Everything’s Aloha!

Originally published on 10 May 2015.

Happy anniversary to us! Our first anniversary fell on Saturday, May 2. Our second first anniversary fell on Sunday, May 3. Yes, we had two weddings. It was complicated. But I got to marry my best friend twice in a row!

We woke up early again and enjoyed a slow-paced seaside morning. My first milestone goal after my second foot surgery was to run one mile by our anniversary. And on our anniversary, I ran two miles! Steve stayed with me the whole time, no matter how slow I had to go! Even when I ran before surgery, Steve and I seldom ran together. When we did, he would go with me the first mile, then I’d set him loose and he’d go as fast as usual. It was so fun having him with me the whole time! The scenery was a motivator as well. How could I not want to keep going with the sea breeze keeping me cool, my encouraging husband by my side, and one of the most famous ocean views stretching for miles? It was exhilarating!

We stopped for coffee and a quick breakfast at the Starbucks across from our hotel (I know, not my usual “no chain restaurants” travel strategy, but it was quick and convenient), showered, and started walking into downtown Honolulu! It’s about a three-mile walk one way, but that’s what we wanted to do! Steve told me just a few days after my first surgery in September that he wanted to know when we could take long walks again. Well, the answer was seven and a half months!

Our precise destination was the I’olani Palace! It is the only former royal residence that also served as a state capitol! We really learned a lot about Hawaiian history throughout the course of our trip. Polynesians are people from French Polynesia (Tahiti), Easter Island, Samoa, the Hawaiian Islands (previously also known as the Sandwich Islands), and various other island nations. King Kamehameha I, from the Big Island of Hawaii, is credited with unifying the Hawaiian Islands in 1795. He was pretty tough stuff! He attacked and conquered the main islands from the Big Island to O’ahu. When he reached O’ahu, he pushed the local fighters back to a cliff in the middle of the island, the Nu’uanu Pali (“Pali” means “cliff”), and some of them jumped off to avoid capture! The other two main islands made deals with Kamehameha instead of having to fight it out with him.

Anyway, the King Kamehamehas (I, II, III, IV, and V) were nice enough rulers, but syphilis was a popular sickness on the islands, so they never had kids. They named heirs in the nephews and cousins, etc., until King Kamehameha V, who didn’t name an heir, so an election was held. Unfortunately the man who was elected only lived 13 more months, so the next king was elected. He built the I’olani Palace!

Now that we’re all up to speed, let’s explore the house. It’s truly beautiful, inside and out. It’s huge, and in the late 1800s, they had a view of the harbor. They didn’t live there very long before there was an uprising, and eventually it became a U.S. territory. It all seemed a little bit confusing to Steve and me, but everyone seems to be happy enough that they’re a U.S. state now!

Back to the palace, it was mostly your typical royal residence–bedrooms, a ball room, a throne room. One of the rooms acted as a sort of home prison for Hawaii’s last queen, Queen Liliuokalani, after the uprising. The funniest thing about the tour was the fact that we had to wear special slippers so we didn’t mess up their expensive hardwood floors or brand new, exact replica carpets!


After our visit to the Palace, we decided to check out Chinatown. We figured (well, I figured), with such a high Asian population, surely Honolulu’s Chinatown would be pretty authentic. Wrong. It was not at all… charming, so say the least. Some white guy cat called us from a store and said we looked like we just dropped a million dollars. Creepy. So yeah, we left and hit up a sushi restaurant for lunch on the way back to Waikiki! Steve made the observation that I really meant it when I said I could eat sushi every day. In fact, I could eat sushi at every meal!

So what did we do the rest of the day? The pool, a walk along Waikiki, mass for Steve, and sushi for supper by the pool. =) And in an effort to fulfill a first anniversary tradition, I had ordered a replica of the top tier of our cake to be delivered and for us to eat on our anniversary. They got it wrong, but at least it tasted ok. I was disappointed, but I tried not to let it ruin our weekend!

And now we move on to Sunday! This would be our second first anniversary. =) Steve went for a run, but I decided I shouldn’t push it. I was still just excited to have gone two miles the day before! We got ready for church and headed out for breakfast and to pick up the rental car! This was our big day to see Pearl Harbor and head out to the North Shore. Breakfast was ok. We had surprisingly bad service, but I decided God was trying to teach me something, so Steve and I talked about that. We think maybe “pick your battles” seems to be the recurring theme.

