Honolulu is the capital state of the wonderful Hawaii, a name that’s already drawn on your head as an exotic island with its Hula and Polynesian Dance, and Fruit Punch, and Beach, and Hibiscus, and maybe Pearl Harbor.
I experienced a well-ordered city while I was in Honolulu, the government was able to make the Relaxed-Happy-Slow-and-Cool Coconut Trees to be friend with the Hard-Solid-Big-and-Modern Road. Everything seemed like they have been put in order. Although I sweated a lot, the weather was neither that moist nor polluted. I could feel a great tropical-sunshine and warm-breezy wind that beckon me to hop on my bike and start discovering the city!
I went around downtown and spotted some historical icons such as the Capitol District and the statue of King Kamehameha I. He is the first king of Polynesia who ruled the archipelago of Hawaii. Don’t blame yourself if for a second you remembered Kamesennin from “Dragon Ball” story, alone yet controls his own little island, because so did Kamehameha I. The downtown of Honolulu now was a place where Kamehameha I built his seat of government.
There are also Ala Moana “the world’s largest open air shopping center”, University of Hawaii, museums, art centers, and Aloha Tower. This tower is located near the main harbor where every ships that are disembarking are welcomed. Aloha Tower has been the highest building in Hawaii for several years, before First Hawaiian Center was built and defeated its record. Besides all of those places, you may enjoy numerous hotels and nightlife opportunities in the neighborhood of Waikiki tourist district.
After pleasing myself with sight-seeing, I visited some local bars which scattered in every corners of the town below the shady green trees. Every bar has its own unique vibrance, distinctive interior, yet full of ethnic touch. I fixed my eyes to a bar with a chubby man wearing sunglasses and green woven hat on its signage, which was called Coconut Willy’s Bar & Grill. Back then it’s still located on Beachwalk in Waikiki, before its relocation to former Hard Rock Cafe building on Kapiolani Boulevard. I refreshed my energy with a glass of tropical cocktail, prepared my body that couldn’t take any (of the heat) longer to plunge into the blue sea-water.
If you are the type of person who enjoys dynamic vibe in the middle of crowds, then you are welcomed to join me in Waikiki Beach. A beautiful beach that is surrounded by its never-ending activities, and people that keeps on arriving and departing, like the nice waves that wouldn’t stop flowing. Lights from the sky-building became the source of ray replacing the sun that had already set, first-class eateries to be chosen, a queue of shops that still allows you to pick your favorite goods even though the hour hand has pointed to 10 o’clock, and in the end you were free to just lay on the white sand while listening to the music played from the bars around.
I started riding my bike again the next morning, since Honolulu has a great transportation service, I could easily put my bike in a rack in front of the bus, this way i can still take my bike everywhere with a bus. I did that on my way to the infamous Pearl Harbor. After 20 minutes bus ride from Honolulu, I arrived in the USS Arizona Memorial, monument and museum of commemoration when Japan hit Pearl Harbor. USS Arizona is the biggest mother ship in Pearl Harbor that sank together with other American battleships on World War II. Now, the wreck of this historical ship still stay silent below the deep sea, and while above sea level on top of the USS Arizona, the memorial was built. If USS Arizona had a brother, then it would be no other than USS Missouri. While USS Arizona reminds the American citizen of their loss, the USS Missouri stands as a symbol of glory; as at this very ship Japan surrendered and ended the cruel World War II. Watch “Battleship” movie then you will understand the mighty and majestic appearance of this iconic hero. With great interior maintenance from the government, the USS Missouri also turned into important museum that guards memories of the former warriors.
There’s one interesting thing I found In Honolulu, it’s about how they are welcoming Japanese tourists who was the bad guys in their history. There’s A LOT of Japanese people in Honolulu, either as tourists or workers. At every public space, the sign system showed the information with double language: English and Japanese. Even Japanese government provides network connection in Honolulu. This is the evidence that human kind evolves in every way, no matter how deep the scars were, or how dark the past was, Hawaii has totally developed from its reminiscent into something good and bright like their sun.
I went back to grab my bike, passed over the beach, and parked my bike near the shore. I enjoyed my piña colada, embraced the beauty of Hula Girls dancing into the sound of ukulele, maybe this is what people called ‘peace’ in some kind of way. I could only smile to myself. Aloha Hawaii!
Words and Photos by Aditya Arnoldi