Friday, June 25, 2010

Honolulu- Day 3 and 4: Escape

Friday, eager to escape the thousands of tourists, I went for a hike in the hills behind Honolulu. Initially I was discouraged at how hard it was to find a trai; After about an hour of walking I made it to a trailhead. The hike began with a steep section which was sweltering- just look at my attempted self-photo below. These photos never seem to work....



After a quick lunch I began my hike through a lengthy stretch of bamboo forest. It was my favorite part of the hike; when the wind picked up, I could hear the bamboo creaking- it was really eerie. It was also the first stretch of trail where I went at least an hour without running into another person.



After hiking through the bamboo forest I summited Mt. Tanatalus (all 1300 feet of it), which had a nice view of Honolulu.



Then I headed around to the next valley where I ran along a ridge and then descended to a quant little waterfall called Manoa Falls.



Saturday, after sadly watching the U.S. bow out of the world cup (damn those early goals!!!), Pasha and I headed to Sharks Cove on the North Shore of Oahu, about a two-hour bus ride away. At Sharks Cove we swam, snorkeled, and napped for a few hours, grabbed a quick dinner and then rode the bus back to Honolulu late. I also managed to grab a very stereotypical Hawaii photo of the sun setting over the Pacific:



I enjoyed my time in Honolulu, but I'm ready to escape to the much less crowded Big Island after battling crowds at Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and the North Shore. I'm also not going to miss TheBus on Oahu; the number of places you can get on TheBus is impressive and convenient, but the timing is not. Buses never really come on time and numerous times I was left wondering things like: "Is that bus 5 minutes early or 25 minutes late?" and my personal favorite, "Wait, was that my bus? Yup." I'll be an optimist (since I am in Hawaii after all) and say that the buses provide I nice introduction to "Island Time," that is the somewhat amusing lack of punctuality surrounding just about everything in Hawaii (buses, airplanes, and store hours so far).

Next stop: Hilo

Honolulu- Day 2



Day 2 dawned early- 5:30 to be exact. I stumbled out the door at 5:45, got to Pearl Harbor at 6:40 and was lucky enough to get a spot on the 2nd boat to the USS Arizona at 8:20. The memorial itself was worth the wait. Standing over the ship, seeing the oil still leak out of the ship 69 years later, picturing the morning of December 7th was special.



After a few hours at Pearl Harbor, I rode the bus all the way back across Honolulu to hike the obligatory Diamond Head.



The hike itself is cut up through the edge of the crater with tunnels and stairs and is really quite neat; unfortunately it was difficult to see any of the trail through all the people- at midafternoon on a Thursday the trail was PACKED. The view from the top was spectacular however, so it was worth fighting my way up and down through all the people (I guess).



After leaving Diamond Head I slowly meandered my way back to Honolulu through Waikiki enjoying the beaches (and not enjoying the insane amount of people). So far my Honolulu experience makes me glad that I'll be on the significantly less crowded Big Island for most of my summer. Hopefully today I'll escape some of the people on a few hikes in the hills behing the city.


Aloha!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Honolulu- Day 1


Aloha! It turns out aloha can mean just about anything (hello, goodbye, friendly, and awesome so far). The picture above is my first sight of Hawaii; Mauna Kea is the hulking mountain (and my future work area) in the distance. I got in to Honolulu yesterday at 5 PM local time, and then jumped on TheBus (seriously, that's what it's called) to go meet my gracious host, Pasha. After dumping my stuff, we headed out to find the sketchiest local food place we could find, and we ended up at a nearby Bento Box place. Below is Pasha and her Bento. My Seafood Bento was maybe a little too fried....



This morning I headed off to Pearl Harbor where I sadly discovered that all the tickets for the USS Arizona Memorial sold out at 9 (I got there about 9:30). Instead, I toured a WWII submarine, the USS Bowfin and the USS Missouri. Below is the view of the Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri in the distance with a (conveniently place) flag in the foreground.



Below is a terrifying view of the 16-inch guns on the Missouri. The coolest part of the ship tour was standing on the spot where World War II ended on September 2, 1945 on the upper deck.



And surprisingly my favorite part of the day was the new memorial to the sailors of the USS Oklahoma. Each of the 400 marble pillars represents the life of one sailor or marine killed when the ship capsized on December 7th, 1941. Tomorrow I'm going back super-early (6:30!) to snag a passto the USS Arizona hopefully doing a little hiking in the afternoon.



Aloha and thanks for reading!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Packing!


I began (and finished) the packing process this afternoon. Things fit more easily than I expected- always a pleasant surprise. Tomorrow I'm leaving here about 5:30 in the morning to begin the epic journey to Honolulu (via Charlotte and Phoenix). 12 hours of flying time and about 15 hours of total travel time! Let the adventure begin!!!