View of Diamondhead


04/26/06 New Jersey to Oahu
04/27/06 Oahu: Arizona Memorial, Chinatown Walk
04/28/06 Oahu: Island Circuit, Dole Plantation
04/29/06 Oahu: Bishop Museum
04/30/06 Oahu: Hawai'i Maritime Center, US Army Museum
05/01/06 Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center
05/02/06 Oahu: Waikiki Aquarium
05/03/06 Oahu to the Big Island
05/04/06 The Big Island: Volcano
05/05/06 The Big Island: Kona Walk
05/06/06 The Big Island to Maui
05/07/06 Maui: Sites
05/08/06 Maui: Helicopter over Maui, Road to Hana
05/09/06 Maui: Semi-sub & Beach
05/10/06 Maui to Honolulu
05/11/06 Honolulu to New Jersey


Years ago we had airline mileage and Evelyn said we should go to Hawai'i. She asked me where we should go there. Immediately I decided Pearl Harbor. What else? Well I looked at various tourist attractions and everything looked to me like the Kilakoala Lily Park. After an hour of research looking for what to see in Hawai'i I turned to Evelyn and said with finality "Ireland." Our vacation was somewhat colder and wetter than she had planned. That was just about six years ago. Finally I am ready to see Hawai'i. P.S. It was only this trip that Evelyn realized that the name "Kilakoala" was itself intended as a joke.

Incidentally, this log is not intended to be a textbook of facts of Hawai'i. It is just a trip log. I have gotten my facts as right as I could manage on the trip. I don't go home and fact-check my logs after the trips. This log is really intended to have more my impressions of the trip, though my understanding of a place is an important part of my impressions. After it gets published it is mostly out of my hands. Only the copies at my own site do I control.

In my years of writing trip logs I have gotten only a small handful of fact corrections from readers. I have been grateful for every one--angry or pleasant. I have where possible corrected logs, or at least the copies I control. And I have given a friendly response for every one I have received, angry or pleasant. But I am limited in my ability to change logs.]

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04/26/06 New Jersey to Oahu

(with a bit of 04/25/06)

Well, this is only our second over-water trip since we retired five years ago. We used to travel a great deal more, but since 9/11 we have not really been as into travel. Security is a lot more of a hassle.

My usual way to avoid jet lag is to stay up all night the night before a long flight, then to sleep on the plane. That was not the plan this time, and I went to bed at 10PM, set alarms for 3:30 and woke up at 1AM. I decided, okay, so I would deprive myself of sleep.

I got up and tried to use the PC, but I was getting no response. The modem lights were not flashing in a healthy manner. I called up the service provider and got a recorded message saying they were doing maintenance in my town. This was off-hours so it probably inconvenienced nobody but me. I used the time to clean the kitchen and do some final packing. In the background I had a documentary about Nordhausen and the V-2.

Evelyn got up at 3:30, which in Hawaiian time is 9:30 the previous night. We had let the kitchen run down on supplies in anticipation of being gone for a while. The best thing remaining to eat was a packet of Indian food. I had spicy Shilah Paneer (or something like that). At 10:15 we headed out.

We did not have to check in at the airport since we already had boarding passes from the currently dead-for-us Internet connection. They still make everybody take off shoes in security in spite of the fact that there was only one attempt to use shoes to attack a plane and it was a miserable failure. The problem is they don't know what to guard against and they have to look like they are making things more secure somehow. Israeli security is much less inconvenience with much greater safety. They without apology do racial profiling.

In going through the security check I forgot to put my wheelie bag with the CPAP on the belt so they had to check it for security problems. They essentially vacuumed the CPAP with a little hand vacuum with a piece of filter paper over the nozzle. They then put the little piece of filter paper in a detection machine and my luggage got a got a clean bill of health.

It is now nearly midnight Hawai'i time and the sun is just rising here. I feel like it is about midnight. My eyelids are heavy and I have a touch of heartburn. Could this be the Shilah Paneer hitting back? It is odd, because I don't think I have had heartburn in years. Anyway, it was not the food. It is how you eat not what you eat that causes heartburn.

United has a new way of boarding. They do window seats first, then middle seats, then aisles. It didn't work this morning. They have a whole high school marching band and they were taking roll call, which seemed to be taking forever so they boarded everybody else. Something like 2/3 of the flight is composed of band members. I was kind of jealous that that a New Jersey High School gets to go to Los Angeles. If they are from LA, it isn't as nice. (No, they are from Nutley, New Jersey, and visiting Los Angeles. That is a lot better.) I asked the coach if the band takes requests. He told me they could play anything. The in-flight movie is THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, which seems appropriate for this crowd.

Humph! They give you earphones for the various music channels. Two or three of them including the classical are not working. None of the rest is very good to work to. It is mostly raucous and a lot has words.

I go back and forth among this log, a film review I am writing, sleeping, and watching the movie. The air is turbulent which helps rock me. I am one of those weirdoes who like a little turbulence. It does not feel that bad but the flight attendants keep telling us they are not getting out of their seats during this bad turbulence.

The film ended but the flight had still hours to go so they put on a second film, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2. Not very good.

Late in the flight the pilot made some unscheduled turns to give the teens a good view of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.

When we debarked in Los Angeles we discovered that we would be leaving from the same gate group where we landed. Ergo we would not go through security again. Ergo I could take out from my suitcase the plastic bag where I had squirreled all my metal objects. I distributed them into my pockets.

This is not what people really want to read about so I will make this quick. I bought myself a tuna wrap and a bottle of orange juice. I gave Evelyn half.

Our next leg of the flight is on a 767. I think all Boeing commercial transport planes are of the form 7-something-7 and that the something is a number correlated to the number of passengers per square foot. A 747 was merely cramped. A 757 is downright tight. In a 767 when a passenger gets out of his seat there is an audible pop. With 777 they are going to have hammocks and give up on the expense of individual seating.

I have a window seat. Of course we are traveling over water. The view is not as good. Water has peaks and valleys like the National Parks do, but on water any peak that is over six or seven inches passes for majestic. So it is hard for the pilot to point out anything impressive. Also the peaks have shorter duration. They last only an instant or two so the pilot who is expert at pointing out water peaks has to be very well informed with very up-to-date information. On the whole, if you want to see majestic peaks and valleys below your plane it is best to be over land.

In the event you have to leave the plane in an emergency over water it is best to slide down the safety slide legs first and then immediately leave the vicinity of the plane. This serves three important purposes. 1) It gets you out of the way of the person behind you. 2) It is safer to be further from the plane when it sinks. 3) It confuses the sharks.

The film was NANNY MCFEE. I watched bits but couldn't comment on the whole thing. I also watched a bit of "Teachers." That is a comedy about teachers and teaching, or so I would guess. Even if it was a comedy you could do a good series about serious academic issues. This was the episode that was supposed to sell the series. It seemed to be about whether the main character would or would not have sex with another teacher in a low-cut dress. With a word change here and there it could have been about two workers in a sardine factory. (Come to think of it, do sardines swim in schools?) Network comedy shows all seem like dreck to me. The hook is that it has a different backdrop, but it is just a different backdrop.

We picked up 30 minutes or more in the flight so we should be down a half-hour earlier. We don't have a lot planned for this afternoon and evening.

As we were coming in I saw an island to the south. It didn't look like it was inhabited. It lay too low above the water. However as we got closer we saw a more impressive island. It didn't take long to recognize it as Oahu. We flew in a circle approaching it twice. We could clearly see Pearl Harbor and off in the background what I assume was Diamondhead. And there was a beach-front with hotels. The water was a very deep blue.

We landed and Evelyn for the last time in her life entered a new state. I can do it two more times. It was nice to get away from the baby who was crying pretty much the whole trip. The weather is sunshine, partly cloudy and around 70 degrees. We had a choice of taking a shuttle or walking to the baggage pickup (well, to ground transport--we didn't check luggage). It is a peasant walk with our first good view of palm trees and the craggy hills in the background.

We found our shuttle and on the bus talked to a woman who was in Information Technology and who really liked to travel. We had a good conversation about first the job market and about traveling Leeper style, which means cheap. We saw more mountains and palms. This area looks a lot like Mountain View, CA, but for sharper peaks on the hills and the hills look closer. The traffic is fairly bad. Hawai'i is no longer an unspoiled paradise.

We have found out that some people who read our logs think we take fabulous and expensive trips. These people are not reading our logs very closely. I will say this: one of the reasons we traveled a lot is that it was cheap entertainment. In Australia young people frequently take a year or two and travel the world. And they do it for very little money. We don't go as cheaply as they do. We don't wash dishes. But then you don't make much money washing dishes and that much we can afford to take from savings.

Our hotel is the Royal Grove at a minimal $445 per week. The hotel is a little old, has maid service only twice a week, and is a bit dilapidated, but comfortable. In London the place we stayed was not very comfortable and it was cheap only by London standards. For Waikiki this place is quite reasonable. It costs about what you might spend at a good Motel 6. I suspect it had its heyday must have been in the 1950s or 1960s. It has a full fridge, a sink, a microwave, a toaster, and a coffee maker. Well, it doesn't have everything, but it does have a kitchen sink.

After that we spent an hour looking for a restaurant and just general moseying around. I would not say that the area is unspoiled, but it is not unpleasant either. We are about a three block walk to the beach. Well, this may not be the Hawai'i experience that people think of. This is more just to see and get a feel for Hawai'i. For most people Hawai'i is being pampered and paying for the privilege. Being pampered is never cheap. I don't think Evelyn and I would go for the spa experience.

We found a Korean restaurant and I had a sampler while Evelyn had tofu stew. We shared.

Then we stopped at a grocery for food for the room. Evelyn wen to sleep abut 7:30 and I will probably go to bed by 8.

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04/27/06 Oahu: Arizona Memorial, Chinatown Walk

Well I fell asleep about 8-ish. I woke up about 1AM, rolled a bit, and had nocturnal leg cramps in first the left leg, then the right. And then fell asleep again and awoke about 3:30.

The cramps are about a once a month thing with me. Two have two in rapid succession is unusual. They used to hurt for a couple of days. Now I know how to handle them and I usually can barely tell I had them in the morning. How to handle them is to stretch the area as if you want your toes to touch your knees. Instinct tells you that you want to bend your legs to relieve pressure but that is wrong. Do that one quick flex and the attack is over. There is still a little muscle pain but very little.

There seem to be ABC stores everywhere. You walk a few blocks and you pass five of them. They are the local convenience store. The guidebook says their prices are not very good, but you sure can find one when you need one. We needed one to buy bus passes. We got a 4-day pass. You scratch off the paint to indicate which four-day stretch you want. We walked to the bus-stop and were still scratching when the bus came. We had to rush to have enough scraped off.

This is a nice place to live. Having to be prepared for snow and cold weather has a chilling effect on people's personalities. (No pun intended. Well... maybe a little.) People here seem laid back. I felt the same thing in California. I guess it is like the two points of view in the Aesop fable of the ants and the grasshoppers. I guess there are ant-people and grasshopper-people. I come from an ant-culture and I guess part of me envies the grasshoppers. Since I retired I am trying to live more like the grasshoppers but I still feel deep down I should be an ant. Frequently the ants and grasshoppers are a long way from understanding each other. ZORBA THE GREEK is a film on this subject.

Our first destination was the to the USS Arizona Memorial. The bus ride was about 70 minutes, which was more than we expected. We did get to see a lot of the island.

There is a pavilion with a small museum to tell how the United States got into WWII and the story of the attack. The museum is crowded, with a queue to see the exhibits which include letters, sports medals, uniforms, and decorations of the crew. When you first enter you are issued a ticket for a showing of a film about the attack. The film covers the same subject matter that the museum does. The theater lets out onto a pier where a shuttle boat takes people out to the memorial. The memorial is built on top of the sunken hull of the Arizona. The memorial looks almost like a cracker-box with a sunken roof. The roof dips down like a suspension cable on a suspension bridge.

The memorial is broken into three rooms: the flag room (flags of all the battleships sunk and state flags), the windows and map tables room, and the shrine room with the names of the men who died in the attack. The main attraction is the middle room which is a large room that allows you to see the sunken hull on each side of the memorial. It also has maps of the boat.

Oil was at the heart of it. European powers and the United States had colonies in Asia from years before and were mining some of the natural resources of Asia. Japan desperately wanted to expand its economy and its power. The resource they would need most was petroleum. The latter they mostly had to buy from the United States. Their interests brought them into conflict with Russia and the two had gone to war in 1904 mostly over the Japanese incursions into Manchuria. Asia had always lost in its conflicts with European powers. But this time it was the most adept Asian power against what was arguably the most inept European power and Japan won a great victory. With Russia no longer restraining them they we a little more able to expand. There were still the United States and other European powers to restrain them. In 1931 Japanese army extremists overran Manchuria without the approval of their government. However Japan refused to pull them back out. The United States tried to negotiate with the Japanese to no avail and in 1937 Japan attacked the rest of China. None of the European or American powers would commit to a military solution but the United States used diplomatic pressure.

Japan's biggest chance did not come until the European powers were tied down in their own war in the late Thirties. The United States was not involved but the other colonial powers had other things on their minds. The United States also had embargoed their petroleum and had closed the Panama Canal to them, insisting on a retreat from Manchuria before these privileges could be restored. The United States was a giant, but it was a giant not really well prepared for war.

If the US Pacific Fleet were crippled or eliminated Japan could move on the most of Asia without serious resistance. The home of the Pacific Fleet was Pearl Harbor. Japan's choice was to give up its designs on Asia or strike Pearl Harbor. Prime Minister Tojo decided on a path to war if negotiations with the United States had not borne fruit by late November 1941. They didn't and Japan readied for war. The date of the attack was to be Monday, December 8. On the other side of the dateline the Americans would be on their weekend. The Japanese continued their negotiations so as not to alert the Americans. On November 26, an attack force of ships set out from Japan with a destination of Pearl Harbor. They approached the Hawaiian Islands and roughly at 8 AM on December 7 commenced an air raid.

