we got on the trolley and headed to the Ala Moana shopping centre. This is the one of the worlds biggest outdoor shopping centres. We found some great bargains and both fell in love with Macy's! I was left sitting in the shoe department for ages while Gemma explored the ladies clothes! We walked back via Walmart (big, sells EVERYTHING, but not really that wowed!) and went to the Hard Rock cafe for dinner - not overly impressed with that either as it only sells burgers really - back to the Cheesecake Factory tomorrow we think!
Tuesday saw us get up early and catch the bus to Pearl Harbor. All the guides tell you to get there early as the tickets are free and go quickly. We arrived at around 8.30 and got tickets for the 9.45 tour. The tour starts with a documentary video which made us both realise how little we knew about the American/Japanese aspect of WW2. We then got on the boat that takes you out into the harbour to the USS Arizona memorial which is built above the sport where the ship sank on 7th December 1941 - 'a day that will live in infamy' according to Franklin D Roosevelt. The Arizona saw the biggest loss of life on that day - 1177 men died on her and she was left in place as a grave for them. Nobody has been inside the ship since the day she was sunk. Divers are only allowed around the outside to perform safety checks. You can still see parts of the ship above water from the memorial and she still leeks fuel oil to this day! It was a very interesting and poignant part of our day.
The next stop on the site was a tour around the USS Bowfin, a submarine. We were given audio headsets which explained what we were seeing but Gemma's broke! We had a picture taken in front of the sub which was then printed onto a newspaper cover of the day the Japanese bombed the harbour. For $10 it was a kitch but cool memento of the day! We also visited the memorial to the USS Oklahoma which is on land. A really interesting day (Thanks for the tip Uncle Graham!)
Wednesday was Grand Circle Island tour day! We were picked up by our driver Roy and became part of the biggest tour group we have been in this trip (around 50 people). We drove around the whole of the island (Oahu) apart from the western most section where there are no roads! Oahu has been used for filming a number of films and TV series including (of course) Hawaii 50, Magnum, Lost, Gilligan's Island and they are currently filming the new Pirates of the Caribbean here. (I thought I was OK at Geography but obviously Hollywood have no problem interchanging the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean!) As with all such tours, there was lots of getting on and off the coach for 'photo opportunities' and stop at local goodies makers. Did a bit of present shopping along the way! Back to the Cheesecake Factory for tea - small mains so we could have a dessert - Gemma had the biggest chocolate fudge cake ever but could not finish it. Thank goodness they do doggie bags! Another long walk to walk the food off!
Our last full day in Waikiki was a lazy day with a bit of a lie in and some TV (we are now addicted to a show (sorry, programme) called Clean House - Search for the messiest house in the country. If you ever thought you had clutter, you should see these places! We headed down to the beach and found ourselves a nice spot where we were soon joined by a couple of veterans in their buggies who were obviously sent out by their wives while they did shopping! They chatted away about stuff while we read or slept but they were the first to spot The Black Pearl sailing across the bay! (Johnny Depp's boat in Pirates of the Caribbean) We played in the water a bit - the waves were good fun! When we showered when we got back, we appeared to have brought a lot of the beach back with us!
Tea at, you've guessed, and then back to the hotel to pack and prepare for the final part of our adventure!