*take nothing for granted!
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2015

Who is Online

We have 186 guests and no members online

Translate to another language

Oahu (the main Island)

 

 

Beaches and Shops

As I indicated at the outset Oahu is a beachy place.  Honolulu is the main administrative centre and Waikiki is the principal beach suburb.  Australians might think of Bondi or Manly or perhaps the Gold Coast without being too far from reality. 

We live close to Balmoral beach in Sydney so going to a beach on holidays is like carrying coals to Newcastle.  We generally don't. 

 

Waikiki and nearby Fort DeRussy Beach

Waikiki and nearby Fort DeRussy Beach Waikiki and nearby Fort DeRussy Beach
Waikiki and nearby Fort DeRussy Beach Waikiki and nearby Fort DeRussy Beach

The north end of Waikiki is rather over-crowded
Less trendy Fort DeRussy Beach seems to be preferred by the locals

 

The north end of  Waikiki has beach front hotels and is to my mind unpleasantly over-crowded.  If I had that kind of skin that tanned and I wanted to sunbake undisturbed by kicked-up sand I would not choose to lay my towel here.  I suppose the milling crowd has more to do with seeing and being seen than actually enjoying the beach.

Nor would I choose this as a place to swim.  The shelf off Waikiki beach is shallow a long way out and so it's more for wading than swimming.  Fortunately, most or all the hotels have a pool? 

Elsewhere around the coast the Island is famed for some spectacular waves, beloved by surfers, but that's not Waikiki.  Here the surf is virtually non-existent, with some desultory waves at the far south end.  On a more positive note the sand is kept very clean despite all the people, not a wrapper, syringe or cigarette butt in sight, and the water is pristine, beautifully clear.

 

Waikiki - south end

Waikiki - south end Waikiki - south end
Waikiki - south end Waikiki - south end

Waikiki - south end - almost a wave

 

Apart from the beach there are the shops. A lot of shops. Most sell up-market clothes and jewellery. You might imagine it's a bit difficult selling a luxury car to tourists in the middle of the Pacific but there's even a Tesla dealership.  There are also bargains to be had at the outlets beyond Pearl Harbour, an hour by the regular shuttle bus from Waikiki.  At tourist information stands these shopping trips compete with Pearl Harbour tours and Luau evenings for top billing, with pineapples coming in fourth.

 

Museums

Those of you who read the history above will notice that a good deal of information came from the excellent, and free, US Army Museum at Fort DeRussy.  I can commend this to anyone considering a holiday on Oahu. 

I also spent several hours at the Honolulu Museum of Art.  It has an interesting collection of Asian religious objects and two exhibitions with a Japanese theme.  It's café is convenient for a light lunch; pleasant but rather expensive.  Yet I was a trifle disappointed.  There were few contemporary; twentieth century; or even nineteenth century; paintings or sculpture of the sort I like to spend time with. 

 

Waikiki - south end

Waikiki - south end Waikiki - south end
Waikiki - south end Waikiki - south end

Honolulu Museum of Art - click on the entrance image above to see more of the collection

 

The Museum's collection is good for a small gallery but not a patch on many other free to enter US galleries, like several we visited last October, so I thought the $20 entrance fee was a bit excessive.

 

Pearl Harbour

That there should be Japanese oriented exhibitions was not a surprise.  As I remarked on in the history, above, by the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour half of the entire population of Hawaii was of Japanese descent. This was a matter of great concern to Washington and a reason to immediately declare martial law.  It turned out that they shouldn't have worried.  The great majority were by then loyal Americans, despite their rebellion over the American coup against the monarchy nearly half a century earlier.  And then they had simply shown themselves to be loyal Hawaiians.  After the Japanese attack many promptly joined up to fight against the ancestral kinsmen.

Although English is the first language of the great majority of Hawaiians, some third of them retain Japanese cultural attachments.  As a result Hawaii became the first choice of Japanese tourists, once their economy recovered from the war.  JAL has very regular flights into Honolulu and many Japanese tourists still throng the streets and restaurants.  Taiwanese and Chinese also have historical ties.  Chinese tourism is on the increase here, as everywhere. 

There are many Asians, some Japanese, visiting Pearl Harbour where anti-Japanese sentiment is juxtaposed with a surprisingly conciliatory exploration of Japan's motives leading to war and the brilliance of their preparations and attack.  I discussed the modified torpedoes at some length above.  But we learned that the Japanese pilots had also practiced attacking battleships with armour piercing bombs.  If they were too high the bombs went right through and detonated under the ship.  Too low and they bounced off.  Just right and the bomb exploded within the hull.

At the USS Arizona Memorial we are reminded that below the waves lie the remains of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on USS Arizona when such a perfectly dropped Japanese bomb penetrated the deck armour and exploded within her forward magazine during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th 1941.  The ship was destroyed and almost everyone on board was killed instantly when her own munitions detonated in a massive explosion. Others died in the subsequent fire or drowned. 

Most Japanese seemed to be staying clear of this one.  I could imagine emotions running high from time to time.

 

USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial USS Arizona Memorial
USS Arizona Memorial USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial - 1,102 names on the wall and more added to the side as the survivors died

 

On the other hand, on Battleship Missouri there is an exhibition remembering the kamikaze attacks on the 'Mighty Mo' that actually honours the many young Japanese pilots who gave their lives in these suicide attacks. Their photographs line the walls. 

