Posted tagged ‘Maui’

Aloha To You All

December 20, 2018

These beauties are Princess Ka’iulani and Princess Lili’uokalani, before the latter became queen of Hawaii. They lived in Honolulu’s Iolani Palace, the only royal residence in the United States, and Lili’uokalani was Hawaii’s last reigning monarch.

For our day in Honolulu I had planned on a tour to the Polynesian Cultural Center, which ended up being cancelled, to my deep disappointment. Getting there on my own seemed next to impossible, so I decided on a more mundane day.

I started out at Don Quijote’s, a fantastic grocery store that almost made me decide to move to Honolulu just so I could shop there. There I scored some Japanese and Hawaiian groceries to bring home and actually had to take a taxi back to the ship because my bags were so heavy.

Next I walked up toward the palace. This is a sign you wouldn’t see just everywhere.

The palace dates back to 1882, and exhibits the lovely rococo features of the era, decked out for Christmas, or Kalikimaka.

There’s this stunning hand-carved koa wood staircase,

a throne room, formal dining room,

and a display of dresses with impossibly small waists.

The palace also has a dark side. Queen Lili’uokalani was overthrown in 1893 by a group of American sugar plantation owners and businessmen, backed by U.S. Marines and the Navy, and she was imprisoned for eight months in a single room in the palace. Two years later the monarchy of the Kingdom of Hawaii was dissolved and in 1895 Hawaii was annexed by the United States. A lot of native Hawaiians are still very unhappy about this.

Not quite knowing what to do with myself, next I went down to the Ala Moana shopping center, where you can buy everything from impossibly beautiful white peach jellies

to a Tesla. Yes, right in among the other shops of the shopping center. The place was my idea of a total nightmare, with about 300 shops. It’s open air, but completely surrounded by traffic and parking structures, and it was packed with what must have been a third of the population of Honolulu. I did find a very nice poke bar there and had an early dinner, before walking through Ala Moana park on my way back to the ship.

The next day we were in Lahaina, where my tour had also been cancelled. This time I was determined to get out of town, and I managed to organize a small group of passengers to head out into the countryside. That’s Haleakala in the distance, wearing a necklace of clouds.

The whales were said to be around Maui, and although I kept my eyes on the ocean, this was all I saw of them.

Turtles, though, turtles were there. Our guide said that some of these guys are over 100 years old. They paid no attention to us whatsoever, as befitted their advanced age.

The shore break was really rough, and there were shark warning signs, but that didn’t stop the surfers. I couldn’t help but notice the little memorial park on a rocky outcropping at this beach, where there were about a dozen crosses in memory of surfers who lost their lives here.

Next we headed for Twin Falls, which was kind of an island Eden. The ground was covered with a layer of treacherous roots, and it wasn’t at all clear how they would ever extricate you if you were so unlucky as to break you ankle in them.

I would have accidentally-on-purpose fallen into this gorgeous pool, if it hadn’t been for my fear that the guide wouldn’t let me back in the van all sodden and soggy. I have to say that I’ve had more pictures taken of me in the past three months than in the past 10 years put together. My fellow passengers are obsessive about insisting that every moment be captured.

On the grounds by the waterfalls there are some truly impressive stands of giant bamboo, and even a few out-of-focus coffee berries.

After a visit to the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm and some shopping along the picturesque main drag of Lahaina, I had a sunset dinner with some picturesque friends.

That’s Althea, Virginia and her husband Jim, and Joyce. In truth the setting at the restaurant was so lovely that I made them all pose for me, but I’m happy to have these mementos of our last meal in our last port of the trip.

We’ll be home tomorrow, after a journey of over 24,000 nautical miles, which is more than 27,600 plain old miles. We’ve visited 14 countries, and 38 ports over the past three months. I’ll write another post about life on board, but this is really the end of the journey. In the beginning it seemed like it would last forever, and yet, here we are. Time is funny that way.

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