The high priority was the capitol Volksmarch. The route covered much of downtown Honolulu. I was glad the directions gave bus info, as that made it easy to find the start point, at a YMCA on Pali Highway. The route went past Our Lady of Peace Cathedral, which is claimed to be the oldest Catholic cathedral in the U.S. and was the site of Father Damien's ordination. It also included several historic buildings associated with the sugar companies, before going to the impressive Aloha Tower and its less mpressive marketplace. What surprised me most was how clear the water in Honolulu Harbor is. You can actually look down into the water and see fish. The route continued on to Chinatown, where I had lunch at a noodle place. Then it went to the State Capitol, which has an open central courtyard with a mosaic tile floor and a very modernistic statue of Father Damien. Decidedly unusual architecture, which reminds me of how much my childhood experience of Concord, New Hampshire influenced my idea of what capitol buildings are supposed to look like. (A surprising number don't.) Then there were various municipal buildings and parks, the concert hall and the Blaisdell Center, followed by the Mission House Museum and the intriguing Kawaihao Church. The latter also has the mausoleum of King Lunalilo, who was the first popularly elected king. The route also went throught he grounds of Iolani Palace, back past the Capitol, past the new Governor's residence and the former residence at Washington Place, and around Saint Andrew's Cathedral. All in all, that made for quite a comprehensive tour. I especially appreciated the extensive historic notes that were provided with the walk instructions.
I hadn't really intended so much to do the Waikiki Beach walk, but it's not like I had anything better to do. There are actually two routes and I combined them, which made for a longer walk but more interesting detours on the way back than just walking on Kalakaua Avenue would have been. There are a number of surfboard shaped historic signs discussing the various royal family members and palaces that had been in the area and so on. It was a pleasant enough walk but there's a part of me that finds Waikiki Beach rather horrible, with all of the glitzy hotel and shop development. (Admittedly, I was staying at one of those hotels, namely, the Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, which was comfortable and where I had a lovely view of the ocean from my room thanks to a generous upgrade.)
I mentioned the submarine ride briefly before and that was actually in the middle of the walk, since the tender that takes you out to the sub leaves from the dock at the Hilton. It was a decently short ride out to the sub - maybe 15 minutes. It takes a little time to get the last set of passengers off the sub and onto the tender before you board. The windows were nice and big and the seats fairly comfortable, so it felt less claustrophobic than my previous submarine ride in Bermuda had been. (I don't mind close quarters, but that had bothered some other people.) Most of the trip is past man-made reefs, with things like crashed airplanes and shipwrecks to attract the fish. We saw a few green sea turtles, a couple of reef sharks, and a sting ray, as well as several colorful fish. I found the whole thing very enjoyable, especially because the commentary had plenty of corny jokes. The only catch was that I could not figure out how to turn off the flash on the disposable camera I had with me, so was unable to get photos.
I also did a couple of uncharacteristic things. I'm not really an umbrella drink type of person, being more of a g&t gal. But things like mai tais suit the environment and I had a couple of them along the way. (Okay, one drink with dinner each night, but it still counts.) And I bought something touristy! I am a big fan of Le Sportsac, since I find their deluxe shoulder bag to be the perfect pocketbook configuration for me. They sell some designs exclusively in Hawaii and I bought one with hula girls on it.
My idea of paradise is somewhat lower down the economic scale and has far fewer people, but it was still a pleasant couple of days. If I'd had one more day, I'd have made an excursion to the various World War II related sites. But the real purpose of my vacation was the National Storytelling Conference and I'll write about that in another entry.