This weekend it was hot in Hawai’i – actually the weather was perfect – as it usually is, but I wanted to create a valid reason for not going out in the sun – I really don’t have one except that sometimes you just want to do something different. I knew that Labor Day is usually madhouse at the beaches in Hawai’i and I wasn’t particularly keen on fighting the crowds – so I tried to figure out a different sort of activity for our family. Of course we wanted to cook out – so we marinated some lamb chops and went to the beach in Kailua at just about 5pm on Sunday – it was perfect. The crowds were gone home, the beachpark was sparsely populated and we cooked on my biolite stove, had a delicious tropical fruit salad, and enjoyed some fantastic family time in one of the best beach parks in Hawai’i.
But that still left what to do on Labor Day – and that’s where the title of this post comes in. We live in the Salt Lake neighborhood of Western Honolulu and there are a couple of unique attractions nearby – Pearl Harbor, the Aloha Stadium, the Battleship Missouri, and the Ice Palace – Honolulu’s only ice skating rink.
When I was working as a guide, I passed the Ice Palace hundreds of times and never went in – I made jokes about it during the ice (crystal meth) epidemic back in the noughts, and I always wondered how it would be to ice skate in Hawai’i.
I grew up in Big Bear Lake, a ski resort in the mountains of Southern California – we had skiing, but even though the lake froze over every winter – people never seemed to ice skate on it – if they did, I never saw them do it. We had a roller rink and as an adult I had ice skated once in Memphis (which is another strange place to ice skate) and once in New York City which was pretty iconic. In neither place did I acheive anything resembling proficiency. The truth is, ice skating is difficult! It looks easy but it’s not. At least not for me.
I once lived in a squat with a strange 40-year-old virgin who drove an Iowa cab with Indiana plates (and we were in Bellingham, Washington) – he dreamed of being a figure skater and one early morning he forgot to take out the garbage and chased after the truck in his pink tights…it was surreal, but that’s another story.
Yesterday, I took my wife and daughter to the Ice Palace and we skated. We had some falls, we used the cheater carts, and we had fun. It was surprisingly hard physical work and it was cool inside. We had a blast until a particularly hard fall took my wife down. At that point the fun was over and we headed on to do something else. But not before I had the chance to introduce my daughter to the Zamboni! Everyone should meet a Zamboni at least once…
The Ice Palace is located at 4510 Salt Lake Blvd and to get there from Waikiki you just head West on the H-1 and follow the signs for the stadium. Admission is $10.50 per person regardless of age and the hours are posted here.. And, if you are interested in actually learning how to skate – there are pretty reasonably priced classes available.