17th June 2000
The alarm was set for 6.30am. *sigh* Up and ready for the "Meet the Contiki Tour Members" the next morning. Got there by 7am, signed a few papers and met some of the people. I was so tired!
After a little while of talking with the others, we were told that we didn't have to be there at 7am, and just had to be in time for the bus at 11am!
Oh, well... at least I'd met my room mate for the tour - Natalie. Another Aussie, but she's from Sydney. (Where the Olympic games are going to be held, the poor girl.)
We headed off on the tour, around Honolulu and saw the Royal Palace, Kamehameha's statue, Pearl Harbour (err... 'Pearl Harbor' as the American's spell it!) and the USS Arizona Memorial (we took the boat trip out to see it.)
The strangest thing happened while on the Memorial. "God Save the Queen" (the music) started playing!
Now why on earth would the British national anthem start playing (it used to be the Australian national anthem - I remember singing it in primary school, every Monday morning assembly!) I wondered?
Turns out that the American people way back when, took the music and changed the words to 'America the Beautiful'. What irony, though! Playing the British national anthem to he visitors of the world, many of whom would recognise it as such, rather than realising that it is, in fact, an American song for the American memorial! It sounds downright British!
o/~ God save our gracous Queen, Long live our noble Queen, God save the Queen; Send her victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us, God save the Queen. o/~
Maybe they should think about changing that music, or start having words to their music when it's another county's national anthem!!
After the trip to the Memorial, we headed out for the other side of the island - the North Shore. On the way I had lunch from Subway. I ordered my regular, but did it taste different! The cheese was orange or white, and... it just didn't taste right. Not the same. And there was no V! I was going cold turkey from my regular drink - the closest I could find, anywhere in either Hawaii or California, was Red Bull. US$3 Red Bull. Not the same at all. Oh, well... V is a green bottle (or can) of energy drink which some people say tastes like medicine (all those B vitimins!) or like apple cider. I needed my hit of V! (Did I mention that it's addictive? And AU$2, which sould be US$1, compared to US$3 Red Bull!)
Anyway, to get back on track, we headed up to Waimea Bay where I lay on the beach when the sun was out and tried to tan (Amazing! It rains in Hawaii! If only for a moment or two before the sun coming out again!) while some of the others went swimming. I was happy on the beach. ^_^
Then we headed on up to Sunset Beach. That was pretty, and no rain there! (Yay!) And I decided to go in. That was cool - the waves were strong, and the beach dropped off suddenly, so it was deep. It was fun trying to body surf into the beach in the waves.
It seems that the sand of Hawaii is composed of little tiny bits of shell that stick to you, wet or dry. Australian sand tends to be a whole lot finer and dusts off. I found Hawaiian sand sticking to me long after leaving the beach! ^_^
That evening, the eleven of us (yes, there were only eleven of us on the tour, plus the tour leader, Dan) headed out to dinner at Duke's, in Waikiki. I had some Hawaiian fish (Mahi Mahi?), and what Hawaiian meal could be complete without cocktails!? Followed by the mother of all ice-cream "pie" for sweets - it was HUGE (though the menu didn't mention that little bit of information!) and fed half of us, with ice-cream to spare!
Natalie and I then went wandering the shops around Waikiki, and the International Market. I did notice at least one rip off merchant - claiming that he sold a unique product that you can't get anywhere else - a guy who puts your name on a grain of rice. Man, they do that in a stall in the city of Melbourne! So much for 'unique'! :p
But on seeing the oysters at one stall, I just HAD to buy one to get a pearl. I buy a pearl this way every year at the Melbourne Show, for the same price (the US-Aus exchange rate sucks!)... so I got one.
"One, two, three... ALOHA!" is cried as the chosen oyster is tapped thrice. And voila - a pretty pearl is found! Mine is a beautiful cream one, which ended up in a pretty 18 karat pendant depicting the maile leaf - three leaves which mean 'aloha' (love), 'ho'ohanohano' (honour) and 'mahalo' (respect) - and a small diamond. The pearl sits in the centre, and it's just beautful. I hummed and hawed over buying the setting (it was sooooooo expensive, even by US dollar standards), but... I pampered myself. ^_^
Then it was off to the hotel for a little sleep, with a very full stomach and a couple of hundred dollars poorer... but I love my pearl necklace.
Here's a list of the images - select the link or the thumbnails (they have been cropped, so the largest images are shown in full) to view them!
|King Kamehameha's Statue - Hawaii's first ruler to unite the islands under one rule, Kamehameha I.|
|The Royal Palace - Iolani Palace was built by King Kalakaua, Hawaii's last king before the US took over.|
|USS Arizona Memorial - The Memorial was built in Pearl Harbour, over the wreckage of the USS Arizona.|
|Oil Slick - the USS Arizona is still leaking oil, even though it was bombed and subsequently sunk in 1941!|
|North Shore Beach - one of the beautiful North Shore beaches, where we spent our afternoon, swimming or trying to get a tan.|
|Natalie and Myself - this is taken at one of the beautiful Hawaiian beaches, where they now film Bay Watch.|
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