Thursday, December 23, 2021


In the 1980’s, we were stationed at Barbers Point Naval Air Station, west of Honolulu.

At the time, it was a small base, surrounded by sugar cane fields on two sides and the ocean on one and an industrial park on the other.

We had a small PX, an even smaller commissary, and a couple of places to get something to eat, most walk-up windows as I recall.

There was sit-down dining in the clubs, but I only remember eating there a few times (mostly on Mongolian Barbeque nights. And the enlisted club tended to be a bit rowdy.

Which is why we spent so much time in Waikiki.

Before I met my wife, several of us would get together, rent a hotel room, and spend the weekends on the beach during the day, and in the clubs at night.

Once I started dating my wife, we would head into Waikiki for a late lunch of dinner, maybe watch the sunset on the beach, then head back home. She wasn’t much of a “beach” person, and neither of us was that into the clubs.

We have good memories of Hawaii, our house on Barbers Point, and our condo in Makaha (where we lived before getting married and qualifying for base housing), and dinners and a movie in Waikiki.

Now after 38 years, we find ourselves back in Waikiki.

We checked into the Hotel and went in search of lunch (the food service on the plane was almost nonexistent). We grabbed a bite at the quick service stand at the hotel and pretty much called it a night.

The next morning, we spent a little time walking around the beach at Waikiki, then headed off on a road trip to see what still existed of our old base.

We really didn’t have too much planned, we just played it by ear. One day we took a trip up to Nu‘Uanu Pali (Pali Lookout), the site of a major battle fought by King Kamehameha I, in his efforts to unite Oahu under his rule.

The View from Nu‘Uanu Pali 

According to the Hawaii Tourism Website:

“The Pali Lookout is a site of deep historical significance. Named “Pali” meaning "cliff" in Hawaiian, the Pali Lookout is the site of the Battle of Nuuanu, where in 1795 King Kamehameha I won the struggle that finally united Oahu under his rule. This fierce battle claimed hundreds of soldiers’ lives, many of which were forced off of the Pali’s sheer cliffs.”

We spent some time wandering around Waikiki, I have to say it was much different than it was 38 years ago.

Most of the really kitschy tourist shops that I remember have been replaced by new shopping malls featuring some of the big names in fashion. It looks more like Rodeo Drive than the Hawaii of my youth.

My granddaughter checking out one of the Koi Ponds in the Waikiki shopping district.

I even managed to get in touch with one of my former co-workers, who had retired and returned home to Hawaii. We had a nice breakfast and spent some time catching up on things.

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