Monday, September 30, 2019

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden

Photoset from O'ahu's Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden, in Kane'ohe on the windward side of the island. It's not actually that amazing as far as tropical gardens go; if you want to go look at some tropical plants exactly once, the Foster Botanical Garden is the place to go. It's also quite car-oriented: It's a long walk from the closest bus stop, and within the park you mostly have to walk along the main road and hope drivers see you in time. Which I guess isn't surprising given that the place began as a 1980s Corps of Engineers flood control project (hence the big lake in the middle, behind a barely-disguised earthen dam.), so aesthetics and visitor-friendliness were not really the main drivers behind the project.

All of that said, I thought it was worth visiting anyway; it sits almost directly at the foot of the Ko'olau Mountains, and it was worthwhile just for the view. If you also think things can be worthwhile just for the view, you'll like this place, otherwise not so much. One surprising detail is what you don't see: There's actually a busy freeway between you and the looming sheer cliffs, along with a couple of golf courses, but somehow you don't see or hear any indication they exist, so maybe the Corps of Engineers gets credit for that particular detail. Or at least I didn't notice any freeways or golf courses. But I live near a busy freeway and am rather good at not noticing freeway noise, so your mileage may vary, I guess. A late great aunt of mine -- who had lived in Honolulu since the early 1930s or so -- once explained to me that the H-3 freeway was not only a pointless waste of money, it was also cursed, and she was determined to never drive on it. She got her wish, in a way, in that construction dragged out literally for decades (wiping out at least one species of bird in the process), and in the end she died of old age several years before the thing ever opened. I am not superstitious by any means, but she was generally a rather wise person, so I've never driven or ridden on the H-3 either.

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