TBT: Aloha from Honolulu

18:03 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

When I was writing about my trip to South Africa and being a solo tourist, I was trying to think back to trips I had taken alone. And the more I thought about it, I realised how lucky I have been to nearly always have a travel companion to keep me company and share in the experience.

The only other time I could remember sight seeing on my own was another work related trip (trust me, they aren't always this glamorous!) to Honolulu. I had meetings on Monday & Tuesday, and while I wasn't smart enough to take a vacation day, or take my husband with me, I was at least smart enough to schedule my flight out on Saturday. This left me one full day of sightseeing, plus whatever I could squeeze in after work.

So, with only one day, I decided the best way to see it all was by helicopter tour of the island. Perk of being a solo traveler? I got the best seat in the house next to the captain! The downside of the flight was that there was quite a bit of VOG (volcanic smog) in the area at the time, so the views weren't as breathtaking as they would usually be.

We flew over everything - Pearl Harbour, Dole Plantation, North Shore, and my favourite, Kualoa Ranch. This ranch is famous for being the film location of Jurassic Park and Lost. Despite these, it would still be at the top of my list of things to see in Oahu because of the breathtaking scenery.  The island isn't all that large, so after about an hour, our tour was over.

North Shore
Kualoa Ranch


















This left me with the perfect afternoon on the beach, soaking up some much needed winter sun, before heading back to meet up with my co-worker for dinner.

 
On Tuesday, after my meetings, I had a few hours to kill (and a car), so on the way to the airport, we stopped at one of the most iconic monuments in Oahu - Pearl Harbour. To start of the trip, you get the opportunity to watch a video talking about the day of the bombing and giving more information on the war overall. While I of course had known about the events of the day, it seemed to have a different perspective when you're there, hearing all about it.

The memorial is in the middle of the water, where the USS Arizona sank, so you have to take a boat to get out there. The memorial is built just over the water, so you can see the remains of the ship lying beneath you. It is eery to see parts sticking up everywhere, and oil sitting on top of the water. It almost makes it seem as if it had just happened yesterday.


They also have a huge memorial to those who died, taking up an entire wall of the memorial. While I don't have any personal ties to this, I can imagine this being an important part of a pilgrimmage to honour a fallen family member or friend.


The whole thing was a bit surreal - you're on a gorgeous island, surrounded my beautiful water and the sun shining, yet I guess that's the point of a memorial. Life goes on, but because of this place, we can never quite forget what happened so many years ago.

And with that, I was on my way to the airport and back to Dallas. While Paul and I haven't made it there together yet, I know it will be top of our bucket list once we are back in the US.

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