Saturday 22nd March flew American Airlines - left San Diego on the short flight to Los Angeles, then boarded another flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. At least the increased security at the airports gives you a bit of comfort. The only thing worth mentioning is that on American Airlines, if you want to listen to the audio or the film, you either have to bring your own headsets or purchase one at US$2 each – what a rip-off! Makes you appreciate Qantas.
Again, our accommodation in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, was in a very good location, just one street back from Waikiki Beach - from our balcony were able to see the beach. They also have excellent public transport. The people are very friendly and the happy greeting ‘Aloha’ is heard constantly.
We did the Grand Circle Island Tour and saw the island from a different perspective. Honolulu/Waikiki Beach is very touristy and bustling, but the rest of the island is calmer and very beautiful – Waimea Bay and Waimea Falls Park and Hanauma Bay are lovely – the country reminded me of Queensland. We also visited the USS Arizona Memorial that commemorates the losses of life in the December 7th, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbour by the Japanese. The sunken USS Arizona is the final resting place for many of the ships 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives that day. Prior to boarding the launch to take you out into Pearl Harbour, you watch a 20-minute film of actual footage from both USA and Japan showing what really took place on that fateful day – the whole experience is very moving. There is no entry charge for this Memorial. In the same area, but for a fee, you can visit the USS Missouri and inspect the vessel that was chosen for the signing of Japan’s Formal Instrument of Surrender on 2nd September 1945, a copy of which is on display. The USS Missouri was last deployed to the Persian Gulf War in 1991. This was also very interesting to hear our guide inform us about the history of the ship he commenced serving with when he was 18 – he is now 69 years old.
The Polynesian Cultural Centre was also very interesting, with separate villages depicting the lifestyles of the Polynesian people – Hawaii, Marquesas, Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, and Easter Island. In the evening there is a 90-minute Polynesian extravaganza in an outdoor amphitheatre with around 150 performers dancing and singing their native songs.
Our final night was spent at a luau on the beach, again with traditional dancing and singing. We just love those Tahitian girls dancing the hula; there is something hypnotic about the way they move their hips – I get the feeling we may go to Tahiti!