Thursday, February 21, 2008

Waikiki to Arizona Memorial (and back)

The next day I woke up obscenely early to see the news playing on the TV. All the anchors were wearing Aloha shirts. That was really the final wonderment that made me completely love Hawaii. It was their version of business casual. Or maybe their version of suits. Or maybe that station was just tired of wearing stuff. Everyone was talking about how Chelsea Clinton was coming and campaigning for her mom (she was wearing so many Leis) and how Barack Obama had a new radio ad coming out that very day. I also learned that Obama was from Hawaii. I didn't know that.

Monica really wanted to go to the Arizona Memorial. I thought that it wasn't a place I necessarily wanted to go, but that I should go, since I was here, and I would be kicking myself for not going. After all, you know how much I like military and such. We found a bus stop and waited for the 20 or the 42, both which take us to the Arizona Memorial, both which passed us by without slowing down.

Let me just take a tangent here about TheBus, Hawaii's bus system. It's a great thing, really it is. But it's kinda like in Firefly where all the planets were sheltered under the Alliance to be ignored completely. Kinda like that.

However, an 8 came by and stopped, and since that was going to the Ala Moana Shopping Center, and we had time/were frustrated, we decided to go. Which turned out to be a Good Thing.

The Ala Moana shopping center is pretty awesome. And when I say pretty awesome, I stand by that statment. We didn't do an amazing amount of shopping that day, but we were very hungry, and there was a flourishing food court. Settling on Thai, we were surprised because a) the food was actually fantastic and b) we had large Thai iced teas. That just about made my day right there. With a delicious drink like that in my gullet, I thought, surely this day could be a little more bearable.

We found a bus, after 10 minutes of waiting/sunscreen application later. The ride was easy, and passing Chinatown, we saw some cool buildings and what looked like pedestrian only walkways with laundry hanging between buildings. Or was that flags? Might have been both. It looked interesting, and we remembered the stop. Rest of the bus ride fun, but uneventful.

At the Memorial, due to a security checkpoint, we had to check our bags with a $3 fee, because, obviously, they couldn't just look through them and see we weren't carrying anything that would perhaps be dangerous to a nonviolent miliatry thing. I guess that was okay in the end; the Memorial itself was free.

We were given a number (21) and looked to see which number was going in (18). We had a long wait ahead of us. We walked around the gift shop, we walked outside, reapplied sunscreen, took some pictures, and I decided to call my job possibility and set up the appointment. I did, and it was cool. I had set up an interview for Thursday. Hawaii! A job in Hawaii! (Maybe.)

Time passed slowly/quickly/whatever, and we were let in to the Memorial tour. The first stop was a 45ish minute movie about the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, going into quite a lot of detail. Then we took a ferry to the other side of the Harbor. We were told, rightly, that it was a solomn resting place. I had heard that before, but the enormity of it had never hit me until we left the ferry and walked into the beautiful structure. There we saw the Arizona underwater. I was moved so much more than I would ever thought possible by a peacelovinghippie like myself. After abot 20 minutes, we got on the ferry and headed back for the Memorial. What happened on the ride back was even more moving: while in the water, a Coast Guard ship passed us, and lined up on the railings were all the Guard, saluting the Arizona.

We retrieved our bags and ran to the bus, making it because of our sprinting abilities. Later that evening we watched the sunset on the beach as I played in the water, and then had some delicious fish and drinks at a restaurant in the Hilton's Hawaiian Village. A terrific day in a beautiful place.

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