Sunday, February 12, 2012

Iolani Palace

The only Royal Palace in the U.S.A.!
Aloha!  Who knew there was a fabulous, Victorian Palace right-smack-dab in the middle of downtown Honolulu?  I sure didn't, but of course when I spied a blurb about Iolani Palace in a tourist mag while 'on holiday'  in Hawaii visiting my BFF Michael, naturally I had to have a looky!  When your skin is as delicate and lily-white as Yours Truly's is, there really is only so much sand, surf and sun you dare endure.  So off came the moo-moo and floppy picture hat and it was away to town for a semi-guided tour!

Iolani Palace was built in 1882 in the so-called 'American Florentine' mode, or so the chirpy and ever-so helpful docent enthused, minding me to slip my feet into those grotesque shoe-cover thingamajigs that are seemingly made from gathered, blue dryer sheets. 
A well-turned (albeit pasty-white) ankle!

They're quite flattering, if not a tad hazardous, worn over flip-flops, don't you think?  Though the aforementioned docent was not at all amused that I audaciously snapped a pic of my foot, as photography is strictly verboten at Iolani Palace, --yes, even outside on the entrance portico, I was informed between tisk, tisks. "Sir, please put your camera in your pocket for the duration of the tour. Thank you."

My poor BFF and Hawaiian host, Michael, nearly had an aneurism when forced to don the decidedly non-hypoallergenic footwear, obviously worn by hundreds if not thousands of previous tourists.  (Michael has developed the most curious case of germ-o-phobia since last I saw him, several years ago)!  If the foot-covers weren't bad enough, when my friend realized he would have to wear an earpiece, plucked from a basket of discarded, previously-worn headsets, he was positively panic-stricken!  "I hope they disinfected these," he rued.  I pad, pad, padded past him to the Grand Entrance, eyes rolling. Of course I couldn't help pointing out the innumerable maladies and skin-conditions that were no doubt assaulting our defenseless feet. I simply LOVE to tease Michael about his obsessive/compulsive disorders! 

We entered the Palace and found ourselves in an elegantly-appointed Center Hall.  The Hall was dominated by a sweeping, grand staircase carved from exotic koa  wood.  With its flanking torchbearer-statues, the imposing stair took my breath away!  It totally reminded me of the staircase in Gone With the Wind, the one where Rhett Butler whisks Scarlet up to to the boudoir and the one where Miss Scarlet collapses after Rhett says, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

On the walls of the Entrance Hall hung gilt-framed, oil portraits of Hawaiian Royalty wearing stuffy, Victorian garb.  Precious porcelain object d'art, gifts from the Crowned Heads of Europe and Asia, were placed into arched recesses along the walls.  In spite of all the Gilded-Age Splendor, the Hall had a light-and-airy feeling.  One could easily imagine the tropical, Trade Wind breezes wafting through open doors and windows.

On the right side of the hall, The Throne Room stretches the entire length of the Palace.  Here, formal ceremonies were held, along with parties and balls. Iolani Palace is noteworthy for having electric lights ages before they were installed in The White House or Buckingham Palace.  Modern conveniences such as telephones and private baths made Iolani Palace a comfortable home for the Hawaiian Royals and their guests.

The throwns have a decidedly ecclesiastical/Gothic air.
On the left side of the Hall, were the Blue Velvet Room, which served as a lounge (sadly,  I was unable to find a photograph of this stately setting)  and also the Dining Room.  

Here, the Dining Room (above) is set for an intimate dinner party.  The recording guided us through the arched doors you see along the back wall, leading to butler's pantries with huge dumbwaiters to whisk food up from the kitchens located in the basement below. (Or at least the recordings guided Yours Truly, as my companion Michael had completely abandoned his headset after vainly trying to hold then a safely-deemed distance from his ears)! lol!

The King's Library

The Library was perhaps most memorable for the snoring docent sleeping in a chair near the room's entrance.  Photographs are a no-no at Iolani Palace, but apparently napping is not a problem!
One of the upper floor bedrooms. (Above)  In the back corner of the room you can walk into one of the Palace Towers, a must-have feature for any royal residence!  A two-tiered loggia, or lanai, as they say in Hawaii, surrounds the Palace on all sides, and every room opens to them. --Lux!  Most of the Palace furnishings were unceremoniously auctioned off when the monarchy was disbanded. (Guess that's why this room is so sparse).  Today, researchers troll the internet in search of all the lost plunder in an ongoing effort to replenish Iolani Palace to its former sumptuousness.

These chairs (pictured above) are part of a suite recently reinstalled in the second floor Music Room. (Which was my favorite room in the Palace).  Both Queen Liliʻuokalani.and King Kalākaua were highly-educated, world-travelers who wrote scores of music in both Western and Traditional Hawaiian styles.
The stately, near life-size portrait (above) of  Queen Liliʻuokalani. She was imprisoned in one of the Palace bedrooms after the monarchy was overthrown.  My friend Michael insists that the overthrow was lead by greedy missionaries-turned-businessmen, though this tidbit of information was conspicuously glossed over in the recorded tour! The Queen spent much of her imprisonment toiling over a large 'crazy-quilt' conjured from the silken scraps of her former ballgowns.  The quilt was on display in the very sparsely-furnished room of her confinement..

On this rather forlorn note, we shuffled out of Iolani Palace, stripped ourselves of germ-laden accoutrements and thus ended a highly educational and enjoyable excursion, a diverting afternoon which I hope you enjoyed nearly as much as we I did!  I spent much of my remaining time in Hawaii dreaming of how Iolani Palace could be rendered in 1:12th scale.
Last photo taken: BFF Michael & NEW PUPPY! YAY!

