Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hawaii 2015 Day 2 part 1 - Back To Aiea!

Ok, back to Hawaii again. Second day was Sunday the 26th, and this was my day to hang out in Aiea, because it was my only Sunday and although I'm not really a churchgoer now, I do enjoy attending the service at Aiea United Methodist Church, the church my family attended when I was a kid, when I make it back to Oahu - a few members are still there from back then and it's really nice to see them and catch up a little bit. 

I started out really early to leave myself extra time in case of traffic or getting lost or whatever. Fortunately there was no traffic or getting lost or whatever so my first stop was for a delicious breakfast at Aiea Manapua and Snacks! 

As usual, click on any picture for a bigger version.
I absolutely love that this very non-fancy little place that opened here in 1980 (somehow I always thought it was longer than that, but I brought back a box and the box says "Serving Aiea since 1980" and I guess they would know) is still here and doing well. It was nice coming so early, they can get pretty busy later in the day and when that happens they like you to be pretty snappy with your order, but here at a little after 8:30 a.m., customers are coming in one at a time and it's just me, so the counter staff can humor me as I stare at the menu (oooh, why didn't I take one pickcha?) and that works out well for them cause when I open my mouth to start ordering I just keep going!
Uh, one steamed char siu. And one pork hash. And a half-moon. And oh yeah, one pepeiao! Oh boy. Not gonna need any lunch today. Yum yum yum. 

Utterly stuffed, I headed on over to the church for the service. Very nice seeing people, a mother and daughter danced a hula, the new minister got very confused over whose daughter I was (the funny thing is that although my real last name is a pretty unusual German one, there are actually two families named Aldinger that are former members of Aiea United Methodist - the older members of the congregation helped sort out the relationships), and it was just nice to be back somewhere that I'd spent a good deal of time when I was a kid.
After the service, I ran down to the car to get my cell phone, as one the couple who are old family friends wanted my sister's number as they have a daughter in Houston and visit Texas sometimes. I hit the button and was momentarily baffled when the car failed to respond with a beep and a click - and then it hit me - oh no! When I'd been driving up to Aiea, I'd noticed that a lot of people were driving with their lights on on the highway; I thought "OK, so this is how they do things here, I will do that too" and switched on the lights and then must not quite have switched them all the way off. Fortunately this time my rental car was a well-worn old Toyota Yaris instead of a slick shiny new Mustang like last time - why is this fortunate? Because the shiny new Mustang didn't have KEYHOLES, the door only opened with the electric key fob, which I managed to not kill while snorkelling only because I locked it in the trunk, which actually turned out to be a good thing because otherwise I would have killed it while snorkeling, but that's a story for later on in the trip, when I did return to the scene of that particular crime. Seems like I'm making a tradition of making one really stupid mistake with my rental car when I go back home for my reunions. This wasn't too bad though; I went back up and asked around and it turned out that the minister had jumper cables. A few other folks helped wheel my car out of the parking spot, the minister hooked up the cables, my car started on the first try and I said thank you and then set out to drive around for a while to recharge the battery.
Fortunately, if there's one place in Hawaii I know well enough to be totally comfortable just driving around randomly for an hour, it's the town where I grew up, and this actually fit it OK with my plans, which included a spin up Kaonohi St. to see my old neighborhood. I'd originally planned to park the car & walk around but instead I drove around, occasionally parking the car, with the motor on, to take pictures.
Nice view of Pearl Harbor from one of the condominium parking lots on Iho Place

Same view from higher up the ridge, corner of Kaonohi and Kahapili - 

Directly across the street from where I grew up. Can't show you the house where I grew up 'cause the folks who bought it from my folks tore it down to put in a bigger home.
Here's the place that my folks moved to from the old place. Still on Kaonohi St, which loops back on itself in a big backwards P shape, but a nicer place and higher on the hill, so with a better view. I almost didn't believe my folks when they said that 'cause the view from the old place was spectacular (part of why my folks bought it back in the 70's), but this place had the same view only continued on towards Diamond Head. Very very nice!

Next stop, since I still wanted to drive around a bit more, was to admire the watercress farm. Even more than Aiea Manapua and Snacks, this always feels like something that should've gotten gobbled up in the development stampede that started with Pearlridge Center phases 1 and 2 (2 was added when I was a kid) and continues relentlessly today (that's why I'm so happy to see those few old standbys from the 70's still here). Developers certainly wanted this land, the Pearlridge Center folks wanted Phase 3 to be right here, but the Sumidas, who'd been farming this land since the 1920s, fought it and managed to win. Click here for nice KITV News piece about the farm.

