Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hawaii Trip (Day Two) Polynesian Cultural Center

At this point in our day at the Polynesian Cultural Center we have toured the island exhibits and are now preparing to attend the Ali'i Luau celebration.  I haven't been to a traditional luau on Hawaii but have already witnessed the one done at Canoe's from the lanai of our hotel on the Waikiki strip.  As we walk into the Hale Aloha center we pass the photo area for the expected photo shoot which, of course, can be purchased after the show, alas you can't escape marketing ploys.   We found our place and had a great seat, again with some interesting table mates retelling their adventures while on vacation here, a band played traditional Hawaiian music and soon the MC started introductions of the entertainment staff.  I was looking around the Hale Aloha center at the large number of people and wondered at how we would all be served in a timely fashion.

As the ceremonies began the service staff quietly went around the room signaling tables to move toward the buffet tables.  Walking up the the service area I was surprised to find no lines and a wonderful selection of foods that were constantly being refreshed.  Among the choices were traditional Hawaiian foods, which for most people would be a fine selection.  I am a health and fitness person so my choices were more for what I considered to be healthier yet I wanted to try foods that were more customary.  I was surprised that I liked the poi as so many turned their noses up at the bland taste.  The purple sweet potato looked to be a taro type (rather stiff when cooked and I understand why it is pounded into a paste) the rolls had to be from the taro as they also were purple and rather stiff as well, of course the fruit and salad greens were a favorite of mine.  The pork was very tender and had good flavor, I must say that the fatty sections were not trimmed away during the preparation for serving which was something I certainly wasn't used to.  I wasn't hungry after the meal was over as I did well finding more than enough to curb the hunger after I built after our 6 hour walk that day.

   We sat and watched the show and noticed how beautifully done it was, the Keiki (children) were just adorable and performed well.  Most of the dancers were very striking in their style and grace with costumes that were beautifully colored and detailed.   Upon the completion of the meal and dinner we were to attend the newest theatrical performance Ha.  This was timed so that everyone had a few moments to wander around the gift shops and see the displays and other historical displays.  Kap, from the Samoan show, was sitting up on a wall playing music while displaying his artwork and talking with guests as they strolled by.

 Finally the doors opened to the theater and we quickly found our seats, which we were delighted to find that we were seated front row just off center.  As the lights dimmed the excitement rose with each beat of the drum, war cries shot across the room then it fell silent as the show began.   We were watching Ha, The Story of Life, (click this link for more detail and a show trailer)  a show with over a hundred dancers that tells the story of a boy, Mana, born to parents that washed ashore after escaping their distant island after a volcanic eruption.  Mana becomes a brave warrior who has to prove his worth to win the heart of a fair maiden named Lana.  It is a beautiful story to watch with a wide variety of dances, fire dancers and fire shows.  The performance was absolutely wonderful, I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested.  We were amazed at how much heat is thrown off the torches during the fire show, these fire artisans must be exhausted and overheated from all the activity.    Of course being in the front row allowed a view that many would not see, I now have the answer to what is worn under the lava lava, if you leave a comment I will let you know the answer..  

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