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Last year my brother Jason and I decided that we would take a trip out to Hawaii to visit my niece, Morgan. Jason had discussed visiting her several times, so it was not difficult to talk him into this trip. He wanted to come before she graduated from BYU-Hawaii and left the islands for graduate school. I had not seen her in over two years as she served a mission in Utah.
The flight over there was long. I first went from Taipei to Hong Kong, then Manila, and finally a 9 hour flight to Honolulu. My back killed me, which was made worse waiting for Jason’s flight to land in 6 hours. Luckily, I came prepared with reading material. I always have that on hand. :-P We drove up to the North Shore, as we were staying at an Airbnb in Laie.
The next day we went down to Ft. DeRussy, an old coastal artillery fortification, near Waikiki. There is an interesting museum there, holding artifacts from the length of US military’s interactions in Hawaii. The museum was free, but the parking bit us in the rear. After this, we planned to visit Pearl Harbor. When we arrived, we found that the ferry to the Arizona was closed due to choppy weather, the USS Bowfin was closed because it was hit by lightning and that Aviation Museum flooded. It rained about 70 percent of our time there, which I did not mind that much. So, we decided to visit another day when Morgan was available.
The next day, we went out early to see what we were not able to see the day before. The Arizona was an amazing, solemn experience. The Bowfin and the Aviation museum were wonderful and mentally stimulating, as I knew them to be. Unfortunately, we did not see the USS Missouri, the “Mighty Mo,” because of time and expense. If anything, this would be the only thing I really regret. Saved for another time, perhaps.
We did a lot of driving around, looking at scenic sites. It is definitely paradisiacal in many regards. Not the tourists though. They were annoying, as they kept getting in the way. Jason is a nature lover and I am, to put it mildly, rather indifferent. Still, I enjoyed visiting the beaches and mountains. We did not go swimming, as neither of us were inclined and the weather was mostly abysmal. We were even almost trapped by a flash flood, only saved by my superior navigating and Jason’s steady hand at the wheel.
The Polynesian Cultural Center was awesome. I know that it is culture packaged for a tourist audience, but I still enjoyed learning more about the different islands and their peoples. We had a luau and the food was phenomenal. I was happy to spend time with my brother and niece, even if we did get rained on. Morgan described the North Shore as the armpit of O’ahu, because the rains come from elsewhere and just settle in the north. We definitely experienced that as we crossed over from dry, sunny Honolulu into somewhat torrential downpours.
All in, I loved my trip. I saw mostly what I wanted and was dragged to appreciate what I usually happily overlook. I would recommend a visit by others. My only criticism is the number of tourists (I do not, of course, include myself among this number). It did not feel like a romantic place, no doubt because I did not have someone of significance in that department with me. If I were to go on a honeymoon or something, I think I would prefer to go to Kauaʻi or Maui. Still, a lovely place.
On my return trip, it was brutal. I backtracked the same way, except with a 23 hour layover in Hong Kong. Idiotic me. I slept for 5 dismal hours and died the rest. I had planned to go into the city and visit a friend but I was so exhausted I could barely stand. In the future, I will not do long layovers. Definitely not.