So, a quick recap of my Hawaiian vacation experience at the Polynesian Cultural Center. First, we visited the villages of Samoa, Aotearoa, and Tonga. Then we saw the awesome canoe pageant. Of course at the pageant, the women in my group (my cousin, my best friend, and my other friend and her two aunts) turned out to be skanky whores! But let's face it; that's what makes them such fun friends.
I've all ready told you how my cousin and best friend were making googly eyes and inappropriate remarks at the Tahitian village when the male dancer was shaking it with his partner. But these ladies (if they could be called that) behavior at the canoe pageant was just as bad. My cousin and best friend started with some "mmmm....baby" when the Hawaiians came out; that grew to a "I want to be friendly with you" when the Tongans came out. When the Samoans came out, it was a "hey, come make me happy"; and when the Fijians arrived, it was "ooh, baby you can eat me up anytime!" Whores! Thank goodness we were surrounded by Japanese tourists who did not speak English!
But the biggest surprise of all (well, I always did think my cousin and best friend were kind of whorish), were the two older aunts, who exclaimed when the Aotearoa fellas arrived, "Ooh, I want to play with his stick! It looks like fun! It's so big!"
The second aunt replied,"Oh, yes, those bigs ones are always fun!"
My brother, my cousin's husband, and I looked at the old aunts, looked at each other in disbelief, then turned to my other friend, wondering if we'd heard the same thing. My friend just shrugged her shoulders and said, "What? The big ones are fun!" Another whore!
Anyway, after the canoe show, we visited the villages of Tahiti, Fiji, and Hawaii. Then we went on a leisurely canoe ride on the lagoon, the guide and oarsman being a funny Korean dude. For some reason, a lot of the oarsmen were Asian. Hardworking people, that's for sure. Even in this day and age we can still count on the Asians to do the work. Is it any wonder a lot of things are either made in China or Taiwan?
So what do you do after a canoe ride? Eat, of course! And we went to the Ali'i Luau. Ali'i (ah-lee-ee) means high chief in Polynesia. So, we were treated like kings. First up, the band warmed us up with some music; then the hostess came out and greeted us. We all stood for the arrival of our hosts, the Royal Hawaiian Court.
(Click on the pics for bigger view OR right click, then open in new tab)
The entrance of the Royal Court was heralded by the little boy in the picture below, who blew that conch shell like it was a trumpet!
After welcoming us into his lands, the host treated us to a show before the feast. First, a traditional hula kahiko, complete with chants and gourd drumming.
Followed by these two keiki (children) dancing really fast to a hula 'auana (modern hula) with ukuleles and guitars and singing, shaking those 'uli'uli implements.
Now, they had more hula performances and some singing. But by this time, I was too busy stuffing myself over a menu of imu (ground oven roasted) pork, bbq ribs and chicken, salmon, and so many other goodies. I could've paused and taken more pictures except it would've meant that I had to stop eating this awesome feast! Besides, my camera only had 15 or so pictures left, and I wanted to save some pics for the big show. The big show, of course, is the fantastic night show that PCC puts on. The current show is called Horizons, where the earth meets the sky.
After stuffing ourselves at the luau, we had to walk off all that food and saw more of PCC. Eventually, we made our way over to the big show, and before the big show started, some of the dancers came out to welcome the crowd and get us all fired up about the show. Every village was represented: Samoans, Maoris, Tongans, Tahitians, Fijians, Hawaiians, and even some Marquesans and Rapa Nuians.
Then the show began. First the darkness. Then a lone pipe sounds; soon, it is joined by some drums and string instruments. Then out of the darkness, in the very top corners of the stadium, stood fire bearers at every entrance.
A soft light and movements in the shadows called our attention to the center of the stage. They started singing and dancing.
They carried out a canoe, singing the story of how the ancient Polynesians explored and settled the Pacific.
Then they called for fire...
And boy, did that fire come from everywhere!
The fire bearers made their way down the many entrance ways in the stadium; from over the (staged) mountains they came bearing torches that lit up the arena, all while their music and singing became louder.
Soon the stairways of the stadium and the stage and surrounding mountains were lit up by fire light, by the torches of dancers and singers who opened the Horizon show. Everywhere we turned, we were surrounded by fire torches, a brilliant opening!
By now, my camera battery was running real low, and I only had a few shots left; so I had to be careful and take a foto or two of some really great numbers! After the fire torch bearers left, the Hawaiians did their hulas. I took a picture of my favorite hula kahiko, involving staffs.
The Tongans came in like two armies at opposite ends of the stage, then merged to perform the ma'ulu'ulu.
The Maori men came first and did their haka.
The ladies then came out and performed with their poi balls.
A cool thing they did was they turned off the lights, and the poi balls glowed in the dark! The men and women got together and played a game of tititorea and that they even played in the dark with glowing sticks. It was a thrilling sight to see those sticks light up and make neat patterns as they were tossed amongst the dancers.
And after the Maoris left, we had a short intermission. My camera batteries were running low, and I cursed myself for not bringing another memory card for my camera. And I sure as hell wasn't going to delete some of the fantastic pics I had taken so far. Oh, well, live and learn. Then, the lights were dimmed again and were turned out. The fire torches were brought out,
and loud fast drumming signaled the entrance of the Tahitian tamure.
This couple entertained us with a fantastic tamure, giving us a glimpse of that forbidden dance that scandalized the missionaries and inspired sailors to mutiny. They were moving way too fast for my camera to capture them!
After the Tahitians left, the Samoans came running in two groups and started their siva.
Then the Samoan men did their siva,
complete with a hilarious fire show! These fellas danced over the fire. They shimmied and shook it as the flames burned between their legs. Talk about fire crotch! Their antics had the whole audience laughing.
Then came the world famous Samoan fire knife dance! Originally called the ailao (warrior's dance), fire was added to the long weapon to make a dangerous dance even more beautiful! Now known as the Siva Afi Ailao, this exciting dance, like the ailao, is performed by both men and women.
My friend with the two aunts told me that it is always a former Fire Knife Dance champion that performs the solo. And this champ delivered a great show! First, he came out and greeted the audience.
Then he started spinning that fire knife til the flames at each end of the weapon created a ring of fire!
And after dazzling us with his incredible skills, he took a knee and called out to his friends...
and his friends answered his call and came out spinning!
Then another friend appears on the high ledge spinning a fire knife. The drums pick up speed once more, and you know something good is about to happen.
And the chills build up in the audience. The guy on the ledge stops spinning his fire knife, aims it at the solo fire knife champ, and throws it at him as the audience gasps!
And the champ catches it and spins both fire knives as we cheered and screamed our enthusiasm and excitement!
After an astounding fire knife performance, we gave those Samoan fire knife dancers a standing ovation! A fantastic ending to the show! Once again, the canoe is carried out and dancers sing and dance the closing number to the show.
A single voice singing, soon joined by a chorus that crescendoed as the dancers bearing torches once again came down to the stage from the mountains and the top stairway entrances, lighting up the dark stadium.
Though they are spread thousands of miles across the Pacific on thousands of islands, these are the Polynesians! These are a people united by a spirit and a culture that burns bright and has guided them for over three thousand years.
And they've been fantastic hosts to us, visitors in their lands. So ends my trip to PCC. I'm really glad that I got to go there with my brother and my friends. It was an absolutely unforgettable experience!