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Published: November 3rd 2018
Dateline: Monday, October 30, 2018, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
Diamond Head, Honolulu
Aloha… Leisurely day today as we wait for everyone to get off on their tours before heading off the ship. It’s overcast and 78 degrees but the skies show promise of sun. We have decided to take a walk to the closest Hop On Hop Off stop which is about a mile away from the ship. Each time we have come to Oahu we have headed anywhere but Honolulu …today we are staying in the city and taking in the sights. Best way to get around to all the places we want to see is the ever-popular Hop On Hop Off bus.
We walk out of the dock area and turn left along busy Ala Moana Blvd. After a few blocks we turn right on Bishop and jog a couple of blocks this way an that to our trolley stop. No sign of where exactly it stops so we check out all 4 corners. No luck. We sit down on a bench and call the Trolley Company. Hummm, seems that they no longer stop at this location and we will need to go to the Ala Moana
shopping center about 2 miles away. Of course. Out comes our trusty phone with the Lyft app and in a few minutes, Hiroyuki is there to whisk us over to the trolley pick up area. Hiroyuki says he drives everyday and this is his full-time work. He is originally from Osaka, Japan. We arrive, I give him his 5 stars and a tip.
We are half an hour early so decide to check e-mail and have a muffin. The Ala Moana Center is the largest shopping center in all the Pacific Islands and third largest outdoor mall in the US. The food court is modern and clean with, of course, free Wi-Fi.
Our Green Line Trolley has arrived so we’re off to Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. We’d like to think that Honolulu is truly different from other big cities but along the way we see not only beautiful beaches, but homeless encampments. Such beauty and opulence and also such sadness. The sun has come out and Diamond Head (an extinct volcano) is full of people hiking, picnicking and taking pictures. The views from the top are spectacular looking out over extinct volcanos, beaches and neighborhoods that go
up the slopes.
Waikiki Beach has a lot of people, families, surfers, sun-worshipers and cars. People walking dogs and pushing strollers. Languages from all over the world. The sand for these beaches originally came from California as there was only dirt going down to the beach.
We stop for lunch at “Toppings”. Your choice of chicken, pork or beef with rice for $7. A bargain in downtown Honolulu. It is a huge portion so we share it. Now the price is really reasonable ?
The sun has come out as we walk back to catch the Red line. We zip around the city to see King Kamehameha’s statue, the Iolani Palace, the National cemetery at Punchbowl and the botanical gardens. We go by the Baskin Robbins where Barak Obama worked scooping ice cream as a teen-ager ?. Everything, as you can image, is lush and green.
What strikes us most is how thoughtful and caring our tour guide on Hilo was and now the same is true for the guides on the Hop On, Hop Off busses. In Hilo there was a homeless woman at our Japanese Garden stop. Donna, our tour guide, chatted with her
and gave her water. The smiling woman with her grocery cart of treasures was so grateful for the conversation and water. On Oahu, our drivers were patient when asked the same questions over and over at each stop and even offered to take (for free) a family who was lost to the next stop where they could get on the right bus. Sure, they are in the tourist industry and perhaps this is part of their job, but… so many times drivers in many places around the world are uncaring or rude. Civility seems to be a lost art in so many places, but not here. Aloha.
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