Day 3 - Pearl Harbor
After our busted sunset last night, both boys were all into the idea of waking up this morning and seeing the sunrise. As it stood, I was able to convince Mireille to come with me! We had a nice walk, but ultimately our quest to see a sunrise failed due to clouds. Oh well!!!
Our excursion for the day was to Pearl Harbor - perhaps you’ve heard of it! Unfortunately we were3 meeting all the way back in Honolulu. In fact, we were meeting in Waikiki, and our pickup time was 8:30 - right in the midst of rush hour!!! We took off around 6:45 as the drive is an hour in good conditions, and true to point, it took us about an hour and 15 minutes.
The drive was really nice! Much nicer than the inland route. Of course, we did that drive during the dead of night, so it’s difficult to compare, but… Notable, we went through Kahuku, which has a bunch of food trucks, we traveled through Laie which has a giant Mormon temple and also the Hawaii extension of BYU, and also traveled for at least 30 miles without a stop light or stop sign!
It all came to an end once we turned west towards Honolulu and joined rush hour traffic. It seems Honolulu doesn’t really have their express lanes figured out as it took us probably 20 minutes to get to our destination once we got off the express way! We were meeting our tour at Ala Moana hotel, and we eventually found it, though it took awhile! I’ve heard many times that Honolulu is really just like any other big city, and we figured that out on this trip. Traffic!!!
Once we got to Ala Moana we were lucky to find a Starbucks in the hotel and enough time before our tour bus showed up, so we managed to avoid anybody getting killed on this trip, at least on this day!
Once the bus showed up from E Noa Tours, we were welcomed by our tour guide, Candace, a Hawaiian, Chinese, Scottish, Irish, etc, etc. A native! She was pretty engaging and would continue to be so during our tour.
Candace meandered through the hotel district towards two other pickup points en route to having about 24 people on the tour bus. We then headed towards Pearl Harbor by way of Aloha Stadium, where the Pro Bowl is played, sure, but it is also the site of the largest swap meet in Honolulu!!! Unfortunately we weren’t there to see that…
Throughout our trip, Candace was the source of a lot of really useful Hawaiian facts. Some of the most interesting tidbits included:
- Las Vegas is often considered the 9th island of Hawaii due to so many people moving there in search of a living wage and reasonable housing!!!
- The median price of a home in Hawaii is $767,000!!!
- Honolulu’s roads are pot hole filled. She used the expression, which is now a favorite of mine, “some cultures drive on the left. Hawaiians drive on what’s left.”
After our 30 minute drive (it was probably 8 miles), we arrived at the Pearl Harbor visitor’s center. It was… not immediately impressive. Basically it was just a piece of land on the water!!!
Candace issued us our tickets to get into the “tour,” and left us to our own devices for the next 3 hours or so. Our schedule had us at the 10:15 movie followed by a ferry tour of the USS Arizona memorial. But first, snacks!!!
I suppose we’ve known this about our kids for awhile, but it is being super-enforced during this trip - our kids need to eat. Often. We stopped at the snack shop and got some cookies, candy bars, M&Ms, water and Gatorade just to make sure we made it through the tour! Luckily snacks are cheap at tourist attractions in Hawaii!!! Not!!!
By 10:15 they let us into the theater where we were treated to a 25 minute movie about what happened that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was interesting for me having just listened to a podcast about the subject, and this movie corroborated what I learned as part of that podcast - basically Japan was trying to fight China, and they needed oil, which the US had a lot of, but they were witholding it from them. Probably the most interesting part was that General Yamamoto foresaw the end of the era of the Battleship and ushered in the era of the Aircraft Carrier. Smart folks. I was particularly pleased with how they didn’t demonize or propogandize the Japanese during the presentation. If only we were still doing that with Muslims, but alas…
The ferry ride took us out into the harbor, but we weren’t able to stop at the USS Arizona memorial. The Arizona sunk in the harbor but was never recovered. Instead, in the 1960s, a memorial was built over the top of it where people can look down onto it and read about those that lost their lives on that ship that day. Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, the dock has fallen into disrepair (I think it was hit by a boat), so it is not safe to dock there. That, coupled with the fact that the monument and park is in serious financial difficulties, something that Candace told us about in some detail.
After our ferry tour, we had about 90 minutes to burn, so we headed over to the USS Bowfin, a submarine used in WWII and now docked at Pearl Harbor. The sub tour was pretty cool - we were issued headphones and audio equipment to take the tour at our own pace. Unfortunately, we needed to travel at the pace of our children, so many sections of the audio tour were cut short!!!
Post Pearl Harbor
After our submarine tour, we got back on the bus and took the 30 minute drive back to the Ala Moana hotel where we collected our car around 1:00. We were hungry, despite the fact that we had eaten some significant snacks at Pearl Harbor. Never one to skip a brewery, I had scouted out Honolulu Beerworks prior to the trip and saw that it had food (and beer), so we drove in that direction. The beers were pretty good - the food was OK. Quinton used the time to defeat everybody that dared play him in Connect 4.
Ride Back and Swimming
The hour trip back was about the same as the trip to Honolulu. We tried to get out as soon as we could seeing as how rush hour starts at 3:30. As it was we got out of town around 2:30, but it still took awhile to get back to anything resembling an expressway.
When we finally made it back to Laie, we stopped and got some Ice Cream at Angel Ice Cream. It wouldn’t be a Grady trip without a food spill mishap - this time it was Quinton breaking his waffle cone full of soft serve vanilla ice cream!
That completed we headed back to the hotel where we rested for a bit before going over to check out “The Big Pool” which was located near the hotel. The big pool was pretty great, complete with a water slide and hot tub!
We spent maybe 30 minutes at the big pool before we decided it was about time we checked out the ocean! It didn’t disappoint. Since it was so late, there were relatively few people at the beach, so Quinton and Mireille could be as raucus as they wanted to be! During our 30 minutes at the beach, it started to rain, so I asked the kids to get out so they didn’t get wet (good dad joke, I know). With the rain came a famous Hawaiian rainbow, though!!!
By 6:00 we were tired (Jenny and I - Quinton and Mireille were fine), so we headed back to the room to find something to eat. Ethan stayed behind in the room during swimming but left to see if he would fare better with the sunset today (he did).
After some arguing, we decided to go to go into Kahuku to the food trucks, some of which stayed open until 8:00. I was intersted in a pizza truck that went by the name of “Cheesus Crust,” which is the most amazing name for a pizza truck ever, but we got Bar B Que instead, and feverishly ate in the room before collapsing for the night. As always, tomorrow promises to be a big day!!!