Mele Kalikimaka from Honolulu

Day 74, Grand Asia 2017

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 – Honolulu

As we docked at Aloha Tower in Honolulu this morning, the outside decks were crowded. Passengers were finally able to use their home cellular service plans. Many were calling family and checking email.

Yesterday the captain had announced that instead of leaving Honolulu tonight at 11 p.m. for Maui as scheduled, we would stay overnight and leave Honolulu tomorrow evening. High winds would make tendering unsafe in Lahaina, Maui. There was some disappointment, but in general I think we are looking forward to two days here.

I met Leslie, a former Hawaii resident, earlier on the cruise, and she generously offered to play tour guide for me this morning. We walked off the ship in the middle of town – one of the best locations of the trip. Christmas decorations greeted us at every corner.

By late morning we had walked through the Hawaii State Capitol, which is full of symbolism. The center atrium is open at the top, because “the sky is our dome.” Walls represent the volcanic mountains, and pools surrounding the complex are the oceans. Pillars spread into palm tree configurations.

Next-door is the Iolani Palace, home of Hawaiian royalty. A short film in the visitors’ center gave a good history of the years of royalty and the palace itself. Across the street we could see the Kamehameha Statue, in front of the Supreme Court building (not the Hawaii 5-0 police office as depicted in the television show).

DSC00696 - Version 2Christmas displays continued down King Street, and Leslie said at night there would be crowds of admirers. We stopped in the Honolulu Hale, or city hall, where wreath contest entries lined one hallway and Christmas trees decorated in a zoo theme filled the lobby.

The historic Kawaiaha’o Church was closed for a wedding, but we took photos from the open door.

DSC00687By late morning we returned to our starting place and went the other direction to Chinatown, reportedly the oldest in the United States. It was relatively small and seemed to have more restaurants and taverns than shops. Fruits and vegetables spilled out of a few door fronts, and the usual Chinese tourist items were everywhere. I commented that it would seem odd to buy Chinese souvenirs here when we had just been in China.

DSC00713Lunch was a highlight. Leslie took me to Little Village Noodle House, her favorite. The menu has more than noodles, and I had a wonderful Shrimp and Candied Walnuts. I also highly recommend their green onion pancakes. They were not greasy like so many scallion pancakes I have ordered over the years.

We split up at Wal-Mart, where she was after Hawaiian calendars and I wanted macadamia nut treats. I made a quick stop at the ship to get my laptop and headed for Starbucks, with fast free Internet. For the next hour I uploaded my last blog entry, ordered my Christmas cards with photos from my trip from Apple (they will beat me home) and downloaded the second season of The Queen, which I may watch during the last five sea days of the cruise.

I made a short trip to the palace to see it at night with Christmas lights. By the end of the day I logged 19,587 stops on my Fitbit – a record for this trip, I think.