After a breakfast at Smorgy’s (this was fast becoming our eating place of choice) we headed for the North Shore. Destination: Polynesian Cultural Center. Along the way I wanted to detour to see the Sacred Falls that I had read about but when we found the turn off there was a chain across the road and a “closed “ sign.
Respecting the sign we moved on to Hauula Beach Park where we could see the little island called Chinaman’s Hat (Mokoli’i) and the amazing Ko’olau Mountains.
The morning was overcast and threatening rain but we still took time for a short walk on the beach where we saw little transparent crabs that scooted across the beach into little holes. We were told that these are called “ghost crabs”. They are well named.
There were a lot of white birds that seemed to tease you to get close enough to take a picture and then fly away again right before you reached them. Sandy thought it was pretty funny as I tried to sneak up close enough to get a picture with a little point and shoot. I wasn’t too successful.
As we progressed up the coastline we spotted another pretty park named Pupukea Park. Here we watched snorkelers and some scuba divers head into the ocean. The shore was dotted with tide pools formed from the lava rocks and formations. We arrived at the Polynesian cultural Center at 11:00 but the doors hadn’t opened yet so we decided to explore a bit further up the road.
We found a roadside vendor where I bought a necklace and bracelet for a mere $8.00, much less than I would have spent for the same thing in the Honolulu souvenir shops.
When we returned to the Polynesian Cultural Center at 11:30 the doors had opened.
The Polynesian Cultural Center was created by the Mormon (Church of Latter Day Saints) Church to keep the various heritages of Polynesia alive. Proceeds generated from the Center support the Center and Brigham Young Students. Visitors to the center explore 7 of the South Pacific Island Cultures, Fiji, Hawaii, the Marquesas, Maori New Zealand , Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga. Each village is represented by students who are actually from these islands. They wear traditional clothing and demonstrate traditional skills.
We ate coconut bread baked in underground ovens, watched natives climb coconut trees, and learned how coconuts were shucked. In one village we joined in a native dance class. It seemed to be a type of Hula but with vigorous hip action!
We enjoyed a canoe ride that took us past all 7 villages so we could actually see the different building styles. The afternoon wound down with the Parade of Canoes. Each village had a canoe that resembled a flat raft.
Each village was assigned a color and their traditional clothing was in that color. The rafts came into the lagoon and the native dances for each heritage were demonstrated. It was a great finale to the afternoon but the day wasn‘t over yet.
With the afternoon festivities wrapping up we made our way to the IMAX theater to see a film about coral reefs. By the time that was over it was time to head for the Luau. We had been to one last year on the Big Island and in many ways they were similar. One difference was that we were given leis of shells on the Big Island but at the Polynesian Center the leis were very beautiful flower leis such as one normally thinks of when you imagine a lei.
The evening wrapped up with a spectacular stage show called The Horizon Show. It was a true celebration of the south Pacific heritage.
We made very good time getting back to the condo after the show and didn’t even get lost this time, in spite of it being dark.
The Polynesian Cultural center was well worth the $65.00 fee to get in. We could have easily spent another 3 days there because there was so much to see and do. We saw several tour groups come through and the guides were moving the guests through each exhibit very quickly. I am sure they got to spend a few minutes at each thing but we took our time and spent more time at the exhibits we went to, granted we didn’t see everything but I think we enjoyed our way more in this case.
Hawaiian for thank you(modernized version)