Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day 62 - Hawaii & Sydney

Oahu, Hawaii is divided into two areas, the windward (north) side and the leeward (south) side. The windward side takes the brunt of the windy seas and hence it's always wet. On the leeward side the ocean is peaceful and quieter - it has clear skies and rather dry. This is where Waikiki is. The photo above shows how the rain clouds end along the mountains that divide Oahu.

Our flight was delayed almost one hour. This picture shows the "full-house" of Sydney bound passengers for our flight at Honolulu's International Airport

We highly recommend Hawaiian Airlines as the preferred airlines to travel to Hawaii and or to the mainland. They are professional and first class. Taken at the Honolulu International Airport

No this is not us running after our aircraft, but the flight taking off before us at Honolulu's International Airport

Our last view of Oahu and Honolulu, Hawaii at 1:15pm Saturday 20JUL13 -we are only 10 hours away from Sydney - 18 hours ahead of Honolulu time.
So this is it - our last day in paradise. We were picked up by the Speedie Shuttle at 9:45 am that took us to Honolulu International Airport. HA 451 was delayed by almost one hour due to the aircraft arriving late at Honolulu. Nevertheless the flight was scheduled for 10.5 hours and only took ten hours to reach Sydney. Being in first class is great. Hawaiian Airlines in one of the best airlines we have travelled on. The cabin crew are highly professional and friendly. The journey to Sydney was comfortable and enjoyable. We landed in cold Sydney with our Penrith Valley Limousine waiting for us. We went through immigration and customs fairly fast. As we had no declared items it was just a walk through the custom barriers. We arrived home at 9:15 Penrith time to a clean house and Arthur & Murphy waiting for us after two months away as all dogs do - yabba-dabba-do. This is the last post for this holiday and hopefully next year's holiday to Europe will eventuate. Cheers and thanks to all our readers.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 61 - Hawaii

A taco shell with chicken and shrimp - yum. Eaten at the Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu

Passing by the front garden of the Hilton in Waikiki, Honolulu

An unusual flower - black in colour and called Bat Wings. Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

A juvenile breadfruit located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

A Noni fruit located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu. This fruit is becoming popular as a remedy for many human ailments. 

Greg - our guide. His knowledge on Hawaiian botany is impeccable. He doesn't look like our old Alan Searle - you know the Aussie gardener with a lisp? Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

Pink bananas? Quite inedible but look nice. Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

More inedible bananas located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

This is a flower of the ginger plant. It is hard and waxy. Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

Another type of ginger plant, however the orange flowers emanate from the roots. Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

We forgot what these flowers are called - ginger roses??? Nevertheless, they are popular and used in Hawaiian flower arrangements. Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

Shrimp flowers - well they suppose to look like shrimps (prawns). Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

In tropical rainforest - always wet and humid. Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

Some flowers have blossomed some ain't. Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

This fruit contains cocoa - the main ingredient for chocolate. Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

The colour of this flower is vividly purple - some say it is blue. Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

The small unripened nuts of this tree are coffee beans. Located in the Manoa Botanical Gardens, Honolulu

Diamond Head and parts of Honolulu from the scenic lookout at Tantalus Round Top

The suburbs of Manoa and Rainbow Valley (no rainbows during our visit) from the scenic lookout at Tantalus Round Top

Waikiki from the scenic lookout at Tantalus Round Top

This is the location where Elvis Presley did a scene in Blue Hawaii. At the Tantalus Round Top lookout.

Our last dancing experience in Hawaii. At the Ala Wai Palladium Golf Club. The concertina doors have been opened showing the huge extent of the dance floor.

This morning we visited Walmart in Honolulu and finished buying gifts for friends in Australia. Had lunch in the Ala Moana Mall and then at 1 pm began our cultural tour of the local botanical gardens in the jungle. It was not far from Waikiki and it was so peaceful. It always rains here and with rich volcanic soils and tropical temperature is a haven for anything that grows. It is a huge garden with many steep trails however our guide Greg showed us the most interesting plants that abound. From the garden we visited the Tantalus Round Top lookout which gives a commanding view of Honolulu and Waikiki. Also it is the best vantage point to see a rainbow that develops when the mist rolls over the mountains in the back. Sadly this did not happen for us. We returned to Waikiki and had our last dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and then went to a social dance at the Ala Wai Golf Club. The dancing club used the two floors allowing the full extent of the building. Boy it is long. It is difficult to complete one lap for a sequence dance to a 2.5 minute song. Well this is it for our holiday to the USA. We leave on the 1235 hour flight back to Sydney tomorrow and this will be the last post whilst we are in the USA. We will enter a brief burst for days 62 and 63 (remembering Sydney is 17 hours ahead of Honolulu) on our return. So......that's all folks and looking forward in meeting our friends back in OZ very soon. Cheers.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 60 - Hawaii

Titan Missiles used in post-WW2 submarines - located at Pearl Harbour Hawaii

Boarding the big "Mo" the USS Missouri at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii 

Celebrating the end of WW2 - sailor style. At the USS Missouri Pier, Pearl Harbour, Hawaii

At the USS Missouri pier looking towards the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbour

On board the USS Missouri looking towards the bow, Pearl Harbour Hawaii

Looking back from the bow of the USS Missouri showing those huge 16" guns, Pearl Harbour

Projectiles from these guns can travel over 20 miles. Actually used in the Gulf War.