Pearl was unintentionally poorly arranged to make for an easy air strike. The battleships were lined up along a stretch of water called Battleship Row. Fearing sabotage by Japanese in Hawai'i, the aircraft were pulled together wingtip to wingtip. That made them easy targets and they would blow each other up in a chain reaction.

I will not describe the attack in detail. The attack itself was well rendered in the film TORA! TORA! TORA! Even from the attack side PEARL HARBOR did a good job of depicting the attack though the defense was somewhat Hollywood-ized. (And Admiral Yamamoto was the mastermind of the attack but was not present at the attack.)

There was a strike force of 67 ships of which only two would survive the war. Six aircraft carriers participated in the Pearl attack. They were the Akagi, the Kaga, the Soryu, the Hiryu, the Shokaku, and the Zuikake. The first three carriers died just under six months later about a thousand miles to the west near an island named Midway.

At Pearl Harbor over 2400 Americans were killed in all, of which nearly half, 1177 men on the battleship Arizona, died when it sank.

As I stood there looking at the hull under the memorial is wrote these lines.

Arizona would say

as it lays in its rest.

"This visit is fine.

The brave crew sends their best.

One thing do for me.

Get this thing off my chest."

We finished at the memorial and went to the bus-stop to await the bus that would take us to the airport. The wait for the bus was a lot longer than we expected. We must have waited about half an hour for the right bus to come by.

We were going to the airport to get tickets for the inter-island flights. Aloha said they could sell us tickets, but they would cost about $30 more than if we bought them over the Internet. Hawaiian is the other airline we could take. They had huge lines all dedicated to check-in. We just wanted to find the price of tickets and were they cheaper on the Internet. But you cannot get to the counter without standing in a long line for check-ins. I stood with Evelyn in line, but it looked like we would have to wait an hour and probably two there without any guarantee that the check-in people could answer out questions. I saw a path to a counter and decided to just try to ask my quick question. A security person came running up to block my way. If you want to ask a question you have to stand in line. I tried another approach. The international flight line was shorter so I stood in that line. Sure enough they could not answer any questions. They only check people in. Nowhere at the airport can you even ask a question about ticket prices without waiting in a huge and very slow check-in line. We left in disgust. We will have to find an Internet cafe to make reservations. We went for a bus and sure enough it was a 25-minute wait at the very least.

We went into Chinatown for lunch. We saw a number of interesting looking places and found one that looked decent. We had Squid with Black Bean Sauce and Noodle and Ginger and Green Onion Beef. Each dish was $6 and huge. It was the first bargain we found in Hawai'i.

After lunch we took a walking tour of Chinatown. We had found it in Fodors. It seemed a little out of date and some things were not where it described, but it was still an interesting walk. We looked in herbalist shops with shelves of labeled drawers labels like the drawers of a library card catalog. Acupuncture clinics had labeled anatomical figures in the windows. The Oahu Market had odd cuts of meat. It had things like pigs' trotters and bottles of Squid brand Fish Sauce.

After the walk we were feeling tired so went to catch our bus. This gave us an unparalleled opportunity to stand around for about 40 minutes. There were not even seats at the bus stop.

With the Western world slowly strangling on low supply of petroleum and high prices the response of the authorities seems to be that we should all be taking more mass transit. In Honolulu that mass transit is mostly the busses. The bus situation in Honolulu is just terrible. The busses are slow, crowded, the schedules are hard to find [P.S. at first], and the there are just not enough busses on the routes. So far on four busses we have waited for a total of about 105 or more minutes. That is a conservative estimate. They just don't have a lot of problems that could not be solved by putting more busses on the routes. Oh, I guess they have a problem that the bus driver does not always wait for all departing passengers to get off. But we just bought the four-day bus pass today and already it is causing us problems.

Back at the room I wrote in my log as well as writing a short humorous editorial and worked on my trip log.

Evelyn found someone in the hotel who could give us a bunch of bus schedules and that will help a lot.

Around 7:30 we felt like going out and getting something to eat. We found a sushi on a conveyer belt Japanese restaurant. The prices weren't great, but they were not too bad either. It was under $25 for us both to have dinner.

Back at the room we watched a Japanese historical TV show in which some prefect with a fast sword punished wrong-doers. In English it would have seemed childish but in Japanese it seems more like art.

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04/28/06 Oahu: Island Circuit, Dole Plantation

The island chain is best pronounced ha-Vie-EE. I thing the three syllables get increasing stress. Gringos call it huh-WY-ee.

The dominant culture on this part of Oahu is surfer. Everything (well, much) seems to be geared to providing a good place to come and enjoy the beach. People park surf boards outside restaurants and ladies walk down the street in swimsuits of minimal area. You see a lot of international people including French, German, some Slavic, American, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Evelyn points out that at least the people who look Polynesian are well-integrated into all levels of society. I am not sure we had the same feeling about the aborigines in Australia. One problem that the Polynesians suffer from that may or may not have been a problem in the past, an unexpectedly high proportion suffers from obesity. Much more than the Europeans. I don't know if this is a recent problem. Certainly older stories like SOUTH PACIFIC seem to show some Polynesians as having a weight problem. And in Hawai'i it seems to be the case.

We had breakfast in the room. I had a boil-in-the-cup Korean noodles. Evelyn had cheese and crackers. First stop was an Internet lounge in a nearby hotel. We purchased the tickets for our inter-island hops. It cost about $483.20 and had we bought at the airport it would have been in the range of $180 more. You pay through the nose if you need human help purchasing your tickets. Software needs little healthcare and no retirement plan. It is essentially slave labor with little moral problem.

I am a little surprised that for inter-island traffic they don't try something like airships. An airship would be glamorous and novel and fuel efficient. Airships actually make a lot of sense for transportation. An airplane is very heavy, much heavier than air. Its natural attitude in air is falling and it takes a lot of energy to keep it moving fast enough to get up in the air and stay up in the air. Like a shark, if it is not constantly moving forward, at high speed yet, it will crash. On an airship if something really ridiculous happens like the engines all fell out the bottom you would think the passengers would be in big trouble. On an airplane a similar disaster would kill everybody. If you were on an airship where this happened you would hang there for a while until someone came and towed you to safety. With satellite weather information you could keep an airship away from most serious air disturbances. Once you put the helium in all your problems are how to keep it from losing gas. It will not crash as long as you have the gas. Most of what caused the biggest airship disasters, hydrogen gas and weather, would be much less of a problem today. I think an airship service would work here.

Today we are seeing a little of the island and going to the Dole Plantation. There is something nice about direction signs that do not say East and West, but Leeward and Windward.

A woman came on the bus and sat behind me. A few minutes ago she started moaning. Now she is mumbling to herself. I am picking up phrases like "Go straight to Jesus," "don't you think I know," "you're too stupid for words," "you fall into hell I'm going to bash you on the knees," and "ugly whatever you are, I wish I could kill you all." "You're ugly down to the bone." I assumed she did not mean that for me or anybody actually present on the bus. Then after I said something to Evelyn she said, "Why don't you sit with her, can't she stand the sight of you?" Lovely.

There seem to be a lot of alcoholics on the island. It does not help that every grocery and souvenir shop doubles as a liquor store with a big wall of bottles. It is a pity because it is such a pleasant environment.

Most of what we are seeing along the drive is residential area. They look like pleasant communities which are not a whole lot different from what you would see in Silicon Valley.

Our real goal is to circle the island and just see it. The 52/55 route takes you on a complete circuit. You stay on the same bus but it is 52 in one direction and 55 in the other.

We stopped at the Dole Plantation. That was somewhat interesting. We took a little train tour of the former pineapple fields and a tour of their garden; both are overpriced for what you get, but some of the information was interesting.

The Pineapple Express is a small train on a narrow gauge track of about a foot. This place started as a fruit-stand in 1950 and just grew. The whole place is pretty much just an ad for Dole pineapple. However, Dole grows only fresh pineapple here. All canned pineapple is grown in Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines now.

The pineapple plant itself originated in Paraguay or Brazil and was brought to Europe by Columbus where it became a symbol of hospitality. It is thought a shipwreck first brought it to Hawai'i. John Dole came to the island in the early 1900s and started growing and canning pineapple, eventually having the world's largest cannery.

Where the train went was not where the pineapples were actually grown. The train really just took people on a sort of garden ride.

The actual garden tour starts with eucalyptus and vermiliads. They had heliconia and bird of paradise which look a lot alike but the former comes only in dull yellow. We saw ti leaves and taro root used to make poi. The is also a pond with carp fish. And of course there is the ever-popular hibiscus.

We stopped in the store and restaurant and each got a pineapple float which came highly but accurately recommended. They have some sort of non-dairy pineapple concoction that is like soft ice cream. Put that in pineapple juice and it is pretty good.

Back on the road we saw something that looked like pine trees designed by an engineer. The boughs were very evenly spaced, like one every six inches.

The bus goes clockwise around the top of the island and past the very blue Pacific. You see very white waves on very blue water.

There was a short stop at Turtle Bay Resort which looked very posh. It is $500 a night according to the tour book.

It was a long trip back to our end of the island but some nice scenery of ocean, mountains, or both. Frequently when we travel we will take mass transit on a big loop to do some low-cost sightseeing. Busses are good. And you get to see the place as locals see it. The busses are quite good here. They have a clear but gentle recorded voice to announce all the stops. I am not sure the mechanism and how it knows where it is, but it works. Stops also show up on a lightboard.

When the lightboard is not listing stops it gives the time and date. And the time they put up is extremely accurate. I set my watch by an atomic clock and as far as I can tell they set their clock the same way. They update the minute within at most a second or two of when the minute changes. That impresses me more than it would some other people. I notice that airports no longer have anything to tell travelers the time. I suspect they may be legally liable if the clocks are wrong.

The one problem with sightseeing on Hawaiian busses is that the windows are filthy. It is nothing you would want to take a picture through. Certainly a self-focusing camera may end up focusing on the window filth and not the scenery behind it.

About 4:00 we got off the bus near the Ala Moana Shopping Center. We were going to cut through and go to Chinatown but we noticed there was a Bubba Gump restaurant at the shopping center and we had been anxious to try one of those. Bubba Gump is trendy and overpriced but fun. Evelyn got a large Fisherman's Net Catch with Cajun Seasoning. Basically it was boiled shrimp with hot seasoning. I got a Seafood Fire Pot which was shrimp and Mahi Mahi over rice in a supposedly hot sauce. The sauce was hardly what anyone would call hot. The museum is all themed around the film FORREST GUMP. That is a film I was somewhat neutral on, but I saw it only once. I might want to see it again when I get the chance.

Then we went back to the room. Some time working on the log and at 6PM we went out to spend an hour on the beach. Well, not actually on the beach. I didn't want to have to deal with a lot of sand in my sandals so we stayed where it was rocky. But there are places where a walkway takes you almost to the water. Eventually we just sat on a bench and watched the sun go down and made each other laugh. I never talked about that, but that is something we do a lot.

Sunset is supposedly at 7:04 but it essentially comes early because even here the horizon is a spit of land, at least at the angle where the sun is going down.

On the way back we stopped into an ABC store. There was a couple at the pay counter asking the woman how many hours off is the time someplace else. She was not sure. I chimed in saying that East Coast time was six hours off. That started a conversation. They were coming back from a business trip to China and were spending their anniversary in Hawai'i on their way back to Toronto. We talked about how different our China trip was. I recalled in my trip log for our 1982 China trip China had building cranes and some rudimentary advertising but still was very much Mao's China. I said at the time that this looked to me like Japan probably did shortly after the war. It had a lot of work to do but it was poised to become an economic power. Japan did it and I expected that China would do it. Now it is actually happening. In fact they will probably become a bigger economic power than the United States. I have heard that they already have surpassed the United States in Internet traffic. And very much in the news is their competition to get a much bigger share of the world's petroleum. Their education has been a lot better than ours for years and they are building universities and getting really good people to fill them and to teach. The biggest two handicaps that I can think of are a repressive government and an ideogram written language. I suspect that in future years the government is going to find they cannot control their people as much as they have previously (and that that is not a bad thing). I also expect that they will eclipse the United States in the number of English-speaking people.

On the way back we passed two more ABC stores and it was just about three blocks.

Back at the room Evelyn and I talked (and cuddled). We fell asleep about 9PM.

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04/29/06 Oahu: Bishop Museum

Wow. I slept eight hours. I can never do that at home. At home I am lucky if I get six. And of late I am rarely that lucky. Of course at home I get about three hours on the computer before Evelyn gets up. I am much better informed than I ever was when I was working, but I get less sleep.

Breakfast was yogurt and cheese in the room.

I was listening to National Public Radio and a crime novel writer was being interviewed. The interviewer asked what I thought was an odd question. He asked, "what can a crime novel do?" And the writer went off for a minute or so talking about how a crime novel can educate the reader about police procedure or whatever. It answered the question perfectly. But I was left a bit confused. What kind of a question is "What can a crime novel do"? It is not a question that anyone would ask spontaneously. The host clearly did not just ask that question out of curiosity, though that was how it was presented. Transparently the guest had provided the questions he wanted to be asked. This is in a minor way a bit of deception on the reader.

This is an issue we rarely think about with interviews we read and hear on the radio may be less than honest with us. To what extent is the interviewer collaborating with interviewee? There is a whole spectrum of possible complicity. At one end of the spectrum the interviewee has no idea what he is going to be asked and just has to depend on his fund of knowledge and wit to respond to the questions. Or perhaps the interviewee my just suggest subjects that he may be asked about. At the far end of spectrum the interviewee provides a list of questions. The interviewer's only purpose is to provide the topic sentences for sections of the interviewee's presentation. The listener or reader is never told what are the rules of the interview, but clearly there are some ground rules and they will vary from interview to interview.

But this is very important in determining how the interviewee sounds to the public. How professional the speaker sounds can be dependent on how much he knows about what he is to be asked.

News media can actually use their hidden factors and ambiguity to slant the news. Let me invent a hypothetical news program that has a specific political agenda. Let us call this very hypothetical news program "One Hour." When "One Hour" interviews somebody they like they can have good lighting, careful choice of camera angle, and they can prearrange what questions the person being interviewed will be asked. I suppose they could even counsel the interviewee on how best to answer. The result will look very different from what they will get if they just barge into somebody's office, set up a camera, and start asking hard questions. [The name of the news program was a joke, by the way. I am not accusing any particular news program as being any worse than any other. My point is that interviews allow a great deal of latitude to slant results and still make the results look like reality. Only occasionally is this obvious to the listener. It becomes more obvious when the interviewer asks a weird question like "what can a crime novel do?"

