PrologueWe were married on August 1,1998, and decided to wait several days before embarking on our honeymoon. This worked out nicely, as we didn't have to scramble to pack alongside all other last minute wedding preparations.
We had decided to spend our honeymoon in Hawaii, a romantic tropical destination. I had visited the islands in 1990 with my parents, and my grandmother's cousin Lucille had been living on the North Shore of Oahu since the 1950's, when she moved there from Massachusetts to teach school.
One bit of preparation that paid off was our purchase of a Hawaii discount coupon book.
8/4/98 - ArrivalWe flew to Honolulu via Los Angeles on United Airlines on August 4, 1998. We were given leis upon arrival at the airport.
We hopped into our rental car and drove to Waikiki, listening to a Rush classic album side on the radio. We cruised the Waikiki strip and nearly missed the hotel, as it only had a small sign which was being blocked by a van.
A bellman directed us around the corner to their parking garage. He met us in the garage, because he had seen a rental car like ours overshoot the garage entrance, and ran over to make sure that we had indeed found our way. That was just the beginning of the great service we were to receive at the Aston Waikiki Beachside Hotel.
We checked in, and the bellman showed us to various rooms, in case we wanted to upgrade. We chose a room on the second floor. Although the hotel is across the street from Waikiki beach, there are no other buildings in the way, so we had a nice ocean view. Our second floor balcony also proved to be a great spot for people watching, and Honolulu definitely has some interesting people.
As we were a honeymoon couple, we were entitled to a free bottle of champagne. Having been awake for 23 hours, we asked for a raincheck, which he agreeably accepted. He said all we would need to do was ask for the champagne when we were ready, and it would be delivered. He left, and we went right to sleep.
8/5/98 Pearl Harbor and Visiting Lucille in HaleiwaWe got up at 6 a.m., and grabbed some items from the complimentary continental breakfast buffet in the lobby. We brought the food up to the lanai.
After breakfast, we drove to Pearl Harbor. We had slight trouble finding it (and ended up at the live naval base) but we were courteously directed to the memorial. It is very efficient and you don't have to waste time standing in line. You purchase a ticket with a time on it, and you are free to wander the grounds until your time arrives. The grounds are quite beautiful, and there are plenty of plaques and maps to study. At the appointed time, we were allowed to enter athe movie theater, and watched a short film about the history of Pearl Harbor. It was quite moving. We then boarded a ferry which took us out to the memorial. It was very quiet and solemn. Although it was not a "fun" way to start our honeymoon, we were both glad that we went and paiod our respects.
We then drove up to the North Shore to visit my grandmother's cousin, Lucille. Lou went out to Hawaii over 50 years ago to teach school. She and her dear friend Eileen, also a teacher, had houses next door to one another. When I visited in 1990, they were both living in one house (Lou's) and renting out Eileen's to a South African expat named John. The property is right on the ocean and has amazing views. Lou and Eileen had been offered millions of dollars from hotels and commercial agents who want to develop the land. They were very down to earth, and wanted the land to remain available for everyone to enjoy. So they signed paperwork to will the land to the state of Hawaii for us as a park. A marker on the property has been placed to commemorate Weberg-Goderre Lookout, as a symbol of the love that these two women had for their adopted home.
As a little girl, I was intrigued by Lou's life in exotic Hawaii. When she came back to Massachusetts to visit family, she would always bring gifts (I remember a hula skirt when I was very little). Eileen sent letters with a little caricature of herself with big eyeglasses wearing a muu-muu. Eileen was quite creativem and sent me a children's book which she authored and illustrated.
When my father had a business conference in Honolulu in 1990, we were finally able to visit Lou and meet Eileen for the first time. We had a great time, visiting Waimea Falls and the Polynesian Cultural Center with them.
I was excited to visit again, and to introduce Lou to Craig. Unfortunately, Eileen had passed away several months prior.
On the way to her home in Haleiwa, we stopped at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. You can see pineapples growing on their plants. They look so adorable when they are small. We ate pineapple ice cream, and looked at the Pineapple Maze, though we didn't try our luck at it. There was a sign listing mileage to all major cities. We tried calling Lou from the plantation, and she was home. So we made plans to meet at her house.
We drove the rest of the way to Haleiwa, which, in the autumn months, is teeming with surfers tacking the Pipeline. We got turkey, bacon, and provolone subs from Kau Aina. We ate while watching spear fisherman on the beach.
