Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Polynesia (O'Tahiti, Viti, and Havai'i)

After the canoe show (which I'll post about next!), we headed over the village of O'tahiti (Tahiti).


is the greetings of Tahiti! Islands of legends and each a paradise unlike any other. Known in the modern world as French Polynesia, O'tahiti is the native name for the island group of over 100 islands, volcanic and coral (atolls). Over 2,000 years ago, the Samoans migrated in their great double hulled canoes to explore and settle the islands of French Polynesia, around 200 BC. French Polynesia, which now include the Society Islands (Tahiti is the biggest island in the group), the Marquesas Islands (where French artist--and Vincent Van Gogh's "friend"--Paul Gauguin lived and died), the Austral Islands, and the Tuamotu Archipelago. In the 1800s, the age of imperial conquests, European nations rushed to claim different parts of the world. In 1880, France--the whore of European nations--would lay claim to the islands. As such, Tahiti (and the rest of French Polynesia) speak French in addition to their native languages. The name Tahiti calls to mind visions of a tropical paradise, beautiful people, and an escape to pleasure.

These are the famous Polynesian hip shakers that people often mistake for hula dancers. No, it is not the Hawaiian hula but the Tahitian tamure that has captured the attention of the world since Europeans encountered the islands in the 1700s. These are the hips that inspired fantasies and stories of romance and escape to paradise.

After a brief history and overview of these islands, the villagers of Tahiti treated us to an demonstration of those fantastic, exotic hips!

(Click on pic to enlarge OR right click, open in new tab)

In started with the slow drum beat...

And then, bam! The beat picked up speed and so did those hips!

My cousin and one of my best friends were squealing with girlish delight. My cousin said, "Make sure you get a picture of my hottie!"

My best friend, "And get me a copy!"

I looked at both these ladies and asked, "Um...aren't you both married?"

Their instant reply, "And?!"

Whores...I'm friends with whores...but what the heck, I tried to take as many pictures as I could, but damn, those Tahitian dancers moved faster than my old digital camera!

After the tamure demonstration, the dancers came out and picked up random people for the audience participation portion. Guess which idiot got picked?! That's right, my whorish cousin and friends (along with my bastard of a brother!) pointed me out! I figured, what the hell? These people don't know me. So I got up there and tried to follow the instructions on how to shake my hips and scissor my legs to the beat, much to the amusement and laughter of the rest of the audience. With my fantastic moves, I was offered a job... a waiter at the lu'au ;) But what the hell, it was fun! The rest of the time, the Tahitian villagers offered to teach us Tahitian tamure, making shells and flower leis, traditional fishing in the lagoon, as well as other arts and crafts.

After visiting Tahiti, we move to the village of Viti!



is the greetings of Viti (Fiji)! Made of over 300 islands, Viti is the crossroad between Polynesia and Melanesia. Known throughout Polynesia as among the most fiercest and vicious warriors and cannibals, the Fijians earned a ferocious reputation! It was here the pre Polynesians, the Lapita People, first landed before they transformed into the Polynesians that would discover and colonize the rest of the Pacific. In 1874, the British claimed the islands as one of their colonies. In 1970, Fiji became an independent nation, though the impact of British rule has changed the islands and people of Fiji.

The Fijians in the village scared the heck out of us when all of a sudden, we hear this loud scream and this huge dark warrior wielding a heavy, sharp club jumped out into the unsuspecting crowd!

The warriors then performed a traditional Fijian dance, complete with weapons.

After their dance, we were given a tour of their sacred temple, the bure kalou (boo-reh kah-lo-ooh); only the priests could enter; anyone else was subject to be killed on site and most likely cooked later. The same goes for the vale levu (vah-leh leh-vooh), the chief's house. There was a special door for the chief to enter. Anyone else had to use the service door or end up being served at the next meal! The villagers offered classes on Viti musical instruments, a class on their various, vicious looking clubs and spears, and Fijian foods--no people on the menu that day :)

When we left Fiji, the last village we visited was, of course, our host island, Havai'i.


The tip of the Polynesian Triangle, Havai'i is perhaps the most famous Pacific island group the world over. Mark Twain declared Hawaii to be "the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean", and his sentiments are true to this day! Hawaii has enchanted the world since the first Polynesians arrived in 500 AD. In 1900, Hawaii became part of the US after greedy sugar businessmen plotted to overthrow the monarchy.

The Hawaiians showcased their dances, the hula, and their instruments. Hawaiians sway; Tahitians shake, as this this lovely Hawaiian girl demonstrates the Hawaiian sway for us.

