Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Trip to Paradise, Part 3

(Day 3--Tuesday)

A drive up the East coast of Oahu was on our agenda this day.

We started late, much later than I would have preferred. But we got going. Eventually. Please understand that I have now gotten to the point that whenever my dad and I have to be somewhere, I always tell him we have to be there half an hour earlier than we are supposed to be. That way, we sometimes get there on time. But I digress.

Our ultimate destination was the Polynesian cultural center. The problem was that we were often sidetracked by stops at several scenic pullouts and beach sites. As a result, we did not arrive there until almost 1:30 PM. This caused us to miss a lot of the shows put on by the various students of the center from the many Polynesian islands represented at the center.

Not to worry, though. We arrived in plenty of time to view the 2 PM canoe pageant. This is when all of the Polynesian islands represented at the center bring dancers out to perform on flatbed double-hulled canoes in the center of the main canoe lagoon. This is also apparently when they decide that any first-time canoe-poler should be impressively dunked in the lagoon, much to his annoyance.

We enjoyed a fine Luau with our dinner. Dinner was amazing. The philosophy behind a Polynesian Luau dinner is not that you should eat until you are full—you should eat until you are dizzy. It didn’t disappoint. I think I gained 5 pounds.

This was followed by an equally impressive show in the main theater. The highlight of the show was the fire spinners—and if you’ve never seen them, then let me just say that there are only a few things in life that live up to the hype that surrounds them—this was one of them.

(That's 9 different fire spinners performing there, some of them with 2 torches apiece. And they would often throw them back and forth.)

Spending a day at the Polynesian cultural center is expensive--the full ticket plus other expenses can easily cost over $150. However, while this place is a first-class tourist trap, it is for a good cause: Polynesian students from all ages from Kindergarten to old age attend school there. They get an education, learn to value their rich heritage, extract many dollars from tourist, and (hopefully) take their educations and skills back to their homeland to help others. And the fact that the tourists are entertained is merely a by-product.

Sadly, this was the last day we had a car as part of our package, so we were unable to really explore further by vehicle. We were left to depend on local transportation for the rest of our trip...

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