I went to Hawaii Monday night. The flight from SFO was delayed for 4 hours, so I split a bottle of white wine and buffalo mozzarella from Vino Volo, Terminal 2. Once we got to Oahu Airport around midnight, we took an Uber to Maniniholo St. in the south part of the island. We were quite tired and went straight to sleep.
In the morning sunlight poured through our window panes, which revealed the great lush velvety green mountains of Oahu. We decided to get some fresh air and walk out of the AirBnB to Kamiloiki park before getting an Uber to the nearby Hawaii Kai shopping center where we nabbed sunscreen at Safeway and ramen at a noodle house.
Next on our plans was seeing Hanauma Bay, which turned out to be closed when we arrived. We also wanted to see Sandy beach and some of the other relaxing spots, but we unfortunately did not plan well and didn’t rent a car (a must have for getting around the island). We then took an Uber to the start of Makapu’u Point Lighthouse trail, as it seamed like a good way to get our blood going from the 7 hour plane ride. The views from the trail were absolutely stunning. You could see some sailboats and even whale tails if you had a good eye.
From the summit, you can see a 360 view of the island with picturesque steep green cliffs. I found a white 5-pedal flower on the ground and put it in my hair. There were a few locals who brought their dogs up the mountain in the morning. By the top, we were pretty thirsty and had forgotten water, so we headed back down the well-paved path to the street where we caught another Uber to go to the town of Kailua.
We dropped in some random location in Kailua since we didn’t know the town and it looked pretty walkable. First stop was some food. We went to a cute cafe (Nalu Health Bar & Cafe) where I ordered an acai bowl and a thick choco-banana smoothie. It was flavorful, sweet, and refreshing! Afterwards, we window shopped along the same street browsing expensive sun glasses and every-colored swimwear. Walking a bit more, we finally reached the ocean where an empty beach lied before us (picture above). We took our sandals off and walked on the sand, with periodic waves tickling our toes. Before heading back to our AirBnB, we grabbed some fresh tuna, edamame, Kalua pork, and noodles from a local grocery store for little dinner feast.
On Wednesday, we packed our bags and headed to Pearl Harbor, a historic site that I went to once before over ten years ago. We saw the USS Arizona Anchor, USS Bowfin Submarine, the Valor In The Pacific National Monument, and watch a flick describing the history of that fearful December 7th day. For lunch, we stopped by the nearby Restaurant 604, which was full of naval soldiers. I ordered the classic “Loco moco”, fried eggs atop a beef patty and rice, a rich meal I love, as it fills me with energy.
Afterwards, we went to the Punchbowl to visit the grave of Sgt. Grant F Timmerman of the US Marine Corps. Sgt Timmerman’s tank, of which he was tank commander, landed on Saipan on D-day. The sergeant had been firing the tank’s antiaircraft gun during the vigorous attack but when progress was halted, he prepared to fire the 75 mm gun. Exposing himself to the enemy, he stood up in the open turret of his tank to warn the infantry to hit the deck because of the muzzle blast of the 75 mm. A Japanese grenade came hurtling through the air aimed in the direction of the open turret. Sgt Timmerman fearlessly covered the opening with his own body to prevent the grenade from killing his crew and the grenade exploded on his chest, killing him instantly and saving his crew members. For that his country bestowed its highest honor upon him — the Medal of Honor. The citation for this honor can be read here.
20 years ago, in 1998, the leader Grant’s troop, Warren Bailey gave me the pin and badge of Grant. I have kept this memory ever since, as it identifies who I am and where I come from.
Am sending this Marine Corp Emblem that was Sgt. Timmerman’s. It was given to me on Saipan and now want it to go to little Grant.
Sincerely, Warren S. Bailey (1998)
On a brighter note, we stopped by our hotel to freshen up for dinner. We set out to see if there were shows available for the night. We found the Magic of Hawaii had a show in 10 minutes which we could make if we rushed. After scrambling around the complex escalators of downtown, we found the show which included a fantastic magician, traditional luau dancers and incredible poi dancing. The dancer could spin two poi sticks in the air, breathe fire, dance with fire in one hand, through his legs, and on the ground. The older non-English speaking Korean lady was hilarious as the host played along with the tomfoolery.
After the show, we put our name in for the oh so famous Dukes on Waikiki where I ordered a Kalua pork sandwich and we talked amongst the tiki torch lights. After dinner we walked along the beach and danced to some live jazz in the RumFire. Before going to bed, we went to the Hyatt hot tub and talked to a newly wed Japanese couple. We didn’t have many words we could mutually understand, but somehow we could still communicate.
On the last day, we grabbed an acai bowl before heading to the continental United States on Hawaiian Airlines, where I wrote down these memories.