We finally got our power back after 9 days, and I have just got caught up on all my school work. Oy what a month. So the above photo is an overview of Honolulu from the top of Diamond Crater. Julie and I hiked up it on our first morning in town. It was really hot. The island of Oahu is amazing, except for all the people. It really illustrates how the tourist industry is adept at turning a beautiful place into an ugly mess. Don't get me wrong; there are plenty of unsullied beaches and beautiful drives and amazing vistas, yadda yadda yadda. But the urban development and masses of crowds in inappropriate places is especially jarring because of it.
That's the problem with being a critical tourist though. By definition there is a healthy dose of hypocrisy in such statements. If it weren't for the tourism industry, I'd be out of a hobby. I just wish that Americans could be less... crass and destructive about the whole thing. The below photo is of one of those secluded areas.
It's the place where Scott and Sarah almost got eaten by that wave from my last post, and also apparently the crash site from LOST is around there somewhere. But we didn't go looking for it because jesus, what a crap show that turned out to be.
Nice vista, baby! So mostly our trip to Oahu consisted of driving around and chatting with Scott and Sarah. But of course we also hit Pearl Harbor. Sarah's dad took us out there for the day. We went to see an airplane museum somewhere. I'm not really a fan of military museums, but airplanes are neat.
I just find the fetishizing of weaponry to be... odd. Don't misunderstand, I find certain aspects of military history and technology to be fascinating, but people who think America is great because we're awesome at killing people is a strange consequence of our national identity.
Pearl Harbor is odd that way all around. There was a lot of self-righteousness about our getting attacked there, and it was definitely a horrendously sneaky and duplicitous attack on the part of the Japanese. But we act as though it were totally unprovoked, as though we would never do the same, and as though we were totally innocent bystanders of WWII up until that point.
The fact is, we were economically meddling in world affairs and the Japanese knew they had to take us out of the game if they were to solidify their hold on certain resources that they needed. There are other reasons that are wrapped up in various forms of Nationalism and Japanese Identity, but that was the economic reality. That doesn't make us right or wrong to be outraged, it simply means that it was a world war, and tactics demand certain actions.
We ourselves bombed the shit out of civilian areas of Dresden, Germany later in the war with similarly vague justifications. I find it morally dubious to "never forget" Pearl Harbor and 9/11, apparently unjustified attacks against us, while there are no such sloagans in the US for Dresden or Nagasaki, apparently unjustified attacks in which we were the immoral aggressor. The above and below pictures are of the sunken USS Arizona.
Bubbles of oil still percolate to the surface from the ship. I tried to photograph one but really, a zoom of a little black ball-bearing in green water is a bit dull. Here's the floating memorial for the Arizona that they boat you out to. As far as memorials go, it's a pretty nice one actually.
The other major event from our Oahu portion of the trip was scuba diving. Scott and Sarah are Dive Masters, I have my Open Water Diver and have scuba dived (dove?) in Germany, Croatia, Thailand, Florida, and Guantenemo Bay, Cuba. Julie, however, had never done it before and so scuba was a must on the bucket list. Sarah hooked us up with a dive shop in Waikiki.
The dive itself wasn't the most amazing dive I've ever been on, but it was still pretty sweet and it was fun to see Julie flop around under water during the very normal adjustment period. She attacked it with courage and aplomb however, and by the end of the day was pretty damn good at it.
Tandem Scuba. We saw sea turtles, but Sarah didn't have the camera down on that dive. It was cool though, it was a turtle cleaning station, where they go to hang out and let fish eat accumulated gunk off of their shells. It was pretty.
The thing about posing for pictures whilst scuba-diving: don't exhale! Ah well. Live and learn. Scott's like a zen scuba master down there on the left. So that's all I really got on Oahau. It was a lot of fun and of course it was great to hang out with my friend after not seeing him for like, 5 years now. Hopefully it won't be another 5 years.
It was Julie and my 2nd anniversary while we were there, and I had some spare miles still so we used them to take a quick 2 day trip over to another Hawaiian island before heading home. Next post: Maui!