Oahu is arguably the best known and certainly the most developed and the most densely populated of the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu is the capital and the largest city of the state. A modern American big city by any standard, it has its wide boulevards, high rise office towers, condos and hotels plus expensive designer shops and then of course its share of traffic jam, statistically the worst in the whole USA.
Just off the Aloha Tower, the city’s landmark since the 1920’s, schools of good size fishes can be seen swimming in the pristine water of the harbour. Farther out from the shore many dolphins can be observed in more open water. Waikiki Beach, a beachfront neighbourhood of Honolulu, is where people flock to the island for sunshine, beach and surfing. Another landmark, the ʻIolani Palace, built in 1882, is the only royal palace in the US. It had electricity and running water even before the White House! Fans of the original TV series Hawaii 5-O can recognise it as the headquarter of this fictitious police task force. The Supreme Court building across the street, the Aliʻiōlani Hale, with the statue of King Kamehameha the First in front, can also be instantly recognised by fans of the current Hawaii 5-O TV series, being represented in the show as their headquarter.
Of course history buffs won’t want to miss the ‘World War 2 Valor in the Pacific National Monument’ in Pearl Harbor. In the museum, there are many Pearl Harbor attack artefacts on display and rare film footages being shown in two theatres. The Arizona Memorial itself is a structure that spans the mid-portion of the sunken battleship. Still lying in shallow water is the wreckage of the USS Arizona, with oil drops still floating up from its leaking fuel tank after being blown up by the Japanese surprise attack on 7 December 1941. Not far away from the Arizona memorial berths the USS Missouri. It was on this ship that the Japanese signed the document of surrender to the Allies on 2 September, 1945 bringing a close to the war. Standing on the spot where the surrender took place, looking at the photos and documents, you are really reliving history. The question is, ‘we won the war but who won the peace?’