Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Oahu, Hawaii {Day 3}

Here's one thing you can always bet on... If there is a royal palace anywhere near me, I will find it!

It turns out that the only royal palace in the United States just happens to be on Oahu, so I couldn't let a trip to Oahu happen, without a visit to Iolani Palace.
Iolani Palace was built in 1882 by King Kalakaua.  It is a National Historic Landmark located in downtown Honolulu.
The flag draping is not the norm, but was in celebration of King Kalakaua's birthday.
The bunting that you see is copied from photos so that it replicates the way the palace looked for the King's Birthday Jubilee in 1886.  The three flags flying over the palace (which are difficult to see in any of the pics, because there was no wind), have not all flown over the palace before.

One is the Hawaii National Flag, the State flag, and the King's personal standard.
This is the first floor and the staircase...
On both sides of the entry hall, there is beautiful etched glass with the royal seal.
This is the dining room...
(iphone pic below)
This is looking out from the landing on the 2nd floor over the balcony...
The stained glass in the dome...
The Queen's bedroom (iPhone pic again)...
Apparently the palace was very modern and had bathrooms (again iPhone pic)...
This is the throne room (iPhone pic)...
A better, real camera pic...

This was an interesting tree located behind the palace.  Once the royal family was done away with, the palace was used for government offices.  Today, the state capitol building is located right behind the palace, and you can see it in the background behind the tree.

I crossed the street to go see the King Kamehameha I statue which is located in front of the Aliiolaui Hale, which is the Hawaiian Supreme Court building.
As a side note, I think this building is well known because it is used in the filming of the television show, Hawaii Five-0, as the city hall (or something).
King Kamehameha I is the king and warrior who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 (press pause until the next post, when I will show you how he did that).

After leaving downtown Honolulu, I headed toward the Diamond Head crater area.  I made a stop in Waikiki on the way.  I had been in the area for several days, but had not actually seen Waikiki Beach.

I walked out on that jetty, and the water was so clear, you could see all the different fish swimming around.
See!  No need for snorkel gear!

As I was leaving, I found a statute of one of the Queens.  But I couldn't dally, I had places to be...
And that place was the television set of Hawaii Five-O!
To be fully transparent, I had actually never seen an episode (I said had...I have now seen an episode!), and given how much television I watch, that is really remarkable.  One of the people I was in Hawaii meeting, works for the show, and arranged for me to visit the set.  It's not your typical Hawaiian vacation activity, but who knows if I'll ever get the chance to visit a television set again!
This is "the office" of the lead character, Detective Steve McGarrett.
We got to see all around, and I have lots of pics that I can't share because they are of props and things from shows that haven't aired yet.  This is the wardrobe room, where they store all the outfits (and copies of outfits) that people wear on the show.
This is what is left of the original Five-O Stage 
After I got to have an wonderful lunch provided by catering on the set, I got to take the cast and crew van to where they were shooting for the afternoon.  It was super cool.  I got to sit behind the directors and EP in my own little "director's chair" and watch the scenes being filmed.  I had earphones on so that I could hear the dialogue.  (I've blurred out the screen images there because I don't want to get in trouble for giving away any future episode secrets!)
When the cameras were being reset, Alex O'Loughlin, who plays that lead character Steve McGarrett, came in to meet me.  He was really nice and took a picture too.

The person who was giving the tour kept asking "what do you want to see?, what do you want to do?" and I always replied "whatever you want to show me".  At the end of the day, she said "you have been the most laid back visitor I have every brought to the studio, and you have lucked out and gotten more access to people on the show than anyone I've every brought!".  

It was a fun experience and definitely not something I ever expected.  I have since watched an episode (it's good!).  I enjoyed seeing all of the sets that I saw on the tour (I spared y'all and didn't show you all of my pics), and I can't wait to see the episode that I saw them filming.  

Stay tuned...more from my last full day in Hawaii coming up!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Oahu, Hawaii {Day 2}

I started the day heading to a restaurant I had read about.  They have these famous pancakes.   Oh.  My.  Gosh!  It was totally worth the trip!  The restaurant is called Boots & Kimo's...

and these are the banana pancakes with macadamia nut sauce...

After breakfast I had to work for a bit, but as I drove to where the work was, I took in the sights.  It's funny because when you drive around Hawaii at night, it kind of looks like a dump.  Seriously...ghetto-ville.  But when you drive around in the daytime, every single direction you look, is an amazing view...

There was a beach I had wanted to see, and I happened to drive by on the way to work, so I stopped and took in the sights.

After I was done with work, I spent a couple of hours that afternoon touring Pearl Harbor.  It's a must see spot if you are visiting Oahu.  

This symbol is known as a Tree of Life, and it is a continuous theme throughout the memorial.
This mural depicts the attacks...

The draft of FDR's famous speech to Congress

The oil that still bubbles up from the USS Arizona

After leaving Pearl Harbor, it was time to head to the Polynesian Cultural Center for a luau.  I had selected the luau at the PCC because it got great reviews.  The downside, is that it's over an 1 hour and 15 minutes away from both PH and Waikiki.  The upside is that the drive there went right by the Dole Plantation, so a prime opportunity for Dole Whip Float #2!  

The lei I received at the PCC luau
I didn't have time to get to the PCC early enough to enjoy all the sights.  I think that would have been a real benefit to doing the PCC luau.  I pretty much got there right when they were seating us for the luau.
The pig that we were about to eat...

After the luau, I went to a 4D Imax about the Islands.  It was pretty cool.  Then there was a show called "Ha...Breath of Life".  I stayed until intermission.  I wasn't really following the story of the show, and was tired, so I decided to start making the trek back to Waikiki toward the hotel.  I did the luau because I felt like I should since I was in Hawaii.  It was fine, but I didn't love it.  Everyone was too cheerful.  (That makes me sound like a total curmudgeon, but it is true).  I just don't go for all that fake enthusiasm.  It irritates me.  (Again, total curmudgeon)  If I had it to do over, I would probably just do one down at the hotels in Waikiki, unless I had the time to devote the whole afternoon to the Polynesian Cultural Center.  

Stay tuned for Day 3 of #KaraGoesToHawaii


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