Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little state abbreviation joke.
I landed in Honolulu last Tuesday night and spent the next five days there doing, well, not very much. It. Was. Glorious. I had lazy mornings and leisurely meals, punctuated by the occasional excursion.
My second night there, we went to a Hail and Farewell. It’s something the Navy does to welcome sailors joining their command, and say goodbye to those who are leaving. This one happened to be held on the USS Missouri, a decommissioned WWII battleship. It was SO COOL.
It’s parked right next to the Arizona Memorial, which I remember visiting with my family a decade ago.
We sipped, nibbled, mingled, and sipped some more until the Captain took the mic. After a brief introduction, various sailors took the floor like they were passing through a slow revolving door. There were “hellos” and “goodbyes” and lots and lots of “thank yous”.
A couple of days later, we headed back to Pearl Harbor for an Open House where we could tour foreign ships. Over 40 nations are represented in Hawaii right now, all participating in an exercise called RIMPAC.
We only toured two, and they were both Chinese. The first was an Anti-Piracy ship called the Haiku (171). They really rolled out the red carpet for us.
“Toured” is actually a fairly generous term. The “guides” barely spoke a word of English. But we did get to see one of their helicopters, and walk through a deck of their ship. We even got a few photo ops… before being briskly escorted out.
Then we toured their medical ship. We got to roam a little freer there (although most of it was still roped off). I was impressed by how impeccably clean they both were.
And while I didn’t know what I was looking at most of the time, it was still pretty darn cool. Besides, how many people can say they’ve done that!?