Friday, November 18, 2011

Oahu: Visit to the Polynesian Cultural Centre

This morning I woke up at 5am and finally got out of bed at 5:45, checked my mail, uploaded my blog entry and called my friend Georgie in Maryland. With a 4 hour time difference, my sleep is a bit messed up. I have to say that when my head landed on the pillow last night, I must have fallen asleep in a few seconds because I did not even hear Bena and Sophie after their shower.

Bena woke up a bit later and she, Karran and I went for a walk on Waikiki Beach (about 10 minutes to walk from the hotel) with our coffee. It was so warm and with just enough sun to make it feel like it was going to be a perfect day. We had a nice hour long walk which probably would have taken about 45 minutes had we not stopped several times on the way to and from the beach to admire bird feet prints in the sand, the many glorious colours of hibiscus and a number of other beautiful tropical plants that we used to find in Guyana. I guess you can take us out of Guyana but you can’t take Guyana out of us. While Ben and I were walking, Karran was busy videoing and after a while, we could hear him say “Wait for me. Wait for me.” Reminded me of the old days when we would try to run away from him and he would yell for us to wait for him.
View of Daimond Head from Waikiki
Bird footprints

Bougainvillaea flowers
We returned to the hotel and showered and then went downstairs and across the street for breakfast. Since we didn't have a wheelchair for Mom, we improvised.

Improvising a wheelchair
The meals are so large here that four of us ended up sharing two breakfasts. Mom had her own – pancakes and an egg with coconut syrup. I had about a ¼ of a teaspoon. It was good but not something I wanted to eat early in the morning.

After breakfast, we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) in the North East part of the island but before doing that, we went to the grocery store and bought some deli stuff for a picnic lunch. Bena had been raving about pokey (raw tuna marinated in an assortment of marinades) so we bought some, as well as some baguettes, pineapple buns, coconut buns, fruits, spicy chicken wings and peppery Havarti cheese, and stuff to drink. We drove up to a park near the beach that was close to the PCC and had a feast. I wasn’t so crazy about the marinated raw tuna but I really like the marinated pepper and artichokes (which was another dish). I dipped my bread in the olive oil and it was so tasty. If I thought it wouldn’t look bad, I would have dropped right there and had a nap but instead we walked to the beach and took a pile of pictures.
Picnic at the park

Family bonding
Then it was off to the PCC to see several shows based on some of the Polynesian islands including Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa and a few others. The shows were a bit too cheesy for me but I watched them anyway. At the Tonga stage you won’t guess what the entertainment was - husking a coconut, grating it on a sit down grater (Guyanese would know about that), squeezing out the milk, starting a fire with the husk, and climbing a coconut tree. Now that’s entertainment. In the old days in Guyana, that was pure work!
Dancer in PCC

Polynesian hut

Tongo dancer

Tahiti dancer
Later in the evening, we had dinner but I have to say that it was not the most tasty meal I ever had. In fact, it was not tasty at all – except for the curried chicken. The evening show made up for all the day’s uninteresting activities. It was called Ha – Breath of Life and it was the story of a young man’s life from birth to becoming a father himself. The dance interpretation was very good but the show stealer was the fire act – basically a baton lit on both ends and spun and twirled until it looked like a lit wheel in the darkness. It was quite spectacular and the dancer who played the young man had such a fabulously toned body that we thought that he must spend several hours each day in the gym and practicing the twirling with the flaming batons. It was amazing. We then had a long drive back to Waikiki where our hotel is. That took us about an hour so we got back at 10:30pm. I started to write today’s blog entry but got only one paragraph completed before I gave up and decided that I needed a good sleep. I told this to Bena and she agreed that she was also tired and we both needed to go to bed. Well, I don’t know how it happened but by the time we stopped talking to each other and turned off the light, it was 2:02am. So much for an early night. Sophie must have thought to herself “I wish those two would shut up” but she didn’t actually say anything. Good night or better yet, good early morning. It’s now later today – Saturday – cruise day.


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