Uncategorized USA

A letter to Honolulu, Hawaii

Dear Honolulu,

I’m sorry. I had every intention of giving you the proper credit you deserved, but somehow it got to be my last day with only hours to go until my flight back to the mainland. And so that “proper credit” turned into a fly-by. While you seemed incredibly interesting and historic a place from all that I had read on you prior to going, when one hears the word Hawaii they think of this:

They don’t want to think of this-urban sprawl at its worse, a concrete playground if you will:

And yet, that’s what you have, urban sprawl, concrete buildings, the whole metropolitan nine yards. You are after all a city home to nearly 400,000 people on an extremely small amount of land.

Although I had wanted to check out a lot of your sights-a walk through Chinatown, perhaps some malasadas from a local bakery, the one sight I didn’t want to miss was this:

Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on American soil. Unfortunately, I underestimated the Bus, your public bus system. While cheap and convenient, they are anything but fast and efficient. Not to mention that I have rode my fair share of public buses around the world, but never before had I been on one in which every…stop…was…requested. So not only was the ride anything but quick, it was mildly painful. A less than a 10 mile trip was almost a 50 minute ride. We arrived at Iolani with me worrying that we wouldn’t get back in time before the cab to the airport was supposed to come.

The grounds were nice but I’m sure it was a lot more spectacular on the inside. I had read that Iolani had electricity even before the White House did which is very impressive.

The palace’s bandstand

Not being able to go inside was one of those disappointments I know I’m going to stew at for a while since you’re obviously not a quick plane ride away. Iolani only offered guided tours so we could’t have done a rushed self-guided tour even if we had wanted.

But thankfully you have a sight nearby that we had always wanted to see-the statue of King Kamehameha the Great outside of the Hawaii Five-0 headquarters (I kid about this, the tv show’s headquarters is really Ali’iolani Hale which is currently the home of the Hawaii Supreme Court. Although it’s cheesy, it was still exciting to see this statue that we’ve seen for years in the show’s credits.

And then Honolulu, we walked over to your state’s capitol. Forgive me, but I wasn’t impressed by your building. It reminded me too much of my college library, a child of the 60s if you will. I guess I had always (incorrectly assumed) that all state capitols have the same look including the impressive rotunda. No Honolulu, being the last state and all, you definitely beat to your own drum.

But then there was Father Damien, a true saint if there was ever one. I didn’t make it to Molokai this time around and actually wouldn’t have been able to with the pompous government shutdown, but one day I still hope to.

Honolulu-I’m sorry things didn’t work out between us. I’m not sure when I’ll be back, it is a bit far and all from where I am, but when I do, I promise to do things right. Not many state capitals can boast the many impressive features that you can. But until then, aloha.

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