Thursday, October 15, 2009

Surprising Oahu

We ended up on Oahu half by chance. I have never really wanted to go to Honolulu. Too big. I like Kauai--small town and lots of wild. But the flight from Oahu to Kauai was so late...getting in a 1am California time.

So we decided to break the trip in Oahu. And it turned out to be full of surprises. In the car we are listening to Mark Twain's letters from Hawaii. On Honolulu he says the whaling trade is everything, and that "shorn of it" the city would fail and "real estate become valueless." He was surprisingly wrong there I think, as I look out from our 24th floor lanai over the city.

One surprise is that you don't have to get far from Waikiki to have the ocean to yourself.
Even though I know it is lush in Hawaii, it is always a surprise, coming from California, how lush it is. Has anyone read The World Without Us? It imagines that humanity suddenly disappears. How would nature take over and what would be the lasting evidence of human activity? The Old Pali Highway reminded me of that book.

Here it is before the Nu'uanu Tunnels through the mountain made this winding road over the mountain obsolete in the 50's.

And here it is today. Half overgrown with vines and fragrant flowers, its walls beginning to crumble.

We ignored the many signs warning of falling rocks and ambled down the road. The girls enjoyed the falling water. It poured off the cliffside from where the fringe of vegetation ended, an all natural shower.
Some of the surprises were surprisingly small, like this sand dollar Greta found on Waikiki beach.

Others were surprisingly large.
Yes, everyone knows Hawaii has giant cockroaches, but seeing them is still surprising, especially when they turn up in the hotel room. I remember the last time we were on Kauai the kids couldn't get enough of holding and petting the giant cockroaches.

I hate to move right from cockroaches to food, but what the heck. There is a lot of good food in Honolulu. This none-too-creatively-named joint dished up too much good food for 6 for less than $30. And the parking was very convenient. That is the hood of our rental car in the pic.

This place is actually in a former garage. You can see the rolled up garage door at the entrance.

When we pulled up I said, "Wow, this really is a hole in the wall."

We got out. Due to the proximity of the parking as soon as we got out we were in the restaurant.

Greta: Where's the hole?
Me: (Not getting it.) There's no hole.
Greta: In the wall.
Me: (Getting it now, whispering.) There's no hole in the wall.
Greta: You said there was a hole in the wall.
Me: (Hoping we can drop it) I meant something different.
Greta: (Screaming) You said there was a hole in the wall! You lied!

Other surprises. At Pearl Harbor:
Spotted doves:
Sand castles in strange places:
Pit traps. Evelyn loves to dig. The latest passion is pit traps in the sand. She knows I am on to her, so she has taken to building elaborate structures whose only purpose is to entice me to walk over and take a look...and fall in the pit trap.
The vistas around every corner. You never know what might be waiting for you.

I started with Twain getting it wrong, so I'll end with him getting it right.

"That peaceful land, that beautiful land, that far-off home of solitude and soft idleness, and repose, and dreams, where life is one long slumberous Sabbath, the climate one long summer day, and the good that die experience no change, for they but fall asleep in one heaven and wake up in another". -- Mark Twain


The Stone Age Techie said...

Looks like a great trip!
Snow is falling outside as I am reading, making me wonder how warm the ocean is in Hawaii? I've never been there, but you sure paint a nice picture... hole-in-the-wall restaurants included :-)
I've got The World Without Us on my library list, it sounds interesting! I'm reading a book about time travel right now, and so I exist partially in the here and now, and partially in 1320s England. Don't you love it when books do that to you?
Thank you for sharing about your trip!

AM said...

Love your investigation of the old road!

How goes the cockroach petting this time around?

Kristin said...

--Enjoyed the old photo in contrast with the modern view of it.

I also thought the scene, in which you described the "hole in the wall" with Greta, and she called you a liar, was hilarious.

Nice idea to use Twain for a beginning and an ending too.

Good thing you are listening to that tape, as I am wondering if your girls are learning anything while they are on this trip besides how to make sand castles on a human-head-canvas and how to pet cockroaches without smashing them. (You know I'm joking, right?)

Sounds like a blast and I wish I were there.

Christine said...

That Thai place looks good :)..... you will have to show me pictures of the food when we see you next time :)

Stefaneener said...

Oh dear goodness. Ev's cleverness has me smiling a lot. It's a good thing she's going to grow up on the side of Right. Just think of what an awesome villan she would make.