One night we drove through Wakiki – which is a part of Honolulu best known for its beaches. But Wakiki is also an area of city lights, upscale stores – think Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
The night we drove through the area, the roads were semi-empty because some of them were blocked off for a festival. However, the sidewalks were packed with people. I mean, we kind of wondered how they could walk there were so many of them. You can’t really tell from the video because a lot of the people were back off the sidewalks a little – but one corner must’ve had 500 people standing on it.
I didn’t get a great picture since I took it out of the car window at night – but the red and blue building is the Aloha Tower which is actually a lighthouse that can be seen 15 miles from shore, an iconic symbol of Hawaii.
Some people say that like the Statue of Liberty welcomes people on the East Coast, so the Aloha Tower welcomes people into Hawaii.
The tower was built in 1926 and up into the 60s was the tallest building on the islands. Now, it is being redeveloped by the Hawaii Pacific University as a residence hall.
(Ok, interesting sidenote – Honolulu ranks seventh as US cities with most high rises.)
During World War II, the military protected the tower and in fact, painted it in camouflage colors and turned off the light so it could not be seen. Finally, in the late 40s it was sandblasted back to its original color.
One of the iconic trees in the Hawaii landscape, is the monkey pod tree. The branches stretch forever (so it seems).
But remember how I’ve been saying that I’m only seeing alien birds? Well, some people are saying that monkey pod trees are alien (or invasive) plants and even though they’ve been there years and years and years … some are making an effort to get rid of them. Honolulu itself is saying “no more invasive plants.” However, no one is cutting them down, just not replacing ones that die. Other people see them vital to Hawaii’s scenery and don’t want them touched.
I have no idea. I am just the messenger of something I’ve read in several places.
For now, they’re happily growing on the Hawaiian Islands
Here is one we saw. Even before I knew anything about the monkey pod tree, this tree(s) caught my attention and I took its picture.
The night we went over to the resort area, we ate a very cool restaurant called the Monkey Pod Kitchen. We ate on the patio as spotted doves danced around our feet and looked for handouts.
And we ate watermelon pizza. Truly. The pizza was good! I’d get it again!
I remember attending a conference at DisneyWorld. The shuttle picked us up at the airport and took us right to our hotel complex. We never saw anything outside of the magical world of Mickey. Since I had been to Florida (and DisneyWorld) before, that was fine for the conference visit, but kind of limiting to someone who hadn’t been to the South.
You can do the same in Oahu. A shuttle will pick you up at the airport and deliver you to the Disney (and other hotels in the resort area) and then take you back when your stay is over.
One night we went over to the resort area and walked down to the beach. Although the resort areas are closed off to the public – the beach is public and they have a path that you can follow to the public area.
After dining on shrimp as we listened to the roosters crow, the pigeons coo, and watched the cats wait for their dinner, we headed up to Keana Point State Park.
Part of the park was closed to cars because of the recent flooding, (won’t be open again until 2019), but there was still a lot to see as we watched the sun go down over the Pacific. The closer it got to the sunset hour, the more people showed up, but still, compared to other areas we visited, there weren’t that many people around.
The point was beautiful and I could have sat there for hours just watching the play of the sun on the water.
Plus, I got my first glimpse of a red-crested cardinal! In my research on birds I might see in Hawaii, this one was often mentioned and I liked its coloring. The cardinal, however, is not a cardinal, but a tanager. And, like all the birds I saw, this one is also an alien – from South America.
I remember when we went to Israel, I was surprised to see cats everywhere.
Well, in Hawaii – it’s chickens or if you want to be precise – red jungle fowl.
They are everywhere – thousands of them. They crow constantly, not even waiting for dawn.
The island has had programs where police would capture the chickens, but the programs haven’t worked and they simply keep multiplying. With all the feral chickens I saw, I can’t believe this is the only picture I got and it’s not even a good one. This one was at the shrimp truck.
I think my absolute favorite sighting was when we were in the McDonald’s drive-thru line one morning – to get Egg McMuffins. Think of the resulting ad campaign they could create!!!
Oh yeah, not only chickens, but speed bumps. Everywhere! So my takeaway from Hawaii – speed bumps and roosters.