At this point I'd been driving around for pretty close to an hour, and although it had been a bit of a hassle having to go almost to Aiea to get my rental car, now it was excellent that the rental place was over there - I drove over there to turn off the car to see if I could then turn it on again. They were swamped with arrivals and the guy who came to see what I wanted was very cranky when I explained why I was there, but that was where I wanted to be before I turned the car off to see if it would start again - I did that, it worked, and I was on my way again.

Next stop was Aiea Bay - I'd read something about a bike and walking path that started there and I thought that might make a nice hike; couldn't find anything that looked promising until I was driving out, when I did spot it, but it looked like it didn't really travel the shoreline. Review had said something about being popular but a little on the unscenic side, plus it was kind of hot, so I decide to give it a pass this time.

I still had a couple of hours before I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner at Aiea Chop Suey (we'd agreed on there the night before when she asked me to pick; I was almost embarrassed to suggest Aiea Chop Suey because it's about as unfancy as you get, like all of my Aiea faves, but I'd forgotten that K. doesn't live too far from Aiea herself and she actually liked the idea, which absolutely made my day - it was really kind of sad going there by myself the last time I was home, so hard to pick one thing!). I was toying with the idea of heading up to the KeaŹ»iwa Heiau State Recreation Area in Aiea Heights - I'd done the loop trail the last time I was there and it was great, but it's always really muddy and I was wearing some shoes that I didn't want to wreck, but it's only the last bit of the trail that gets puddly and I was thinking I could just do the dry part & turn back - but as I was driving along considering my options, I saw a sign for the Pearl Harbor historical exhibits and made a snap decision to go there instead - not to see the Arizona Memorial this time (I've seen it before and it's a long wait to get on one of the tour boats), but to see the Bowfin Submarine Museum. My mom used to be involved there in some capacity and on a whim, I'd made a donation in my submariner dad's honor for Father's Day (never know what to get Dad for Father's Day), but I'd never actually been there.

And that's exactly what I did. I also went to the Aviation Museum on Ford Island; I didn't have enough time to visit the 3rd major exhibit that you can get to by bus there, which is of course the battleship Missouri - good to save something for next time.

The Aviation Museum is actually on Ford Island, in the middle of Pearl Harbor - going out there was interesting in itself as I'm actually not sure whether I've actually been there, unless it was maybe to go meet my dad's boat coming back from patrol (the crew switch would frequently happen on Guam, though, in which case we'd go welcome Dad back from sea at the Honolulu Airport, where the crew would always have to spend what seemed like an agonizingly long time behind frosted glass doors in customs). My dad would take the ferry to work there, and my folks may have attended some shindig or other at one of the officer's homes there, but there wasn't anything that you'd really take your kids to see, so it was actually pretty interesting to get on the shuttle bus and get driven around there. 

This was the only place where you were allowed to take pictures from the bus; this the memorial for the USS Oklahoma. One white stake for each sailor lost, lined up to represent sailors in their dress whites standing in formation on deck. 

The aviation museum is in a couple of old hangars there; one of them still has bullet holes in the windows left over from WWII. They don't know whether those are Japanese or American but they're still there. Interesting collection of planes, both military and civilian (including one of the civilian planes that was in the air at the time of the attack), all cared for by a group of restorers that must be kindred spirits to Floyd Bennett Field's Historic Aircraft Restoration Project. There was a special tour available where a docent tells you much more about the preservation and restoration efforts - I wish I'd had time for that, but again, good to have something new for my next visit, and I did want to make sure I made it to the submarine museum with enough time to see it. I did, but just barely - that's not just the Bowfin, that's a pretty comprehensive set of artifacts starting from the earliest submarines, on through the boats of my dad's era and then up to the present. Told the story well, and I think I will give that a post of its own tomorrow, since this is already plenty long for a blog post, and it's getting pretty late, and I'm running something at the club tomorrow. Closing with a few photos from the Aviation Museum:


clairesgarden said...

sounds busy busy, how lovely to be back on your home ground visiting.

bonnie said...

It was great! I wish I'd had a couple more days but I did manage to do most of the things I like to do when I'm there.