Evelyn was suggesting that because of the long bus ride and the expense we might decide not to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center. She was sounding me out about how I felt about it. I was not keen. This seems to be the most universally recommended tourist site. There must be some way to work it out without getting stranded on the far side of the island or having a late and unpleasant trip back. There are individual tours to go there that cost something for the transport, but then they get a discount on the admission. In any case for not much more we can take a special bus to and from the Culture Center. We booked a tour at the travel agent.

Today we go to the Bishop Museum. This is actually a collection of multiple museums including a cultural history of Hawaiians, a natural history museum, a planetarium, and an exhibit of Polynesian art.

Our first stop was the Hawaiian Hall which covers the history of the Hawaiian people. The Polynesian people spread from Indonesia east and north on the Pacific. How they found islands in the Pacific thousands of miles from where they had settles remains a historical, or in their case prehistoric mystery. The most likely explanation I have heard is that some of them were quite used to living their whole lives on water and ranging thousands of miles navigating by the stars. They discovered uninhabited islands and led their people to them, navigating by the night sky. To be honest I thought that there was an insurmountable problem that meant you really could not navigate by the stars. I knew it was claimed people could do it, but I was still skeptical. Actually later in the day I found out the answer to my question and now I believe you can navigate by stars... Sort of. I will go into this later. The Polynesian peoples moved northward in the Pacific and some migrated to the Hawaiian Islands arriving between 500 and 750 A.D. They prospered. Around 1200 Tahitians arrived and became an important influence.

There are three floors in this museum. One is of the culture of the native Hawaiians, one of the interaction with Europeans and in particular whaling, and one on the various peoples who built communities on the islands. There was a little about the Hawaiian language. It has the same basic five vowels English has but it has only seven consonants. They are h, k, l, m, n, p, and w. The cloth was called Kapa and it was made from the inner bark of a certain tree beaten flat. There were five classes of people: king's class, lessor chiefs, professional class, worker class, and slaves. Interesting that they would have slaves. It is not clear what it would take to be a slave. These were untouchables. They even lived in different villages. Once a slave always a slave. The tools are all stone or wood until the incursion of the Europeans.

After the Europeans came there are some interesting items that show the local trying to be like the Europeans. One of the most interesting pieces is a hat made from ferns that is trying to look just like a formal European top hat.

European and especially Americans brought the whaling industry to the islands in the mid-1800s. For this museum was created the first really large marine animal model, a skeleton of a 55-foot sperm whale and on one side of it there is a papier mache shell showing the outer flesh of the whale. These large marine models are now fairly common in natural history museums, but this was the first.

Various countries' heritage is shown on the third floor with artifacts. Artifacts from countries that have made up the mosaic include some from China, Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Filipines, Portugal, German, Spanish, and Puerto Rico. The sorts of things shown are carved art, clothing, etc.

We were getting a little hungry so we went to the snack bar. They had mostly the usual things plus some Chinese. But what caught my eye was Hawaiian Sampler Platter. A sampler of Hawaiian foods? I'm there. We were not too hungry so we shared one and a Coke. It had two kinds of pork, one wrapped in leaves, some salad, a piece of coconut tofu and a piece of pineapple, taro (which we thought at first was some purple died sweet potato). It was a chance to try some foods I have never had before.

There was a program in the planetarium called "Science on a Sphere." This is just a white sphere about six or seven feet in diameter surrounded by four projectors. The projectors are controlled by a computer to project a continuous anamorphic image onto the sphere. You rarely see the seams between the images. It appears just to be a seamless globe. Now they can project on this globe all sorts of images. The computer picks up satellite data and gives you an image of exactly what the world looks like with weather patterns updated every five minutes. Or it can show the sun complete with current sunspots.

The Science Adventure Center is a natural history museum with some very imaginative hands-on exhibits. They have several exhibits on volcanoes most of which lead to a satisfying looking simulation of eruption, simulated with colored water. Another shows an eruption in hot wax simulating lava flowing and solidifying or with lower pressure sucking back the lava and forming a crater. Another blows water against cut out plastic with the outlines of the islands. When this is projected on a screen shows how the wind gets diffused then it hits the islands. There is an operating model of an underwater exploration drone. You can pilot it around remotely and see what its camera is seeing.

There is much more kinetic and hands on than there used to be in museums.

The same building that housed the Hawai'i exhibits has an exhibit on Hawaiian royalty and one on the various island cultures in the South Pacific. A room of artifacts shows Polynesian on a background of gold, Melanesian with green, and Micronesian items on blue (but not many of these). The color schemes help to wordlessly tell you the background and make connections.

We went to the observatory for the last 15 minutes of what was supposed to be a 45-minute demonstration. The demo had been canceled because of clouds, but we did talk to the astronomer who 15 minutes later was running the next event.

We went to the planetarium show. The subject was how Polynesians navigated by the night sky. The truth was that until there were accurate timepieces you could not navigate. The night sky would tell you your latitude, but not your longitude. If you were traveling on a parallel course a two hundred miles to the west you would see the same sky but a little later. Without an accurate timepiece you could not tell the two situations apart. Yet they could make all the difference. Navigating by the stars will get you to the right latitude but not the right longitude. They told about someone trying to repeat the feat in modern times. I waited through the whole planetarium show and they apparently were not going to answer it. For me mine was the big question and they answered it with little fanfare as if it was a minor point. They intentionally went well east of their destination until they were at exactly the right latitude. They then knew they were due east of their destination. They then turned due west, again by the sky. That is the North Star was directly to their right. In theory this would bring them to land, in practice it might be a little off. When they started seeing seabirds in the late day they knew they were near land and followed the birds. The birds were headed to land for the night. At no point did they know their longitude so they never knew exactly where they were. Knowing latitude and having a rough idea of the longitude was enough.

When we were done at the museum we took a bus to Chinatown and had dinner in a noodle shop. While most of the restaurants in this area are expensive even by New Jersey standards, eating in Chinatown is surprisingly reasonable, even by New Jersey standards. You can get a good meal in the six- or-seven dollar range. I had Cake Noodle Seafood and Evelyn had Crispy Noodle Chicken. The latter had the chicken authentically Chinese with the chicken cut like a loaf of bread, regardless of bone. Pretty much every piece had bone in it, making eating a little bit of a challenge. But that was the only problem. There was plenty of food and we ended up bringing home food to have for breakfasts also.

On the bus on the way home there was another drunk and/or schizophrenic. She was talking unintelligibly and crying. It seems to be a problem on the busses. In a short time the bus got bogged down in traffic. It seems traffic was rerouted around the Spam Festival.

In H. Beam Piper's LITTLE FUZZY a cute alien race loves the humans' k-ration XT3. The earth people are a little sick of it but the natives of this planet just go crazy for it. There is something similar in YOU SHALL KNOW THEM a novel by Vercors in which Paranthropus Erectus is discovered alive in Africa. The "tropis" love the canned meat rations that the explorers brought with them. There are a lot more parallels and I always thought that Piper based his book on the Vercors. But the two fictional stories are probably based on what really happened in Hawai'i. The local really liked the spiced ham K-rations the military brought to the island, supplied by Hormel. Those rations still exist and are sold by Hormel as Spam.

Most Americans think of it as second-class food probably because of its association with K-rations, but it is no worse than something like Kielbasa. Fried Spam is a relished part of Hawaiian cuisine much the way chili is very big in the Southwest. And just like there are chili cook-offs, Hawai'i has an annual Spam festival.

Except it is not really like a Chili Cook-off. It is more like the Feast of San Hormel. First of all, unlike the Chili Cook-offs, they let anybody in to sell anything they want. Even the food sellers seem to have little or nothing to do with Spam. Some have one Spam item on the menu.

We took some of the money we saved and went to a Baskin Robbins shop. I had a dish of pineapple coconut ice cream, which seemed appropriate to the area. Evelyn had my usual favorite, Jamocha Almond Fudge. I think she had the better flavor.

Back to the room. By conincidence ABC was showing the film PEARL HARBOR. I did log writing, Evelyn read, and we had the film on the TV with the sound off, turning the sound on only for the actual Pearl Harbor attack. They clearly changed some of the language and at least one scene I noticed was missing.

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04/30/06 Oahu: Hawai'i Maritime Center, US Army Museum

Yesterday we saw some exhibits about 19th century whaling in Hawai'i. We expect to see more today at the Hawai'i Maritime Center in the Kalakaua Boat House.

For breakfast I had a bowl of noodle soup with some chicken from yesterday's dinner. Evelyn had the rest of the chicken and crispy noodle.

Then it was off to the bus stop.

The Hawai'i Maritime Center is a branch of the Bishop Museum but located right near the Aloha Tower in the port of Honolulu. They have a tape tour recorded in large part by William Conrad. I am a fan of Old Time Radio and you can't hear much of CBS's old time radio without hearing a lot of William Conrad. He was in nearly every episode of "Escape" as well as reading the into. He was the voice of Matt Dillon on the radio version of "Gunsmoke." He was just about every villain in "The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen," usually in different accents.

The museum itself seems to take a Western perspective on the islands, telling the history starting with Captain Cook's arrival and going up to the present, then going back and talking about how the Polynesians got here in the first place. In a sense that is chronological since the history of the Polynesians was only a minor interest to the Europeans until recent times.

The islands of Polynesia are the most remote places from anything else in the world. It you look at the Pacific area, only two parts per thousand are land.

The British explorer Captain Cook was on an expedition to circumnavigate the world. He arrived in these waters in 1778, while his country was trying to put down the colonists in the Americas. That was the same year as the Battle of Monmouth. He was the first to accurately record the position with help of chronometers. He made three voyages to the islands and was greeted warmly each time. However his supplies ran low on the third voyage and he just kept delaying leaving. The locals were not prepared for such a long visit and their own supplies were running out. There started to be some friction between natives and British.

Finally Cook left only to find he had problems with a mast and had to return for repairs. The Hawaiians were less than overjoyed to see him and his crew return. Some of the locals stole a boat, perhaps get some payment for their hospitality. Cook angrily demanded that the boat be returned. The chief would not comply so Cook held him hostage. The kidnapping of the chief spawned rumors that he had been killed. The locals had enough and attacked the British. Cooks men responded with musket fire. But muskets are slow to reload and that gave the natives an opportunity to attack. The British were attacked with war clubs and Cook was killed.

His expedition to circle the world did eventually complete, but, of course, without him.

Sea otter pelts were extremely valuable for trade in China and Hawai'i became an important port of call on the routes.

The British wanted better control of the Hawaiian Islands. Kamehameha was trying to defeat his enemies and the British saw in him a way to unify the islands and consolidate control. They gave him military advice and guns. With their help he was able to unify islands in 1791. From that point Western influence grew. [This thumbnail history continue in the May 5 entry.]

The next big thing in the islands was whaling. Whaling became big industry. There are exhibits on the whaling industry and how they did what they did. There is a short film about a fictional whaler who signed on to one whaling ship that took him to the arctic. He had never been so cold. Neither had the ship because it got stranded in ice and he nearly died, but was rescued by another whaler, the James Allen. He eventually returned home without the riches he had been hoping for, but with a big fund of experience.

There are exhibits on tourism, on the building of the harbor and on clipper sea planes. The sea planes did their island-hopping to islands that would be more famous a decade later or so later in the coming war which gave a new meaning to Pacific island-hopping.

Outside the museum is the Falls of Clyde, four-masted square-rigger used in the tea trade. Supposedly it is the last floating four-masted square-rigger. It carried oil, sugar, and tea.

The Hokule'a is also supposed to be there to visit. It is a re-creation of a double hull canoe of the sort that was used for extended voyages. It is the boat used to prove you could navigate between the islands with only primitive means. However it currently is away for the 30th anniversary of its voyage which will be Monday, May 1.

For lunch we went to the Aloha Center. We chose Kabuto for lunch in what was essentially a food court. I had curry and rice and Evelyn had a combination platter with a big piece of smoked fish.

The diminutive US Army Museum of Hawai'i is intended to show the history of the army in Hawai'i and the military history of the islands. It is located in Battery Randolph, an emplacement for the 14-inch guns at Fort DeRussy. The Battery was built in 1911 under the assumption that an attack on the island would come from battleship guns. That assumption was dispelled one Sunday morning and the guns were scrapped in 1946.

They have a bit on the island warriors before the coming of the Americans. Mostly it is about World War II and a little on Korea and Vietnam. It tells the story of United States military history and what was happening in Hawai'i at the same time.

They had a film called "Midway Battle" that I would have very much wanted to see more of had there been more time. Midway was for the Pacific War what Gettysburg was for the Civil War. It not only was the turning point of that war just as Gettysburg was of its, it also was probably the most interesting and dramatic battle of that war. The Japanese had a really brilliant plan, but they came up against some really brilliant people on our side. Also the Japanese had an incredible run of very bad luck that really multiplied their losses. Unfortunately just as it was getting to the climax of the battle, the destruction of three Japanese carriers, the museum closed.

The radio we can get is not very interesting. There is one station with good music. That is the NPR station and it has good music only when it is not doing the NPR news. Hawaiian is a lot like radio at home with the good stuff removed. I thought I would check the television. As luck would have it TBS was just starting FORREST GUMP. Two days earlier we were saying we might want to see that again. That worked out nicely. When it was over another movie was starting on CBS, but we didn't know what. It turned out to be JESSE STONE: DEATH IN PARADISE. This is the third Jesse Stone movie CBS had made with Tom Selleck. I enjoyed the first two and was anxious to see the third they announced, but had no idea when it would be broadcast. I was happy I checked. Being a network TV movie I had no idea when I would get another chance to see it. I was pleased I had checked, even if it did put me well behind in my log writing watching two movies.

