July 22, 2009

Hawaii - PCC

On Tuesday, our last day in Oahu, after a morning swim and family sand castle making session at low tide, we headed to the Polynesian Cultural Center. The PCC was highly recommended to us by many people. The advice we got was consistent across the board: you need a whole day to do it, and its pricey, but its worth it. We can say that the advice was dead-on.

Before entering the PCC, which is up closer to the North Shore area, we grabbed lunch at hole-in-the-wall restaurant called (we think) Hukelua Restaurant. Perfect spot to have our first hamburger in a long time - and it was all Hawaii'ed up with a fried egg and a slice of teriyaki beef. Yum!

And this is some guy waxing his surf board right outside the entrance to the restaurant; a real local joint.

As it turns out, the PCC is quite the institution. Consider that they have the website polynesia.com and when you type "polyn" into Google, they are the first result to pop up. It is basically a relaxed cultural amusement park devoted to the music, history, crafts, games, and culture of triangle of island known as Polynesia - Hawaii, Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, and New Zealand. It really was a great and memorable day. There were lots of fun and hands-on activities, like fishing, learning to play the ukelele, spear throwing, drumming exhibitions, tree-scaling/cocunut cracking/fire making exhibitions, and learning to do some hip shaking dances.

All of the staff and performers had terrific warm personalities and senses of humor. Our favorite was this amazing Samoan guy with hilarious shtick in teaching how to crack and make fire from a coconut husk. (As it turned out, he was also the star of the show later that night, twirling and catching flaming spears).

Later that evening we joined in the luau and an incredible show of dancing, costumery, and acrobatic fire-twirling and actual dancing on fire. It was quite the show! (We have some amazing videos of this, but didn't yet get around to uploading them . . . )

Perhaps the most "interesting" thing about the PCC is its business model. And we only came to appreciate this after a completely weird and awkward proselytizing tour of the nearby Church of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Church) that we took in between the end of the luau and the beginning of the show. (There really isn't anything else to do during this dead time, and we didn't quite realize what we were getting into as we hopped onto the shuttle, staffed by several "Sisters.") See, right next to the PCC is the Hawaii campus of BYU. (Which got us wondering why U Penn didn't have a Hawaii campus!!). Anyway, BYU basically runs and sponsors the PCC. It recruits students to come to the school from the various Polynesian islands. In order to pay for their scholarships and education, many of these students work at the PCC.

1 comment:

dyana said...

Good photo.....

thanks for sharin with us......


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