A trip to Pearl Harbor is a sobering experience. The movie that is shown to visitors before a launch takes one to the Arizona memorial dramatically illustrates the devastation of the Japanese air assault that sank and damaged so many ships and killed some twenty-five hundred servicemen and women, and civilians.
It seemed somewhat strange to encounter so many Japanese visiting the memorial. I couldn’t help wondering if, inwardly, they were gloating over the success of the Japanese airmen who carried out the attack or were remorseful that it engendered so much suffering for the following four years.
Standing in the memorial itself generates a profound feeling of sorrow, reading the names of the sailors and Marines who died on the Arizona and knowing that most of their bodies still remain inside the hull of the ship right below where one is standing. And looking off the side of the memorial platform at the small oil slick that constantly bubbles up from the innards of the ship below seems to signal, “don’t forget we’re still here.”
Visitors move around inside the memorial, snapping photographs and peering over the side at the sunken silhouette of the ship below. They remain almost totally silent or, if they speak at all, do so in hushed tones — maybe as a sign of reverence that this is a hallowed place.
The day was getting warm, and I walked back to my car in the bright Hawaiian sunshine and headed back in toward downtown Honolulu to the Punchbowl, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, which contains some fifty-three thousand interred dead.
It is a humbling place, a huge plateau created in the caldera of an extinct volcano. But it is a peaceful place, finely manicured with grave markers set flush in the ground — sometimes a high-ranking officer set adjacent to a lowly private, signifying that there is no rank among the dead.
I wandered the grounds for a couple of hours, reading a marker here and there and visiting the memorial on the grounds, which shows all the major Pacific battles.
I could not help but stop to wonder if my planned vengeance against Trane was not, in some way, a violation of the sanctity of this place. But then my thoughts returned to the two hundred-plus people, some of them children, who died by the actions of one man. And for no good reason.
Trane, by his actions, had become part and parcel of that group of humans that I have spent many years trying to eradicate.
It was nearing evening now, and I headed back to the hotel. It was time to grab a shower and a change of clothes and find a place for dinner.
Though I was a bit tired from the day’s tours, it was not like the previous day’s exhaustion. My mind was clear, and I was mulling over the many possibilities which lay before me, all dependent on what Raymond could tell me.
My greatest hope was that I would not have to go chasing Trane across the country. On the other hand, if he should still be in Hawaii, I would be faced with the prospect of rounding up the necessary tools to deal with him once I had determined the method of doing so. It might be possible that Raymond would have some contacts here that I could utilize if need be. I would have to remember to ask.
Down in the hotel lobby, I once again approached the concierge desk to get recommendations for a nice place for dinner. I have found that a hotel concierge is absolutely the best place to gather information. I’ve yet to encounter a concierge who wasn’t highly knowledgeable about just about everything in their area.
A different young lady manning the desk suggested the Ocean Front Restaurant and Duke’s Waikiki, both of which were only a short walk toward the beach from the hotel.
I also inquired about someplace where I might purchase some additional men’s clothing items as I had not fully replaced my now-destroyed items while on Maui.
She informed me that I would probably have to go into downtown Honolulu, as most of the shops in the Waikiki area cater strictly to vacation wear. I was intent on getting some items that would see me back to the mainland when my business here was finished.
I was somewhat disappointed as I had hoped to do a bit of shopping after dinner, but I had no desire to drive into downtown at night since it was unlikely that the stores there would be open as late as those which line the beach area.
I left the hotel and headed over to Kalakaua Street, which runs parallel to the beach, a street on which almost everything in Waikiki is located, including Duke’s in the Outrigger.
The restaurant is set up for casual dining, with a festive atmosphere, and has a wide variety of choices available for dining and an extensive wine list.
I ordered fresh fish — what else would one have in Hawaii — which, according to the menu, was “spicy sesame ginger glazed with sweet and spicy ko choo jang glaze and topped with Asian pear relish” and a glass of Trimbach Reserve Riesling wine.
The wine was brought to the table in short order; as I was sipping wine and enjoying the background music in the dining room, a couple of ladies were being ushered to a table adjacent to mine.
One was a statuesque middle-aged lady, probably in her mid-to-late forties, lightly tanned and wearing an island-style flowered dress, strapped over each shoulder. She was carrying a small woven fabric purse and wearing comfortable flat sandals. Her companion appeared to be much younger, perhaps very early twenties. She was not quite as tall as the older lady, and she wore her hair rather long, down onto her shoulders. Obviously, her hair had lightened from being sun-bleached as she was also much more tan than the other, and her dress was quite similar with only a different flower pattern.
As the hostess was about to seat the pair, I rose and, in the most cordial manner I could muster, asked if they would care to join me as I was dining alone and would love to have company during the meal.
They glanced at one another, each mentally weighing the invitation, and accepted with only a slight hesitation.