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05/01/06 Oahu: Polynesian Cultural Center

 I woke at about 4-ish and checking the time knocked my glasses on the floor. I didn't know which way they had fallen and even with a flashlight could not find them. It did not help that thin wire rims do not provide a lot to see or that I really need glasses to find things and I didn't have them or I wouldn't have had to look. The glasses seemed nowhere in sight and eventually I looked behind the nightstand. There they were. But by now I was fully awake.

Hawaiian language. I should say a little more about that. As I said the consonants are h, k, l, m, n, p, and w. Vowels are our basic five, and pronounced much the same way. When it has a bar over it, it is emphasized and pronounced as a long vowel. Apostrophes are pronounced as glottal stops. Hawaii is a corruption of Hawai'i. When two vowels come directly together you stress the first. W is pronounced like v after e or i. It is a w-sound after o or u. and can be either after a. With so few consonants it must be really easy to pun in Hawaiian.

The most basic word in Hawaiian is "aloha." The word has three meanings: hello, good-bye, and love. It is not a good idea to have the same word mean love and good-bye. Human emotions could never really be completely expressed until the European explorers arrived and gave the Hawaiian people to words to say "buzz off".

Today we are going to the Polynesian Cultural Center, a sort of cross between a Renaissance festival (though on a different subject) and an open-air museum. Represented (sort of) is village life and traditions from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, the Marquesas, Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Tonga. The park is run by the Mormons on a 45-acre lot adjoining Brigham Young University.

There is a shuttle bus to the PCC that we are to pick up at 10:30. This gave us lots of time to read and write this morning. I was going to leave some time to write on the bus, but I got all caught up anyway. The bus trip to the center will be about 90 minutes.

The bus is about a 75-minute drive. The windows are a lot cleaner than the mass-transit busses we have been on. we also have a host who is teaching us like three words of Hawaiian and getting everybody to introduce themselves to everyone else. He keeps up a bland patter during the trip that has some information but seems mostly to sell his services as a guide once we get to the center.

The center is divided into villages. Each village has huts to show off aspects of village life for that culture like tool-making, baking, making headbands from leaves, etc. Each village has a 30-minute show of varying degrees of seriousness showing the culture and in particular its style of dancing or its music making. If you spend a half hour on each village, plus see the canoe festival in which all the villages show off on platforms built on canoes, there is just about enough time to get through everything before the time-out for supper. The center actually opens at 12:15 and the shows start at 12:30 and continue to 5:30 with a half hour for the canoe festival. There is an extra half hour to explore.

The information-to-joking-around quotient varies from show to show. American leisure time educational institutions are showing a disturbing tendency to assume Americans are not really in education and want to be entertained. In a previous log I described a planetarium show that was a little comedy with very little content. I suppose that is what sells the attraction but I myself come to something like this to learn, not to be entertained. If I want to be entertained I can find ways I enjoy more.

Our first village was Samoa. The seats were brown wood that had been baking in the hot sun. They were actually unpleasant to sit on and Evelyn used a book for insulation. The presenter was more a comedian than a teacher, but at least he was a talented one. He kept up a fairly clever patter. (Later at the "museum" we could hear him presenting again and the spontaneous sounding patter was word for word the same. He showed how to open a coconut. He has another Samoan climb a palm tree.

The Fiji Islands has a presentation that seems mostly about dancing but they seem to admit a strong caste system in which a king walks on the backs of his subjects. They also admitted to human sacrifices. Of the islands their presentation seemed most full of cultural information and had the least silliness.

Hawaii's presentation was an introduction to the musical instruments most common in Hawaiian music. One thing the presenter wanted to make clear is that hula is NOT the hip dance. That is a Tahitian dance, not Hawaiian. The hula is a dance in which one use hands sign language to tell a story.

A little later we came back because I was anxious to try poi. Poi is the beaten taro root that is a staple of Hawaiian diet and jokes. I had had taro before in Dim Sum. It looks like a purple potato, but in Dim Sum it looks and tastes like Mexican frijole. Beaten it is a grayish or purplish white and has a neutral flavor. Like mashed potatoes it just does not have much of a flavor. It certainly is not as unpleasant as it is made out to be.

The Marquesas have volunteers from the audience go through a choreographed pig hunt. They are also French-speakers and big on full-body tattoos.

Tahiti was a half hour devoted to dance. They taught the women the hip dance that has been called the hula. Men were taught another dance with semi-bent knees. Afterward there was a sampling of coconut bread. That was actually fairly tasty by Western standards.

Tonga was one more place that picked two people from the audience to train. to play drums. There was also nose flute music. The natives believe there is a clearer sound from nose flutes than from mouth flutes since they think the air is purer.

Aotearoa had a welcoming of a dignitary (played by a visitor) followed by marching everybody into an auditorium for music that had a distinct Peter, Paul and Mary sound, just in another language. They also have a dance/game involving sticks and much like our paddycake but that they have to throw sticks at each other at the same time and catch them.

We saved for last a talk at the Migration Museum of where the South Pacific peoples came from. It was really a statement of what theories there are, but that nothing is very conclusive. People of Polynesia seem to show culture that seems to have aspects of both Asian and American (South and Central) culture. Evelyn and I both believe that much could be discovered from a DNA analysis, but there is no sign that this has been done.

The South Pacific is in three pieces, Melanesia are dark-skinned people who probably had their origins in Africa. The name Mela means dark skin (as in melanin). Nesia means island. Melanesia is a collection of islands of people of dark skin. New Zealand is included here. Micronesia are tiny islands that very likely were founded by people from Asia (likely Indonesia). The big center of the Pacific (center in the sense of east to west) are the many islands of Polynesia.

We had not arranged for dinner and went to the buffet at the Gateway, one of two or three restaurants on the grounds. It was not a very good buffet and was overpriced. The Japanese tour groups must like it and nearly everybody in the restaurant was Japanese.

The culmination of the evening was the Polynesian dance show. It was about 90 minutes of the dances we had seen and a lot more done as a big lush production. It was a little bit Lawrence Welk.

The culmination of the show was with fire dancers some of whom apparently knew how to set each other on fire and put the fire out before it did damage. It was an impressive stunt, but I reserve judgment on if it is authentic island dancing. The final fire dancer and the most impressive was the Samoan comedian.

We then piled back onto the bus. The bus driver turned off the lights and turned on popular music at low level. I had hoped to work on my log. The driver claimed he could not turn on the reading lights because of the glare. Glare??? What, you can turn on lights only during the day?

We were back to the room by a little after 10:30.

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05/02/06 Oahu: Waikiki Aquarium

Breakfast was pineapple yogurt and a granola bar. I did a little early packing.

Our original plan was to go to the Royal Palace. However that is not really recommended in the books and the Waikiki Aquarium is, so I suggested a switch. In addition to the recommendation we would get what I called a shoe-leather discount. Transportation to and from the palace would have been $8 in bus fare. The aquarium was a nice walk down the beach.

The museum admission includes information wands. These are like ipods containing recorded explanations of the exhibits. Most exhibits have numbers. Enter the number and you hear the explanation. The first topic is corals. We get an explanation of what they are, how they grow, what types there are. They talk about reefs and the colorful fish that inhabit them. For me the high point was seeing the octopus. I have seen a lot of octopuses, of course, but of late I am becoming very interested in octopus intelligence.

The most intelligent and probably the most interesting invertebrate in the world is the octopus. Last year an octopus they had here was able to take the lids off of Mason jars. That one is dead. They live only about a year and a half in captivity and only about four years in the wild. They change and match colors far better than a chameleon. I saw a photo of one on a checkerboard and doing a surprisingly good job of matching it. They also have a great deal of curiosity. Put a tube in their environment an inch in diameter and they will explore it by going through the inside. They have been known to do things like escape from their tank, go to other tanks, eat the fish, and then return to their own. The woman who explained them said they had problems with some octopuses seemingly disappearing from their tanks in the aquarium never to be seen or heard of again. But for the brevity of their lives, she said, they would be the masters of the ocean.

There was a small show of feeding sea lions, training them, and brushing their teeth.

A large tank had sharks and jacks, two predators. The sharks were two black-tipped and a zebra shark. The zebra shark should be called a leopard since it has spots and not stripes.

Leafy sea dragons I had never heard of before. They are cousins to seahorses and really look like floating seaweed with stems and leaves.

Outside there was a pool with tide washes and a lot of tropical fish. I told Evelyn they were all thinking the same thing. "Is there any food on this rock? I wouldn't mind finding something to eat. Maybe there will be some food floating around. A little edible alga would go down nice right now. Hey, you guys find anything to eat? Shouldn't feeding time be coming up?"

The aquarium is not big, but it does have some unusual species. What bothered me a little was that it has less wonder of the sea than aquariums used to have and much more an emphasis on conservation.

Now, I will never in my life have an opportunity to over-fish an area and probably not to stand on a coral reef. Much of the sense of wonder at sea life is lost in lectures of how these areas are endangered. Science museums are such downbeat places to be these days. From what I hear a lot of young people are saying they don't want to go into science because it is so depressing. I think we make a serious mistake not making science exciting.

We finished up around noon and went to take a look from a distance at Diamond Head. This was really just a walk across the street. Waikiki is so built up you have to come to this end of the beach to get even a decent view. It was named Diamond Head under the mistaken assumption that the crystals found at the peak were diamonds. They weren't and the rumor was quickly dispelled, but the name stuck.

We were unsure where to go for lunch. Cheeseburger in Paradise had gotten good reviews, but it looked a little trendy. Cheeseburgers are more surfer food than local culture. Cheesecake Factory was a bit too expensive. We settled on a Vietnamese restaurant. It was somewhat expensive but the food was good. I had beef in green curry sauce and Evelyn had barbecue chicken. The tax here is a peculiar amount. It is 4 1/6% It is easier to plug into my palmtop as 25/6%

We returned to the room. Evelyn did laundry (refusing my offered help).

At 6PM we went out to see the sunset. It would not be for another hour but we sat there and watch the surfers, swimmers, and ships. On schedule the sun went down. It would have been surprising if it didn't. There was a hula presentation on the beach after that and we went to that. It was a lot like the shows we saw at the Cultural Center.

For a quick snack we stopped at a Jack in the Box. Usually we avoid chains, but we wanted something fast and cheap. It is a little known fact that while food at most chains is not very good, Jack in the Box has a very good milk shake.

We used to watch the TV show House on the recommendation of a friend, but I got disgusted with the program. Evelyn quit when I did rather than watch by herself. But we had time so we watched an episode. It turned out to be the first half of a two-parter. House is a hospital doctor who is a medical genius but a real pain to deal with. I guess some of the pleasure is to see how he pushes around people and somehow gets away with it. You watch it for that and for the medical diagnosis debates that are way too technical for anybody but a doctor to understand. Given that explanation I am not sure why I wanted to see an episode, but it is entertaining.

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05/03/06 Oahu to the Big Island

Well, I am a little sorry to be saying goodbye to our hotel, the Royal Grove. It turned out to be a good choice. It was very comfortable and the price was surprisingly reasonable for this part of Waikiki.

A bus will pick us up at 7:30 to take us to the airport.

I woke up Evelyn at 6AM and turned on the news. The first thing I heard was that there was an 8.1 earthquake near Tonga and there is a tsunami watch for about 11:30 this morning. We should have just landed on the Big Island about 25 minutes before. Scientists are still not sure what causes a tsunami from some earthquakes. The warning watch was later downgraded to an advisory.

I had cheese and crackers for breakfast, Evelyn had yogurt and crackers. This nicely finishes up all the food we bought. The tiny kitchenette jammed into the front doorway of the room has been a very nice feature. It saved us time and money. Evelyn was half-expecting that after my negative reaction to our London hotel that I would be negative here. The difference was that that place really was bad news and this place was pretty good. We now know a good website, something like, to check out. This place had almost most entirely good reviews and the London hotel just about everybody agrees was bad.

Our bus plays the radio. Apparently schools are canceled due to the possible tsunami. The island government is saying that there is not likely to be much of a threat. But they want to be sure they are not responsible in case it is worse than they expected.

This program we are hearing has a psychic to answer call-in questions. A woman called and said her husband had died after 40 years of marriage. The psychic said she thought she saw that the woman had medical problems and that her husband wanted her to take care of herself. How many people married 40 years don't have some medical problems they have to watch?

Well we got to the airport at about 8:30 so we have a wait for 10AM flight.

While I am waiting someone from the local government gives me a survey to fill out about my trip. In return I get a ball-point pen that says "Aloha from Hawai'i." At least it gives me a chance to figure expenses.

This was really the cheap part of the trip. Of course part of the cheapness is that we are flying on airline miles so the flight is not free but spread out over our other trips. Were we going home right now the whole trip would have cost us $1470. That isn't bad for a seven-day trip for two people. The next seven days will cost more.

I think what I am hearing is recorded bird songs piped into the airport.

Our flight will leave 40 minutes late due to late arrival of our plane. Everyone seems disappointed. On the brighter side it is tsunami insurance.

We took off at about 11.

We were on the left side of the plane which made for some stunning views. Apparently some military aircraft on the same runways which is most unusual. We had a long taxi to the runway. I had a view of the skyline of Honolulu ending in Diamond Head. I usually do not get such good views from my plane. It was even nicer to see from above with the smokey brittle-looking hills. I think we passed over Kaho, a small and undeveloped island. Rather than soda you get fruit punch (Pass-o-guava).

We were in the air just over half an hour, I think. Just when the tsunami was due to hit the Big Island, I did instead. I should say that when I say the Big Island, the name of the Big Island is Hawai'i. The name of the entire island chain is also Hawai'i. To avoid confusion people refer to the biggest island of Hawai'i the chain as the Big Island rather than as Hawai'i the island. The Big Island has more than 2/3 the land area of the island chain. As yet Oahu seems to have most panache of the 136 islands that make up Hawai'i. They are trying to build up the Big Island as a tourist destination with resorts, but that is still in the process of happening. This is why our hotel in Oahu was aged and economical. There are few aged hotels on the Big Island so where we are staying is newer and much more expensive. In fact three nights cost more there than a week in Oahu.