On to Enterprise! We picked up our car for the next two days, and the woman helping us out suggested a shrimp place for supper on the North Shore. (For geographical reference, Waikiki is on the South Shore.) We said we’d see where we ended up at supper time, but maybe. And off we went!

First stop: Pearl Harbor Church of Christ! This was a big deal because they are in the process of purchasing the property their building is on for quite a large sum! They’ve been there for a long time, but whoever owns the property itself (I think the government?) wants to sell it, and not necessarily to them if they can’t afford it. Anyway, my church family at Falls Church Church of Christ has been collecting money to help them out, so it was great to be able to go there! They are very close to their goal! And they were so kind. They gave us shell leis when we arrived, and people were very kind. I really liked the building. It was shape like a triangle, and the short walls on either side were shuttered windows. All open air, very Hawaiian!

After church, we headed straight to Pearl Harbor to see the memorials. It’s very well done, if you haven’t been. It’s totally free admission, and the boat that takes you to the USS Arizona Memorial is operated by the Navy. Before you go to the boat, you sit through a short film that’s compiled almost entirely of footage from WWII and the attack.

Steve is reading this over my shoulder as I type, and he said, “Tell them about the love seat!” He found a seat on the boat that was about the same size as a love seat, and we sat there, in love. =)

Anyway, they don’t allow cell phone usage while you’re in the theater, on the boat, or at the memorial.  You can take pictures with your phone, but since I had chosen to unplug and go without my phone, I didn’t have a problem with that! I did take pictures with my regular camera:

There’s a shot from the boat.

Afterward, we were ready for lunch. Since Steve had been so good in allowing me to have sushi every night, I made sure we found a pizza place for him! It was really good and the people were very friendly! Since we were first timers, we even got free cheese balls–delicious balls of yeasty dough covered in cheese! Big Kahuna Pizza is recommended by us!

Next stop: The Queen Emma Summer Palace! Again, it was an interesting tour! It’s all interesting when you don’t know anything! Definitely worth the trip. For a small home (well, as compared to the I’olani Palace), it was steeped in rich Hawaiian history and significance. Much of the home is original, and it’s been very well taken care of over the years. Our guide was phenomenal. She couldn’t walk or stand very long, so she had a chair prepared for her in each room, but her mind is sharp! She told us so much and showed us so many interesting things, and she didn’t repeat anything at all. She even stayed with us answering questions past closing time! And she gave us directions for the scenic route to the Nu’uanu Pali, our next stop!

That’s the view from the cliff! Very beautiful, and also very chilly up there! That’s where the Hawaiian Islands began, so they say!

Now, onward to the North Shore and beyond! We stopped at some of the most beaches on the “most beautiful in the world” list, and we saw the mountains in a way we couldn’t have from Waikiki. It was totally worth it to rent a car for a couple of days! We did indeed find Giovanni’s Shrimp in our explorations, but the woman from the car place who recommended it forgot to mention… it’s a shrimp TRUCK! So, I think food trucks are making their way around the country, but in case you don’t know about them, they’re actually pretty cool. They usually have a really limited menu–three or four food items and maybe two or three kid-friendly items if they get a lot of kids. This place had three variations on shrimp. Their most popular was the scampi style, which Steve and I both tried out. It was buttery, garlicky, and good! Each dish comes with a dozen unpeeled shrimp and two scoops of rice. I’m not a big garlic fan, but I thought it wasn’t too bad. Until later… wow, that’s a lot of garlic! But we both had it, so it was ok!

Please join us for our final installment and the last two days of our fun-filled Hawaiian adventure!

5 responses to “Everything’s Aloha!”

  1. […] of the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, I decided to write a tribute from ourĀ trip to Pearl Harbor in May […]

  2. […] rounded out our first anniversary trip on O’ahu with a Hula Pie from Duke’s at Waikiki. When we learned there was another Duke’s on […]

  3. […] us to take an easy-going island trip for our anniversary every year! Here are our top 10 reasons O’ahu should be on your “to travel” […]

  4. […] Hawaii. And only one movie has, at the time of this writing, been allowed to film there. The I’olani Palace in Honolulu is one of the locations where the film Princess Kaiulani was […]

  5. […] Hawaii. And only one movie has, at the time of this writing, been allowed to film there. The I’olani Palace in Honolulu is one of the locations where the filmĀ Princess Kaiulani was […]

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