Friday, November 07, 2008

Around Honolulu

The next morning saw us finding out the truth of rain and convertibles. If you drive fast enough with the top down, you won't get wet. Woe betide he who slows down! With the rather dreary weather, we headed to lunch first, to the world's greatest food court in Ala Moana shopping center. I of course made a bee-line to the okonomiyaki stall, a dish you just can't get in Colorado. (For those who don't know, Okonomiyaki is rather like a cabbage pancake/ pizza ish dish. You grill up the pancake, and put toppings like beef, fish, shrimp or even cheese on it. I absolutely fell in love with okonomiyaki in Japan.)

After lunch the weather had cleared a bit, so we went to the number one tourist attraction in Honolulu, The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Punchbowl Crater. The area was very sobering, with rows of graves, as well as a memorial with the many Pacific war dead whose bodies where never recovered. Among those interred in the cemetery are Ernie Pyle, who died on an island near Okinawa, and one of the astronauts on the Challenger.

From the rim of the crater we could look out on great views of downtown Honolulu.

Leaving Punchbowl, we drove up the Mt. Tantalus/ Round Top road, a panoramic jungle drive into the volcanic hills above Honolulu. Both Mt. Tantalus and Round Top are both younger volcanoes, like Punch Bowl and Diamond Head, that erupted after Oahu had left the Hawaiian Hot Spot on the floor of the Pacific.

Looking down from a state park overlook we has great, if dark, views of Honolulu, Diamond Head, and Punchbowl, seen here.

Coming down from the hills, we took a quick drive through central Honolulu, scoping out the old Palace (the only royal palace on American soil!) as well as the King Kamehameha statue that I just had to get a quick photo of!

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