The airport on the Big Island is very much open-air and seemingly largely wooden. I am sure there is steel and concrete under things but it gives the feel of being open and airy. there are roofs but no walls for the most part. I am not sure how well it works when it rains. I also wonder if they can make it really secure. This is one of the few remaining airports where you walk on the airfield when you board and deplane. You even had the choice of leaving by the front or rear of the plane.

We rented from Dollar Rent-a-Car. The shuttle took us to pick up the car. The driver he had a warning for us. He came on 11-day trip and just never left. I occasionally get impulses like that, but if when you do that you end up driving an airport shuttle I will resist the temptation.

They gave us a Dodge Neon. We noticed is that there isn't a key port on the right side, not that it would do us any good with only one key.

Without stopping to check into our hotel we headed down the West Coast to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau. We put on some music from movie Westerns we had brought. Why? Well, we like that music though it presumably makes more sense when we travel to places like Arizona and New Mexico in the American Southwest. We are actually a lot "souther and wester" than the American Southwest.

Law and Order played out a lot like a sport in pre-western Hawai'i. This is particularly true at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, a beautiful and sacred area that is now protected by the National Parks Service. If you break one of the taboos (called Kapu) the punishment was death. All crimes were capital crimes. But there was a loophole. There were priests at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau who could give you sanctuary and absolve you of guilt in just a few hours, presumably by saying their equivalent of Hail Marys. The problem was getting to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau without being killed. Once you reach the place you are safe. So essentially breaking a taboo makes you "it" in a deadly game of tag.

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau is a lovely area on the sea with old walls and recreations of buildings. There are even places that sea turtles come out on the sand. We saw one out of water.

There is a strategy game that the locals played and there are two stone boards set up. The game is played on a stone square of at least 10x10 spaces shown by dimples. The dimples are filled each with a black or white stone. At the start of the game the stones form a checkerboard pattern, across rows and columns alternating black and white. The player who will play white is chosen by lot and he takes a white stone off the board. Then the opponent takes an adjacent black stone off. Now the game proceeds with players jumping each other not unlike checkers. I think there are only single jumps. Black jumps horizontally or vertically over a white stone (only in a single jump) and the white stone is removed. Then it is white's turn and he jumps over a black stone and removes it. Each move depopulates the board by one stone. Eventually somebody will be unable to make a move. The first person who is unable to make a jump on his turn is the loser.

I pointed out some of the similarity here with architecture supposedly on Skull Island in KING KONG. It would be easy to dismiss the original Kong as totally absurd in every detail. Well, the premise is absurd, but the details of the island were based on things that Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack had seen on their travels. The 1933 film puts Kong on a Melanesian-looking Island and the 2005 film has some Aotearoan mixed in from Southern Polynesia.  Okay, maybe I am reaching.  Actually it probably is actually located somewhere in the Indian Ocean.  I am just exercising my imagination.

Near there we also stopped to see the Captain Cook Memorial where said captain died in a dispute over the ownership of a boat. It is very difficult to actually visit, but you can see it across the water. We stopped to see it at about 2:30 on a Wednesday in a sort of small park. There appeared to be a sort of--well, redneck--picnic going on complete with several dogs. It was beer, pick-ups, hound dogs, and good old boys. Not a lot like Oahu.

What we see in the outlying area (which is most of the Big Island) is a lot more rural and tropical than what we have seen previously. Oahu was more suburban in feel for most of it. We drove to South Point over some paved but narrow and bumpy roads. South Point is the southern-most point in the 50 states. Puerto Rico has, I think, the southern-most point in the United States, but that is not actually in any state.

It is a long slow drive to the South Point and back. Our plan was to eat along the way but there are darn few restaurants and not a whole lot that looked good.

We see what look from a distance like squirrels crossing the road. These are mongooses imported to reduce the rat population. But mongooses come out in the day, rats at night. Rats and mongooses happily coexist.

What distinguished what we were seeing from Alabama was the scarcity of places to eat, the tropical foliage, and the lava. Sometimes the roads are cut through mounds of lava.

There are not a lot of cost-effective places to stay on the Big Island. There aren't many in Oahu, but there are none here. If you want to stay on the Big Island you get a friend to pick you up or you stay at a resort. We are staying at the Outrigger Royal Sea Cliff. This is a really nice place with a lot of luxury. We have a suite of rooms in tasteful rattan furniture. A full kitchen. There are artificial plants. Supposedly there are paintings on the wall. The painting is textured where the artist supposedly laid on extra paint. Actually the artist never got near this canvass. It was pressed out by machine to look like there is real thick paint on the canvass.

That is a big new scam of the modern age, people are treated like numbers and they like to feel like they get individual attention. So there is good money to be made in finding ways to fool the public into thinking that they are getting individual attention. Charities and political organizations like to use the new fonts with which they provide a sample of their handwriting for each letter of the alphabet in each case. The computer scans those samples in and creates a new font that looks like your own hand lettering. It seems like you have gotten individual attention, but it was all done by computer. And you can look and see that every letter "e" looks exactly like every other letter "e" and the writing looks so straight you can lay a ruler up against it.

A certain political organization to which I contribute used to send me appeals with ersatz hand addressing. I wrote them back telling then that I thought it was a serious mistake. Their biggest asset is their contributors' trust in them to be absolutely honest. That trust is a valuable thing. To mortgage a bit of that trust hoping to fool their contributors into thinking they are giving individual attention could well be a strategic mistake. Now what I get from them is addressed in computer font.

Well, by now we were hungry. I had gotten restaurant recommendations for this area. What sounded best was the Big Island Grill. It is more for locals than resort tourists. Solid food for less than $10. They are noted for their mashed potatoes. These are like red potatoes mashed with the skins and some scallion and garlic. The meat was good but the potatoes were better. I had Kalbi Short Ribs and Evelyn had Teriyaki Chicken and Roast Pork. We even had leftovers.

We picked up some food for the room and returned home. TCM had a Bette Davis festival and we watched DANGEROUS. We have two nice TVs so we could go back and forth between rooms unpacking and still watch the movie. I put on "Twilight Zone" to go to sleep to.

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05/04/06 The Big Island: Volcano

I woke up at 5-ish and worked on my log. Evelyn had yogurt for breakfast and I had leftover dinner. I feel no particular need for breakfast sort of foods for breakfast. I did take some juice.

A lot of driving today. We go counter-clockwise around the bottom of the island and into the interior.

We passed the Southern Star (Na'alehu) Theater, now a museum and concert hall and very rarely a theater. They have memorabilia of all sorts related to movie theaters from sound amplifiers. A lot of film posters, many of science fiction and horror films because those are the popular posters. Not a lot there but it was a nice place to stop. They claim a lot of things are the southernmost in the US. Actually they may be the southernmost in the 50 states which is not quite the same thing. We were talking to the owner about the theater. This theater was mostly for the sugar-cane workers. Now they can get movies by mail but many down here are in all solar-powered homes and don't have the wattage for even a TV.

We also stopped at the black sands beach. The sand is made of volcanic stone, of course, which is black. The beaches here are all free. You want to go swimming all you have to do is pick out the type of beach you want and go ahead. Back home most places charge you something like a four dollar fee to use a beach. I seem to remember in Michigan if there was a nice lake the state would sell off all the access around the lake. The lake would still be public property but only a few landowners could ever get to it.

I thought what I had bought at the theater we grape juice, but it is grape juice cocktail. It contains corn sweeteners. I won't point fingers by saying what brand it was, but I thought the brand name implicitly promised that it would be pure juice They apparently welched on that promise. Coming from the beach we are now at 3000 feet elevation.

Just a few minutes later we are at 4000 feet. The high-point seems to be 4024. There are warnings to watch out for nene. What are nenes? They are the descendants of two Canadian geese who got lost and seriously off-course. At least that is what is claimed. These geese found the islands pleasant and founded a dynasty. At least that is what the naturalists claim. Of course they also claim that when a population drops below a certain level it dies out. Two birds is a pretty low level. I can easily see that if the population drops any further it would die out, but two birds seems surprisingly small to be viable.

Our first stop at the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is at the visitor center. There are the usual displays about wildlife. The more interesting displays are about volcanoes. There is a big portrait of Pele the volcano goddess, whose hair is shown as a gray field of lava.

There is a good film showing how the islands were formed by being on a tectonic plate moving over a deep hot spot. It is like moving a thick sheet of wax over a blow torch. It cuts holes and pushes up molten wax. The heat that built these islands came from 1800 feet down and created plumes of magma 2000 degrees hot that came down in mounds that became islands. The plates moved at four inches a year and the degree of heat varied so you got a series of mounds made of molten rock. The water and wind brought life to the barren rock mounds. Life came and varied controlled by isolation and evolution. 90% of the species in Hawai'i exist in Hawai'i only. Species were brought here by the people who came.

The Polynesians brought pigs. The pigs got loose and became feral. They make holes in trees. Many years later mosquitoes were accidentally brought here by Westerners. Water casks from ships were emptied into streams here and refilled here and this put mosquito eggs in the water. They then found holes that the feral pigs left in trees and bred and spread. The mosquitoes feed on and endanger the birds, spreading disease. So with the coming of Westerners nature found a different balance.

You drive a circuit with small hikes that let you see active volcanic phenomena. One stop lets you see active steam vents. Here there are large plumes of water vapor.

At the Southwest Rift Zone there are large rips in the land and big craters with steam vents. There are sulfur deposits on the side.

The Thomas A Jagger Museum is devoted to volcanology and seismology. It is right beside the Halema`uma`u crater which gives them plenty to study.

Rain showed it ugly head when we saw the site of the 1980 lava flow. This is the Kilauea volcano which adjoins the nearby Mauna Loa.

The half-mile Desolation Trail lets you see the site of the 1959 lava flow. You see ashen wood, bleached white by the heat and cinders. You also see greenery starting again. Where there is water there is life.

Next on the loop is the Thurston Lava Tube. Usually these are called lava straws. This straw is about eight feet in diameter so it is some straw. Lava can flow only as long as it remains very hot. A flow of lava cools on the outside when it comes in contact with the cooler air. Inside the lava it continues to flow in what is essentially a cooled tube. If the volcano stops pushing out lava the level of lava in the tube falls. The lava on the cooler floor solidifies. You are left with en empty tube through the lava. The lava tube is a natural tunnel through lava.

We were a bit peckish and went into Volcano to find a place to eat. The Thai restaurant was closed and would not open until 5 PM so we went to the Lava Rock Cafe, a small place whose name was a riff on the Hard Rock Cafe chain. Evelyn and I shared grilled ona and Southern Fried Chicken.

We drove another part of the park and saw more crater and displays of tsunami damage. We were thinking of seeing where the lava reaches the sea. However this required a bit more of a hike than we thought we could manage with the sun going down so we left for home. It was a good thing too.

The rangers said that the counter-clockwise had better roads that made up for the greater distance. Not true for us. Three and a half hours it took to get home. That was six hours we spent driving. This is not the best place way to see the island, but there was really only one place to stay on the Big Island and it is a long way from the island's biggest attraction.

I got back to the room and TCM was showing TRADER HORN, a film I had never seen. This was a 1931 African adventure. MGM had sent a unit to Africa to get a lot of African footage of animals and local population. It is an African adventure but half of its two-hour length could almost be documentary. Horn (played by Harry Carey) and a young trader (Duncan Renaldo, later to play the Cisco Kid on television) travel Africa and run afoul of natives. Much of it is looking at African scenery and Horn giving a comment or two on what they are seeing as the wise hunter. He did not say much. This is an early sound-era film and much could effectively be silent. The footage taken became a staple of other African adventures and MGM's Tarzan series. Animals were quite definitely harmed in the making of this film. A lion was brutally speared to death. I got a special part of the show. A fly landed on the TV screen and stood around as flies do. When a lion fought a gazelle the fly would dodge the image of the paw.

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05/05/06 The Big Island: Kona Walk

In the Hawai'i there seems to be genuine pleasure taken by the cultures who came here in the native culture. On the radio you hear a lot of music in the Hawaiian language. Street names are largely in the same language. If you drive around or in the tour books few streets are in any other language. It actually is a difficult language because the limited set of consonants and the tendency for A-B-A-B syllable patterns make for longer words. But the native culture is really cherished here in a way that that does not seem true of native Americans on the mainland. The native culture (Indian) there is sort of on life-support. There is a lot of effort in the Southwest to have museums of native culture and there is a small part of the population who revels in the native cultures, but on the whole the culture has been marginalized. I think you can live in the New York area for weeks without ever seeing any reference to native culture. The West Coast has a lot of Spanish culture, but it still does not have the ubiquitous nature of Hawaiian in Hawai'i. You cannot go very long in Hawai'i without being aware of the Polynesian culture.

On the other hand it's 7:00 in the morning and I can't find news or classical music on the radio. There are a lot of junk music stations and religious stations as there are everywhere, but nothing I would want to listen to for long.

Volcano was good to see yesterday but we spend six hours driving in all. That is a lot of driving. We had planned to go to sites in Hilo today, but that is just too far away. We hit it on the way home last night and drove for maybe 150 minutes after that just getting home. That is simply too far away. I think we think places are nearby because we are on an island. But the Big Island is a big island. Evelyn suggested when I get up I should look over the tour books and form new plans for the day. As of now my plan is that we are in a resort in a resort town. Let's use it like that and not a motel. I will suggest walking into town. There are a few things to see locally.

At 9:20 we went out to see the grounds and to go to the South Pool where they have pastries. We got distracted by looking at the ocean. You have to do this here over a stone wall. The shoreline is rocky and you are warned against going to the water. It is tough to even get a good look at it over the stone wall. You can stand by the wall and look over it, but if you sit down all you see is wall. They have a saltwater pool but strongly recommend against actually getting in the ocean.

We sat by the pool writing until past 11:30.

We took a car into town, if I can use that word. I hate to admit it but lunch was at L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. Most people will not recognize the name, but it is not a fancy place. It is Hawaiian food for down-scale Hawaiians. We shared two platters that included Mahi-Mahi, shrimp, scallops, Kalbi ribs, barbecue chicken, and barbecue pork. Not actually fine food, but mostly Hawaiian and reasonably well made. The whole meal was about $21.67 including some takeout Spam Musubi which we will save for dinner. Refilling the gas we used yesterday cost $32.49. That hurt. I would have been more willing to pay $20 for gas and $30 for lunch.

