In the summer of 2007, I took the first plane ride of my life to a place most people can only dream of visiting. The dream vacation I had been saving all of my first year in high school for was a trip to the “Aloha State” known as Hawaii. I flew over alone, but stayed with my sister and her husband at Schofield Barracks, a U.S. Army base near Wahiawa on the island of Oahu. I wanted to spend some time with my sister and brother in-law before he left for a tour in Iraq.
While in Hawaii I saw so many breathtaking mountains, one of which we hiked up called Kolekole Pass where there is a sacrificial rock where defeated warrior chiefs were beheaded. We also visited Dole Plantation in Wahiawa where they have the world’s largest maze. We were in the maze for 44 minutes trying to get to all six checkpoints. Afterward we enjoyed their pineapple ice cream that was incredibly refreshing in the intense summer heat.
Hawaii is home to the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen in my entire life. We would park our car and walk about half a mile down to Waimea Bay, a beach on Hawaii’s legendary North Shore, and swim in the clear water. The water was a little cold even though it was hot outside, and one of the times, while we were swimming a group of dolphins were jumping in the water. At the beach you can surf, swim, or go snorkeling, and you might even get to see a group of sea turtles like we did.
During the day when we were not at the beach, we went to historical sites around the island. We went to the Tropic Lightening Museum, an army museum located in Schofield Barracks where you get to see the weapons they used from World War 2 and are able to stand next to actual tanks that are no longer used. We saw a movie at SGT. Smith Theater that is only open for military families, and is a place that plays the national anthem before each showing. Probably the most historical site that I had the chance to visit was the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu. Pearl Harbor is such a beautiful place it makes it hard to believe that so many people lost their lives there. While standing on the observation deck of the memorial you can still see oil leaking from the ships that sank nearly 70 years ago, they call them “tears of the Arizona”. I encourage anyone who visits Hawaii to go to the memorial. You learn so much just from walking through the museum and paying attention to the video they have you watch before taking the boat ride out to the memorial.
On a lighter note there are an infinite number of fun and exciting things to do on the island. On Friday nights masses of people walk the strip in Waikiki in celebration of Aloha Friday. It is four blocks of high-end shops, not to mention sidewalk musicians and street performers. While strolling down Kalakaua Avenue we saw a man dressed as a cowboy painted in all silver. More interesting though was the gold man dressed as James Dean that poses for pictures. At eight o’clock, we watched the fireworks on the stretch of beach behind the magnificent Hale Koa Hotel.
I hope I get the chance to go back to Hawaii. It is so beautiful there I don’t see why anyone would want to vacation somewhere else.
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