Statues and History

The other day we walked out on a breakwater to get a different look at Waikiki.

The hotel end….

The “beach” end

At the nearby World Marketplace mall, there is a statue of Don Ho.  I’m old enough to remember his most famous song “Tiny Bubbles” and his variety show on TV.  (Both from the mid-1960’s). He also appeared as a guest actor in many popular TV shows in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  His home base was here in Waikiki and only stopped entertaining when death claimed him at the age of 76 in 2007.

In addition to the Duke Kamehameha statue that I’ve already shown -there are a few other sculptures along the beach.  Two of them celebrate surfing. This one includes a monk seal.

 Hawaiian monk seals are unique to the Hawaiian Islands -although they have some close cousins in the Mediterranean Sea.  Historically there was a 3rd branch of the family in the Caribbean, but they went extinct in the 1950’s.  Hawaiian monk seals are considered endangered with approximately 1,400 of them in the islands.  I’ve seen a couple of signs along the beach as we walked reminding people not to approach them, if seen.  I think the seals generally prefer more remote, less populated areas in the Hawaiian Islands -but there are documented occasions when they have visited Waikiki.  A year or so ago, a monk seal decided to give birth on the beach -pretty much in front of one of the fancy hotels.  Officials blocked off a safe area and asked people to steer clear.  The mother and baby seal stayed on the beach for a month or so.

Since they were using beach space in front of a Waikiki hotel, I wonder if they were charged “resort fees” for the time they were there?  Much like death and taxes, resort fees are quickly becoming the 3rd thing you can’t avoid in life -at lease when it comes to traveling.  They are the scourge of the traveling world for sure!

And another surfer statue!

Many of the statues/etc along the beach have an informational surfboard nearby.

One of the interesting facts on this one is that the summer waves on Waikiki are from 2 to 8 feet high.  Most “rides” on the surfboard don’t last all that long -but the record is from 1917 when Duke Kamehameha caught a 35 foot wave and rode it for 1 1/4 mile!  I’d be running the other way from a 35 foot wave!!

And next I’m going to take you all down a rabbit hole as I have a tendency to do…

When we booked our hotel, I paid scant attention to the name of it -other than to make sure I had the right name to give a taxi driver at the airport.  Princess somebody…blah blah… (I can hear my friends Lynn and Lanette tsk tsk-ing in horror as they both deeply love Hawaii and its history and traditions and would have already known about the Princess the hotel is named for!)

Then as we were walking around one day, we stumbled upon a little green triangle of a park a block or so from our hotel (in the opposite direction of the beach), with a statue of Princess Kaiulani, (whom is our hotel princess).  Seeing her statue piqued my curiosity to learn more.  One thing I found out is that the tiny grassy area the statue stands on is all that remains undeveloped of the original 10 acre estate she lived on.

Unfortunately, there was a “crazy” bird lady sitting directly in front of the statue feeding the pigeons -and so the poor Princess was trapped in her own hellish version of the classic Hitchcock movie: “The Birds”.  I imagine if she had her own Aston-Martin convertible like Tippi Hedren’s character in the movie (and yes I had to look that up) parked nearby, she would have thrown a stylish scarf over her head (probably from the nearby Hermes store) and driven off into the sunset to get away from the birds sitting on her head.

In reality, Princess Kaiulani, born in 1875, was the last heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  Ka’iulani (the Hawaiian spelling) means “the highest point of heaven” or “the royal sacred one” in the Hawaiian language.

She was 18 and being educated in England when the Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown (her aunt was on the throne at the time), which drastically changed both her’s and Hawaii’s future.  At a glance, it looks like the history of the overthrow is full of intrigue and power grabs -so complicated at best…and probably egregiously outrageous at worst. There are still Hawaiians today that want an independent Hawaiian nation.

Along with Queen Liliuokalani, our princess spent the next few years after the overthrow trying to gather political support to restore the Hawaiian monarchy.  She even appeared before Congress in the United States to plead her case against the annexation of Hawaii by the US Government.  Eventually, with all efforts going nowhere and in ill health, she returned to Hawaii hoping that the climate would help.  Unfortunately, she never recovered her health and died at the age of 23.

This statue was erected in 1999 and depicts her feeding a peacock.  She loved peacocks and was often called “The Peacock Princess”.  While researching Ka’iulani, I found this site that gives a Reader’s Digest version of her life:  7 Interesting Facts About Princess Ka’iulani. In 2009, a movie was made about her, which I am definitely going to watch if I can find it.

