Friday, July 15, 2011

Pearl Harbor and the Honolulu Swap Meet

K and I spent all day Saturday nursing a sunburn in the shade by the pool, but were feeling better by that evening, so we decided to go to Pearl Harbor on Sunday morning. Part of me didn't want to go, because sometimes going to a museum feels like work, but I am glad we went. Because we were on a budget, we decided not to go to the parts that you had to pay for, like the Bowfin submarine, the Battleship Missouri memorial, and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Also, I am kind of claustrophobic, in a way that makes the thought of going on a submarine intensely terrifying. The Pearl Harbor museum is free, and so is the USS Arizona memorial, so we just did that part.
The museum was pretty cool. They hand out free timed tickets to the memorial, on a first come-first served basis. We got there early enough that we got a fairly early appointment to go to the Arizona, so we had the perfect amount of time to go through the museum, which was pretty interesting. Pearl Harbor is still a functioning naval base, so while the Parks Department runs the museum, the Navy runs the boat that goes between the south side of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona memorial, which is part of the base. The ship below was sitting at anchor just west of the memorial. The white thing floating in the water is the farthest tip of the Arizona.
 One of the things that kind of clicked for me while going through the museum and watching the video was that World War II was the war when the aircraft carrier became more important than the battleship. One of the reasons that this bombing was so destructive was that the ships were anchored in pairs right next to each other. The mooring posts are still there in the harbor, and the closeness of this one to the wreck of the Arizona shows how close she sank.
The Arizona is really close to the surface...I think the harbor is only 45 feet deep. This is actually one of the reasons the US thought that the harbor was safe from torpedoes, which were unable to detonate correctly in water that shallow. The Japanese modified their torpedoes with wooden fins, allowing them to dive to a depth of only 40 feet, then rise to a depth of 10 feet before exploding. Combine the shallow harbor with the clear water and it explains the tropical fish swimming all around the wreck.  
 This statue, called The Tree of Life, is by the museum, and the shape is echoed in the top of the Arizona memorial in the harbor.
 Normally, I'm not big on flag pictures or rarmpant patriotism, but I do think this flag picture turned out pretty cool and the museum wasn't as western-slanted as I was expecting, which was a nice surprise. They had a nice balance between life in Japan in the 1930s and life in the US in the 1930s and were pretty neutral about almost everything, including getting primary source information from all sides concerned. It was a well done museum, in my mind.  
After Pearl Harbor, we went to the Honolulu swap meet at Aloha Stadium. This was one of our best decisions in Hawaii, it was really awesome and it is where we got all of our souvenirs. It was MASSIVE, with fantastic deals on everything. We weren't there super long, maybe 2 hours, but if it hadn't been so hot and we weren't still dealing with being sunburned, we would have stayed longer. It is definitely a morning activity if you can manage it. I spent less than $40 and got all my souvenirs as well as some things for me.
Because of the traffic around Honolulu (awful) and the driving habits we encountered (interesting, to put it mildly), we didn't spend a lot of time driving around Honolulu, but these two things were definitely worth it and I would recommend both activities, although not perhaps, for kids.

1 comment:

Pseudo said...

Whenever I have a contest on my blog and give away Hawaiian goodies, I mostly pick them up from the swap meet. I'm glad you two discovered it!