On the first Wednesday of our trip, Erich and I drove to the North Shore (famous for surfing--also where "Lost" is filmed) to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center, run by Brigham Young University-Hawaii (aka Mormons). It was a very interesting place, but not quite as awesome as we had hoped. It was a very pretty setting, though largely man-made, and featured different islands of Polynesia, as well as Easter Island, pictured here. We weren't much in the mood for a lot of "presentations," where someone would stand and talk about different cultural things in a hut, so we pretty much just wandered around for the whole day.
But we did several cool things, the first of which was to take ukulele lessons from this man, Earl, a retired Vietnam veteran who volunteers at the PCC. Erich and I were the only ones there at the time, and since we are both musical, we picked up "You Are My Sunshine" pretty easily. After we mentioned to Earl that we were on our honeymoon, he congratulated us and spouted all the marriage-related wisdom he could think of. He especially stressed "communication" (we're practicing!). Anyway, now I want to get my own ukulele. :) It's like the guitar, only easier because it's smaller and has only four strings.
The main event during the day was a canoe show featuring dancers representing each major island, dancing on a double-rigged canoe-turned-stage. It was interesting but mostly entertaining.
Btw, we saw this duck with a groovy hair-do (feather-do?).
This one is from our canoe-ride tour of the park:
The best part of the day at the PCC was the lu'au. There were hundreds and hundreds of people packed into a large space where we saw traditional Hawai'ian dances with live music.
The food was quite good, though at least half of the buffet was boring "American" food, which I skipped for salmon lomi lomi, poke (delicious marinated raw tuna), roast pig, and poi. Poi is... interesting. It's like sour baby food. It was okay as a dip for meat. :) There was no alcohol at this lu'au, since the PCC is run by the Mormons, though they did try to sell us a smoothie in a pineapple for $10. (I jokingly remarked under my breath that I would bite if it were soaked in rum.) Actually, they tried to sell us a LOT that day, which felt like a lot to ask for when we had already paid $80 a head to get in. By the end of the lu'au we were pretty tired, but there was still an hour and a half before the big, spectacular show... which we decided to skip in favor of driving all the way back to Waianae (the area that includes Makaha Valley, see "Part 1") and getting to bed at a decent time (we were still getting over jet lag).
Side note: the weirdest part of the day was when Erich and I were puttering around a little souvenir hut when we heard someone in the distance: "Erich Keller?!?" That's definitely not something we expected to hear at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the island of O'ahu in the middle of the Pacific Ocean at the end of September. But it was a couple that Erich knew from high school; they, too, were on their honeymoon and had gotten married the same day as us in Evansville. Crazy! We saw them again after dinner and took each other's picture:
And that wraps up the PCC! Here are some other random pictures from the day: