So, Hawaii! Although I have travelled a lot this is pretty much my first "tropical island" trip and I was a little dissapointed the first few days because the weather sucked! It was overcast and raining everyday and a lot of my pictures definitely look a little gloomy!
We are staying on Hickam AFB which is next to Pearl Harbor and was also attacked on 7 December 1941. When we arrived and in-processed we were able to go into the PACAF HQ bulding and see the original bullet holes and the memorial inside. At the time the building was used as a barracks for over 3,000 soldiers and it was heavily strafed during the attacks. The first day we had some free time several of us headed next door to see the Pearl Harbor museum and check out the USS Airzona memorial.
Entrance to the USS Arizona Memorial.
The museum is cool because it gives a great chronology of the events leading up to the attack on both the US and Japanese sides. The attack itself was a surprise, but the idea that Japan was going to attack was not. The museum goes through the entirety of the events of the attack and the aftermath. The Hawaiin islands were placed uner martial law and some of the events there were just crazy to learn about! Kids had to carry gasmasks on their way to and from school, the beautiful beaches were lined with barbed wire and obstacles, and everyone lived in constant fear of an attack!
Kids wearing gasmasks!
The USS Missouri where the Japanese formally surrendered.
One of the parts of the Arizona that is usually visible.
After checking out the museum you get to go into a theater and watch a short documentary film about the events leading to the attack and the attack itself. For a government produced film it is actually pretty good! After that we headed out to the Arizona memorial where the ship is still sitting in the harbor. The first thing that struck me was the smell of diesel. The Arizona continues to leak diesel fuel and will do so for decades to come. The videos and pictures of the attack show the Arizona burning with huge, billowing black clouds of smoke coming from the ship. Smelling that diesel immediately made me think of the vehicles I'd smelled burning in Iraq and how intense the smell in the harbor must have been on that day.
Diesel leaking from the ship.
The memorial at the Airzona was a moving sight also; seeing that wall with over a 1,000 names on it is pretty humbling. One of the coolest things at the memorial was the list of surviving sailors who were interred with the ship after they passed away later in life. One of the more suprising things about Pearl Harbor is how many Japanese tourists go there. I would really like to hear from some of them what they think about it all...
I spent a lot of my time off downtown in Waikiki too. The biggest surprise I had down there was how Hawaii is full of homeless people and extremely aggressive prostitutes. The hookers will literally walk around the police and look for customers. The cops said they can't do anything unless they see money changing hands so they pretty much leave them alone. I think that shit is crazy!
We had a little more time off the one day and I drug three coworkers with me to go see Moana Falls, a 150 foot waterfall back a 1 mile jungle trail. It was a pretty easy hike but it started raining heavily about halfway in and we ended up getting completely drenched. We stopped just long enough for a photo before heading back to the truck!
Moana Falls - definitely couldn't fit all 150 ft in the photo!
I'll be sure to post again soon now that I have some time. I have some great photos from climbing Diamond Head Crater and snorkeling in Shark's Cove. I have a little more time off next week and then next weekend I'll be heading home. All in all I can't really complain about this trip to Hawaii!