...Whist away, a plethora of packages were delivered to my doorstep, containing miniature goodies for Merriman Park.  I had planned on snapping a series of pics of them for your enjoyment, but my camera seems to be --out of order!  Upon inspection, the camera issued a small dune of beach sand from its innards and appears to be hopelessly and utterly it may be a while before you see another post from the likes of Yours Truly!  And just after I figured out how to take non-blurry photos, too!  (Must be those accursed Hawaiian Volcano Gods)...Oh, well!  In the meantime, I look very forward to catching up this week with with all my fellow miniaturist Followers!



Giac said...[Reply]

Hi john,
Welcome back!
It sounds like you had a great time! Thanks for the pictures of the palace. It is awsome and I'm sure will give many of us a lot of great ideas. Didn't Lady Gaga wear those shoes recently??? I can't wait to see what came in the mail...
I hope that going backl to work won't be too painful! All the best to you and Glen,

John said...[Reply]

Thanks, Giac! We did have an awesome time and if LaGaga stole my idea, her lawyers will be hearing from me!

Back at you and Jo!

Josje said...[Reply]

Great photos John! Thanks for letting us enjoy a place which I will probably never see in person. That puppy looks so cute, and so does your friend!

Pedrete said...[Reply]

But that legs more sexy you have! Friendly welcome John! I missed your post very funny and entertaining!

A huge hug!!!

Simon said...[Reply]

Thank God you are back!!! you have been much missed My Dear.
What great pics and tales from your adventures. I love the OCD BFF! Very funny. Can't wait to see what the Postman brought you.
Si -x-

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Hello my lovely,

So glad your back and in fine form I might add, I love the sexy leg shot!
Iolani Palace is certainly unexpected, I never new such a place existed but what an incredible find. Nothing like a bit of Hawaiian royalty to get you out of the sun. It looks like an interesting place, what a sad end for Queen Lili uokalani. What was unusual about the quilt?

It sounds like you enjoyed your self, I hope it doesn't take to long to fix the camera.

Missed having you around. ML Fi xx

Daydreamer said...[Reply]

Welcome back, John! I'm glad you had fun in Hawaii ... and the Palace seems like a Fascinating place... so Unexpected!
Too bad about the camera! I hope you will be able to remedy that soon... I am Eager to see the Goodies you have for Merriman Park!
Your Post made me laugh.... as Usual! I Love your wit!

Irene said...[Reply]

What a lovely property and those shiny floors! I had no idea that Hawai had a Royal family. The hall is very impressive.

Good to hear you enjoyed your holiday and I'm keen to see what the postie delivered

Troy said...[Reply]

Welcome back to the main land. Great post! I was able to tour the palace a few years ago. Your post brought back those memories, and I can totally relate to lily-white skin.. hehe.

We had 2 inches of snow here in Oklahoma last night.
p.s. Sorry to hear about your camera :(

Andy said...[Reply]

Hello John,

Glad to see you're safely back home, and not too scorched from all that sun! Thanks for sharing your pics of Lolani Palace, looks a very interesting building, and it's nice to know they are trying to fill it again after flogging off the contents!

I think it a true mark of friendship to mock a mates OCDs LOL!! ;) I do it all the time!! Sounds like you had a blast!

I had to wear the same foot covers when I went on a tour of Strawberry Hill a little while back; You work them much better than I could!!

Thanks for a great post, and for making me laugh! Hope the camera gets fixed, or you get a new one! Can't wait to see all those new minis!

Andy xx

John said...[Reply]

Hey, everyone! So good to see all your comments in my inbox...

Hi Josje, I wasn't sure I'd ever get to Hawaii, myself. But never say never! Yes, both puppies are cute, right?

Pedrete, you are such a tease --stop it right now!

SIMON! Missed you, too! I know, my OCD BFF is a scream. BTW Your dining room is looking OMG TCFW!

Hi, Fi! Yes, there was a definite pall of sadness over the palace, especially on the upper floor. Sorry, should have explained: A 'Crazy Quilt' is a Victorian pattern where odd-shaped scraps of fabric were sewn together in a helter-skelter, or 'crazy' way. The Queen had also embroidered hallmark dates on the quilt such as 'today marks the day I was imprisoned.' So sad...

Thanks, Betsy! Always good to know someone appreciates my quirkiness/manic episodes! I'm afraid the camera is a total loss, though...

Hey, Irene! Easy to get shiny floors with hoards of people shuffling about with dryer sheets attached to their feet, right? I did not know about the Hawaiian Royal Family, either, but when I was in high school, I was friends with the (would-have-been,if-not assimilated-by-the-U.S.A.) Princess of Micronesia! lol! She was a foreign-exchange student, and my favorite dance partner.

I SO meant to dedicate this post to you, Troy, because you're always writing about all the cool houses you've been to! Sounds like everyone's getting snow except us Minnesotans --weird, huh?

Hello, Andy!! Believe me, my pal dishes it right back at me, usually getting the last laugh...I totally was a Supermodel of the World in my blue shoe covers --WERRK, GURRL!

Anonymous said...[Reply]

Glad you had a great time!
Just typed a long message, tried to post it but it's gone.
Anywayz, beatiful palace, thanks for sharing the pics; the stairway, the chairs, the rooms, its all WOW.
I think I could live there, no, I'm convinced I could :)
Can sooo relate to your friend, no way on earth i would have put these blue thingies on my feet or that other thing in my ears.... owh.... guess I just ruined the possibility of living there :)
Anywayz, John you were missed, welcome back!

Sionchi said...[Reply]

Precioso palacio. Gracias por la información, me ha parecido muy interesante. Saludos

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Thank you for explaining......not too well versed in the quilt making bag, but I'd love to see it.

At least she had a voice through her creativity.

Fi xx