Thursday, January 31, 2013

Polynesian Cultural Center.

"The Hula is the heartbeat of the Hawaiian People."
~David Kalakaua

We arrived in Honolulu, Oahu at 7am. Let me tell you, after relaxing days at sea with no alarm clock needed (or wanted), waking up and napping whenever I pleased, left me panicking (not really, but kind of) about my ability to get up early and set out on our day on the island of Oahu.

The harbor at Honolulu
Our whole day was planned for us, since we decided to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center on Kamehameha Highway in Laie. Stephen and Jeffery arranged it all for us and we had a bus ready to pick us up when we got off the ship.

Sadly, Mom was really looking forward to this, but she still didn't feel well enough to leave her room for the entire day, so we went without her. I am still getting over my guilt and sadness (what is wrong with me?), but I know she'll be able to go back again someday.

Our bus driver, affectionately dubbed "Tiny" from his heavy days prior to getting gastric bypass surgery, was one of the most entertaining aspects of the day. He was hilarious. Literally he talked, told jokes, and shared history the entire ride to Laie, which in a bus took a little over an hour and a half, I think.

The drive was beautiful. We stopped at a place called Tropical Farms - Macadamia Nut Farm Oulet. They had about ten different types of flavored macadamia nuts to taste. Of course it was a tourist stop/trap, but I was happy for the little snack, the opportunity to stretch my legs, and of course use the bathroom.

Upon entering the Polynesian Cultural Center park, we immediately lost Jeff and Linda and Karl and Virginia and never saw them again until we boarded the bus at about 9pm at the end of the day. Stephen, Shepherd, and I stopped and ate a bit of lunch at one of the food stands (which turned out to be delicious and MUCH tastier than our meal that night which was included in the price of the ticket).

Satiated, we ventured out into all the areas representing different islands in the Pacific.

Each village displayed different aspects of their culture and way of life, from boat making to fire starting to dancing to music. They had prepared presentations all throughout the day. We attempted to get all of them in, but we poorly planned at first and were just walking around to see what we could see. Although we didn't get to see every presentation, but we saw quite few and had a lot of fun. Even in the rain.

The villages included the following countries and islands:

It started raining off and on, so I bought a plastic poncho which came in handy when we took a boat ride and the seats were soaking wet. :)

In the middle of the day, they had a dancing presentation, a procession of rafts, where dancers from each island area dressed in traditional attire and danced.

I'll have to go back with Mom and make sure I plan out the day so we can see every presentation in every village. :) All in all it was a fun day. We ended the day with a buffet dinner and the late night show called "HA: The Breath of Life." Fire and dancing. Lots of it!

Up next is Kauai and Waimea Canyon. You definitely don't want to miss these pictures.

(Written August 3rd, 2013)

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