50th Anniversary
Hawaii Trip
November 1-8, 2007

Second Day - Friday, November 2nd

Judy at Breakfast Hotel Lobby Having retired early last night, we started early on our first full day in Hawai‘i. The first order of business was to find breakfast. By now, my knee was much worse so we elected something close. The Tapa Bar was convenient, being in the main outdoor lobby of the Tapa Tower, our hotel. We had coffee, fruit and pastry by the pool and called home for the first and only time. It was an altogether pleasant experience. After getting our first phone bill, we found no charge for that call even though she did have to dial the area code. I expected long distance charges as well as a punitive roaming charge. If I had known that we might have called more often. Photos above are Judy having breakfast at the Tapa Bar right by the pool and the entrance to our hotel from my same Management Office viewpoint. The bar is in a large open area just outside the entrance to the building. This other photo is from the other side of the Tapa Bar looking back toward the Village and the management building, where we checked in yesterday.

After that, we found the rental car and searched for a K-Mart to purchase a knee brace. Judy found them listed on some sort of map but the directions were somewhat lacking. The nearest one seemed to be in Chinatown, most of the way back to the airport -- at least all the way across town from the resort. After getting semi-lost multiple times while wandering about the myriad one-way streets, several of which were not listed at all on our maps, we finally located our goal. We purchased an evil knee brace and a couple of beach towels. Judy had a coupon for a free box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts with a $10 purchase. Those alone almost made the trip worthwhile although the brace certainly helped my walking.

While searching for the K-Mart, we passed Pearl Harbor and signs directing toward the Arizona Memorial. A mental note was made of how to find our way back there a couple of days later. As it turned out, of course, the mental note was of little use.

Hilton Beach Lacking the energy to drag my knee very far, we visited CJ's Deli again. This time we shared the lunch special, a meatloaf sandwich with potato salad and some other side. Although $16 or more, it was more than enough to sustain us both the rest of the afternoon. I had another Kona ale. Penguins

After lunch and a short rest we took a tour of the local beach. Strolling through the Village, we Passed a little pond. Who would expect to find penguins in Hawai‘i? The other direction, down the beach, past Waikiki and many more hotels, is Diamond Head. That large cluster of hotels is really not at the base of the mountain but much closer to us. Soon, we got back in the car with the intended goal of visiting the Punchbowl, an extinct volcano just a mile or so north of downtown Honolulu. Having spotted Punchbowl Road right in the city center Diamond Head while on the way to the K-Mart, I felt fairly confident in my ability to find the Punchbowl easily. Such was not to be the case. To begin with, Punchbowl Road was one way -- the wrong way, naturally. I picked the next street and headed toward the hills. At what seemed to be a reasonable opportunity, I turned back toward where I thought the crater should be. Again, our maps were somewhat lacking in details. By this time, we were lost again but in a residential area with narrow streets and plenty of up and down hills. The Punchbowl mountain is not very tall, maybe 300-400 feet, so it tends to blend into the background from any distance.

After a scenic drive of about a half hour duration, I spotted a road on the far side of a nearby valley that seemed to climb steeper than most. That just might be the road to our goal. After turning at the next chance and crossing a colorful and very old bridge over that valley on a darn twisty road, a hard left put us onto that steep road. As luck would have it, at the top of that climb, we found ourselves at the entrance to the Punchbowl crater.

Punchbowl Entrance The inside of the crater is the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the final resting place for many veterans of Pacific battles, including WW-II, Korea and Vietnam. Those lost in the sinking of USS Oklahoma are there too. The grounds are beautifully maintained and the Punchbowl Memorial memorial is quite impressive. We should have taken more time to visit the memorial and chapel. I have no idea how many grave markers are there but it is a fairly large number. The south rim of the crater hosted a lookout of sorts but it looked like a hike was the only access so we didn't go. The view overlooking Honolulu, the beach and harbor must have been exceptional but I could not have made it. I did get several photos from the east rim, where we entered the crater. I've tried to paste them together into a sort of panorama of the east Honolulu skyline. I think you could see our hotel complex from there but, among all the many tall buildings, it is hard to be certain. That's Diamond Head just over the buildings near the center. Our hotel is in the complex in the background just to the right of the building to the right of Diamond Head.
Panorama
Judy under Diamond Head Judy under Diamond Head
 
 
 
 
  Here is a closer shot of Diamond Head (I'll have to get a camera with a longer zoom next time) and another one of Judy standing under it.

There not being much else to do, we headed back to the Hilton. I don't think we ever found Punchbowl Road on the way down but made it back anyway, without further incident. After another short rest and icepack for my knee, we went back to the beach and even got our feet wet in the salt water. Well, one unexpected wave made it considerably higher. Salt water takes a really long time to dry when in your underwear.

On the way back to the room, we spotted the Whalers Store in the Village where we bought some chips, dips, fruit and drinks for the room. There were two small refrigerators for storing snacks and drinks. These were to sustain us for the night. Every Friday, the Resort puts on a show around the larger pool. They call it the "King's Jubilee" or something close to that. It more or less tells the story of King David Kalakua, the last king of Hawai‘i, in traditional song and dance. I tried to get a photo but there was not enough light qnd we we nowhere near close enough for the flash to work. I still always amazes me how many people expect their little 10 foot flasses to light a shot 100 feet away.

One drink is included with the entry fee. I ordered a large Mai Tai, my first one, and Judy, had a Piña Colada. It really was pretty good and, for some unknown reason, did wonders for my knee. I discovered later that night that, if I kept it perfectly straight while sleeping, it did not hurt much after a bit. By the next morning, it was much better. But that is tomorrow's story.


First Day | Intro | Third Day

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