Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pearl Harbor

After spending a week in the water off Okinawa, I wanted to stay dry so I headed out to Pearl Harbor to visit the Arizona Memorial. On the advice of the hotel's concierge, I booked an early morning bus tour. Entrance to the memorial is by timed ticket only, and tickets are handed out first-come/first served. The tour bus companies send people down there right when the center opens so that their clients don't have to wait around all day to get out to the Arizona. It sounds like a bit of a scam, but is worth it on a long hot day.

I really got a lot out of the museum, as you walk through it traces what is going on in the US on one side, and what is happening in Japan on the other. It gives a lot of historical and cultural context to that part of World War II--not in the sense of what general was doing what when, but rather about daily life in Japan as it it was changing from a feudal agrarian society to a modern more urban one, and about Hawaii under basically martial law.

Before boarding the launch to the memorial they showed a film describing the attack, including footage from survivors. Then we motored out to the memorial itself, where people looked around and quietly digested everything they had just learned. There is a lot to see in the area, including the battleship Missouri and Bowfin submarine, but I didn't want to spend the whole day so I headed back to Waikiki to do my laundry. While I was waiting for it to dry I watched outrigger racing canoes practicing on the Ala Wai Canal, and surfers on the break just off the Marina. I think I am coming to like Waikiki a lot--it's not just a shopping mall with a beach.

After a couple of Mai Tais and some appetizers at Sarento's at the Top of the Ilikai, I went to bed early and relaxed with a book. I'm still jet-lagged from Okinawa, and I fell asleep with the lights on...and then woke up after midnight feeling like someone was ripping my right leg out of its socket from the inside. It was so painful that the instant the pain let up and I could breathe, I fell asleep again, only to be jolted awake again around 2am writhing in the worst pain I've ever experienced. I called the front desk, got a taxi, and headed to the emergency room. Turns out I have kidney stones. They gave me an IV of fluids, pain meds, and anti-nausea meds, plus took a CT scan of the affected area. Once all the drugs kicked in the doctor explained how passing the stone would work, and sent me to an all-night Walgreens to get prescription-strength Motrin and anti-nausea meds. I got back to my room early enough that I could catch a few hours of sleep before going to my first-ever surfing lesson. I had been thinking about trying surfing for a long time and did NOT want to miss it!

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