We then went to Matsumoto's for shave ice and souvenirs. Shave ice is like a gourmet snow cone. The ice is finely shaved, and is not gravelly at all. I had enjoyed Matsumoto's shave ice 8 years earlier on my first trip to Hawaii, and I told Craig that he had to experience it. Matsumoto's is a family business that was established in 1951. There was a line that stretched to the back of the store. When you entered the line, they asked you two things...what size and whether you wanted ice cream or azuki beans at the bottom of the shave ice (we opted for neither). There are signs all around telling you that those are the only questions to answer at first...do not tell them a flavor at that time. It seems rather like the "Soup Nazi" on Seinfeld, but actually they worked like a well-oiled machine. When we got to the front of the line, they asked what flavor you wanted, and they put the syrup onto the shave ice. I opted for rainbow, a mix of strawberry, lemon, and raspberry. We then took the shave ice outside and ate it on the grounds of Matsumoto's.
Then it was off to Lucille's. Though I had been there once before, it was a bit confusing. She lives in a small town, but on a highway that circles the island. The house numbers are high and it's hard at times to tell which direction the numbers go. Finally I spotted the familiar Japanese style home. Lou greeted us warmly. She is a very cheerful, positive person with a great sense of humor. Unfortunately, we could tell that poor health and Eileen's passing were weighing heavily on her.
Her house has such amazing views of the ocean from its screened in porch. The house has interior walls made of rice paper. It is very airy and takes full advantage of the tropical breezes.
Lou took us next door to see her neighbor John, the tenant in Eileen's former house. The property is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Stores literally sell postcards of the gazebo in this yard. The gazebo overlooks the impossibly blue ocean. While looking out at the water, we saw several dolphins. It was quite hot and Lou went for a swim in the pool. We dunked our feet and played with John's dog Spotsy.
I am so glad that we had the opportunity to visit Lou. It would be the last time we saw her; she passed away in 2002. Her ashes were scattered in Waimea Bay, and she lives on through the generous land donation that she and Eileen gave to the state.
On our way back to Honolulu, we stopped at a small record store (of course!) Then we swam at sunset on Waikiki (probably not the best thing to do what with sharks and all, but the view was gorgeous and we hadn't had a chance to swim all day. Although we didn't know it at the time, this would become a tradition for the trip. It seems we would always be back at the hotel from our day's activities just in time to catch the sunset, even without trying.
We walked down the strip to Cheeseburger in Paradise for dinner. We had amazing cajun chicken sandwiches and onion rings, and listened to some live music. After that we went shopping on the strip and then returned to the hotel.
At the desk we inquired about our champagne. Our favorite bellman, without even asking for our name or room number, said that it would be right up. It arrived several minutes later. We drank it on the lanai, while watching the people on the street below. It was an interesting show, with tourists, prostitutes, and every other imaginable walk of life.
8/6/98 - Hanauma Bay and Diamond HeadWe awoke at 6 a.m. and again ate the continental breakfast on our lanai. We then went to Hanauma Bay. The weather was a bit overcast and there were several showers. But the bay was beautiful. It contains a coral reef that is the home for many tropical fish, and you can easily see the fish even wading in the water.
Then we began our drive up the Eastern Coast. We stopped at the Blow Hole for some photos. We ate lunch at the Rainbow Bar-B-Q (teriyaki beef, rice, pasta salad, broccoli, and ice cream).
We then drove to Diamond Head and hiked to the summit. It was very hot and dry, and we were glad that we had brought water with us. The hike is very exposed to the sun, and there are many steps.
Then we went back to the hotel and watched the beautiful sunset while swimming at Waikiki. We then returned to Cheeseburger in Paradise for burgers, fries, and drinks. We walked to the shops and embarked on our mission to find Steve H. the tackiest Hawaiian shirt in existence. We found a small marketplace which had lightbulbs hanging from the trees. We entered and had drinks and listened to the band at Coconut Willy's. We then went back to the room and had snacks and drinks on the lanai.
Arrival in Honolulu
U.S.S. Arizona Memorial
Dole Pineapple Plantation
Matsumoto's Shave Ice
Lucille, Craig, Stephanie, and Spotsy
View of Waikiki from Diamond Head