Hi I’m Lauren and I’m a student at Embry-Riddle in Engineering. For 100 days I am traveling around the world in a study abroad program called Semester at Sea. I will be posting blogs, reflections and photos of my journey in this Embry-Riddle blog site. I hope you follow me on my journey! Check out my photos!
January 13, 2016
Location: 21 degrees 18 minutes N (Latitude), 157 degrees 51 minutes W (Longitude)
Port 1: Honolulu
Yesterday, was our first port. We docked in Honolulu, Hawaii early in the morning. My friends and I woke up to watch us dock but we were already docked!
Before we were allowed off the ship, everyone had to clear U.S. customs. The process only took two hours and then I was finally able to get off the ship! I had never been so excited for land. It was surreal to not be rocking for the first time after 7 days at sea! However, I am not looking forward to our 10 day crossing to Japan.
Once I was off the ship, I was whisked away to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. Before boarding the Navy boat to the memorial, we watched a short film about the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
It was hard to imagine that where I was standing 75 years ago was once a Navy base. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The Japanese damaged all eight Navy battleships, three cruisers, and three destroyers. 2,403 men lost their lives and 1,178 others were wounded. This attack would led to the United States to enter WWII. The USS Arizona Memorial marks the resting place of the 1,102 sailors and Marines who were killed during the Japanese surprise attack.
I loved wandering through the museum and the memorial, but I was so moved by random strangers’ kindness towards a WWII veteran who was in our group. When he got off the boat first, he was escorted by two Navy sailors and everyone was clapping for him. Later, I noticed he was standing in front of the wall that the fallen sailors’ names were engraved in and he was kneeling and praying. People would come up to him, shake his hand and thank him for his service. I was so touched by
people’s appreciation for his courage to defend and protect us. I was so emotional that I had silent tears falling down my cheeks. I am forever grateful for all the men and women who have served our country and died protecting our freedom. God bless our military!
After the Memorial, my friends and I decided that we need to eat some “real food”. I really wanted good Italian food but I settled for an all American hot dog with chips and soda. But, most importantly I had ice cream! I savored every bit of it but I was so sad when I dropped some of it on the grass. The hot Hawaiian sun was melting it!
Afterwards we boarded the bus again and drove off to tour the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Punchbowl Crater then went downtown Honolulu. Downtown we went to ʻIolani Palace which was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Palace had beautiful renaissance architecture. I could definitely live in ʻIolani Palace! Did you know that it had electricity and telephones even before the White House.
Across the street is Hawaii 5-0’s headquarters. The building used in the TV show is actually Aliʻiōlani Hale, home of the Hawaii State Supreme Court. I got my picture taken with Kamehameha the Great, the famed gold leaf statue. Now I have pictures in front of both statutes! The original stands near the legendary king’s birthplace in Kapaʻau in Kohala, on the island of Hawaii.
Since we still had an hour and a half until we needed to be back on the ship, our bus driver took us to Wikki and Diamond Head. I desperately wanted to get off the bus and go play in the crystal clear blue waters of Wikki Beach but we just drove on by.
I ended my brief Hawaiian adventure shopping at Walmart for everything that I forgot to bring. Although my mom accused me of being a Princess for needing a memory foam pillow, I bought it and slept soundly last night while I was cocooned in my new, soft gigantic blanket too.
I had a fantastic time in Hawaii. I wish I had more time in port but I will just have to come back another day!
Check out my photos!