Hawaii 2013: Day 4, Iolani Palace and Foster Botanical Garden


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The Iolani Palace.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Woke up at 6:45am.  As usual, it is sunny and warm here in Hawaii!

I took a shower, made some coffee, and worked on the blog.  You may have noticed that yesterday’s entry had a lot of pictures!    Two and a half hours later, I have a blog for my DH to review.   I post the thing and we begin our fourth day in Hawaii.

Today we take the bus to see the Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy.  The guide books say that it “is a marvel of opulence, innovation, and political intrigue” – how can we resist that!

We catch the #2 bus to go to downtown Honolulu.  It is Saturday and the bus is empty much to our surprise.   My DH has found an ingenious way to determine when to get off the bus — he uses the GPS on his iPhone.   He plugs in the address of the Iolani Palace (which shows up as a push-pin on the screen) and the bus becomes a pulsating blue dot.   As the pulsating blue dot (the bus) approaches the street of the push-pin (in the case, the Iolani Palace), we get off the bus.   Told you he was ingenious!

Only so many people can enter the palace at a time, thus we are given an entry of 12:30pm – an hour later than our arrival.   To kill the time, we walk around the grounds.    This place is surrounded by government offices like the State Building and Hall of Justice. Here are some pictures:

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The Banyan Tree next to the palace. As the aerial roots descend and attach to the ground, the tree actually grows larger in circumference. Entire villages of people used to live under these trees.

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The famous King Kamehameha statue in from of the Hall of Justice.

With at least 40 minutes to spare before our tour of the palace begins, we decide to scope out a restaurant for lunch.   Again, the mighty iPhone guides us downtown to a highly rated noodle place.  We walk to the noodle place and check out the menu.   While we read the menu, a gentleman starts reading the menu too and starts to talk to us about Chinese food.   He is a guy our age in a casual Hawaiian shirt, a noticeable limp, and bad teeth.   As the conversation continues, we find out that he moved to Hawaii a year ago from Arizona.   He tells us that he loves Hawaii and says we should move here.  My practical DH says “But it is very expensive here.”   Our new friend says “No it’s not.   I live in a high-rise in Waikiki, there are associations that will help you pay your rent .”  To be fair to our new friend, he did have a bad limp so I assume he was on some sort of state/federal assistance.

The time of our tour was approaching so my DH, I, and our new friend start walking down the street.  He is telling us how nice it is to live in Hawaii and about how safe it is.   As we turn the corner, we see a group of people hanging out at the corner at the end of the street.  There are two men yelling at each other!   The tall thin one is egging on the tall thick guy to fight!   As he yells “Come on, let’s do this!”  he walks backward into the street with traffic going by.   The tall thick (and intelligent) guy says “Forget it!  I’m not fighting in the street!”  The tall thin guy calls him a “chicken”.   My DH, I, and our friend weave our way through the crowd and begin to across the street as the signal light blinks WALK.   Just then, a tall thin woman starts crossing the street screaming obscenities.  She too has bad teeth, but her scrawny dog’s teeth are perfect as it leaps to and fro off the end of its leash!

So, what happened?   We (including our friend) cross the street without incident.   As we walk away, we see two police cars screeching by to take care of the situation.  We say goodbye to our friend who wishes us a “good day.”

Hmmmm…  You would think that with this cast of characters something more dramatic would happen.

We toured the Iolani Palace at our appointed time.    This state treasure has been meticulously restored to its former grandeur and tells of a time when their Majesties, King Kalākaua (who built it in 1882) and his sister and successor, Queen Lili‘uokalani, walked its celebrated halls.  Here are some pictures:

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Waiting for our tour to begin.

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To protect the floors of the palace, we all were blue booties.

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The Blue Room.

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The Dining Room.

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The Library.

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The Throne Room. Hawaii is the only state in the Union to have had a monarchy.

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The Music Room, my favorite room! The yellows and golds in this room remind me of Hawaiian sunshine.

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Love the carpet!

After the palace, we decide to take a safer street to the noodle house and enjoy tasty Chinese noodles with tofu in spicy sauces.   If we hadn’t been so hungry, we would have remembered to take pictures of our dishes, sorry.

After lunch, we decide to go to the Foster Botanical Garden because we like botanical gardens.   This garden has amazingly big trees!   Here are some pictures:

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The trees here are very big and very old.

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Lots of big trees!

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My DH finds a green lizard licking a flower!

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I find lovely flowers!

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We find a Cannonball tree.

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Did you ever wonder where peppercorns come from? They come from a vine that grows up the trucks of trees. After being picked, the berries are dried and roasted and become black. I thought you should know…

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I don’t know what plant this is but the leaves are huge! This picture will make a nice watercolor painting!

After the gardens, we caught the bus back to Waikiki.  This time the bus is packed!  Apparently lots of people go into Waikiki and few leave on a weekend.   By the time we arrived at Lewers Street, the SPAM Jam is in full swing!    This is a festival that celebrates all things SPAM!

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SPAM is popular in Hawaii. During WWII it was the only protein available to the Hawaiian population.

We were back at the hotel by 6:30pm.  My DH took a nap, I worked on the blog.   At 8:30pm, we went out to find dinner.   We decided against participating in the SPAM feeding frenzy on the street because we can get SPAM anytime and anywhere – we’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and there are only two foods that interest me tonight – fish and/or pork!

After consultation with Yelp, we decided on the Blue Water Fish and Shrimp Market, one of the many eateries in the International Marketplace.  Boy oh boy – the food was good even though the atmosphere was far from elegant!   I had the ribs and shrimp, my DH had the pink snapper!   Both meals were excellent!  Yep, I decided against SPAM because we can eat that any time.

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Located in the food court of the International Market.

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The shrimp is tender and flavorful. The ribs are cooked perfectly tender and moist.

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My DH ordered the pink snapper — it was excellent!

By 10pm we were back at the hotel.   It was a nice day and we saw many interesting things.  Tomorrow will be an early day for us aswe have an appointment with the USS Arizona.

Quote of the day:   “If this was Chicago, they would have guns!” – Our new friend

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