A woman is talking on a cell phone and wishes the other person a happy Cinco de Mayo. She listens a moment and says "it's today." The person obviously asked when it was. It is like asking "When's July 4th this year?"

Next we went to Alii Drive for the walk in Fodors. The King Kamehameha Beach Hotel has in its lobby portraits of kings and queens and members of royal family of Hawai'i. (There are also trophies and artifacts of sport fishing.) Outside there are full size replicas of two pre-Western buildings including the king's temple.

Not so palatial Hulihee Royal Palace was once a royal home.

Mokuaikaua Church was the first church in the islands, founded 1820. More about this year and the missionaries later. They came on the Brig Thaddeus. There is in the front a model of the brig that brought the missionaries. There is an old account of someone named Thurston (the same as was associated with the lava tube?) bringing word that governor did not allow women to go bonnetless.

The last stop was the Kuamo'o Battlefield and Lekeleke Burial Grounds. There is some story required here. [I guess this continues the history I started in the 4/30 entry.]

The British first arrived in 1778 with Captain Cook in command. Kamehameha I was the king who unified Hawai'i with British help. When he died his son Lilolilo was renamed Kamehameha II. He was not a big fan of the Kapu system of religious taboos and of capital punishment. The sort of thing that was taboo was men and women eating together and the rules that women could not hold positions of power. He tried to abolish it in 1819. Oddly enough there was no divine retribution. The gods allowed Kapu to be abolished with little fuss. That started scaring people.

Well, Hawaiian religion had its own fundamentalists. Hence the Kuamo'o Battlefield and Lekeleke Burial Grounds. Both sides had firearms making the death toll worse. Over 300 people died in this battle near the water. When the dust settled the reformer king had won a victory.

But the following year, just 42 years after the West discovered Hawaii, missionaries first arrived. They told the king he was absolutely right. "All that old religious junk and the weird taboos was balderdash. We have a bunch of new religious junk with its own taboos. Huts are no good for worship. Places of worship should be all boarded up without ventilation. That's how we do it in Boston. See those exposed females breasts? God hates those. He made them by mistake and you have to cover them up. And that fun you are having from sex...CUT IT OUT! Now! We'll tell you when and how you can do it. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. And congratulations on getting rid of those stupid taboos."

The people, of course, went in for the new religion in a big way. People LOVE rules. Rules give them a way in their daily lives to feel they are sacrificing for something bigger than themselves. They are sacrificing and giving up freedom for their religion. There are two kinds of rules. Those that sort of make sense, like you should not steal from each other, and those that make no sense like on Thursdays you have to wear blue socks. Ironically it is the nutty, irrational rules that people really love. People can work that out for themselves that stealing is bad. They don't need a religion to tell them that. When somebody steals from them they don't like it so stealing is bad. It makes sense. Ah, but the irrational rules, like blue socks on a Thursday, that is the kind of rule they love. It sets them apart from other people. It gives them an identity. ("Hey, we are the people who wear blue socks on Thursdays.") When you see someone wearing blue socks on a Thursday you can be pretty sure this person shares something with you. He is one of you. Further you know that God gives extra points for wearing blue socks on Thursdays. Most people don't know that. So God is going to love you more than other people who do not wear blue socks on Thursdays. And it will be fully justified. After all, you told the world that blue socks on Thurdays was what God wanted and they obstinately refused to listen. Which deep down you are glad of. It means more afterlife goodies for you.

Kamehameha II really did not live long enough to see what the missionaries did to his country. Four years after the missionaries arrived Kamehameha II visited Britain with his queen. Both contracted measles and died. The missionaries arranged a funeral for him and this helped legitimize their presence in Hawai'i.

We walked around the burial field and looked out at the ocean waves breaking on the black rocks. It seemed very peaceful.

We returned to the hotel and worked on logs and put on some background television. We went to see the sundown, but as we were waiting for it it clouded up and started to rain. Clouds blotted out the sun. We didn't stay.

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05/06/06 The Big Island to Maui

We got up and finished the last food from the refrigerator getting ready to leave. We packed and checked out. This is our first gray day.

Evelyn wanted to go to a used bookstore she had read about, Kona Bay Books. It was a fairly good used bookstore, but we had just finished packing our luggage and had fresh memories that it did not have much room left. Evelyn can describe it in her bookstore lists.

After that we drove north up the coast. We passed lava beds of dark stone and people covered them with graffiti, spelling things out words with white stones.

We drove through a housing complex being built. It seems a strange place for a big complex of houses because there is not a lot of places to work around. Evelyn suggested it is retirement and second houses but some people may telecommute. I wonder if a lot of people are still telecommuting. Back when we were working telecommuting was a new adventure. People could work from their homes. Technology was making things better for the workers. You could be 20 miles from work and still doing the work. A few technical people tried to prove you actually could live in another state and do the work. Yes they proved their point. The technology really was good enough that the people doing the work could live places like Florida and Arizona. Wow! Things were really getting better. Now the people doing the work are living places like Bombay and New Delhi.

Pu'ukohola Heiau is a temple built by Kamehameha during his wars with his cousin. Supposedly the stones were brought down from the mountains, passed hand to hand for a 20 or 30 miles. It is a moderate walk down the hill to get to the temple. It reminds me of some architecture I have seen on Meso-America. But there isn't much to see but some stone walls.

We continue around the outside of the island on Route 250/270. There really is not a lot to see. It is lava fields or grass on the land side and a field with a few trees going to the water on the other side. Besides the road it is totally undeveloped. That should make it beautiful but on this gray day it just looks somber. Miles of bushy coastline with just nothing. Eventually we decide that there is not much more to see and we turn around.

There is really only one short stretch of road that has places to eat. It is a seafood bar next to a seafood grill. Around the corner there is like a small shopping center with two or three restaurants. Parking is minimal. We first tried the seafood grill but there was no place to park there or in from of the seafood bar. We could park at the shopping center and picked a Mexican place. We had lunch at Tres Hombres. Admittedly it was now Seis de Mayo. We each ordered burritos.

I got the Burrito Verde. It was supposed to be pork with melted cheese. They substituted chicken, left off the melted cheese, and put it in a very bland green chili sauce. It was just a chicken burrito in green sauce. I thought it didn't seem right but I had not memorized the description so I only realized on leaving the restaurant how far it was from the description. The service was terrible also. I can honestly say I will never go back.

It is raining a bit now. We go to the gas station to fill the tank on the car before returning it and the pump says that I have to charge it inside. That means four trips back and forth in the rain.

At the airport we check in and go through security. They need to check the CPAP again as well as Evelyn's bag.

People say that the Big Island is nicer than Oahu. It just was not for what we wanted. Kona was so isolated. More Hawaiian history happened on the Big Island than on Oahu, but Oahu got the museums. And Oahu was where Pearl Harbor was so there was some history in that. I guess my feeling is that Oahu was more interesting than the Big Island was. We hit at a time when there was no observable lava flowing at Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park. And that seemed to be the main attraction. On Oahu I am willing to put up with the surfer crowd for the cultural advantages.

It was raining when they called our flight. We had to walk across the field in the rain. We were able to board at the rear. Evelyn and I each had a half row of seats to ourselves. There were about 20 passengers. Not that many people choose to travel on a Saturday afternoon. We took off about 4:10 and were over gray water almost as soon as we were off the ground.

A flight that is less than half an hour is over almost as soon as it starts. They just had time to hand out Cokes, hit some turbulence, and then land. I am reading from my palmtop GREENMANTLE by John Buchan. It is the first sequel to THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS. Moments when I have to turn off the palmtop I am reading an article about Chuppies. This is the new and growing economic force of yuppies in China.

Right at the moment I am sitting on the Honolulu airport waiting for my Maui flight. A pigeon is walking around the floor looking for food. I think he is a pigeon. They are about 1/2 the scale of New York City pigeons. That makes them 1/8 the volume. He is trying to cross a floor with heavy human cross-traffic getting off a plane. He will run to get past someone and out of the way and then pause between people. It is like a human crossing a busy street against the light.

They have just announced that our flight will be delayed because it is a new plane and they are having some problems with it. I guess there are still a few bugs in the system. That makes me feel really good. You know the kind of question they have. Can we get this engine to work and if not is it still under warranty if something goes wrong?

We were landing about sunset and by the time we got the car it was dark meaning that we would not see a whole lot of Maui until the morning. It is about a half hour drive to Lahaina. When we got there we had to find the place and that took a while. We are staying at the Noelani Condominium Resort in Lahaina. It is sort of a beach-house motel right on the ocean. There is not much land so the driving lot is downright claustrophobic. Parking spaces are so narrow you have to squeeze out of car door.

There was nobody at the office for us to register but there was an envelope with our name, a key, a room number, and a map. Even finding the room was tough.

There was a message on our phone that there would be an aloha breakfast and information at 8:30 the next morning by the pool.

The place is nearly as small as our first place. It is about 22x20. Again a full kitchenette. There is a lanai (porch) with a view of the ocean. There is no air conditioning but there are two ceiling fans. It was tough finding a place near the bed an outlet to put my CPAP. I had to wedge a chair in between the bed and the wall. Well, not exactly the wall. There is a wall-sized mirror next to the bed. I suppose for younger people it has a good purpose. {P.S. For me it is a reminder that I should lose some weight.}

We went out to get some supplies at the local grocery and then unpacked and worked on diaries in the room.

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05/07/06 Maui: Sites

I woke up at 6am to the combined sound of the surf on one side and the cars on the other. I got my first look at our room including the ocean side of our condo. We are very near the water. Each of the places we stayed we paid about the same total within maybe $50 and we will be saying 7, 3, and 4 nights. This is not nearly as luxurious as the previous place which was, but we do get the extra night.

I wanted to see if there was a piece of beach where we could get to the water so I got dresses and decided to go exploring. It sounded interesting to Evelyn, so she got dressed and we headed out. Our hotel has only black rocks but further down the road we found some minimal access to the beach. Most of the hotels that have beach wall it off. We sneaked around the side. I don't think they own the beach, but they may be restricting the access. Anyway, we got to the beach. We walked in the sand and stood in the surf. Then I went all the way and demonstrated to Evelyn the finer points of the breast stroke, the back stroke, the Australian crawl, and of my underwater swimming style. I hope for a chance to show her the same things later when we can go into the water.

The weird thing about Hawai'i is the winds. The sky can look absolutely innocent of rain clouds and you can still be rained on. There must be strong winds and the clouds it comes from are out of sight.

Out orientation talk which I expected to be about 20 minutes was a two-hour talk delivered in about 65 minutes. The hotel/concierge Bruce host had a lot to tell people about what was available to do. The information came too fast to assimilate.

I figured it would be good to talk to him about what we could do on our limited time. That turned into 40 minutes with us with maps and brochures. He marked up maps showing us routes. He made reservations. I can't say he didn't know his stuff nor that he did not give us attention. We were in information overload. Our plan to go to the aquarium got canceled when we discovered it would be $20 each. There are lots of things to do, but the fees come fast and hard.

We decided to hit Iao Valley state park. We went south on Highway 30 with the mountains on one side and water on the other. It was a beautiful place to be between mountains. The mountains seem to collect the rain leaving this side of the island wet and the other side dry. From this side today the mountains look green and gray with smoky peaks.

We drove to the Iao Valley State Park. This is the kind of scenery they use in films like JURASSIC PARK, KING KONG, and THE LOST WORLD. It is just spectacular. Hills go up at 75 and 80 degree angles looking like teeth, but covered with a velvet layer of foliage. And the hulls are densely packed together. It looks like a tropical island paradise. The volcanic up-thrusts formed the hills in odd shapes. "Yosemite of the Pacific" is what Mark Twain dubbed it.

We are dressed quite lightly and as we climb up the hill and go over the bridge for the hike a cold rain starts. Not very comfortable. So we go back to the car and write for ten minutes. Luckily the rain has stopped after ten minutes. As we climb up the hill and go over the bridge for the hike a cold rain starts again. Actually, when it is rainy it is not rainy constantly--it comes and goes. We are just playing tag with the clouds. But neither of us is as happy to do climbing as we used to be. (You can read our China logs about us at The Great Wall).

Near Iao State Park is Kepaniwai Park and Heritage Gardens. This is a small open-air park that is a tribute to the various cultures that are prominent on the islands. Those are Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Puerto Rico, Japanese, Korean, New England, Filipino, and Portugal. There are buildings from each country and other artifacts like Stone lanterns, statuary, busts of important leaders, Taoist arches, pavilions, Foo lions, Korean unicorn-lions. One or twice we needed the buildings to get out of the intermittent rain.

We nibbled on some car snacks. They were like potato chips, but made from different roots. As we drove we noticed that they had small storefront Borders Bookstores. Borders was known for their comprehensive selection. Now they have small bookstores called Borders Express. I guess a smaller bookstore is faster if you want to look at every book. But still it is an odd use of the term express.

For lunch we stopped at a Bale Vietnamese restaurant. Not haute cuisine, but cheap and filling. I had Seafood Samine and Evelyn had Curried Chicken.

We had gotten recommendations for good spots to go snorkeling in the afternoon. We were guided by what were now cryptic notations on our map as to how to find the snorkeling spots and see some tropical fish. We were able to find one of the sites only to discover it overrun with families and kids swimming in the water. I quickly calculated our chances of finding worthwhile snorkeling as being indistinguishable from zero. We decided to look for the beaches near the hotel. That involved a long drive back and another search but we did find a beach. We used a wet picnic table as a base.

Having been warned about the high crime rate we determined that only one of us could go into the water at once while the other guarded our valuables. We stripped down to our swimsuits under our other clothing as the rain started again. I told Evelyn that she should go in first. This was in recognition of all the work she had put into the day. I watched as she traversed the beach and stepped to the edge of the water. One wave rolled over her feet. She turned immediately around and walked back to our table. Had she forgotten something? No, she discovered the water was cold and the rain bothered her. Okay, I would go in. I walked to the edge of the water. It was true that the rain made it less pleasant and the water was cold. But it was no fun without Evelyn. I walked around for about five minutes letting the water roll above my knees. Eventually I gave in to the rain and returned to Evelyn. Knowing she had watched me all the time I told her I had been in water over my head and suggested she feel my hair for proof. I had been in water that had been over my head. Some of it started hundreds of feet up.

