May 5, 2010

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This final Hawaiian post is a long one.  Grab a beverage or a snack and sit for a spell, won’t you?  We’re starting out in Hale’iwa on the North Shore, the surfing capitol of the world.  There are lots of charming shops selling all kinds of goodness, and equally charming people.  We’ll definitely be back here.

Action shot!  The North Shore seems to be the shave ice capitol of the world, as well.  If I do say so myself, our combination of lemon, coconut, and vanilla was pretty darned awesome.  Soft, almost creamy, no ice crystals, and that touch of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of the cup was divine.

Anahulu stream bridge in Hale’iwa.  I love bridges.

A cute cottage for island living.

Smack-dab in the middle of the Dole Plantation.  I have never seen so many pineapples!

Highway 99 south to Honolulu.

Dining at the Kapiolani Farmer’s Market.  We indulged in an omelet with asparagus and island sheep cheese, super refreshing sparkling beverages, macadamia flower honey from Kaneohe, and abalone.  Despite being slightly worried that we were the only haolies in line for them, they did not disappoint: garlicky, buttery, slightly chewy, a bit like escargot.  What a pretty bit of “garbage,” as well.

The Kapiolani Community College (the location of the farmer’s market) has one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen.  There are a myriad variety of flowers…

And cacti…

And more flowers.  This was actually part of a hedge.  A hibiscus hedge.  It is paradise, after all!

This amazing banyan is the neighbor of the Iolani Palace.

The Hawaiian Crest, it reads:

Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono

The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness

The grand entrance to the Iolani Palace.

Still pretty grand is the back entrance, where our tour started.

The barracks – can you tell Hawaiian royalty was deeply influenced by Europe, and, in particular, Great Britain?

What a fine porch to take in a luau…

Or wait for a tour wearing our special shoe covers.  No photos allowed inside.  Trust me, it was worth it.

Twin Palm trees and a beautiful view.

The state capitol building is unlike any I have seen before.  I really liked the architecture.  It is open to the elements,  with offices around a courtyard.  The handsome mosaic, reminiscent of the ocean, is at the center.

Also on the grounds of the capitol is this quite fine and modern rendering of the gracious and giving Father Damien.  A sainted man who cared for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those with leprosy (Hansen’s disease).  He worked tirelessly for sixteen years before contracting and succumbing to the disease himself.  Mahalo.

Greetings from his Majesty King Kamehameha, responsible for uniting the Island Kingdom of Hawaii.  You can see the real cape he wore (made of thousands of red and yellow feathers) as well as other gorgeous finery on the tour of the Iolani Palace.

The grand mausoleum of King William Lunalilo, elected popularly and by the legislature.

Lunch time at the Hawaii State Art Museum.  The restaurant was highly recommended by our tour guide at the Iolani Palace.  The chef takes a “local first, organic whenever possible, and with aloha always” approach.  It is mighty fine.

A tribute to Hawaiian Firefighters.  Mahalo!

The Honolulu Brewing Company building, circa 1900.  It actually went under a $25 million dollar renovation, but, quite unfortunately, I guess they used some super stinky wood sealer, and the building remains unoccupied.  Talk about a bummer.  It was, however, used in LOST, in some scenes where Charlie was meant to be in England.  This also reminds me, we had one LOST sighting on our island adventure.  In the airport on our way home, we saw Jack’s father Christian.  He is more handsome and shorter than I expected.  Go figure.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel grounds.  As we were walking by, we saw a couple readying for their wedding ceremony.  What a place to tie the knot!  For my Uncle Chris, and a shout out to Rick, too: we couldn’t find the place you guys had a cocktail, but no worries, we indulged in more than one delicious tropical drink requiring an umbrella and a maraschino cherry.  We also had stunning views from the Punchbowl (see below).

Pineapple County Store

An Oahu icon, we had really good burgers and the equally good company of a local who dines here every night.

Leonard’s makes Malasadas, the best doughnut-like baked good I have ever tasted.  Trust me, with a particular fondness for fried dough, I have A LOT of experience in this area.  We tried them plain, filled with chocolate (like a really good pudding), and a silky coconut cream, of course.  Is there a Hawaiian term for Ooh la la?

We’re at the Punchbowl National Cemetery.  Located in a crater above the city, the cemetery is a stunning memorial to the sacrifices of our service men and women.  Lady Columbia holds a laurel branch and represents the grieving of all mothers.  Inscribed beneath her are the words of Abraham Lincoln:

“The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

Amen to that.

It is a somber place of gorgeous vistas, encompassing Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor.

The small chapel.

One of the marvelous maps detailing World War II battles.

A final view of the sea.

Mahalo much, dear Hawaii!