Yesterday morning we went to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, a very fitting venture for Independence Day.
I was particularly struck there by the presence of a man who not only wrote a book or two about Pearl Harbor, but also a book on Blessed Damien of Molokai. He was offering coins of Fr. Damien, with his image on one side and his church at the leper colony on the other.
I find it be a sign of many divine blessings on this pilgrimage that the Holy Father Benedict XVI accepted Fr. Damien's second miracle on the very day we landed on Oahu. Tomorrow morning - after Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace - we're going to try to visit the church of St. Augustine by the Sea on the shores of Waikiki to visit the Damien Museum.
This morning we went to the Aloha Stadium for the island's largest swap meet. Here you could find anything and everything for any variety of prices.
Afterwards we went to the Dole Plantation and toured the grounds. It was simply beautiful and amazing!
We took the Pineapple Express around the plantation and then took a short guided tour.
This train of the Dole Plantation takes you through the fields and has a recorded tour explaining the growing and harevesting of pineapples, the history of the plantation and many other things besides. If you ever the chance I highly recommend visiting the plantation.
Our guide explained how to choose a pineapple in the store to us and even told us how to grow a pineapple, which can grow in any climate and even indoors. I know what I'm doing when I get home.
After the tour the guide struck up a conversation with us and asked where we were from. When we told him that we were on our way to World Youth Day in Sydney he lit up and the excitement and enthusiams he had for our pilgrimage was evident to behold. We tried this morning to impress upon the kids just how many people are praying for this pilgrimage and I think this brief encounter helped reinforce it.
Inside the plantation's gift shop I found my favorite sign so far:
The group of boys that I was with hadn't yet eaten lunch so we ate a late lunch there of kalua pork sandwiches with pineapple on top (they're the best!), fries, pineapple juice, and pineapple ice cream with pineapple chunks.
It wasn't long before we discovered that we had too much pineapple all at once. Several hours later we were ready to see a pineapple again.
In the late afternoon we went driving on our way to Sunset Beach and the North Shore. On the way we passed Waimea Beach where the boys saw a big rock in the ocean and people diving off of it into the ocean. They insisted upon stopping there and so we did. We spent an enjoyable several hours there and were able to see the sunset into the ocean and were even treated with several rainbows throughout the afternoon.
To the close the day we returned to Waikiki for a bit of evening entertainment wandering along the sidewalks and to await the other half of our pilgrimage group who went to a luau.
When we returned the other group found me very giddy and laughing hysterically. While wandering along Waikiki we found what is perhaps the strangest thing I've ever seen: Basketball Man.
The kids found a video of tonight's performance on Youtube but I can't seem to find it. I'll have one of them get it for me in the morning and I'll post it then.