Caribbean 2002
Mayan Riviera 2001
Philadelphia Story
Phoenix Faux Pas
Montreal is Dangerous

USS Arizona Memorial or Pearl Harbor?

Our first day on Oahu we decided to take the car and drive up along the north beaches. One of the main things we wanted to do was hike up to the Sacred Falls in the northeast part of the island. There were scattered thunder showers that day, so the trail to the falls was closed due to the potential for flash flooding. It was a beautiful drive, but because of the scattered rain, we decided to head back to Honolulu. It was getting late in the afternoon, but we decided maybe we should try to visit Pearl Harbor that day.

We watched the signs for Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial all the way back into town. As we approached the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, I pointed out to Tyler the sign for the USS Arizona Memorial and told him to take a right.

"Right. Turn right! Turn right HERE!"

"No, I see it. It's straight ahead," he says as he heads toward the check point on the naval base.

Since he obviously wasn't listening to me (the navigator), I pulled my ball cap low over my eyes and slumped down in the seat to make myself as small as possible.

As he pulled up to the check point, he waved at the nice (armed) guard and started to turn in, following the (civilian) pickup in front of us.

The nice guard yelled, "Hey, STOP!"

Tyler stopped and rolled down the window.

"Where are you going, sir?"

"I'm going to Pearl Harbor."

"Don't you mean the USS Arizona Memorial?"

"Oh, is that what they call it? Okay, I thought it was just Pearl Harbor."

"Sir, you need to turn your car around and make a sharp left right there and follow the signs to the USS Arizona Memorial."

The nice guard stopped traffic so Tyler could make a U-turn. Tyler turned the car around and before I could yell, "Here, TURN HERE!" he had sped right by the turn again. I looked back to see the guard shaking his head. It took another 20 minutes for us to get back off the freeway and back over to the USS Arizona Memorial.

Did you know there are more Japanese visitors at the Memorial than anyone else? Too bad they couldn't read the signs (in English) requesting quiet and respect for the servicemen entombed there. They were having way too much fun taking pictures of each other on the Memorial.

Trekking to Diamond Head

Tyler and I were having breakfast at open air snack bar in the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki on the day we were planning on visiting Diamond Head. We were discussing the best way to get over to the mountain when we were approached by an older woman dressed in a tattered house dress and a turban wrapped around her head. She hovered around behind Tyler for several minutes without him noticing. I thought maybe she was going to grab his food and run. I kept my eye on her and finally she stepped up and planted herself squarely in front of Tyler.

"Want to know where you can get a better breakfast than this?" she asked us.

"Okay, where can we get a better breakfast?"

She spread her arms out wide like bird wings and said, "Shore Bird. They have a great buffet. You can get lots of food and it's much better than this."

"Okay, great. We'll go there tomorrow."

She chatted with us for quite a while. She was a retired school teacher from Seattle. I think she felt it was her duty to make sure the tourists didn't get ripped off at the Hilton. It was pretty brazen, however, to be right in the middle of Hilton property encouraging people to go elsewhere.

We asked the woman about getting to Diamond Head.

"Take a cab," she said. "It's over 5 miles."

"Don't forget," she said as she again flapped her wings and departed.

(We did eat there the next morning. Lots of food, but nothing special. Probably was a better deal than the Hilton, though.)

So, we're off to Diamond Head....

"She said to get a cab," I mentioned wistfully.

Tyler would have none of that!

"Shall we find a shuttle bus?" I naively asked.

"No, I can see it from here. Let's walk."

"But it's a long way over there, and then we have to go up."

"No, I can see it, we can walk."

So, we set off down the beach to Diamond Head. After walking through the soft sand in hiking boots for about two miles, we were closing in. But where is the trail to go up it? (What do you mean you can't just walk up the mountain from the beach side?)

Tyler suggested we start walking around the mountain until we find the way up it. Granted, it is a relatively small mountain, but it's still pretty big to be walking all the way around. We walked and walked, circling toward the opposite side. We asked people we met along the way where we would go up. Two women told us they had been up, but had no idea where or how they had gotten there. Not very promising. Finally, we were back on a main road and there were Diamond Head trollies passing us. (Notice I said passing. We still couldn't board one.) We followed the trollies to where they drove halfway up the mountain where the trail actually begins. This was a 5.5 mile walk we had just completed and we now had a 45 minute hike to the top (according to the sign).