After our fifteen minutes on the beach we went back to the room. We would have a nice view of the sunset out our porch if the clouds would cooperate. Up until about five minutes of sunset the sun was behind clouds. In the last five minutes it came out from the clouds for the most part. It was a little patchy.

It had not been a good day in spite of a few pieces of tremendous scenery. So it would end on an up-note I suggested we go out for ice cream. We shared a banana split.

We went to bed a little early because we have to be up early in the morning.

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05/08/06 Maui: Helicopter over Maui, Road to Hana

We got up early and left the room at about 6:30 to be early for our 7:45 helicopter flight over the mountains and crater.

It takes about 45 minutes to get to the heliport. We park and go in. We are the first passengers to arrive. That is due to our paranoia. Better we sit around for half an hour than be 15 minutes late. When others start arriving Evelyn engages them in conversation while I take pictures of the helicopters we will be going up in.

The helicopters are Ecostars. They look like small helicopters but the vertical propellers are high up so that there is no need to duck down when getting into the helicopter. It is really bad publicity to hit or nearly hit somebody's head with a propeller. Actually it is the rear propeller that is dangerous. On the Ecostar the tail propeller is in the tail fin. That looks nifty and looks like it could be safer, but they warn you not to go near the back end. The helicopter carries six passengers and there were 12 total, so I will give them credit that they took up three helicopters when they could have gotten away with two. But this way everybody gets a window seat. But I am getting ahead of myself (a feat which on the face of it sounds impossible).

They weighed us in. Evelyn had the nerve to ask the woman what I weighed. I gave leave to say. Actually I seem to have lost weight on this trip. Maybe travel is a good way to lose weight.

The couple Evelyn had been talking to was from Tennessee. The husband was a big man was retired and was a Wal-Mart junkie. He seems to go to Wal-Mart every day. I had never heard of such a thing. No wonder we have a trade imbalance with China. However, Wal-Mart takes more than its share of blame for that one. You hear a lot of publicity against Wal-Mart and none against the dollar stores which are very much Chinese goods outlets. This couple was traveling with another couple, so they got one helicopter.

Another couple came from New Jersey, Frank and Judith. Frank was afraid to fly and was not looking forward to going up. They show us a safety tape about three times as long as the one you get on an airplane, which I am sure did not help. We tried to reassure him and later he at least said he had a great time.

I got the rear right seat and Evelyn got the left one. You are tightly strapped in and you wear headphones. I was so engrossed I did not see the first helicopter leave. Our pilot says his name is Don. Each of us gets a microphone to talk in because the engine is noisy. There is some vibration as the plane takes off, but no strong acceleration. You just sort of float into the air. They play Hawaiian music through the whole flight when none of the mikes are on. As you take off they are playing the unofficial state anthem, the theme from "Hawaii 5-0."

The helicopter goes up over the dormant volcano Haleakala, a peak 10,000 feet tall. You see it over the top and look down on the winding road to Hana. We will be driving this road later in the day. We travel over the forests.

Everybody tells us that from the air you get a very different perspective on the island. You are really seeing it for the first time. There is some truth to that. A 300-foot waterfall (which we saw) is a much more comprehensible size. What is really different is your perspective on the vegetation. From down on the ground you see trees and ferns. They all have individual shapes and heights. They have personality. From the air they blend into a green carpet that is velvety. Well, that is one way to look at it. Actually what happened is the volcanic process spit up this rock in the ocean. Because it was wet it started to grow this green stuff on it like something that has been kept too long in the refrigerator. It is sort of like the black rock just sort of spoiled and went moldy. When you are on the ground you can see the stuff growing on it in detail and get some wonder from it. From up here it is just this stuff covering things. Perhaps if you were small enough refrigerator mold would be a wonderful thing also.

We flew over the rim and saw Science City, a laboratory facility where they study vulcanology and astronomy. The name makes it sound like something out of a 1950s science fiction film, a place where where they try to contact aliens or build robots that they can't quite control. Wow!

From the helicopter we can see Mauna Loa on the Big Island. You can see 100 miles in any direction. Don asked when was the last time you could see 100 miles. I didn't have the heart to tell him I had been looking at the stars the night before. Well, you cannot see in any direction. You can't see 100 miles down, for example. And that is a good thing. I guess he meant seeing horizontally. That would have had to have been last Saturday when we flew in. But I guess he feels he has to impress the customers. We would sidle up to a waterfall and I would take a picture and he would say "Nice shooting, Mark," like I had done something extraordinary.

Of course I do pride myself on my equipment. I shoot the old fashioned and difficult way. My antique camera records images the way people used to, on a strip of celluloid. When you look through the viewfinder you are seeing only approximately what the picture will look like. And what you take is what you get. The light etches the image in chemicals on the celluloid strip. I think the camera is something like a whole decade old. You don't see many of these babies around any more. This came from an era when taking pictures was an art and an act of faith. The camera is rather big and clunky. You put this one in a pocket that is all that you can put in that pocket. But you see the admiring looks on people's faces when you take a picture with this baby. Craftsmanship is not dead.

The island gets 15 inches of rain a year on the leeward side and 300 on the other. The wind always comes from one side and mountains catch the rain clouds. Due to recent rains the waterfalls were particularly prominent. We saw a 300-foot waterfall, and a bamboo forest. Only once did we fly into clouds and rain and within a minute we flew out. Perhaps the helicopter just needed a washing.

The scenes in JURASSIC PARK in which the helicopter lands in the jungle next to a waterfall was filmed on the leeward side. Scenes for PEARL HARBOR were shot here. Also PAPILLON and 7 DAYS 6 NIGHTS were shot around here. All good things come to an end and after that we headed back to the heliport.

The helicopter makes a movie of the flight. It has two video cameras, one of the outside view and one of the passengers. Somehow it decides when to show the inside and when to show the outside. But then you can pay an extra $25 for the DVD. We did.

One rather nasty gotcha: when you park you don't see that they charge for parking. On leaving they show you the parking rates. You can park a few yards further away free. It seems a little dishonest not to tell that they charge.

One of the things we saw from the helicopter was the Hana Road. Just what is the Hana Road? First, what is Hana? It was the site of an ancient Hawaiian community with a population in the thousands. It can be reached by boat but was only accessed with great difficulty by land. In recent times a road has been built to take people to and from Hana. And guess what. It is still pretty darn inaccessible. The road and the sites at the town are extremely beautiful. In fact there is so much that I will use SB as an acronym for "spectacular beauty." There are a whole bunch of these SB sites.

There are a few standard recorded tours of the Hana Highway. I don't think tour busses could handle the road so this was the next best way to capitalize off of it. Supposedly our hotel had a copy of the best on tape or CD. Our car had a tape player so we borrowed a tape. The tape starts out at the town's number one landmark. Somehow when you get directions this landmark shows up a lot, probably because it is where two major highways come together. The K-Mart is a major landmark here. That is where the tape starts.

The road to Hana has become a tourist attraction itself because of its beauty even if it is a difficult and twisty drive. It winds through frequently dense rain forest. The road goes over 56 one-way bridges and around 600 curves.

This area was formed by the flows from two volcanoes and is the valley between. The closer is the Haleakala, a peak of 10,000 feet. It is the younger having last erupted 200 years ago. The other is Mauna Kahalawai, only 5200 feet. The volcanoes are still active and there is a new island forming off big island. It will be called Lo'ihi if they is anyone around to call it that in about 2000 years.

Sugar cane has been grown here since the early 1800s and early on supplied the California Gold Rush. It was really expanded when it supplied sugar to the North during the Civil War. The southern states did not want to supply the North for various reasons. There are 50,000 acres of cane here. It is burned before the harvest to make the cane easier to harvest. All the flame is an amazing sight. Scares the hell out of the animals living in the fields.

As the tape recommends we stop in Paia stop for car snacks for the trip. It will take about three hours on the road, but will be pleasant enough because of the SB sites.

We pass a Japanese temple that has a big gong, according to the tape tour.

They are, of course, doing road construction which slows us down. I am really surprised that so high a proportion of roads is under construction or repair at any given time.

We pass Hookipa, a site of major importance in surfing history. I don't know much surfing history. I don't know there are a lot of places where surfing history would even be called history in the same sense that the Servile Wars is considered history. Are there important sites in bubble gum history?

We move along the road into an agricultural area built with Chinese labor. Many of the Chinese stayed after the building and intermarried. Taro fields became rice paddies. Then we move to places where wild guava grows.

It has been particularly rainy the last few days so some of the waterfalls we see are not usually there or are not as strong, but we pass many of SB. We pass by cove of water surrounded by steep hills. Water is breaking on rocks in white torrents. The waterfalls and the coves with white water breaking on lava rocks get more spectacular as we go along. You may want to get a picture of one, but twenty minutes later you will see one more impressive and wonder why you wasted film on the last one. The increasing beauty eventually desensitizes the traveler.

The Keanae Arboretum which has many different trees and other plants identified. I was impressed with the Painted Eucalyptus which has a bark of many colors. It reminded me of rainbow sherbet.

Keanae Village is a little further with a church made from lava rock rather than the usual coral and sights of SB with breakers.

Some of the tape is out of date. It directs the listener off the road to see a waterfall of SB, but it in fact leads one instead to some angry "no trespassing" signs.

More overlooks with breakers and white water.

Anyone following this route, be warned that rain is expected. Always. This and another spot in Hawai'i claim to vie for the rainiest spot on Earth. Evelyn and I thought that was a place in India, but nobody here has heard of that.

The area near village Nahiku is very wet. This had been the site of a rubber plantation in the early 1900s but because of the excessive rainfall the quality of rubber was inferior. There is a long and winding road going down to a bay.

Not far from here is an area accessible only by four-wheel drive and by helicopter. There are the homes of some wealthy reclusive celebrities like George Harrison and Jim Nabors. I guess it is nice to live in a place of beauty, but do they really really notice that after the first month? After that I would think you would look at these homes as places of confinement. You can interact with people only in limited ways. The Internet might help, I guess, but it would run slowly because you would not have land lines. I doubt you even have telephone. There is too much speed of light delay on satellite communications. It would be bad enough to be a bird in a gilded cage, it would be worse to realize you built that cage at huge expense.

We passed a house that says "For Sale by Owner." It should have added "just minutes from downtown Nahiku." The houses along here are very unfancy. They are just middle-class houses. But at least you can get to them somewhat by road. We continue on appreciating the SB sites. There are more coves to visit. One has caves in the lava and blowholes for water.

Finally we got to Hana. There is a park with a swimming pool and plumbing. Having some plumbing is nice after the long road. There is food, but it is quite expensive. Probably twice the price you would pay in the easter 48 states.

There is a church built, not by mere coincidence, on an important Hawaiian temple. That seems to be a common tactic when a new religion invades. They say "Your holy sites are now our holy sites. Continuing your religion at these sites is an affront to our religion." The Spaniards did that a lot in the New World. Muslims did that In India and in Jerusalem. You can't find any place in the Koran where there is one reference to Jerusalem. Mohammed appears to have been completely indifferent to the city. Revisionists claimed that an unnamed fantastical city that Mohammed saw in a dream was Jerusalem. They built a mosque cheek to jowl next to the Jews' most holy site and now claim that the Dome of the Rock is one of Islam's holiest sites.

The place to stop for tourists is the Hana Ranch. They have a restaurant and a general store. Ice cream seems to go for about $3 a scoop. We looked at the restaurant and it was $12 for a hamburger and fries. We figured ice cream was what we wanted most. We found in the general store an overpriced pint of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. We bought that and got two spoons. It was better ice cream and cost less than what the restaurant would have cost.

A short walk from the road is Hamoa Beach. There you can swim with black lava cliffs on either side of you. It is a site of amazing SB.

You see cattle being raised in this area. The tape told a grisly story of a steer who was apparently caught in one of the common flash floods and washed ever a cliff and into the ocean. A fisherman found the steer swimming and figured that he would add some turf to his surf. He bound the struggling steer to the side of his canoe. The steer no doubt felt a little grateful for the aid. Sadly both the steer and fisherman were disappointed. The surf and turf went not to the fisherman but to sharks who saw the struggling hooves in the water. Soon the steer was not struggling and the sharks had enjoyed the rare delicacy of live steer.

Eventually it was getting late and we skipped about two stops at the end of the tour. One was the Seven Sacred Pools which are not really sacred and there are more than seven. The other was a SB waterfall.

As we returned we noted a lot of abandoned dead cars by the side of the road. I guess they are expensive to get rid of so they become litter. It took us about two hours to get back off the road.

We had not had a real meal since breakfast and that was yogurt and meal bars. We had the ice cream at around 3PM, but now wanted dinner. We passed a place called Bangkok Cuisine. We parked and checked the menu. A man going in said it was very good. Well, the last such recommendation we got, the Mexican restaurant on the Big Island, we did not care for, but we decided to chance it. Evelyn and I both picked dishes called Evil Prince. Evelyn would have ordered it with tofu and I would have had chicken. No point us both ordering it so I switched to House Special Noodle. The dishes were very nice. They tried to overcharge me. A $7.95 dish got changed to an $11.95 on the total. Luckily I had my palmtop (as usual) and it told me to the penny what the check should come to. I suspect the palmtop has paid for itself in dinner checks. I took the check to the cash register and to make the point that I knew what I should be charged I had them refigure the bill. It was $20.47 and I already had in my hand $20.50. Finding checks off by dollars is becoming a common event and 90% of the time the errors are in favor of the restaurant. That means that 80% of the time it is probably intentional.

Back to the room and a little log work. Our vacation is quickly coming to an end.

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05/09/06 Maui: Semi-sub & Beach

I woke up before 4AM and at 5 went into the bathroom to write. After about 45 minutes the sun was coming up and I figured it would be a good time to sit out on our lanai and write in the first light of sun-up. That didn't work very well. There is something funny in the locking mechanism and I could not get the door to open. Oh well. [P.S. It turned out the door stuck. I thought that might be the case but didn't want to make too much noise.]

