Hawaii in October

Yea, the day has arrived and we are off to Hawaii.  The drive down to San Diego was
uneventful  but we met this lovely lady on the transportation ride over to the airport.  She
was from Hawaii but now lives in Escondido.   Can you imagine as long as I have lived in
Escondido I never met this lady.  Anyway, she was off to Utah to visit family who are mostly
in the criminal justice field.   

There is nothing interesting to tell you about the flight over - just 5 hours long and I was
forced to talk with John the entire time.  

As most of my friends are aware I am one of those people that celebrate the whole
month of October as my birthday month.  It starts out on the  1st and ends on the 31st, so
this trip is part of my present to me for my birthday month.   I am going to try and do
something different on my actual birthday so read on and see what I chose to do.

We checked into the Royal Kuhio and have a small one bedroom apartment on the 23rd
floor.  At least we get to see some of the ocean.
View from the Royal Kuhio  That evening
we had dinner at Duke's located in the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel.    Duke's Restuarant  is
named after Duke Paoa Kahanamoku who was born August 24, 1890 in Honolulu,
Hawaii, the first of six sons and three daughters of Duke and Julia Kahanamoku.  He
grew up in carefree Waikiki with the ocean as his playground, doing what he loved –
mostly swimming, surfing, canoeing and bodysurfing.  At the age of 21 he won his first
Olympic gold medal, then went on to represent the United States in the Olympics for 20
years, winning not only medals but the hearts of people all over the world. He is
remembered as a swimmer not just for remarkable speed, but for his grace in the water,
his good humor, and his sportsmanship.  Check out the website for more information on
Duke and the restaurant.
Duke's in Waikiki
Although I found it very disappointing!   The seafood/steakroom was a small enclosed
room with no view.   I could live with that but I can say the dinner was the worst I have ever
had.  The sirloin steak was grissly and tough.  The seafood dish was overcook as the
scallops were almost impossible to eat - extremely chewy.   I know that Duke's is
suppose to be a higher class restaurant but this is the second time I have eaten there
and both times were less than stellar ocassions.   To John's credit he ordered his Crown
John enjoying his Crown Royal

We of course had to make the mandatory stop at the Top of Wiakiki with the revoling
restaurant.  The food is very expensive as well as a glass of wine ($13 for a small glass).  
The site was beautiful but there are better places to spend your money.   

   We left the restaurant and were headed back to our room where we stumbled across the "Coconuts Tiki Bar".   "Cocoanuts" in
Waikiki   One of the things on our list to do in Oahu was hit a bunch of tiki bars and see how they compared.  Well, this place fits the bill.  
The floors had flowers, leaves and stuff on the floor with wooded tiki tables.  The bar was tiki themed and they even had the drinks that
came in a pineapple.  We were so original, we ordered beer.  The entertainer was great that night.   Played all the oldies as well as
some Hawaiian songs.  This was a nice way to end our first evening in Hawaii.  As we left, I thought I would look better in dark hair and a
Rusty going Hawaiian

  On this trip to Hawaii we planned on doing the swap meet at the Aloha Stadium, Pearl Harbor Bowfin Submarine exhibit, hit the tiki
bars and maybe do a tour around the island.   We thought we would try and explore the International Market Place in downtown Wiakiki.  
If any of you have been I Wiakiki before you know what the old market place looks like - it is old Hawaiian with run down bars, vendors
selling everything you could think of and food you might or might not like to try.   Well, the new International Market place is NEW - all the
major shopping stores, sleek advertising, no good dive bars.  What a disappointment.  So we went back to Coconuts Tiki that evening.

  We decided to hit the Pearl Harbor area next and take in the Bowfin exhibition.  Since we had already been on the Arizona Memorial this
was our next choice.  If you have never been to the Arizona Memorial I highly recommend it. It is very emotional to every American.   The
Bowfin submarine is a small ship!   It is only 23 feet wide and let me tell you I do not know how these sailors could move around in this
ship. The Bowfin is a fleet attack submarine that fought in the Pacific during WWII, and helped to make famous the term, Silent Service.   
Bowfin was launched on 7 December 1942, exactly one year after the attack on Pearl Harbor. She was nicknamed the Pearl Harbor
Avenger, so it is fitting that her permanent home is at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  As I discovered when I went through the museum, each
submarine has it’s own insignia.  The bowfin is the insignia for this ship.  Here are a few pictures of the Bowfin.   
Sleeping Quarters
The Galley       Radio Room             Gunner Rusty             Gunner John
Also if you want to read more about the Bowfin Submarine check out www.bowfin.org

