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Published: March 24th 2017
Days 152 to 157 of 165
All our internal Hawaii transfers have gone well, and Maui to Oahu was no exception. The bus transfer was interesting though, not least because our driver with his black face mask looked like he should have been on the set of Mad Max.
Honolulu, Waikiki Beach is high rise personified. You need to either be on beach front with an ocean view or very high up indeed if behind the front row to see over the top of those in front.
And as for the shopping - Harry Winston (jewellers to Oscar stars), Chanel, Cartier, Jimmy Choo shoes (Pip looked at a pair that she really, really liked, but $1195 for the pair was a bit rich), Tiffany, Vivienne Westwood.... and plenty of signs that the tourists - mostly Japanese - are spending big time given the shopping bags they are carrying. In fact the whole place seems to be focused on Japanese tourists to an excess, with many Japanese language trolley busses touring the streets and many, many places showing dual language signs.
We took a trolley-bus tour on our first full
day here, but even the focus of this tour was to get tourists to a particular shopping centre, the Ala Moana centre which used to be the world's largest open air shopping mall at 2.4million Sq feet of shopping space. And the bus stops were announced mostly by each stop's nearby eating places, a bit of how it is in the USA. And yes, the number of obese people here is huge - sorry about that. We saw one lad buy a soft drink in Starbucks and then add three sachets of sugar to it!!
One item on Paul's shopping list was a genuine Hawaiian shirt and we had located a place that had them in the thousands including many vintage examples. Paul ended up buying 2, though neither were vintage. The best old ones went for $500+, and the most expensive would have given you 1 cent change from $8000 - 1950s, hand painted.
After that The Cheesecake Factory beckoned. Yes, it does sell cheesecake, two pages of them, each with their calorie count neatly listed - from around 650 topping out over 1800 calories for a single serving. But they also do
practically every American fast food item you could think of, the menu runs to around 15 pages!
Monday we spent the whole day on an organised trip to Pearl Harbour. The Pearl Harbour, Field of Valour site is greatly revered in the US, in keeping with their over the top gun ho attitude to all things US military. That said it is very well done.
The memorial to the sunken battleship Arizona, on which 1177 died as a result of the Pearl Harbour attack, is built just above the water level straddling the sunken Arizona wreckage. Most of those who perished here that day are still on board so it is both memorial and grave site. They show you a film to the attack background then take you by boat over to the memorial, where you stay for around 20 minutes.
The battleship is still leaking oil and these oil drops surface, where they are known as the Tears of the Arizona. Incredibly moving.
Also in the area is the submarine, Bowfin, an Aviation museum, and the last remaining battleship - a big bugger it is too -
the Missouri, upon which the Articles of Surrender were signed by the Japanese.
The gentleman in the wheelchair is a veteran from Iwo Jima.
An aside - as we were getting on to the bus in the morning a Japanese family rushed up and leapt on before the driver could check any tickets. Slowing them down, and looking at tickets, he said "Don't just get on any bus. You're going to Japan ; we're going to Pearl Harbour!".
A lazy day on the beach, with an evening firstly at a free Hula Show beachside, the to The Blue Note Jazz Club, listening to Willie K, a blues musician from neighbouring Maui. Who thought that Nessum Dorma could be done rock/blues style! It worked, though,
Woke the next day to the appalling news from back home, though we guess the UK has 'escaped' as of late and was almost 'due'. We are grateful that we have not encountered any form of terrorism on our 6 months away.
Spent the day firstly at the aforementioned Ala Moana shopping centre then on to the older part of town
to see the only Royal Palace in the USA, the Iolani Palace, before a final evening stroll along The Strip and a Cheesecake Factory meal. Pip had serious shoe envoy, coveting a pair of Jimmy Choo's, at $1195. Sadly beyond our sensible means.
Flew overnight to Vancouver the following day where we are now ensconced in a lovely downtown apartment. Only 6°C here though, a shock after the last 5 month's weather.
Over 5 months away but only 6 days left
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