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Honolulu

2006-02-16 00:00

Honolulu

  Diamond Head, a volcanic peak, offers sweeping views of Oahu.

  Honolulu is a harbor city at the southern end of Oahu, the most visited island of the Hawaiian archipelago (群岛). The city lies 2550 miles (4100km) southwest of Los Angles; 3860 miles (6220km) southeast of Tokyo; 5060 miles (8150km) northeast of Sydney; and 1470 miles (2370km) north of the equator. Not surprisingly, it's a major hub for trans-Pacific air travel.

  Downtown Honolulu contains all Oahu's state and federal government buildings, including the state capitol and Iolani Palace, once home to Hawaii's last few monarchs and still the only royal palace in the USA. Chinatown is a few blocks northwest of the palace; the Aloha Tower and cruise ship terminals are a few blocks west. Southeast of downtown, Waikiki is the epicenter (中心) of all things touristic: all the big resorts and much of the city's nightlife are found here. Just southeast of Waikiki, 760ft (230m) Diamond Head rises up as the city's favorite geological landmark. All of these sites are within the boundaries of greater Honolulu.

  H-1, the main south shore freeway, passes east-west through Honolulu, connecting it to the airport and all other freeways on the island.

  Local Hula dancers in Honolulu perform in full regalia.

  Honolulu International (HNL) is a 9 mile (15km), 25 minute drive northwest of downtown via Ala Moana Blvd/Hwy 92 (Nimitz Hwy) or the H-1. The Ala Moana Center, on Ala Moana Blvd just northwest of Waikiki, is the central transfer point for The Bus, the island's public bus network. Its routes branch across the island, with each line's destination written above the bus' windshield (汽车的挡风玻璃). The Ala Moana Center is the central transfer point. Overall, the buses are in excellent condition - clean and air-conditioned - though buses on popular routes tend to be packed (挤满了人) and their pace is always dawdling (速度缓慢). Setting your watch by this system gives you nothing but a good sense of Hawaiian Time. The Waikiki Trolley (无轨电车) is an expensive, tourist-laden open-air bus geared primarily for sightseeing shopaholics (购物成癖的人). The attraction-lined route between Waikiki's Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and downtown Honolulu is narrated.

  Oahu is not a big island, and few places are more than an hour's drive from Honolulu. If you plan on spending all your time in the resorts of Waikiki, forget about renting, but if you plan to get beyond the city limits, a car is the easiest way to do it. The minimum age to drive in Hawaii is 15 years, and most car rental agencies hike that limit to 25. Gasoline is about 25% more expensive on the island than on the US mainland. Driving is on the right.

  Taxis wait at most major downtown hotels and at the airport. Otherwise, you'll need to phone for a cab. Bikes are available for rent in Honolulu and Waikiki, and most bike shops provide maps, helmets (头盔) and locks. The city is poorly suited for cycling, though, and most riders prefer to use their bikes for longer jaunts (旅游) around Oahu.

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