Thursday, February 24, 2011

Aloha from Waikiki

America's fiftieth state is comprised of many islands. Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, is located on the Island of Oahu, the third largest of all the islands. Only 600 square miles, Oahu is home to about one million people. The cultural heritage is rich, but sadly there are only 4,000 full blooded native Hawaiians here. By the year 2030, it is predicted that there will be none left. This is truly a multicultural paradise. As I wandered around in the 80 degree sunshine with flowers in full bloom, I lost count of how many different cultures I encountered. One thing I did notice is that there is a strong Japanese influence here. Many signs and menus are written in both English and Japanese.

My hotel is right on Waikiki Beach, just a few steps from the Pacific Ocean. As I walked along the shore, I kept wondering what this place must have been like 150 years ago when it was still in the hands of the native peoples. Of course there would have been no high rise buildings and no hotels. If Hawaii interests you, it is worth reading about its rich history.

From the beach behind my hotel, I saw this mountain as I looked to the left. If you look closely you can see quite many swimmers enjoying the warm weather and the salt water.
I went out on the beach several times today and no matter when I went for a stroll, the beach was filled with tourists like me enjoying the sun and surf.

Because of the warm weather, a lot of restaurants have outdoor seating.
I saw many tropical plants today and interesting flowers, but didn't take many pictures of them. I'll do that another day before I leave this tropical paradise.
Hawaii is known for its waves, though I didn't see too many today. That didn't stop the surfers who were out in droves hoping for a wave to catch. Surfing looks a lot easier than it is. I know because when I was a teenager, I tried to learn how. It takes more athletic prowess than I possess, and you must have good balance.
I took this picture because you can see a native double-hulled outrigger canoe in the background. This type of vessel was developed her in Hawaii, and many efforts are being made to ensure this tradition does not die out.
I couldn't visit Hawaii without having a traditional Hawaiian dinner. This is seafood lau lau, which is shrimp, scallops, salmon and spinach wrapped in a Luau leaf. Behind that are mashed potatoes with carrots, zucchini, and squash.
Here's another traditional meal. I noticed that quite a few of the native dishes are topped with a fried egg. This dish is called loco moco and is mahi mahi and opakapaka in lobster cream sauce.
When I passed the Subway Restaurant I knew I had to take a picture of the large menu posted outside. It is in Japanese, a common site here in Honolulu.

Honolulu is five hours earlier than Virginia meaning that when it is noon here, it is already 5:00 p.m. in the Commonwealth. Because of that, I am still a bit jet lagged, which is why I spent most of today just walking around seeing the sites within a mile of my hotel and also visiting the beach. Tomorrow my adventures begin. I'll take a full island tour. Then on Saturday I will visit the Polynesian Cultural Center and on Sunday I'll tour Pearl Harbor and visit the World War II memorials.


Dani said...

Congratulations on traveling to all 50 states! This is a future goal of mine, too. Have a great trip!

Rach said...

It looks wonderful, Mom. :o) I'm insanely (INSANELY) jealous! ;o)

joy said...

MAYBE, I have been to 25 states--I sure do have a long way to go to catch up to you!

I LOVE sharing your adventures!!!!