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Trip Report Hawaii (finally)

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This is a delayed trip report on Hawaii, delayed because immediately on our return we sold a house and moved across the country. But I am prompted to go ahead having just read the book and seen the film "The Descendants" plus a book entitled "Unfamiliar Fishes" where author Sarah Vowell relates history and U. S. involvment in the Sandwich Islands. In particular she is critical of missionaries imposing their views but also realizes changes were bound to happen with naval exploration and whaling. There is an issue of preserving culture in Hawaii today amidst big changes.

Anyway, our trip was an Road Scholar/Elderhostel program "Tropical Splendor: Exploring the Hawaiian Islands." Emphasis was on geology, volcanoes, history. This was in Spring of 2010, our first time in the Islands. We got to four islands by means of Pride of America cruise ship (only such sailing under the American flag)...and another reason for this report is to affirm the safety and comfort of the cruise ship...safety drill immediately after boarding and settling in. But arriving from the U. S. with old friends we first stayed Hawai'i Prince Hotel for two nights. By the way, we also faxed house sale contract papers!

First stop Bishop Museum built 1890 for a royal residence. We had a first person talk. King Kalakaus made an impression as he traveled around the world. At his death the monarch was overthrown and then came annexation by the U. S. still disputed by some islanders. Journalist Vowell remarks that we should mark 1898 as a time of American imperialism. Next climbing Puowaina Dr. to Punch Bowl to see the Nat'l Memorial Cemetery. Time for a little shopping at Ala Moana and stroll around Waikiki including dining.

Afternoon trip to the other side of Oahu, greener because of rainfall. Went to the Polynesian Cultural Center with various demonstrations of cultures from Tahiti, Tonga, Marquesian etc. and a canoe pageantry. Topped off with a luau in a large open dining area, then an evening show Breath of Life. This is a Mormon project, well done. Bus ride home on the winding roads along coast. We notice of course the multi cultural/racial mix in Hawaii, also many Japanese tourists. Debate whether tourism or military is main industry, agriculture a third.

DW had a birthday and got a shell necklace from program director. Morning lecture on volcanoes responsible for creating the island chain. Checked out of hotel and then a bus to Pearl Harbor and a launch out to the USS Arizona submerged below...movingly somber indeed. Then time to board the cruise ship. As we dined the ship set sail and we passed the skyline of Honolulu.

We were off Maui at sunrise. A beautiful day viewing the blue waves and mountains. Morning class on Hawaiian history from early settlements to later developments.
We were bussed to Iao Valley State Park with guide noting the many plants and trees in the valley with a river running down a ravine. This was the location of a fierce battle with the forces of King Kamehamela overcoming the Maui warriors. Nearby is Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens, a section of the park. Well ready for bed.

Early departure next day for Haleakala National Park to the south. The road was winding going up and up above the clouds to a visitors center at 9740 ft. I took a photo of the unusual sliversword in this barren landscape. This is the site of an active shield volcano. The road continued through the only remaining cane field and then higher through a ranch. At the peak we needed our jackets. Beautiful scenery landscape of black lava fields. Lunch was at Kula Sandalwoods, BBQ pork sandwich & salad. Back on the ship we had a evening show by comedy troupe.
(continued)

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