We spent the morning and early afternoon of our last full day in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. Perhaps Hawaii’s biggest attraction, it was quite a moving and emotional place, considering the events and the outcome of that fateful December day. And as we boarded off the ferry and
stood above the sunken Arizona, with part of its hull still sticking out of the water and oil still leaking from it, it’s hard to imagine what happened back then as it is so peaceful and quiet now. I was especially touched by the few Pearl Harbor surviors who now volunteer their time to share their stories and pass on their knowledge. We were very lucky to see them, for as time continues to pass, there won’t be any left.
We then went aboard the USS Bowfin submarine, which was quite cool in its own way. A shuttle bus then took us out to Ford Island and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Situated in one of the hangars that housed many of the planes from World War II, the ultra-cool exhibits described life back then with fascinating stories and many of the exact same planes from the war.
After the moving Pearl Harbor experience, we drove over to the Bishop Museum, which is also known as the “Smithsonian of the Pacific”. This incredible museum is a fascinating look at Hawaii’s history, and the exhibits are both amazing to look and very interesting to read and learn about. There was also a cool, dinosaur exhibit with very realistic life-size dinosaurs that both moved and made noise. We then enjoyed the science wing, where we finally got to experience a volcano, albeit a made-man one, but you could actually control its eruption.
We then drove out to the Punchbowl Cemetery, where over 900 of the Pearl Harbor casualties are buried and honored. A beautiful and serene place, with gorgeous murals on a memorial wall depicting the many US battles, and a lookout over Waikiki that is nothing short of amazing. And to top it all off, a rainbow was shining over the cemetery. As we drove away, we took a nice little detour up into the mountains along the scenic Tantalus Drive. After a while, though, it started to rain, so we headed back down the mountain and went back out to Waikiki Beach for one last Hawaiian sunset, complete with yet another beautiful rainbow.
We saw a cool beachside restaurant and decided to have dinner at the Shore Bird Restaurant & Beach Bar. Even though we couldn’t get a table right next to the beach, we still got some pretty good seats at this barbeque-style joint, where you order your meat raw and then cook it on the mammoth grill, complete with assistant chefs to help you along. A great last meal to bid adieu to Waikiki and Hawaii. After one last walk around the city, and one more sit-down with newspaper man (I told C-Lo he’s going to expect your company if you give him another dollar), it was then time to pack, which kept us up til 1 in the morning.