 

 

Battleship Missouri

Battleship Missouri Battleship Missouri
Battleship Missouri Battleship Missouri
Battleship Missouri Battleship Missouri

Battleship USS Missouri - Kamikaze remembrance and the location of the Japanese Surrender on September 2nd 1945

 

As for everything that past before my birth, I reminded myself that all this slaughter was necessary for me to be here, sharing the remembrance of it.

 

Luau

The Hyatt Place was very comfortable.  But despite a large corner room on the eleventh floor with a wrap-around balcony and a separate sitting room we no longer had a kitchenette, nor the free and easy parking we'd enjoyed at Reed's Bay. So each night we found a local bar/restaurant featuring live music for dinner, preferably within a short walk back, after a wine or three. 

On our second-to-last night it was time to vary this evening entertainment.  As this was Oahu a Luau was called for.  The Waikiki Aquarium is in easy walking distance of the Hyatt and plays host to just such an evening.  Traditional island food and dance with some local handcraft and a range of cocktails were included in the price. 

Although it was a regularly staged 'event' and nothing like a spontaneous celebration, we soon got into the mood, or was it the booze?  Anyway, we enjoyed a generous smorgasbord of ethnic food while being entertained by performers on stage, then had a thoroughly good time watching the sun go down. After dark a young boy came on spinning fiery torches, soon joined by another, before more folk-dancing.  Bare-chested men and boys made several additional appearances but 'hula girls' (more properly hula women), in various costumes, non of them authentically bare-chested, dominated the entertainment. 

 

Luau

Luau Luau
Luau Luau

Luau - ethnic food; nocturnal, folk-dancing; boys spinning fiery torches and women with coconut braziers

 

Later we got to roam around the, by then, rather surreal aquarium before a pleasant stroll back to our hotel.

 

Waikiki Aquarium

Waikiki Aquarium Luau
Waikiki Aquarium Waikiki Aquarium

Waikiki Aquarium - surreal after a spiked drink or two

 

 

Honolulu Zoo

Here it was our last day and Wendy had some shopping to do so I went to the Zoo.  It's very close to the Hyatt Place.  I'd been here before.  I've got super 8 movie footage of Emily as a toddler at this zoo.  Another $20 to get in but I quickly decided it was worth it.  It's much better than I remembered it.  But I quickly realised that Wendy was better off shopping.  She has a bird phobia and peacocks and other birds abound, stealing food at the cafeteria and generally making themselves a nuisance. 

 

Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo Honolulu Zoo
Honolulu Zoo Honolulu Zoo
Honolulu Zoo Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo

 

I spent several hours roaming about at my own pace, watching the animals. I even had a very acceptable hamburger for lunch.

 

More Photos

 

If you would like to see the whole Hawaii album, click on the photo below:

 

 


Click the photo to see more

 

 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh


    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item


Travel

Thailand

 

 

In October 2012 flew to India and Nepal with Thai International and so had stopovers in Bangkok in both directions. On our way we had a few days to have a look around.

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

The McKie Family

 

 

 

Introduction

 

 

This is the story of the McKie family down a path through the gardens of the past that led to where I'm standing.  Other paths converged and merged as the McKies met and wed and bred.  Where possible I've glimpsed backwards up those paths as far as records would allow. 

The setting is Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England and my path winds through a time when the gardens there flowered with exotic blooms and their seeds and nectar changed the entire world.  This was the blossoming of the late industrial and early scientific revolution and it flowered most brilliantly in Newcastle.

I've been to trace a couple of lines of ancestry back six generations to around the turn of the 19th century. Six generations ago, around the turn of the century, lived sixty-four individuals who each contributed a little less 1.6% of their genome to me, half of them on my mother's side and half on my father's.  Yet I can't name half a dozen of them.  But I do know one was called McKie.  So this is about his descendents; and the path they took; and some things a few of them contributed to Newcastle's fortunes; and who they met on the way.

In six generations, unless there is duplication due to copulating cousins, we all have 126 ancestors.  Over half of mine remain obscure to me but I know the majority had one thing in common, they lived in or around Newcastle upon Tyne.  Thus they contributed to the prosperity, fertility and skill of that blossoming town during the century and a half when the garden there was at its most fecund. So it's also a tale of one city.

My mother's family is the subject of a separate article on this website. 

 

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

A modern fairytale - in a Parallel Universe

 

I've dusted off this little satirical parable that I wrote in response to the The Garnaut Climate Change Review (2008).  It's not entirely fair but then satire never is.

 


 

 

In a parallel universe, in 1920† Sidney, the place where Sydney is in ours, had need of a harbour crossing.

An engineer, Dr Roadfield, was engaged to look at the practicalities; including the geology and geography and required property resumptions, in the context of contemporary technical options. 

After considering the options he reported that most advanced countries solve the harbour crossing problem with a bridge.  He proposed that they make the decision to have a bridge; call for tenders for an engineering design; raise the finance; and build it.  We'll call it the 'Sidney Harbour Bridge' he said; then less modestly: 'and the new crossing will be called the Roadfield Highway'. 

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright