Sunday, August 3, 2008

Doin the Sun Dance

After another ginormous breakfast at the Mariot, we leave Waikiki Beach for the north side of the island. I just put in that map above to give you an idea where we were and where everything else on the island was. So we stayed in Waikiki which on the map is marked by some condos (on the south shore), yesterday we went to Honolulu which is marked with the plane. And today we headed to the Polynesian Culture Center on the north side.

We headed along highway H2 (which funnily enough is an interstate highway), through the center of the water locked land mass. We passed by the Dole Plantation, where we caught a glimpse at many many pineapple plants and some banana trees too. (I'm pretty sure Dole does a lot of its fruit growth in Latin America, as one of 2 things I learned in my Caribbean cultures class - the other being that Hispanics make homes out of trash in what is known as shanty towns and the lesson I learned from this is to never recycle.) Continuing along this route, we actually get to the North (should this be capital N or lowercase, I can never remember the rules with directions) side very early (we left for this place at like 930 and were told that the trip would take about 1.5 hours (the PCC opens at noon), but it only took about 45 min), we decided to check out the north beaches.

[Here we took many pictures. I also began one of the many themes for the trip (to be thought of, compiled, and written down in all its splendor later), which was doing the Ray face. My stepdad, Ray, never shows teeth when he smiles in photos and thus looks pretty funny. He also has many awkward poses in these no teeth stills. I decided it would be the most splendiferous idea if I emulated him in all pictures with him, where I make the same awkward smile and pose as he does. We have many such Ray face/poses on this trip and this picture is just one of them. My brother also joined me in my quest and we even have some pictures of just the two of us doing the Ray. My stepdad is such a cool guy that by the time we got to Kauai, during pictures of the three of us he would say, "Which face are we making?"

So we took pictures of us doing the Ray face and pose, then we took some photos of the scenery, then we took some images of us doing the Ray face and pose with scenery. We also walked around on the beach and just enjoyed the overall beauty of Hawaii. Soon thereafter we headed East, to the Polynesian Culture Center.

Oh I forgot to mention, H2 is one lane each way. And the other roads are like that too. The highway around Honolulu is more lanes, but I assume once you move past the urban area, it goes to one lane. I tell you this because it explains why we left for the PCC so damned early. We were told that the traffic was real bad for this place (and that it was a one lane highway, and that by going through the middle of the island we were going the long way) and since the highway was one lane we had to account for this. There was no traffic, and it wasn't even that long of a trip as I said before. Oh yea it is also worth noting that the speed limit on the highways is like 40 mph. Ok now back to the story.

So what is the PCC? It is basically Disney World in museum form...sorry no rides, well there is one a canoe ride around the center. The idea is they teach visitors the way of various cultures of the Pacific. Apparently Polynesia is defined as a triangle with the vertices at Hawaii, New Zealand, and Easter Island with the inclusion of Fiji, although Fiji is just outside the triangle. The story of this place is great and can be found in great detail on Wikipedia (I was actually upset about this first, because I wanted to tell you all about it and fudge the details that I can't remember, but some of you will search it and find that I was erroneous, but now I can just say read about it yourself), however some things I will note. First the PCC is a school where students come to in sort of an exchange program and learn about their cultures. The park completely funds the scholarships, and the students put on the performances in exchange for free schooling.

Another thing to note is that the Center has several villages that you "visit" and learn something about the culture of the village. Each village has a schedule of shows and one may choose to visit any show and village at any time. There are several packages that you can purchase. The most basic is a self tour of the center, while the one we had was a group tour. Our guide would tell us little somethings about the villages we journeyed to, and then we would be involved in either a demonstration or some kind of activity (I got to perform in New Zealand's welcoming ceremony which involved doing a background ground stomp while shaking a spear in unison with other men while our leader performed a war dance). Some of these deeds involved making fish from palm leaves, learning to hula, fire making, and various others of exciting excrement.

In the middle of the day there was a boat parade, where each village of the center performed a dance of their culture on a boat in the river that flows in the middle (or around) the PCC. After the tours are done it is time for dinner. A Polynesian feast that comes fully equiped with a luau. I will explain the food in more detail in my section on food (the other theme for the trip). After the dinner there is another luau, that is absolutely spectacular. I can't really say much about the one from dinner cause I was too busy eating and getting more food that I didn't watch the dances at all, but the later one had no food so I was forced to watch (cue "Not Ludwig!" quotes). Although it was much the same as earlier in the day (think parade) these dances were more elaborate that culminated in a fire routine where one man did stuff with his penis while it was on fire, like putting the fire out with his mouth, putting the flame tip on his feet, twirling the fire around, and throwing it across the room to a man who caught the flaming penis and did some twirls of his own. God I love run-on sentences.

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