A DAY OF ‘CULTURE’ IN HONOLULU

Well, that’s just a little play on words…actually  I’m speaking about our visit to The Polynesian Cultural Center.  The PCC is located on the North Shore of Oahu in the town of Laie, about 40 miles from Waikiki.  I developed an avid  interest in the history and culture of the Polynesian people after my first visit here when I was about 16.  I’m not unusually a history buff, but ancient Hawaii has held my interest for many years.  It was on my second visit to Hawaii while in college, that I first visited the Polynesian Cultural Center.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a wonderful place to experience,  with about 1,300 employees representing the island people and nations of Hawaii, Samoa, Maori New Zealand (Aotearoa), Fiji, Tonga, Easter Island, Tahiti and the Marquesas (French Polynesia)—spread over approximately 12 million square miles of Pacific Ocean.  Note the map below.

 The  Polynesian Cultural Center, considered one of the world’s most successful cultural theme attractions,  opened on October 12, 1963, to help preserve and perpetuate the more ideal aspects of Polynesian culture, and to provide work opportunities for students at the adjoining Brigham Young University.

   Many of the students there are from the lesser known islands in the Pacific, and would never have the opportunity to attend a university without this program.  Since opening, over 33 million visitors have been introduced to the Polynesian people, their arts and customs, and nearly 15,000 BYU-Hawaii students have helped finance their educational objectives while working as the friendly guides, performers and other PCC employees serving people from all over the world.

We had a tour bus from the center pick us up at our hotel about 10:00. Upon arrival at the center, we were divided into groups and assigned a tour guide.  The PCC is divided into 8 separate areas depicting the island groups in Polynesia.  With our tour guide and the rest of our group of about 25, we began our trek around the center.  Each of the areas showed some of their culture, their dances, their food or their customs.  And, as much as possible, they tried to replicate the differences in  the type of housing or shelters they used. 

TheRainbows of Paradise canoe pageant, Hawaii’s only water-borne review, takes place near Samoa and Hawaii every afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Skilled dancers show how their respective islands brought the colors of the rainbow into their lives. The pageant provides excellent daylight photography and video opportunities.

We were able to participate in several activities…playing ancient games, learning to hula, getting ‘tattoed’, tasting foods,watching the students showing some of their skills., even doing a simple weaving project. We did pretty good on everything we tried…especially the hula…yeah, they were wanting to hire us for the show!  Ha!  This seemed to be the activity we did the best in…pineapple, orange, and mango sherbet.  On this HOT day…delicious!

This was an all day adventure.  So next we were treated to a wonderful luau.    Delicious food, fine entertainment, and a nice, cool place to sit and eat.

And, after we stuffed ourselves, we moved over to a huge theater to watch the main show. 

Hā: Breathof Life
The Polynesian Cultural Center’s world-famous evening show, Ha-Breath of Life, is the pinnacle of the entire experience. A cast of over 100 of the PCC’s finest young dancers and musicians reprise an afternoon in the villages in a powerful 90-minute display of grace, beauty, color, exceptional choreography and unforgettable excitement.
 
The Polynesian Cultural Center evening show has thrilled millions of people, year after year, for the past 40 years.

The show was an excellent adaptation of just how people came to these islands and how they learned to live here with what was available.  One of the best shows we saw anywhere on the trip.

After the show, they allowed about an hour for shopping, or exploring.  They had opened up small kiosks all around with native crafts.  We had too much time to wander around in all these shops…if you catch my drift.  We caught our bus and were back at our hotel around 10:00.  The bus was equipped with TVs spaced throughout, and they showed interesting documentry type programming.  Sorry to say…I snoozed through some of it.  It was a loooooong day!

If you ever take a trip to the island of Oahu, this would be at the top of my list of  ‘MUST DO’.  Top quality throughout.

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