Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Remeber Pearl Harbor? (200705152025)

Hello all!
Today I woke up early and headed towards the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. This is a unique place, as it is the only place on US soil which was attacked in WWII. Moreover, this was a devastating surprise attack by a nation that was in the midst of peace negotiations, that marked the US entry into the war.

The memorial itself is one of those "free ticket" sites, where you have to come early and wait in line for a free ticket redeemable some time later. Also, for "security reasons" you have to check your handbag and pay $3, and if you want an audio guide it's an additional $5.

So, I took the audio tour through the small museum that told the story of that day, December 7th, 1941. How the RADAR operators saw the incoming barrage of Japanese planes and their superior officer disregarded it, how Isoroku Yamamoto who planned the attack did not agree with its goals, and more. Then, my time came and I saw a film about the attack and visited the memorial itself.
After visiting the free memorial, I bought tickets to visit the USS Bowfin submarine and the brand new Pacific Aviation Museum. The audio tour in the USS Bowfin was interesting and provided insight on life aboard a submarine. The nearby museum chronicles the history of submarine warfare from its conception to present day.

Interestingly enough, although nuclear warfare was mentioned in the Bowfin museum and the American victory in WWII was mentioned repeatedly there was no mention of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Interestingly, there were much less Japanese tourists here than in other places in Hawaii.

The aviation museum was interesting, albeit small. It included real refurbished aircraft from the time, from both the American and Japanese sides. The most interesting exhibit was of a small civilian general aviation plane (Aeronca 65TC) that was in the air over Oahu when the Japanese struck. Remarkably, it managed to land safely in what later became Honolulu International Airport.

After this historic tour, I rode TheBus back into town, and visited the world's largest open-air shopping mall, and the largest shopping center in the United States. I didn't buy anything, but I got a free scoop of Ice Cream at Haagen-Dazs.

Tonight was the opening reception of the conference, the main excuse for me being here. Met some of my former acquaintances, including Vince, and came back to the hotel.

Tomorrow will be a long day. I'm volunteering from 7:30 to 12:00, then after lunch I present my poster, then another volunteer session, then I give my talk and at night I go to the Luau.

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