  We also took a tour around the island and saw some of the highlights of the island.  Diamond Head, The Blowhole and of course  the
beach where the love scene from “Here to Eternity was filmed.      
Beach from Here to Eternity    I could just imagine John and I on that
beach with the waves rolling up over our feet.  Take a close look at this picture and tell me how these people got down to that beach - it
was no small feat.    We also saw Pali’s lookout.   The Nuuanu Pali was the site of the site of the battle of Nuuanu, one of the bloodiest
battles in Hawaiian history, in which Kamehameha I conquered the island of Oahu, bringing it under his rule.  Here, Kamehameha threw
many of the opposing warriors over the cliff.    
Depiction of the warriors being thrown over the cliff     We also stopped at the Dole
Pineapple factory and our last stop was “Turtle Island”.  Laniakea, Oahu, Hawaii, is without question the best place in the world to see
marine turtles up close.  Hawaiian green turtles, known in Hawaii as Honu, crawl ashore almost daily to bask amid crowds of tourists
and surfers, providing a unique turtle experience and unmatched photo opportunities.   This beach is a must for nature lovers.  
Beach"   Turtles

  We hit a few more tiki bars and then made the last stop at the La Mariana Sailing Club/Tiki Bar.   From the ground up La Mariana is the
last original tiki bar in Honolulu, Hawaii.  It is located off Sand Castle Access Road and it is not easy to find to someone who does not
live there.  But, we were on a mission, and no matter the cost, we were going to visit this bar.   The taxi ride was outrageous in it’s price,
but just to see this place is well worth it.  
Enterance to the La Mariana Sailing Club         Inside of the tiki bar

  We are heading off to the Island of Maui and lots of plans for the week.   This is my 3rd or 4th visit to Maui and each time I find
something new. We have this nice little condo/apartment about 2 blocks off of Front Street in downtown Lahania.  Very nice as we can
walk everywhere we want to go.   

  On our first day in Maui we drove over to Kehei and the surrounding area.  We found this weird shop called Endangered Pieces.  What
a cool and unusual place.  It is 8000 square feet of the most unusual stuff you could imagine.  We wanted to buy a lot but it would not fit
on the plane.   Here are some of the unusual items which were displayed outside.   
Alien Statute     Statute of Girl and a Flaminago        
Blue Elephant    Guard Dogs       Check out the website if you are interested in unusual stuff.    www.omsweetom.com The next day John
said I had to see the Valley of the Cats.  Apparently, when you go to this area and park hundreds of cats come out to be fed.  However,
we never made it because the park area was closed because there had been a huge rainfall earlier in the year and the road was
washed out.   We also stopped at a restaurant that Guy Fieri had on his Food Network Show, Miso Phat's Sushi.  Guy signed the wall.   
Guy's signed wall

Tonight we are going to see Warren and Annabelle’s magic and comedy show.  Check out their website as it is a must to see if you are
in Maui.   Check out the website at
www.warrenandannabelles.com.     It was wonderful.   When you first arrive you are shown into
Annabelle’s parlor where you can have a drink (or two) and have some pupus (appetizers) and chat with the other people.  Annabelle,
the ghost, plays your requests as you call them out on the piano.  Afterwards you are shown into the theater for the close up magic
show.   It is a must see in Maui.  
John and Rusty at Annabelle's.

   Well, you have patiently read this blog up to this point and now I will tell you what I did for my birthday.   Some of you already know but I
did a 1 hour helicopter ride over Maui and Molokai island.  It was spectacular.   We saw the Wall of Tears, which can only be seen by
helicopter as you cannot even hike to this area, magnificent waterfalls everywhere, colorful reefs, sprawling valleys along with a narrative
of the island and its history.   
Wall of Tears   John and Rusty on helicopter   Coastline   Elephant Rock    Waterfall   This was John’s first
time in a helicopter and I think it was the highlight of the trip for him.

   We, of course, did the Road to Hana.  We decided not to drive it ourselves but use a tour company.  This is the way to go.        We did
the entire road to Hana around the island through Mahalo Tours.  We saw black sand beaches, waterfalls, one way bridges, lava tubes,
underwater caves, Charles Lindberg’s grave, and the final stop was the only winery on Maui.  It was a very nice way to end our vacation in
Maui.  Here are a few pictures (I took so many beautiful pictures but I just can't post them all).   
John on the road to Hana   This is called
the "Painted Tree"   One of the many, many waterfalls  Entrance to a lava tube   Lava tube swimming hole    John looking into a lava cave
Lindberg's grave.
    Off to Christmas at Prescott, Arizona next.