My first trip to Hawaii consisted of a couple of weeks on the island installing our computer software and training people in its use. That was followed by a week in Okinawa doing the same thing at the base there. I had arranged to take an additional week of vacation in Hawaii on the way back home to see something of the other islands.


Ft. Shafter

The Army base where I would be working was Ft. Shafter. It was a beautiful facility, but the thing that I remember most was the outstanding hamburger at the NCO Club. Yum!

This was also the first place I ever encountered "casual Fridays." All the local staff worked in Hawaiian shirts and shorts on Friday.


Honolulu

The hotel, the Reef Lanai, was in downtown Honolulu just a couple of blocks from the Waikiki beach. The US Government had special rates at the hotel. It wasn't the Ritz, but it was almost ridiculously cheap. It is still in business.

Most people think of the iconic beach scene with Diamond Head in the background when they think of Waikiki. This was actually my first impression.

There was a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant a couple of blocks from the hotel that had wonderful fresh mahi-mahi. I had never heard of this fish before, but I was hooked. Unfortunately I've never found it anywhere on the mainland that could hold a candle to the fresh-from-the-sea article.

The other culinary surprises were picked-ripe pineapple, which you don't find on the mainland, and fresh coconut. I had never liked coconut, but then I had only had that dried-up shaved stuff you get at the supermarket. When a coconut is minutes from the tree, it is a different kind of thing altogether!


Sunset

This is the view from the other side of the hotel at sunset.

Fort DeRussy was the open space across the street. It was and still is a popular R&R location for the Department of Defense.


National Memorial Cemetery

On an extended trip such as this one there were many opportunities to tour the area. This is the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The marble structures are engraved with the names of those buried there.


The Punchbowl

The cemetery is located in an area called "the punchbowl."


Beach

Of course I had to get out of the city as much as possible. One weekend I made an excursion with a couple of colleagues to the southeastern corner of Oahu.

Our destination was Koko Head and Sea Life Park.


Volcanic tuff

The rock formations in the area are pretty spectacular. They are composed of tuff, a type of volcanic rock.

The guys at the top are colleagues of mine. The one on the left was named Fred. He was in town from Germany and was working on another project. He and I later teamed up to share a car and visit two of the other islands. The other's name was Danny. He worked locally and lived on a houseboat. One evening we visited the marina where he lived and watched a glorious sunset. There is a picture where you can actually see what he looked like from my second Oahu trip.


Looking down

The view up was pretty impressive. The view down was even more so. Don't want to slip!


Hawaii East Coast

Oahu can certainly compete with Maine in the rocky coast category.

This is the view from the Sea Life Park.


Rabbit Island

Rabbit Island is just offshore from the Sea Life Park. It was once home to introduced rabbits, but they were removed since they were destroying seabird habitat. It is now protected.


Sea Life Park

Sea Life Park is still in business although like many such operations it has come under fire for its treatment of marine mammals.

After a couple of weeks working in Honolulu, my tech lead and I were scheduled to fly to Okinawa to install the system there and train the users. Our colleagues invited us out for dinner our last night. Unfortunately he tied one on, and I couldn't get him to the airport in time for our plane. It turned out he had neither packed nor checked out of the hotel! There was only one flight each day so it was clearly apparent to the powers that be what had happened. I was exonerated, but he received a severe reprimand and shortly thereafter faded into the sunset.

The once-daily flight was a leg of the famous TWA round-the-world service. It was a loooong flight with a refueling stop in Guam.

After the trauma of getting to Okinawa, I came down with a bug of some sort and was barely able to drag myself through the working day. Between that and having missed one day of the allotted time, I didn't have time or inclination for any sightseeing or pictures.

After our time in Okinawa we returned to Honolulu where I would start my holiday.


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