On our last day, we were determined to actually “sit” on the beach.

It was fun to just sit and enjoy the sun and watch what people were up to.

There was a surf lesson going on nearby:

The instructor walked the students through each step of the process -from laying on the board, to a crouch and then standing.  (The instructor was standing off to the side in this picture -those are the 3 students demonstrating their form).  Next he took them in the water to do the steps again… and the last I saw them…they were heading for the break!

People were signing up somewhere nearby to paddle outriggers. This one was going parallel to the beach and it was up to the swimmers to simply get out of their way!

When we’d had enough beach time, we decided it was time for lunch.  A friend had recommended Lulu’s -which we’d seen on our walks- and we decided to go there.  One reason was because the restaurant was located on the 2nd floor of the building it is in and we thought we’d have a great view of the beach/ocean/people.  Just our luck to be seated with this view:

Whining didn’t help. 🙁   They wouldn’t move us.  Much like the “views” from our hotel balcony -we discovered if we leaned “this way” and turned our heads “that way”…

I stopped for a photo on the way out the door and Mike thought it was funny to take a picture of me taking a photo!

Mike took a picture of me taking this picture

Even though we were disgruntled about where we were sitting, I will give Lulu’s credit for the best “fancy” presentation of a diet-Coke on Waikiki:

They also had cute silverware-holder paper bags:

A cute restaurant for sure!

After lunch I decided I needed an “attitude adjustment” and Mike seemed to agree quite quickly -so I must have been as cranky as a toddler who needs a nap. Ha ha.  Mike mentioned a place we’d seen on our first day -which was in the direction of the “other end” of things.  Off we went!

On the way, we took a few more pictures…  Along the beach, in addition to the statues, there were some water features and other landscaping type things.  They were hard to photograph in general…but I liked this picture that Mike took (with a a bit of a beach shower in the background).

(And I caught Mike sneaking a photo of me!)

There was interesting greenery here -but not much seemed to be blooming other than the Plumeria (of which I didn’t get a picture since it is “normal” to me in the Caymans(.

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a white hibiscus before.

The attitude adjustment happened at a place called the Yardhouse.  This seems to be a growing chain and I really liked their menu/etc.  Due to Hawaii still being under Covid restrictions – I was interested to see how they treated the bar area.  They blocked off every two seats with plexiglass.  I thought it was a good solution.

We lingered for a short while there and then made a very early retreat back to our hotel room to prepare for departure the next day.  Even though we ended up trapped in a Waikiki version of Ground Hog’s Day for 6 days -I had to wonder… Where did the time go?

As I said in the first installment of this trip’s blog, the decision to go to Hawaii was very last minute without much forethought about what we’d do when we got there. I’d actually seen stories about people who couldn’t get a rental car renting a U-Haul truck instead!  But, I’d also thought that things HAD to be back to normal by now. (Wrong)  I was so focused on the benefits of the actual trip…I lost sight of what we were actually going to do to keep busy between arrival and departure.  A bit short-sighted of me for sure.

For maximum benefits for this promotion with Delta, we did give ourselves a rare treat and booked First Class tickets.  On the way to Hawaii, our seats were “normal” first class seats that us regular coach people all see when passing through on our way to the “cattle car” section of the plane.  But, on the return flight, we were happy to see Delta One seating -what I call the “lay-down seats”.  These were nice because one of our segments was a red eye flight.

Because of Covid restrictions, Delta is in some ways only offering bare bones in the service department.  No pillows or blankets available -both would have been handy on this trip.  They were only offering two versions of a “snack box” as their food option.

The first time I saw the contents of them I told Mike that it looked like the result of a “munchies run” to the nearest 7-11…or ABC if you’re in Hawaii… when you aren’t really sure what “sounds” good so you grab one of everything.

This is my last picture of Hawaii as the plane took off-

Aloha Hawaii !!  Next time we visit, our theme is going to be “off the beaten track” for sure.





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3 replies

  1. Wonderful once again!! What a great travel blogger you are! Love the ‘history lessons’ and now I’m interested in seeing that Hotel Princess (what’s her name) movie. Tragic to die so young! Wonder what she was sick with…? Thanks for taking the time to do this and to be so willing to share with us.😘

  2. What a wonderful unplanned trip. Still seems like a fun one to me. The area is beautiful. I loved the history, too. Hope you enjoyed your flight and snack box.

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