Friday, March 13, 2015

Honolulu Happenings

Honolulu and Diamond Head
Visiting the city of Honolulu means you’re very close to Waikīkī, Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head. This is the largest city in the Hawaiian Islands and the location of the seat of government for the state. For many people, Honolulu is best known for Pearl Harbor and the Japanese attack of December 7, 1941 that brought the United States into World War II. The Japanese saw this strike as a preventive measure to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet out of Southeast Asia where the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States had territories. Immediately following the attack, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended and Hawai’i was placed under martial law. Blackouts, confiscation of land, censorship, intelligence reports on locals, restrictions on use of US paper money and movement of Japanese-Americans to internment camps occurred. The writ of habeas corpus was not restored until 1944 and it took a presidential edict to accomplish its reestablishment.

The USS Arizona Memorial is located at Pearl Harbor and is one of the most solemn of our National Historic Landmarks. The memorial marks the resting place of 1,102 sailors and
L to R: USS Arizona, Crossroads of the Pacific
marines killed on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor and relates other events of that day. Although it is free to enter, you have to get a ticket for the boat ride over to the memorial, and it may take all day for your tour to be available; once you can get your ticket, you are free to leave the site and return for your tour.  While in the visitor’s center waiting for our turn in the memorial, we watched a film, read the historical markers and wandered through the gift shop. Although the day was warm, once we were out on the memorial, it was hot and we were glad we’d brought water. From the memorial you can see the oil that is still leaking from the sunken battleship. The last time Vince was in Honolulu, Pearl Harbor was in the clean-up stages after the attack, so he spent some time reading the list of sailors who were still aboard the USS Arizona. From the memorial you get a nice view of Diamond Head and Punchbowl Crater.

There are several extinct volcanoes around Honolulu, but no trip is complete without a visit
L to R: Puncbowl Memorial, Punchbowl Grounds
to one of my favorites. The Punchbowl Crater (546 ft, 166 m) is an extinct volcanic tuff cone that provides a stunning view of Diamond Head and Honolulu. Somewhere among the houses that sit just below the rim is where one of my favorite detectives was supposed to have lived. Charlie Chan, and his rather large family, populated this area in the 1920s. Created by Earl Derr Biggers, Chan is based on Honolulu detective Chang Apana. Although a detective for the Honolulu police, Charlie Chan travels the world solving mysteries and preventing crimes. In Hawaiian, the Punchbowl's name is ‘Puowaina’, which is most commonly translated as ‘Hill of Sacrifice’. First known as an altar for human sacrifices, Kamehameha the Great used it as a location for ceremonial cannons; but near the end of the 1940s it became the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. At the top of the cemetery there is a memorial to troops who fought in the Pacific in World War II. The walls within this area have detailed maps of the battles, the paths taken by each branch of the service (US as well as foreign), and dates of the battles. These murals are excellent examples of military art and well worth a look whether you’re into history or not. As you walk down from the memorial, walls list those who have died in Korea and Viet Nam and are buried here.

Not too far from the Punchbowl is the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. I had planned to spend a couple of hours out of the rain immersed instead in Hawaiian art, however that’s not
L to R Clockwise: Paper Art, Bishop Museum,
Feather Cloak, Erupting Volcano
what happened. The museum was originally designed to house family heirlooms from Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop (1831-1884), the last legal heir of the Kamehameha Dynasty. However, once it was constructed the museum gradually became a place for all sorts of cultural and historic artifacts. Currently it houses the world's largest collection of Polynesian cultural artifacts and natural history specimens, the third largest collection of insects in the US, and 50,000 works that focus on the anthropology, music, botany, entomology, and zoology of Hawai'i and the Pacific. The library collection also includes personal papers and diaries from Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop and Queen Liliʻuokalani. While I really liked the artifacts and timelines that showed the development of Hawai’i, the cape of feathers worn by Kamehameha I was spectacular. Vince liked the complete sperm-whale skeleton with papier-mâché body suspended above the central gallery. Dave liked the Pākī Hall, location of the Hawaiʻi Sports Hall of Fame. I was also enamored of the koa wood display cases in the Hawaiian Hall that I later found were worth more than the original Bishop Museum buildings. In addition to the main building there is a hands-on science space in the Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center; we spent quite a bit of time playing in the volcano. The Castle Memorial Building was just setting up one of the traveling exhibits, Dinosaurs Unleashed, but upstairs were more exhibits that showed the impact of Asian culture on Polynesian culture. The Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium, the oldest planetarium in Polynesia, is also on the grounds but we chose to skip the show.  Needless to say, the two hours I thought we’d spend turned into an all-day adventure.

