Thursday, October 9, 2008
Aloha! Honeymooning in paradise
Aloha! I’ve been honeymooning in Hawaii and for those of you who have never been and those of you who have, come along and enjoy this delightful trip. I married Ira Ervin Shipp just three short weeks ago and neither of us had ever been to Hawaii before. Hawaii is a long way from Mississippi. We flew from Memphis to Atlanta, then few non-stop to Honolulu, the capital city of Hawaii. That’s a miracle in itself. It took us nine hours of flying time. I asked the stewardess to ask the pilot how many gallons of gas it took. She said, “A lot!” and then answered that they didn’t buy it in gallons. We left early Monday morning, after crossing several time zones, and arrived in Honolulu on Tuesday morning where a new day was beginning and everyone was fresh and ready except for me and Ira.
Hawaii is brimming over with big flowers of all descriptions. I was shocked at all the mountains When you first arrive you are presented a lei of orchids for your neck and the greeters are saying “Aloha,” which means welcome. The biggest industry in Hawaii is tourism and all the streets are lined with coconut palms and no coconuts on them as that would be dangerous to the visitors. Everything is geared toward tourism. The food in Hawaii is utterly delicious and a lot of it Oriental and a lot of it is pineapple which is served at every meal. Hawaii is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 2,500 miles from San Francisco and 2,500 miles from Japan.
We walked on the beach at Waikiki, swam in the ocean and had lunch under the Banyan tree where Robert Lewis Stephenson sat and wrote The Banyan Tree. One night we had dinner on a huge ship that had the hula-hula girls and boys. Another night we went to a luau on the beach and again saw the hula-hulas, all of them gorgeous and I am sure they were professional dancers because they were go great. We went to Pearl Harbor as number one on our sight-seeing trip, as Ira is a World War II veteran. We left the hotel at six in the morning, then had to stand in line for two or three hours in the sun with no place to sit (no breakfast, no water). The memorial was built over the top of the “Arizona” which was sunk to the bottom on Dec. 7, 1941. The crowds were mostly Asia and we were jammed on there. After we left the memorial we went aboard the battleship “Missouri,” where the crowds were still thick. The “Missouri,” which President Truman chose for this important mission, is where the peace treaty of World War II was signed by General McArthur and the emperor of Japan, Hirohito, ending the fighting. The “Missouri” is 887 feet long and is 332 feet longer than the Washington Monument. It was the most historic place in the world at that time. The “Missouri” had six or eight floors with stairways which were ladders connecting them. At the fifth level, the guide was on a bridge overhead and I looked up and said, “Hey, can we meet you up there?” He wheeled around like he was the drill sergeant and said to me in a scowling tone, “Did you call me hey?” Then in my soft Southern drawl I said, “Please suh?” We didn’t go up.
The hotel resort where we stayed was on the east end of the island. It is where all the movie stars, presidents and everybody stays when they come to Hawaii. It had its own private section of beach on that blue ocean. It had a waterfall cascading from the island rocks and six small pools right beside the hotel representing the islands that make up Hawaii. Two of the pools had trained dolphins in them and they, on command, would out of the water and do a somersault in the air or stand nose down in the pool and wave their tails at you. Their tricks were amazing. The trainer would point the direction for the dolphins to go and they would obey immediately. In another pool were gigantic turtles and in another was a huge manta ray. There were several places to eat attached to the beach and there were doves fluttering around wanting food. They wanted to eat your breakfast with you there at the table. The hotel had a pool and wading pools. It had a gazebo by the ocean where people came to get married.
We saw Japanese brides every day. The whole family and friends fly over from Japan and buy everything in Hawaii. Then immediately afterward all of them go shopping as prices in Japan are much higher than Hawaii. (The prices were still high to me in Hawaii). The wind and the sea were hard on my hair so I went to the beauty parlor there in the hotel and a set (only) cost $67.82! Of course, there probably are no repeat customers.
We took a trip up to the north part of the island and that’s where the high waves hit the shore. A lot of movies are made there including Debra Kerr in her famous love scene with Burt Lancaster in “From Here to Eternity.” In the last 50 years they have cut tunnels through the little mountains so it is easier to get around the island and the restaurants up there cater to the tourists and are really good.
We toured the Governor’s Palace in the heart of Honolulu. It’s the only palace in America and is a Victorian mansion dating back to 1875. It was square, three-story and the rooms inside were 30x30. All the corners are four round rooms. In the cellar they have a gift shop. One of the restaurants connected to the hotel was called “Tokyo, Tokyo” and they served food on magnolia leaves. I didn’t try to eat them. The hotel lobby was gigantic and fun. People from all over the world were passing through. Maybe Japanese owned the hotel as all the help was Japanese.
We visited the art museum which had a sign on it that it was given by Four Star General and Mrs. Alexander M. Haig Jr. General Haig also served as the United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and as White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. His museum was Oriental and modern art. When you go to Hawaii take comfortable shoes and easy clothes as everybody is casual. Coming home after the boat trip was the only time we were in a big bus (it held 55 people). The bus was filled to capacity and we were the only people who weren’t Asian.
The airplanes both were Boeing 767s that held 300 people. They served gourmet food, too. Each time they served steak for one meal. There wasn’t a vacant seat coming or going.
Ira and I held up really good. The jet-lag was worse than the “Vapors.” All the events we attended took a lot of stamina. Our hotel was on the eighth floor with a balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We would have breakfast on the balcony. I asked the concierge if a church was nearby for this hotel who had everything. He said “There is a Buddhist Temple right there.” I said, “No, a Christian church.” He said, “There is a Catholic church two blocks east but you have to walk across six lanes of the speedway,” so I figured the Lord didn’t want to risk losing us on the freeway.
Our days are getting shorter here at the Square Museum, so make plans to visit us soon. We want to see you and your friends and family here, 111 Van Dorn Ave, 662-252-3669, www.mchmuseum.org or e-mail us at email@example.com
WKRA 1110 AM on your dial has a tower now and is up and running. Swanee’s Good News Happy Hour this week will be on Thurs., Oct. 9 from 3 to 4 p.m. and then repeated again on Sat., Oct. 11 from 10 to 11 a.m. Tune in and don’t miss us!
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