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Visiting Oahu: War in the Pacific and Surfing

Travels to Hawaii and South Pacific, part 6

By Armando F Sanchez, Contributing Writer
Published on LatinoLA: April 24, 2014

Visiting Oahu: War in the Pacific and Surfing

We arrived to the city of Honolulu, which is on the island of Oahu. One commonly sees pictures of the beach of Waikiki with the volcano crater of Diamond Head in the background.

When visiting the four Hawaiian islands on a cruise, the ship moves overnight and we normally arrive early each morning. We get ready to disembark to visit the islands from 7:00 am onward.

Our ship docked in the city in an area that is between Waikiki beach and the international airport. A main boulevard is located immediately outside the ship port. We walked a couple of short blocks and took the city bus to the airport. We were going there to pick up our rental car from Enterprise. We made the car rental before we left home. We each paid the one-way bus fare of $2.50 and traveled for 30-minutes. It dropped us right in front of the plane departure area. From there we got on the rental car shuttle. It took us an hour from the moment we got off the ship to the time we were in the car and on the road.

This is the third time Trini and I visit Honolulu. The last time we were here was two years ago. We have already visited the Pearl Harbor War Museum and it's a outstanding site. For anyone visiting Oahu for the first time, its a must visit site! Plan at least a full day to see the site and historical vessels. Where we caught the bus to go to the airport is also the also stop for the city bus to Pearl Harbor. Most major historical sites in the city can be reached in 30-minutes or less by public transportation.

On this particular trip we decided to drive up through the middle of the island and visit the famous North Shore area. Most persons have seen pictures of those gigantic 30-40 foot waves and you see surfers throughout the world competing here. It was a 30-minute drive to the North Shore area. It's part freeway and one-lane highway. Along the way you pass several military bases and you see open space where the Dole company still plants pineapples. The last time I saw so many pineapples was in Costa Rica. I understand that it has to rain a great deal to grow them so they must receive considerable rainfall.

As we headed back to Honolulu we passed, but did not visit, the area that was used for the movie Jurassic Park. Other natural features on other Hawaiian islands were also the backdrop scenes for the movie.

During the time we were on the northern side of the island it was windy and cloudy. The temperature was in the mid-70s. We traveled for about 5 miles along the shore area. We went along until we reached the Turtle Bay Hotel. It's situated over a cliff that protrudes into the ocean. Consequently the ocean waves are breaking on both sides of the cliff. The waves were only between 10-15 feet. We learned that the big wave season is from October to February. The waves we saw seemed quite high so I could only imagine what the big ones looked like.

We walked along the beach, around the hotel grounds and sat in the open air hotel lobby. It's quite a unique and beautiful location to watch the breakers on the beach. We wanted to do some snorkeling in the area but, we needed to head back to Honolulu in order to have time to climb to the top of Diamondhead and end the day by getting together with one of Trini's teacher friend. Karen Takamine, her friend, recently retired from teaching elementary school and moved back here to her native city.

As we were driving back to Honolulu it got warmer and we were soon back in 82 degree weather. One can easily drive over to and into the Diamondhead crater and park area. The entrance fee for the car is $ 5.00 and you have the opportunity to walk up to the top of the crater. It's a three quarter of a mile walk up to the rim. It's a gradual and constant uphill walk. There are no restrooms nor water fountains on the route. Calculate that the round trip will will be approximately 90-minutes. It's well worth the climb! The view at the top is spectacular. It was well worth the climb.

I am very surprised that the city or state has not put in a cable lift to get persons who have difficulty walking or those with little visiting time to be able to get to the top of the rim. I am sure it would be a major tourist attraction.

While we were standing at the rim we got to see what was perhaps the most beautiful rainbow we had seen in our lives. It was very wide and arched over from the land mass into the ocean. We were sad to leave the crater. The wind was getting stronger and it was starting to get a bit cool.

We drove for about 15-minutes to the Waikiki area and met with Karen, who lives in a beautiful 2-bedroom condominium facing west toward Waikiki beach. The view from her condo on the 27th floor is spectacular. She pointed out that there are plans for developers to build additional high rises in the area and she is concerned that they may build in front and diminish her view of the coastline.

We mentioned to Karen that Trini and I had entertained the idea of selling our home in Los Angeles and perhaps renting a condominium in the downtown area of San Diego. We are running into persons on the cruise that are retired who are also considering moving out of the suburbs and into the downtown areas. On our cruises we share time with passengers that are from cold climate regions (east coast, Europe and Canada) and they typically have second homes in areas with warm climates or travel for 1 or 2 months during the winter months.

Those of us living in Southern California are very blessed when it comes to year-round weather. We don't experience living in snow storms, ice conditions and freezing temperatures over several months. As one fellow passenger mentioned that it was getting warmer back home as they were leaving home to fly and get on this cruise. He is from Toronto, Canada and it was going up to minus twenty below zero.

We thank Karen for taking us out to eat to a local Hawaiian buffet restaurant. As a whole, I like seafood and their food offers it and it has its own unique taste. Some of the plates seem to include Asian cuisine.

We look forward to visiting Karen again. We drove back to the airport to return the car. We were disappointed to learn that Enterprise Rent a Car did not have a shuttle to return us to the cruise port and at this time of day the city buses were running one per hour so we had to get a taxi back. The 15-minute taxi ride one -way cost almost as much as the car rental for the entire day. We will definitely be returning to Honolulu in the near future, so we need to get this car rental shuttle issue worked out.

Tomorrow morning we will disembark on the island of Kauai. It's my favorite Hawaiian island.

About Armando F Sanchez, Contributing Writer:
Armando F Sanchez is an author and CEO of Armando F Sanchez Production. His organization produces global digital media programming.
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