Once the rains stopped, we went looking for famous statues. If you’ve ever watched Hawai’i
King Kamehameha
(1968 – 1980, or 2010 – Present), then you’ve seen the statue of King Kamehameha in front of Aliʻiolani Hale.  King Kamehameha the Great and his descendants ruled the kingdom of Hawai’i from 1810 until 1872. King Kamehameha V, the last of the line, chose not to name an heir; this resulted in the election of Lunalilo, who was called ‘the People's King’. Subsequently the islands came under US governance. The statue of King Kamehameha was to commemorate the 100-year arrival of Captain Cook to the Hawaiian Islands in 1878. This project originally included native Hawaiians but the person in charge disregarded their input and hired a Boston sculptor living in Florence, Italy. The sculpture gave Kamehameha a Roman nose and European features along with the stance of a Roman general including a spear and flowing cape. The only item that is typically Hawaiian is the sash on the statue's waist; it is symbolic of the Sacred Sash of Liloa. The original statue was lost during a shipwreck, but a second was cast from the same mold and it made it to O’ahu. This second statue is the one in front of Aliʻiolani Hale. The original statue was eventually found and is in Kapaʻau in Kohala on the island of Hawai’i. A third statue is in Emancipation Hall in the US Capitol's visitor center.

On our way out to Diamond Head we spotted an art festival in Sans Souci State Park. Once we whipped around to find a parking place, we also spotted a statue I was anxious to see,
Queen Kapi'olani
that of Queen Kapiʻolani. Much like the Royals around the world, Hawaiian Royalty followed political mores when marrying.  Kapiʻolani Napelakapuokakaʻe (1834–1899) was the daughter of High Chief Kuhio Kalanianaʻole of Hilo and High Chiefess Kinoiki Kekaulike of Kauaʻi. Kapiʻolani is translated as ‘Rainbow of Heaven’. Upon her marriage to High Chief Bennett Nāmākēhā, she became the aunt to Queen Emma, thus making Kapiʻolani a lady-in-waiting. After the death of her first husband, she then married King Kalākaua, making her Queen Kapiʻolani of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. As a representative of the Kingdom, Queen Kapiʻolani traveled to London to attend Queen Victoria's 50th Jubilee celebration. Although her English was quite good, Queen Kapiʻolani refused to speak anything but Hawaiian out of respect (or stubbornness) for her home. Though she traveled extensively, Queen Kapiʻolani was concerned for her subjects. She established the Kapiʻolani Maternity Home for Hawaiian mothers and their newborns; it is now the Kapiʻolani Medical Center.

As with the statue of Queen Kapiʻolani, we found another statue of a Royal while wandering
Princess Ka'iulani
around looking for something else, entirely. Victoria Kaʻiulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawekiu i Lunalilo Cleghorn (1875–1899) was descended from High Chief Kepoʻokalani, the first cousin of Kamehameha the Great; she was also the niece of King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani. Her father was last Royal Governor of Oʻahu, Archibald Scott Cleghorn. Her name comes from ka ʻiu lani, which means ‘the highest point of heaven’. Evidently Princess Kaʻiulani was much loved by her people; they honored her through mele, oli and hula from the time she was born. The Princess grew up playing with a flock of peacocks; so well did she enjoy their company that she became known as the ‘Peacock Princess’. As with other Royals, her marriage was arranged. In 1881, King Kalākaua wanted her to wed Japan's Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito thereby creating an alliance between Japan and the Kingdom of Hawaii. However, the Prince was already engaged. A bit later, Queen Liliʻuokalani gave her the choice of three Hawaiian Princes. Kaʻiulani chose Prince David Kawānanakoa.  One of her tasks was to represent Hawai’i abroad. She and her aunt were against the annexation of Hawai’i by the US; stating their case for independence to President Grover Cleveland made no difference. Thus, during the Annexation ceremony, the Princess, the Queen and heads of every Hawaiian political party wore funeral attire. At the age of 23, after an illness caused by exposure to inclement weather, Princess Kaʻiulani died.

Although this time we didn’t spend any time sitting on the beach or doing any scuba diving, we did take a stroll through the sands of Waikiki looking for Duke. While not royalty, Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (August 24, 1890 – January 22, 1968) is well
Duke Kahananamoku
known as an actor, lawman, early beach volleyball player and five-time Olympic medalist in swimming. He also brought the sport of surfing to popularity. It is still argued as to whether he was born on Maui or O’ahu, but Duke said that he was born at the home of Bernice Pauahi Bishop in Honolulu. When young, Duke preferred surf boards made from the wood. His was 16 feet (4.9 m) long, weighed 114 pounds (52 kg) and had no skeg (keel). Later in life he often used smaller boards but preferred those made of wood. It was by using a surfboard that Duke rescued eight sailors from a fishing boat that capsized off of Newport Beach in California. Duke Kahanamoku was the first person to be inducted into both the Swimming and Surfing Halls of Fame. Walking along Waikiki beach from the Moana Hotel, we found the bronze statue that honors Duke’s memory. He is standing in front of his surfboard with his arms outstretched; on each arm were several leis put there by his fans.

Looking for reviews of the hotel, restaurants, car rental and activities? These will be in the March 20th blog! 

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