A US submarine in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii

On the starboard side of USS Missouri is this memorial plate where the signing of the Japanese surrender occurred in 1945

A brief about the Japanese surrender on board the USS Missouri

Bent remains of the USS Missouri rear starboard side where a kamikaze actually careened into back in 1945

Another view of the location where the kamikaze pilot had hit the USS Missouri

These canisters were used to fire Tomahawk missiles from the USS Missouri during the Gulf War

The USS Arizona Memorial from bridge side on board USS Missouri

The USS Missouri's close-in-weapon-support "Phalanx". Its purpose is to fired as many 20 mm projectiles at any aircraft or missiles heading towards the USS Missouri 

The 20 mm gun system on display on board the USS Missouri

A view from the bridge on board the USS Missouri

Well look who is sailing this ship - from the bridge on USS Missouri

Another view from the USS Missouri bridge

A pier side view of the USS Missouri - a huge battleship!

The WW2 submarine on display at Pearl Harbour - the USS Bowfin

A graphic drawing of a Japanese torpedo run during the surprise attack on 7th December 1941. Located in the Pearl Harbour Museum

Arriving on the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii

The remains of the USS Arizona rear gun turret, Pearl Harbour

Oil is still leaking from the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbour - black tears they say

Here you are fishing in your little aluminium boat and the big Mo is bearing down on you - what do you do?

Inside the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbour

The USS Missouri in Pearl Harbour

The Punchbowl National cemetery in Honolulu - many famous servicemen are buried here

A neat view of Honolulu from the Punchbowl Crater, Hawaii

Waikiki from the Sunset Dinner cruise catamaran "Tavatek 1"

A closer view of Waikiki from the Sunset Dinner cruise catamaran "Tavatek 1"

Diamond Head from the Sunset Dinner cruise catamaran "Tavatek 1"

Another view of Diamond Head from the Sunset Dinner cruise catamaran "Tavatek 1"

Entertainment on board the Sunset Dinner cruise catamaran "Tavatek 1"

Entertainment on board the Sunset Dinner cruise catamaran "Tavatek 1"

Entertainment on board the Sunset Dinner cruise catamaran "Tavatek 1"

A view of the sunset from the bow of the catamaran "Tavatek 1"

The sun setting and Anne on board the Entertainment on board the catamaran "Tavatek 1"

An early start today and our bus arrived at our hotel at 7 am to take us to Pearl Harbour. This is our second visit to this famous memorial site however we will be visiting the USS Missouri as part of this tour. The Big Mo is just as grandeur as the USS Alabama back in Mobile. The main difference is that the Missouri has been used in World War 2, Korean War and the Gulf War. It was damaged by a kamikaze and survived fairly well during that war. We had to travel by boat across a bridge to Ford Island to see the Missouri. Later, when we visited the USS Arizona Memorial it was via a USN boat from the Pearl Harbour Museum. The visit to the Arizona is emotional and thoughts are on those sailors who perished on the 7th December 1941. They say that Arizona's survivors have the choice of being cremated when they pass away and their remains be buried with their fallen shipmates in the Arizona. Also a legend says that when the last Arizona sailor or officer who was on that ship on that infamous day the black tears will stop rising to the surface. The black tears are drops of oil that still rises to the surface around the USS Arizona. On the way back to Honolulu by bus there were other Australian's on board. Some of these people can be selfish when it comes to taking over seats and interfering with other passengers - it was somewhat embarrassing. After our Pearl Harbour tour we had to walk a short distance to be collected for our Oahu Sunset Dinner cruise on a catamaran at the designated time. There was confusion among tens of buses that were parked and we eventually found our correct bus - the driver who was waiting in front told us to board - all was well at this stage. Shortly after a young guide whose name is "Sam" boarded and embarrassingly told us and many other passengers that we were errant and made the bus to leave late. This was not a good start to our dinner. When we arrived at the pier we privately explained to this person who really didn't care regarding his inappropriate actions. It dampened the next two hours. Nevertheless, we did enjoy the entertainment on board and had an excellent meal. When we returned to the pier we made certain that we have a contact email address of the General Manager of the company to make our complaint. Tomorrow is our last day in Honolulu and the USA. We have a walking tour to Rainbow Valley at 1 pm and hopefully at our age we can survive a decent trek through the countryside. Also there is a dance at the Palladium at 6 pm and if we are not too tired may attend. So with one and a bit days to go cheers.