Part IV: Waimea Falls and Pearl Harbor, with a shot of me at lunch and a panoramic view thrown in for good measure.
The trouble with tourist traps is that the people flock there for a reason. I’m always like, do I want to be one among the hundreds? Of course it depends on the attraction, and in the case of Waimea Falls and Pearl Harbor, I’m glad I went. I may not have been as moved as I was at the top of Tantalus Road, where my husband & I were alone with our quiet conversation and the view, but I am recommending these sites regardless.
I. Waimea Falls
When I asked the Real Learning ladies where to go on Oahu, lovely Elizabeth responded, “Two words: Waimea Falls.”
She was right, as always. (Elizabeth is not one to steer us wrong, ever.)
In Hawaiian, Waimea Falls means “trickling water.” Aren’t those Hawaiians funny? The Falls are only part of a beautiful, hike-ish walk through Waimea Valley, which is now run by the National Audubon Society and which means that, among other things, there are nifty little labels in Latin on much on the plant life as well as an over-priced but very fun gift shop.
Here are the Falls.
Here is me, poking at some bamboo.
Here is a funky plant and its fruit, which I think are apple bananas. I tried some of those in Hawaii; they are very sweet and yummy.
A big attraction for all the pasty-white tourists is to swim in the pond and experience the Falls firsthand. I opted not to join the gang, and instead documented the pasty-white love of my life on his journey.
Step 1: enter the pond and shriek, “Brr!” I was told by a lady just emerging that the water temperature was like Lake Superior in July. I’ve been in Lake Superior in July. It’s cold.
Step 2: paddle like a puppy ’til you get there.
Woops. I beg your pardon. I have just been informed by my husband that he did not do the dog paddle to get there, thank you very much. Alright. Scratch the “paddle like a puppy” line.
Step 2: swim like a manly man ’til you arrive.
Step 3: catch your breath while your wife snaps countless photos. I’m only posting one, of course.
All in all, we spent a very nice afternoon at Waimea Valley. Then, when we got back to our vehicle, we found this guy showing off. I regretted that he didn’t pick a more picturesque place to fan his feathers and probably should have photo-shopped out the car & the van before posting this. It was pretty cool, though.
Here’s a photo of me and my boss, Tom Bengston. He is the managing editor of the Couple to Couple League’s magazine Family Foundations (for which I write) and just happened to be in town on business at the same time that we were.
The conversation and the people-watching were great; the food, not as. I had a hamburger. It was dry.
I didn’t know how I would react to Pearl Harbor. My father fought in World War II (the Pacific Theatre) and saw a lot of combat. For that reason, I have strong emotional ties to this period in history.
I wept throughout Saving Private Ryan and during a visit to the D-Day Museum in New Orleans, where I went so far as to approach a museum volunteer wearing an “I served in WWII” badge and–to my husband’s embarassment and the volunteer’s– sobbed out the words, “Thank you for what you did!”
At the Arizona Memorial, though, I felt…well, I felt distracted and a bit detached. I think it was the countless people that were there that day. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts and I wasn’t.
It is a very stirring and beautiful memorial, nonetheless.
To end this post on a breath-taking and happy note, this view was by far one of the highlights of our vacation! Tantalus Road is 10 miles long and winding. It’s a slow-going trip but oh-so-worth-it when at long last you step out of the car and see all of Honolulu spread out before you. In one word, it was: Wow.
The next post in this series, Eternal Truths & Lasting Beauty, will be the last one.
Ambitious title, eh? Well, what can I say. Hawaii’s inspiring.
And you’re thinking, Obviously. It’s taking you how long (and how many posts) to process the experience? : )
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