Travel

They Come in Three's,  Part 2

 ... Melrose couple does Maui, Kauai and Oahu

by James & Barbara Tierney

Maui was our next stop, named after a demigod called "Maui the Trickster". Legend has it that "Maui" created all the Hawaiian Islands, dragging them up from the bottom of the sea with a magic fishhook. The missionaries from Boston helped establish religious freedom under King Kamihameha III.

Maui is the home of Haleakala which means House of the Sun, the worlds largest dormant volcano, last erupting in 1790. We took a bus tour around Maui, close to the shore, sighting whales, observing spectacular views of the ocean, and Maui's unique red tinted soil. Stops along the way included the beautiful Iao Valley National Park and its impressive collection of plants and trees with dramatic overlooks of the famous Needle, the valley, and beyond. We visited the Maui Tropical Plantation and had a narrated tour of its agricultural villages, sugar cane fields, macadamia nut orchards, and exotic flower garden.

Before boarding the tender back to the ship, we marveled at the wonder of the famous Lahaina Banyan tree which spreads over an entire park. That afternoon, we watched the Super Bowl in a ship lounge dedicated to the game, with a big screen, Rams colors on one side and Patriots colors on the other side in leis and streamers, and a buffet of hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks, etc. An exciting happy ending, and it was extra special because Ram fans outnumbered us Patriot fans by a wide margin.


IAO Valley National Park

Kauai, the Garden Isle, is the oldest of the islands, formed 5 million years ago and is 2315 miles southwest of San Francisco. It is generally known to be the most hauntingly beautiful of all the islands. The only island not invaded and conquered by King Kamehameha, it joined the kingdom of Hawaii by agreement, not war, in 1810. Kauai's main attractions are the breathtaking scenery. Waimea Canyon, named the grand canyon of the Pacific, has the waterfalls featured in the TV show Fantasy Island, the Fern Grotto was a site in Elvis movie Blue Lagoon, and the Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed at the Waimea Grotto. South Pacific, Jurassic Park, and the TV series The Thorn Birds were also filmed in Kauai.

In Kauai, we went on the Romantic Tropical Garden and Luau Celebration Tour strolling through a lush 30-acre botanical and cultural garden, with meandering tropical pathways and recreated ethic villages. We enjoyed the quiet serene atmosphere by the lagoon, observing exotic peacocks and other island birds in the sanctuary, tropical fruits, e.g. bananas, breadfruit, starfruit, jackfruit, etc., and listened to the sounds and smelled the fragrances of nature all around us.

Ceremony of the roasted pig

We witnessed the IMU ceremony, unearthing the Kalua pig cooked on hot lava rocks in the IMU pit. Before long, we were feasting on tasty Hawaii delicacies, including the infamous Poi (which no one likes), while Polynesian songs and dances from the South Pacific entertained us. We participated in a special ceremony, each of us presented an orchid lei, renewing vows or rededicating commitment and love for each other, to the Hawaiian Wedding Song, as a maiden danced the hula, interpreting the words through the message of her lovely hula hands. Each couple sealed their love with a romantic kiss, exchanging leis, followed by a toast of congratulations from everyone. A special souvenir certificate was presented to each couple, commemorating the event.



Waikiki Beach
The nine-day cruise ended in Honolulu where we went ashore, boarded a bus  for a Pearl Harbor and city tour, and checked into the impressive Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort for a three-night stay.

Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, is on the island of Oahu, the most visited of all the islands and home to three-quarters of all of Hawaii's population. Unlike the Big Island of Hawaii, Oahu's volcanoes are dormant. Kings and Queens ruled from Iolani Palace, here in Hololulu, the only palace in the U.S. Jack Lord (McGarrett) had his Hawaii Five-O office here. Of course, Waikiki Beach, the most famous beach in the world, is here, along with a many, many hotels, restaurants, clubs, and shops, in the Waikiki area. Although you can shop until you drop, the landmark place seems to be Hilo Hatties where everyone gravitates sooner or later.


Arizona Memmorial
As was the case when we were here five years ago, visiting Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial was a moving and emotional experience. It is very sad reviewing and recalling what occurred here 12/7/41 and the ultimate impact it had on the world. We are so much indebted to those who died here so that we can live free today. The Battleship Missouri (Big Mo), the site of the signing of the Japanese surrender treaty, is permanently berthed next to the Arizona.

We took a sunset cruise along Waikiki's historic coastline on the world's largest catamaran, watching the sun slip into the west and Honolulu transform itself for the evening. We enjoyed a dinner buffet and watched a thrilling Polynesian show, which captured the beauty and tradition of the islands, and it included audience participation, learning the hula. We planned to see Don Ho who is still going strong at the Beachcomber but he wasn't performing that night, so we took in the Society of Seven, Waikiki's hottest show, which provided a dinner buffet and a spectacular night of entertainment, with classic impersonations, comedy acts, and Broadway show tunes.

The Bishop Museum is located in our hotel so we had the opportunity to visit and learn the heartwarming story of Hawaii's people from ancient to contemporary times. Authentic and priceless artifacts from the museum's extensive cultural collection are displayed in a stunning exhibit. The museum was founded by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct decendent of the royal Kamehameha family.

We happened to be in Honolulu during ProBowl week and got caught up in all the hype associated with it. Although we didn't see any New England Patriots, we did see Kurt Warner of the Rams and several other members of the teams, participating in a Pro-Bowling Match on the beach of our hotel. Hawaii has so much to see and do and learn about but so little time. Their customs include a 12 letter alphabet, the five vowels, AEIOU, and seven consonants, HKLMNPW. The word ALOHA has several meanings like, hello, greetings, welcome, love, goodbye, till we meet again, etc. Perhaps Hawaii should have been our first state, rather than last so that we could be communicating without an excess number of words, like this report of our trip.


ALOHA!


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