Hawaiian hula is divided into two groups, the modern hula 'auana (ah-wha-nah)--performed with ukuleles and modern instruments--and the hula kahiko (kah-hee-koh)--using an ancient chant (mele) and ancient instruments. The hula kahiko is the ancient religious hula, sacred as it was first danced by the gods and goddesses of Havai'i. Contact with the Western nations brought diseases that wiped out a good portion of the population. Making matters worse, Christian missionaries tried to kill Hawaiian culture as they believed it to be heathen and sinful--hula dancing hips swayed immorally and surfing exposed too much sexy skin! In 1874, King David Kalakaua formed his own dance troupe and helped revived the dying Hawaiian culture. For saving the Hawaiian culture, he is now known as the Merrie Monarch, and an annual week long festival is held in his honor in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian villagers offered hula lessons, musical implements lessons, as well as classes on flower leis and food.

After leaving the Havai'i village, we headed off to the canoes and rode our way across the lagoon. A Korean student ferried us on the lagoon and narrated our voyage.

We first pass by the Tahitian village, where a villager was giving fishing lessons to some children and adults. We waved and shouted "Iaorana" to them, and they smiled and waved back. On the other side of the lagoon was the Aotearoa village. Notice the large double hulled canoe (alia); though the carrying capacity was smaller compared to European ships that later explored the Pacific, these alias were faster and were able to travel against the winds and currents! Truly an impressive navigational feat!

Then we passed by the Viti Village.

The Fijians were cooking something. My friend yelled out, "What's for dinner?" and they replied, "We didn't ask him his name!", much to our laughter.

My cousin asked, "Where was he from?"

And a Fijian replied, "Europe! The other white meat!", again, we laughed.

We passed the Havai'i village, where they were playing ukuleles and ipus (ancient Hawaiian dance implements) and waved "Aloha!"; we also passed by the Tonga village and they were giving spear throwing lessons. We waved and yelled, "Malo E Lelei", and the visitors and villagers waved back.

Before we got to the Samoa village, there was a waterfall with a bridge. The Korean guide said that we were going under the waterfalls and probably get wet. My cousin panicked because as she put it, "Oh, my gawd! My makeup! I'm not wearing my waterproof mascara!"

And then the Korean guy said, "Ready?"

Most of the fellas in the boat screamed, "Yeah!", while my cousin and the other ladies were shaking their heads in horror, "NO!" and "My new dress!" and "Oh my purse!"

The boat turned, we prepared ourselves for a dunk of cold waterfall!

And then the guide said, "Well, I'm not getting wet today!", and promptly turned back as we laughed at the ladies expense.

We then went under some bridges--man made and natural, like these beautiful coconuts bent over to make a fantastic tropical arch overhead.

We also went underneath some mangoes and kalie trees!

And finally, under one more bridge, we come to see the Rapa Nui (Easter Island) exhibit on the left.

And so ends our canoe ride; the Korean fella kept us laughing the whole time. After the canoe ride, we headed out to the lu'au, ready for some good eats! But before that, I'll share fotos of the fantastic Canoe Pageant they had! There was so much to do in the villages. They are actually expanding the villages at PCC! You could spend a couple of days just going from village to village, learning new things, trying new foods, and just enjoy the friendliness of these awesome students who try their best to represent the best parts of their islands. I was impressed and I had a blast!


  1. Just Beautiful babe.

    Well done on the pictures even though a couple are blurry or was that the wine LOL

  2. Tatas, some of them were blurry because was I trying to figure out how to switch my camera over to catch high speed motion! And those dancers wouldn't not stand still! :)

  3. Gorgeous!

    and I'm not only talking about the fella in the hula skirt who wouldn't stand still

  4. Oh, I loved the bit about the Fijians cooking 'white meat'!
    Everything looks so perfect and lush. Looks like you had a fantastic time!

  5. "Oh, my gawd! My makeup! I'm not wearing my waterproof mascara!"

    Are you sure CyberPoof wasn't along for the ride?

  6. CP, PCC was like eye candy central! College co ed hotties all over!

    IDV, I had a blast! Those PCC people kept us laughing the whole day and night!

    MJ, I didn't hear anyone exclaim about their shoes, so I don't think CP was there; no shiny Elf shorts sighted either.

  7. Where is your next adventure?

  8. Tatas, right now, I'm trying to decide where to go for my next contract...desert country or plains :)