Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Frugal Bastard's Hawaii 2007 Trip - 21/5/07

Bit slow to get going this morning as we had to pack ready to fly to Kauai. Stored our luggage downstairs and caught TheBus to Ala Moana Center for Miky to go shopping and Yu-Jin and I continued on to Pearl Harbor. Purchased Explorer's Tour tickets for the USS Missouri as the Captain's Tour, which I had a discount voucher for, was too late in the day and we would have missed our flight. No backpacks, fanny packs, handbags, bags, etc are allowed and these items had to be checked in. Then you get taken over by bus to the USS Missouri. And guess who we sat next to on the bus - the Australian couple we had bumped into in Sears yesterday. It's a small world.

USS Arizona Memorial.

She's a big ship. Josh, our tour guide, was a Hawaiian who also took Japanese tours. There are 16" guns onboard and a group photo was taken in front of them. The 16" guns can fire a shell a distance of 23 miles (37 kms) with pinpoint accuracy and they required some 1800 pounds (850 kgs) of explosives to launch. We viewed the officers' mess (also known as the wardroom - so called because the big tables were used as an operating ward as they were centrally located on the ship), sleeping quarters, control room, deck where a kamikaze pilot struck the ship, inside No. 3 turret (where 110 men worked), the Truman line (so called because President Truman lined up with the men instead of pulling rank) for the canteen for ice cream and on deck where the Japanese surrendered. Fabulous tour.

USS Missouri's big bombs

USS Missouri's 16 inch gusn.

USS Missouri's upper decks.

USS Missouri's 16 inch guns up close.

USS Missouri's gun on deck.

USS Arizona Memorial from the deck of the USS Missouri.

Chief Engineer's room.

Wardroom operating table.

USS Missouri's sleeping quarters.

Even the vending machine has a theme.

Kamikaze pilot's damage.

Million dollar Tomahawk cruise missile.

Radio and comms room.

More of the radio and comms room.

USS Missouri's control room equipment.

The guy in control of the USS Missouri's control room.

USS Missouri's war decorations.

Site of the Japanese surrender in World War Two.

The kamikaze pilot was given a full military honours funeral even though the crewmen just wanted to dump his body overboard. Reason being was that the pilot had done his job and successfully evaded all the men onboard whose job it was to shoot him down. Although his bomb had fallen off as the plane struck the ship it went in the other direction and didn't explode.

When the Japanese surrendered the USS Missouri was anchored in Tokyo Bay - enemy territory. The guns were all aimed at Tokyo as nobody knew if the Japanese would really surrender and they had to have a bargaining chip so that the Japanese upheld their part of the deal.

Caught the bus back to the USS Bowfin to collect our checked baggage and just started eating an apple when TheBus arrived. Although I knew that it went to the airport and added 20 minutes to the journey I didn't want to wait for a #42 bus and so took it, the #20 that is. One and a half hours later we arrived at the hotel and only 10 minutes before Miky did. I was glad to see that she had bought something for tea as we hadn't managed to have lunch.

Grabbed our belongings and went to hail a taxi. I was unable to do so and asked the hotel and they called one for me. Our Vietnamese driver had better English skills than most Vietnamese in Australia. It was peak hour and the road to the airport was really busy. Our driver went in the on-ramp lanes, down a side street, did a three-point turn instead of a U-turn (bloke in front of us did a U-turn and got pulled over by the police to receive a US$100 fine, one demerit point and a day in court) to get back onto the highway. Man, it was busy. But our driver got us to the airport in time. I gave him US$50 for the US$34 fare and he gave me US$10 change. I couldn't argue about the US$6 tip considering how he got us there.

Quick flight to Lihue, Kauai. Yu-Jin was enjoying playing and didn't appreciate the disruption of us coming in to land. He wanted a longer flight. There was nobody at the Dollar car rental but the courtesy driver said to come with him if I wanted to hire a car. I'd had a look on the Internet before leaving Australia and a compact car would set me back US$26 or I could get it as low as US$24.61. Hadn't booked it before arriving however.

There was nothing small available to rent for less than US$92/day but they had lots of minivans for US$60/day which we had to settle for. Then we you put the loss damage waiver insurance of US$19.99/day , the supplemental liability insurance of US$12.99/day, the general excise tax of 4.166%, the ConPermit(?) fee of 8.1%, the rental vehicle surcharge (applicable to non-residents, I think) of US$3/day and the vehicle license fee of US$0.31/day you arrive at US$319.01 in charges for three days car hire. Not bad, eh? Considering that it would be impossible to get around Kauai without a car I wasn't left with a great deal of choice. I was thinking that I should have taken up our hotel's package offer to include a car for an extra US$30/day.

Our hotel, the Aloha Beach Hotel Kauai, was easy to find. We drove to a restaurant area nearby but couldn't find anything that we liked, even the shop/market staff were very unhelpful and lacking in goods, so we drove into Lihue and a found a 7Eleven and bought some food. Had ourselves a meal back at the hotel.

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