I’ve never been a history buff. The information just doesn’t stick with me. I have a general idea of where things happened in the world, but that’s about it. That is, until I visit those places and see it firsthand.
On our last day in Honolulu, we got up early so we would have time to visit Pearl Harbor before catching a flight to Kauai for the second part of our trip. It was about a 45 minute bus ride…a typical tourist bus, but necessary nonetheless. Once we arrived at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, we had the opportunity to visit several museums and were presented with a 20 minute video recapping the series of events that led to Pearl Harbor. I learned more in those 20 minutes than I could have ever remembered by reading a book or taking a class. Maybe it was because just outside the theatre, in the waters surrounding us, there were thousands of men who had died in a matter of minutes. December 7. The start of the US involvement in the war. Brothers and fathers, all losing their lives together. These are the things that stand out in my mind, and that I didn’t know until I had visited Pearl Harbor.
We took a ferry through the waters, but were, unfortunately, unable to stop over the USS Arizona, which is where the famous white bridge is located. It was too windy that day. And while this was an experience, what I remember the most from visiting Pearl Harbor is the 90+ year old man, a survivor of Pearl Harbor. He was seated behind a table, signing books for visitors. He would stand up for every tourist so that everyone could get a picture with him. I knew this had to be exhausting for him, but he didn’t stop smiling. And it wasn’t one of those forced smiles, he was really smiling. Nicole and I came around and he joked that he didn’t want to let us go. He was an ornery man, that was for sure, and in a few short seconds, I imagined his life with the all the struggles and triumphs. I’m sure he has an amazing story.
Later that afternoon, we waited patiently at the airport for our 28 minute flight to Kauai. Kauai was much different. Much more desolate. Much more like the postcards of Hawaii. We had a lot planned for the next four days, first being scuba diving for Tony and me. The next morning, I was, again, scared to jump in the waters and secretly hoped it would start raining so we couldn’t go. But it was sunnier than anyone could ever imagine. We were in the car, just backing out of our parking space, when I got a call. It was too windy to dive. There were nine foot swells. And so, with a sigh of relief, we rescheduled for the next day. As soon as I saw Tony’s face though, guilt swept over me. He was so, so excited to go diving again, and I knew I had to fight my fears and do it with him. So I hoped for good weather the next day.
But now we found ourselves with nothing to do. I had been wanting to do a kayak or canoe tour since we booked our flights to Hawaii. But, you see, neither Nicole nor Tony are very outdoorsy people. I looked up a few places and prices and asked nicely if they would be interested. Tony laid on the couch, not a peep coming from him. Nicole glanced at me from the kitchen but didn’t say anything either. Finally, I just told them, “Ok, we’re doing it. Get ready. We’re leaving in 20 minutes.”
And so we went and had a great time, or at least I did. After about 45 minutes, and getting lost on the river, I had blisters on my hands and decided to call it quits. It was a good, albeit short, tour and I’m very glad I got to do it. Thanks for playing along Nicole and Tony 🙂
The next morning we were up before the chickens. (There’s a large population of wild chickens on Kauai. They have no natural predators, so they roam wild. It’s also against the law to kill them.) We had a busy day – we were taking an ATV tour in the morning and scuba diving in the afternoon.
After we arrived at the ATV tour start location, we were given instructions and a safety briefing. Tony and I were planning on taking turns driving, but as soon as I hopped into the driver’s seat, I realized that I couldn’t reach the pedals. Tony was nervous, but there was no choice for him to take the responsibility of driving the entire time. We drove around the island of Kauai for three hours, stopping five times at various viewpoints. My favorite was the Tarzan rope, where the actual Tarzan movie was filmed. Our group had the option of grabbing hold and jumping into the murky river. We opted to stay dry (mostly because none of us thought we were strong enough to hold ourselves up). Our tour ended with a drive through the forest. It reminded me of the trails in the woods I used to play in when I was a little girl. Weird how something on the other side of the world can bring back those childhood memories. Kauai was treating us well. And I couldn’t wait for the next adventure.