Hawaii – Day 2 – War & Peace

We woke up early on Saturday, looking to try to get a jump on the day. Out of our room and down to the round about to be picked up by our shuttle service – VIP Transportation. We were picked up by a guy named Jason who provided us with the greatest conversation from any native so far. The quotes aren’t too important, but since we were headed to Pearl Harbor it was clear that we were interested in history – here is a sampling:

Oh, yea. I haven’t been to Pearl Harbor yet, but as I hear its really boring.

When the Japanese bombed us, that’s what brought us into world war one. It should be pretty exciting.

I am taking a history class. – oh? What timeframe are you covering? Chances are you would be able to learn a ton more about WWII than we could back on the mainland – yea, probably. The class is really heavy on the writing component. It is on corporate history. We are learning about the corporate moneys impact on indigenous peoples.

This poorly informed individual dropped us off in front of Pearl Harbor, accepted payment for the return trip and cut us a ticket for that return.

Yea, sure, just be out here at 11:15. Be here early so you don’t miss the pickup because the next one is at 2. Just make sure you are on time, even if we aren’t.

Then we popped into the harbor.

Checking our bags was a bit of a silly thing to start with. They don’t allow you into the park with purses, backpacks or roller cases, yes it is a park – parks and recreation monitors admittance and ensures that you check your bag. I suppose they could make an argument for stealing shit from the exhibits, but come on – all that really happens is that husbands and boyfriends get to fill up their pockets with all the cameras, phones and money that they could possibly need to be using.

There are a handful of exhibits to choose from…

The Arizona

Free, includes a short (20 minute) film of footage of the bombing, and explains what lead up to the bombing, followed by a bit of a boat ride out to the rusted out, oil leaking, carcass of the ship along with a really beautiful memorial for those lost during the raid. From the monument you can clearly see the oil weeping out of the ship, floating up to the surface and then floating out into the open ocean…

At this point you are likely wondering a couple questions:

Why didn’t they raise the Arizona?

The Arizona was lost by a bomb smashing through the deck and into their magazine storage. This lead to a fire and then the catastrophic explosion of the stores. From the footage we saw the explosion was about 5 times the size of the ship. In other words – the ship was badly damaged. Parts of it, like the guns and masts were salvaged, but the carcass, along with many of her crew, were left under the waters of the harbor.

Why would they leave oil down there?

This is a complicated question, and one that requires weighing alternatives. The ship went down with an ungodly mass of oil (1573 tons of fuel oil) and of that, enough was left after the fire to allow about two liters to be released into the waters per day, which is expected to go on for at least another 50 years.

To be perfectly blunt, the memorial was actually quite sad.

The Bowfin

$15 per person to pop over to one of the surviving WWII submarines, take an hour long audio tour with your loved one and get a hands on perspective over the ridiculous living and working quarters aboard a sub. I won’t lie, I had to duck and squeeze to get through every single port, and I can say for sure that I understand better than most why they call the things along the ceiling “head bangers.” Overall this was probably the most interesting exhibit we were able to see in our short time in the harbor. It includes noteworthy things, such as the crew bunks, exposed wiring and copper tubing, captain and first mate quarters. It was all around great. They even keep Ice Cream below decks.

Along the walk over you get to see a handful of Mk14 torpedoes – each about 10-12 feet long and 14″ in diameter, along with some other interesting things – like a nuclear missile capsule, an observation deck, including a working periscope, and even a suicide torpedo. Really, I wish I was kidding about it.

Also of note – a Tomahawk cruise missile… it was smaller than any of the torpedoes, bombs or components we saw and is well known for its devastating delivery packages.

USS Missouri

On Ford Island the Battleship Missouri lives. She is the ship that was used in accepting the unconditional surrender from Japan. This tour takes at least 2 hours and requires that you run on the schedule the volunteers provide and is a $90 charge. It is the only one we did not take. If I had the opportunity to do it again, this would be the one I take.

Noon

We headed out to the parking lot around 11, hoping to beat our shuttle. Little did we know – they weren’t coming. We watched as the hands on my watch spun around to 11:35 before our first call.

Yes ma’am, they will be out there in about 15 minutes.

The wedding ceremony and reception begins at 5, we have a coach taking us over to the church at 4, so we need to be finished dressing up by 3:30. We are watching our time tick down, without lunch in sight.

Jen calls again – Its now noon. They hang up.

This goes on for about 40 more minutes before another shuttle guy takes pity and offers to take us – one way cost us 40 bucks, the same as our round trip from VIP.

The Wedding & Reception

Admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect from a Hawaiian wedding. This was quite possibly the most beautiful, extravagant and interesting wedding I have ever been to. I won’t get into the details too much, after-all I was a guest.

The wedding was catholic, maybe another strongly Christian offshoot, that started on time, went through its races and boom we were off to the bus – 40 minutes end to end. We popped onto the bus, got a tour of Waikiki…

Ill break off here to share an interesting quote from the tour. We pulled up onto the Ala Wai Canal when the driver came on the speaker:

This is what you call “A Canal”

Sure, it’s possible that we misheard, but there were 8 of us in the back of the bus who all looked at each other and broke out into laughter. I choose to think he was testing us.

The reception included the usual stuff that you expect, but stacked on Chinese dragon dancers and a live band! It was great!

We got back to bus ~ 11pm and up to our room to pass the fuck out around midnight…