Breakfast was yogurt, cheese, and crackers. We have to use this food up. I have my own way of eating yogurt. I don't stir it. That way when I get to the fruit at the bottom it is like dessert.

This morning we take a ride on what is called a semi-submersible. It is what used to be called a glass-bottom boat. A submersible is a submarine. Semi-submersible means that part of the boat is actually beneath the water. How unusual. The only boats I know that are not at least partially submersible are hovercraft and airfoils. But they want to make the boat seem like a submarine. When I saw the boat it even had the top part designed to look like a submarine conning tower. This tower was conning the customers.

We as usual arrived early. There was a museum in the nearby courthouse so we went to see that. That was a modest affair showing some of the history of Hawaii, especially whaling.

Fact: The flag of Hawai'i is the only flag to have flown over a kingdom, a republic, a territory, and a state.

In the museum we saw the typical whaling artifacts including whale jaws, a sextant, an octant, a lighthouse lamp, a narwhal tusk, a harpoon, and a harpoon gun. Hawai'i became a very different place under the influence of the whalers and the missionaries. The criminal offenses during the years 1855-1857 include such un-Hawaiian taboos as: drunkenness, adultery, assault, furious riding, breaking Sabbath, profanity, drinking 'awa, and giving birth to bastard children.

The woman running the museum was a known mystery writer and five of her books were available for sale.

There is in the corner of a park the small remains of a fort. Thereby hangs a tale. In 1827 the whaling ships would come into this port and the local prostitutes would come onboard to get some of the whalers pay in return for services rendered. The whalers were happy with the arrangement. The prostitutes were happy with the arrangement. The local missionaries were furious. In that year the whalers learned Reverend William Richards had gotten the king to make a decree that women of the town were not to be allowed on whaling boats. Now the missionaries were happy and the prostitutes and the whalers were furious.

Good Reverend Richards had a house visible from the water. The whalers hurled angry insults at it. The good Reverend decided he could endure such insults. The captain of the whaler decided to second his sailors disregard and started firing his cannon at the house. Reverend Richards was not happy now. But the missionaries had the power. A fort was built to protect the island from indignant whalers.

It was coming time to board our boat so we went to the appointed spot. They took pictures of everybody getting on board to sell to them when they got off. $10 is a bit steep for a photograph. We were the last on board but there were seats. Each seat is really a short plank next to a window. The windows look out and a little bit downward as the walls bow out and are not vertical.

The water was a little murky. The first fish we saw were Hawaiian Sergeant fish. These particular fish consider the boat their home. They swim next to it. I later asked when the boat moves, do they swim with it and keep up. They do. What the fish do when the boat dry-docks? The host didn't know the answer to that. They probably adopt a new boat.

We see a lot of black durgeon triggerfish and sea urchin. Lots of coral even if they are not very animated. Then there are butterfly fish, and sputnik urchin. All of these are fairly predictable. Evelyn elected herself hero by spotting something a little unusual, a sea turtle.

The divers who came with the boat brought various specimens to the window. Collector urchins were of particular interest because they are the source of uni, a kind of sushi that is a particular delicacy. They brought up a black spiny sea urchin. The divers also fed the fish carefully. They throw some food and then cross their arms to hide their hands. The fish don't distinguish between food and the hands that provide it. They will go after either. The triggerfishes' lips flash blue and orange when they eat.

After a while they started back to shore and said we could go back on deck because the diving part of the trip was over. Evelyn and I and a few others stayed below and saw more fish. It is better than standing out in the sun.

We saw orange-banded surgeon fish who have sharp hooks they use as weapons. Evelyn spotted a cornet. The excursion wasn't great, but it was a reasonable way to pass the time. I seem to remember seeing more fish when we took a similar ride at the Great Barrier Reef.

After we got off the boat we walked around the local town, Lahaina. It is sort of upscale tourist bait. As one passerby put it succinctly, it is art galleries and T-shirt shops.

We went back to the room with the intent to actually find a piece of beach and swim.

A continuing theme in these travel logs is our souvenir collection. We call it a chachka collection, though I believe it comes from the Yiddish word Tsotchka. Our rules are the chachka should be something associated with the location we are visiting. It should be cheap. It should be something locals would purchase for themselves. The latest addition for Hawai'i is a can of Spam. It is brought from the only corner of the world where Spam demands respect. Our can will never be opened. It is just what it is, a sealed can of Spam.

Well, then we went back to the room and changed into swim gear. There is no beach in front of our hotel, but there is beach access down the street (in front of another hotel who by law has to provide access. The water was cold at first but we got used to it. I was more anxious to go deeper than Evelyn was. My problem was that there was a strip of pebbles and rocks I had to walk over to get deep. Unfortunately I tend to the portly and I have small feet. My weight really pounds my feet into the ground. Walking on rocks is quite painful. Maybe my feet are also too delicate. I was willing to go over the rocks to get in deeper water only once or twice. Then I decided to walk the beach with Evelyn.

The truth is I hate beaches. Being on the beach is pleasant enough. That is not the problem. The problem is getting rid of the sand and the salt. I can wash my feet off in the water and get them to feel clean. Then when I walk back to my mat my wet feet pick up sand. But the time I get to my mat my feet look like two pieces of breaded chicken, ready to fry. Then they start to dry and the salt and water cake the sand. I HATE that feeling. I can try to brush my feet off but I never can get all the sand off. When I walk I feel hundreds of sharp sand-edges beneath my feet. If I get in the car my feet and my mat and everything else sheds sand into the trunk. The only cure is to get to a shower and wash the sand down the drain where it becomes someone else's problem.

So why did I go to the beach? Well, I like swimming in the surf and it also seems a requirement of coming to Hawai'i. But I hated the half hour afterwards and dealing with the sand. To make matters worse my sunscreen got washed off or something. My shoulders and back got burned. My suitcase doubles as a backpack and that is how I usually use it. But it will hurt with the sunburn.

Next order of business is what to do for our last dinner in Hawai'i.

The Aloha Grill was recommended in the tour books as a place for traditional Hawaiian food. You will note that we did not go to a luau. We discussed it but it seemed to be about $100 to see Hawaiian dancing and eat the traditional food. We had seen the dancing already and wanted to try the food. The company who owns the Aloha also puts on Luaus and the claim was the food you get at the grill is the same food. One of the logs we read said you can get the same food at the Aloha Grill.

We got the Alii plate: Lau Lau (pork in taro leaves like stuffed cabbage), Kalua pig (pork and cabbage), Lomi lomi salmon (this was the one disappointment, pico de gallo with bits of salmon), poi (bland purple paste), two scoops of rice and macaroni salad. I think that like Spam, macaroni salad may have special meaning to Hawaiians.

We also ordered the Aloha mixed plate which included shoyu chicken, teriyaki beef, Mahi Mahi, two scoops of rice and macaroni salad.

The flies were bad and it was a constant effort to chase them away, but other than that it was a good meal.

After dinner we made it home in time to watch the sunset. Our last sunset in the Hawaiian Islands was nearly cloudless. In the last few minutes it found a cloud over Lanai Island so it was not really a perfect sunset. Well, we will have one more but we will be in an airport. But it was pleasant. I guess it is anti-climax that the last sunset does not end the last day, but we are leaving late tomorrow afternoon. In 36 hours we should be home.

We watched a movie FATAL CONTACT: BIRD FLU IN AMERICA about a scenario of bird flu, H5N1, in the United States. It actually was quite good, though depressing as all get out. This whole subject is very scary, but the scenario shown was not unrealistic and as far as I can tell quite possible.

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05/10/06 Maui to Honolulu

We woke about 7 and had the last cheese and yogurt. We packed for the trip home and silently said goodbye to our room and its view. We left about 8:30. Our first stop was the local airport just to get a view of the water and the island and our hotel. We had packed away our jackets and then realized we would be climbing 10,000 feet on Mount Haleakala.

It is not a long drive up the mountain, but the climate changes several times. It starts tropical and segues to Arizona desert complete with cactus and other succulents and evergreens. It seemed odd to us that there would be cactus here in Hawai'i. We stopped at the visitor center and asked at a how the cactus got here. We got about a five-minute lecture on how the winds swirl and how new species come to the island on "wing, wave, and wind." Also how the winds change and sometimes bring seeds from the Americas and sometimes from Asia. A new species arrives on the island about once every 11 days. But that includes microbes. Okay. So that was how the Agave cactus got here? Oh, she said, the cactus and evergreens were brought here intentionally by man.

The road up the side of the volcano is 38 miles and goes up 10,000 feet. A new tourist sensation seems to be bike tours in which you ride a bicycle from the top to the bottom. You only have to peddle three or four times since it is mostly downhill. You probably use your pedals mostly for brakes.

Also along the way there are SB scenes looking down at the water. The area was made a park to protect geological features.

There was a second visitor center that overlooks the actual mouth of the volcano. There were clouds moving in from the side by we could see most of the floor of the crater. We took pictures and talked with the ranger. This volcano had been active two hundred years ago but the big eruption was more like 800 years. Evelyn talked with the ranger trying to determine the tallest peak in the United States. They decided it was Mount McKinley in Alaska which was about 20,000 feet. There are always clouds somewhere near the top. Actually we lucked out in this regard. When we got to the point where we could actually look down on the crater it was relatively clear. Fifteen minutes later it was not nearly so clear.

The peak of Haleakala is over 10,000 feet above sea level and the base is 19,000 feet below water. If you think it is hard to catch your breath at the peak, try doing it at the base. The peak is very near Science City. But while you can visit the peak, science city is off limits.

As we were coming down the side it was really clouding up. We lucked out having it as clear as we did.

We went to the town of Wailuku for a last lunch. The town is sort of like San Jose. It just feels that way. We had a hard time finding main street before we realized it was the street we came in on, it just changes its name. The restaurant recommended in Fodors seemed not to be there any more so when we found a Thai restaurant we decided on it. I ordered peanut curry and Evelyn ordered ginger chicken. The food was decent but not as good the Thai food two nights before. Then again they did not try to overchange me. It is funny to have a Thai restaurant that plays Simon and Garfunkle music. But it is better than more Hawaiian. Simon and Garfunkle is probably the best of 1960s and 1970s popular music, in my opinion. Their songs were actual poems that meant something. The Beatles almost never did much for me. And they intentionally fostered a drug culture which wrecked people's lives. Some I knew. I am less than keen on the Beatles, but Simon and Garfinkle were the intellectuals' popular singers.

I got back in the car and put on my hat. I suddenly felt the top of my head stinging. What the heck is that? The button on my hat is held in place by a disk of metal like the head of a thumbtack. It must have been left in the sun. I never had that happen to me in New Jersey. It still hurts now, about a half hour later. One more disadvantage of being bald.

It was an uninteresting inter-island flight to Honolulu International Airport. I will skip the details.

We now have a three-hour-plus layover in Honolulu.

I feel a little like Inger Stevens in the hitchhiker "Twilight Zone" episode. The automatic sinks turn on for everyone else in the restrooms. I put my hands near them and they don't know I am there. At least some of them don't and they do work for other people. I wonder if I am really here.

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05/11/06 Honolulu to New Jersey

These will be my seventh and eighth flights of this trip. Maybe I am just getting tired of flying. Maybe it is that I am feeling under the weather, which I was for a while. It may be that the seats and aisles are so narrow. The seats are 18 inches wide.

It wasn't just me. On both flights multiple people complained about how uncomfortable the plane was. On each plane the occupancy was 100%. On each flight I was across the aisle from Evelyn. One positive aspect. On the first flight the woman next to me was among other things a film fan. When I said I reviewed on the Internet she said she thought she recognized my name. She at least was interesting to talk to.

On the second flight I shared a row with a father and son. The son was maybe eight or ten. He kept having to go to the bathroom. I think he might have been bored and found the restroom interesting. Then he too a long time and I was left standing in the narrow aisle. It was a pain to get up so I waited for his return when I could. Even when I am sitting people walking by keep knocking my elbow or knee. I am currently just past the halfway point of the last leg and I am looking forward to getting back to my life.

During the first leg the film they showed was THE LAST HOLIDAY. I watched the occasional scene without sound. I watched the last five or so minutes with sound. This is a remake of a 1950 film starring Alec Guiness. That was a nice sad comedy. It was a great film. They removed what made that film good and turned it into a feel-good film in which the main character fixes everybody's lives including her own. The new film may be a nice empty-calorie sugar film, but the original was far better.

The most common topic of conversation on the plane seems to be how tight the seats are, a lot like the last flight. The last plane was a 757 and this is an A319.

The kid has had to go to the bathroom four times and his father went with him twice. Usually I end up standing for ten minutes. The most recent time the drinks cart came through so I had to sit down and when they came back I had to get up again and down. His father seemed grateful that I was so uncomplaining. I don't think he spoke more than a few words of English so he just said thank you each time. When the flight was over he thanked me again and shook my hand.

I picked something up that struck during the long flight. I don't know what it was but a mild discomfort that lasted for a day or so. I had stomach discomfort, a minor fever, and chills. I have been off the plane now for 24 hours and am still not over it. For someone who usually sleeps less than six hours I slept a long time. I went to bed at 10 and slept to 6:30 AM. I was still tired and took a nap later in the morning. But this is getting outside the realm of the trip. I guess that is it.

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Well, that is it. I suppose this is not a typical trip to Hawai'i. Hawai'i is a state whose main industry is tourism. Evelyn and I don't surf, don't drink, and don't carouse. We travel to learn. We are interested in the history of conflict in the places we travel. Natural scenery is nice, but it takes a distinct second place to archeology. I would rather see a pyramid than a waterfall. Really spectacular nature would be nice. I wouldn't mind having seen a lava flow. But the history, but the history that interested me about Hawai'i was the discovery and the conflict and that is what we enjoyed the most. Learning the history of religious thought was more interesting than learning the hand motions of the hula.

Hawaii's history is interesting from 1778 for about 100 years and then there is not a lot more that I found really interesting until 1941. We are not the people to make the best use of a vacation in Hawai'i.

I will not end this with a cliche. I refuse to say "aloha."

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