Beautiful Hawaiian Days
I lived in Honolulu from May, 1986 to December, 1987, but this was not a luxury vacation. For the most part I camped out, wandering the island of Oahu as a vagabond. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful year and a half, of which I have many fond memories. Here is a picture of Waikiki Beach at sunset:
Waikiki Beach, in Honolulu, Hawaii
The island of Oahu has several botanical gardens, including Foster Botanical Gardens, right in downtown Honolulu. I visited these gardens regularly, as an aficionado of botany. The image below depicts a ceiba tree, also known as a floss silk tree or a kapok tree. I have seen this very tree on many occasions. Note, however, that this tree, like many of the showy trees around Honolulu, is not native to Hawaii. It is an import from Central America. Still it fits in handsomely with the tropical environment.
Floss Silk Tree in Honolulu
One of my favorite characters from Hawaiian history is Princess Kaiulani, who probably would have become the Queen of Hawaii, had it not been for the American takeover, in 1893. At that time, Hawaii became a republic, and five years later was annexed by the U. S. Kaiulani died, very young, shortly thereafter.
Princess Kaiulani (1875-1899)
Another landmark in Honolulu is Iolani Palace, built by King David Kalakaua in 1882. As can be seen, the palace is built after European models. The Kingdom of Hawaii was a westernized kingdom from the outset, because by the time of its foundation in 1810, many western contrivances and ideas had spread throughout the archipelago. Kalakaua was the seventh of eight monarchs who ruled Hawaii: King Kamehameha I, King Kamehameha II, King Kamehameha III, King Kamehameha IV, King Kamehameha V, King Lunalilo, King Kalakaua, Queen Liliuokalani.
King David Kalakaua (1836-1891)
The Gates of Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii
North of Honolulu rise the beautiful green peaks of the Koolau Mountains, which are almost always swaddled in clouds. In the winter especially, little white cloudlets scud by over Waikiki incessantly, making it difficult to keep warm on those cool, breezy mornings. Still they are lovely to behold.
Koolau Mountains, near Honolulu, Hawaii
People in Honolulu usually don't say North, South, East and West. Instead they say Mauka (landward), Makai, (seaward), Diamondhead and Ewa. Ewa is a town west of Honolulu and Diamondhead is a mountain east of Honolulu. You can see that the tradewinds, blowing perennially in Honolulu, are swaying the coconut palms in the foreground of the picture. The tree with the Y-shaped trunk may be a fig of some species.
Diamondhead from Kapiolani Park
Another remarkable tree that is very common in Honolulu, but is not an indigenous plant, is the banyan tree, which is native to India. This tree is a kind of fig and epiphytic. Also its branches put down tendrils which eventually grow into accessory trunks. Banyans are stranglers, sometimes growing around other trees, like palms, and killing them eventually. Banyans will grow indefinitely and can cover acres, but in the US they are pruned to restrict such expansion.
Banyan Tree, Honolulu, Hawaii
In Ala Moana Park, about two miles west of Waikiki, a few dozen baobab trees, introduced from Africa, have stood for a century or so. But I didn't see any examples elsewhere. The specimen depicted below is not one of the ones in Honolulu, however, though it looks exactly the same:
Sugarcane is still an important crop in Hawaii. The sugar business received its initial impetus back in the days of the Hawaiian kingdom, when Claus Spreckels, a California capitalist, made himself the friend of King David Kalakaua. Together they established plantations and installed irrigation equipment. Below is pictured a typical canefield in Hawaii:
Sugarcane Field in Hawaii
Pineapples are an important crop too. Perhaps the main grower is the familiar Dole Food Corporation.
Pineapple Field near Wahiawa, Hawaii
Map of Hawaii
Waikiki Beach, in Honolulu, Hawaii:
Floss Silk Tree in Honolulu:
Princess Kaiulani (1875~1899):
King David Kalakaua (1836-1891):
The Gates of Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii:
Koolau Mountains, near Honolulu, Hawaii:
Diamondhead from Kapiolani Park:
Banyan Tree, Honolulu, Hawaii:
Sugarcane Field in Hawaii:
Pineapple Field near Wahiawa, Hawaii (cropped):
Map of Hawaii: