Saturday, February 18
We started our walking tour of downtown Honoulu across the street from the Iolani Palace, where a large gold-guilded statue of King Kamehameha I stands in front of the Hawai'i supreme court building. Kamehameha I was the unifier of the Hawaiian Islands and the first king of its monarchy.
When then crossed the street and into the grounds of the Iolani Palace proper. At the center of the beautifully vegetated grounds is the palace itself - an interesting-looking building that apparently is built in a style called American Florentine. It's claimed that this architectural style has only one example in the world - this one!
Statue, King Kamehameha I
Hawaiian Royal Coat of Arms
We didn't tour the inside of the palace, choosing instead to wander the beautiful grounds. Nearby, a strangely medieval-looking barracks building - the Iolani Barracks - catches the eye. Also catching the eye were the several huge Banyan trees that are scattered near the palace. Alien-looking things, these trees are. It appears as if they are growing down from the sky (in a way, they are, since the Banyan tree starts growing down from a host tree).
Banyan Trees and State Capitol
After exploring the grounds of the Iolani Palace, we wandered off, heading through downtown Honolulu westwards towards the Chinatown district. Along the way, we passed through an attractive section of modern downtown office complex, but with the clear tint of Hawaiian influence - in terms of architecture, place names, and vegetation. Most pleasant.
Seal of the State of Hawai'i
Arriving in Chinatown, we consulted a guidebook Brian had brought along, looking for the notable landmarks. It mentioned visiting a noodle factory, among other things, but the place didn't seem to be especially set up for visiting. So, we just peered inside for a bit and continued on, walking down a pedestrian-only promenade lined with fresh fruit and vegetable vendors, then into several crowded chinese shops, and then stopping for some tasty curried beef sticky buns.
After our snack, we continued on, hoping to visit either the Foster botanical gardens or the adjacent buddhist temple. We were unfortunately a bit late, however, and both were just closing as we arrived. We charted a slightly different course back through Chinatown, then back towards the State Capitol area.