No problem. We completed the hike to the top in less than 20 minutes. Diamond Head is an old look-out for the US military. There are lots of steep stairs and low ceilings. Tyler is 6'5". He was crouched down most of the time. On the way back he didn't duck quite enough and smacked his head really well. Almost rolled down the mountain and took me with him.

And then Tyler made me walk the 5.5 miles back to the resort--through the soft sand (I took my shoes off that time).

Tyler Learns to Snorkel on Maui

I love to snorkel, but Tyler had never tried the sport before we went to Hawaii. He wanted to learn and I was willing to teach him. We went into Kihei and rented our gear and asked the store manager for a recommendation of where to go. He directed us down south, past Wailea -- "there's a parking area, the cove is right there, lots of black lava, stay to the left and go out toward the tip of that cove." He even drew us a little map. Great!

We found the parking area. Found the cove and the black lava. This is it! Looked a little bigger than I expected. Looked a little rougher than I expected too, but the description fit, so this must be it! It was a little tough getting in the water with the surf pounding and the rocks difficult to walk on, but we made it.

We swam out a little way and Tyler practiced diving and looking around. I started out toward the left the way the man had told his. It still looked a little big and rough...

All of a sudden we were hit by a shore break. It rolled us around and into each other. I came up and told Tyler we had better swim back toward the right just as another 3 foot wave came crashing over the top of us.

I am a strong swimmer and, while I respect the water, I don't panic very easily. I swam back over a little bit and started fiddling with my toe ring that had loosened up in the water. I was just hanging out there, waiting for Tyler, completely oblivious to the fact that he was having problems. With the big waves, he had trouble getting a good breath, and his mask was so steamed up he couldn't see where he was going. I did not know until later that the last wave had also smashed him into some rocks. Repeatedly. (Remember what your mother always told you? Don't swim alone--or with Denise.)

I did finally notice something was wrong when he made a bee line toward the shore and ripped off his mask. I thought he was just going in for a little rest. When he pulled himself out of the water, however, he was a bloody mess. His leg was gashed in several places and bleeding profusely. (So, are we done snorkeling already?)

That night the weather was beautiful so we left the door on the balcony open to take full advantage of the beautiful ocean view room we had at the Maui Prince. It was relaxing to listen to the waves crashing on the shore and I quickly drifted off to sleep. Tyler, however, was very restless. He was in and out of bed all night, walking around, out on the balcony, lying on the floor. I was very aware of his pacing through the night and in the morning asked him if he was angry with me for some reason. He said that the sound of the waves through the open door was nice, but everytime he closed his eyes he had visions of me leading him to his death. (At least he wasn't angry with me!)

The next day we took a break from the ocean and drove up Haleakala, the dormant volcano on Maui. We had a wonderful hike down into the "crater" to one of the nearer cinder cones. (5 miles with a 1600 ft elevation change) The view is like a moonscape and is really beautiful.

I tried to convince Tyler all day that it was my fault he had a bad snorkeling experience and we needed to try it again in a calmer spot. (I think the cove the man had directed us to was the much smaller one right next to where we tried to go in.) He finally agreed that he should try it again while we still had the gear. We got up early the next morning and went to a sandy beach with some rocks jutting out in one spot. It was easier to get in and out of the water and there were plenty of fish in the rocks. Tyler had a great snorkeling experience that day and will probably be willing to try it again in the future.

As we were warming ourselves on the nearly deserted beach, I glanced up and saw a man walking (bouncing, really) toward us. I did a double take because I happened to notice that he was not wearing any clothes. When I did the double take he caught my eye, so I didn't feel like I could look away. We exchanged good mornings and he continued on down the beach. Tyler and I sat there for a moment before I broke the silence.

"Did you notice that man had no hair anywhere on his body?"

Just what you want to see before 8:00 a.m.