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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hawaii - Day 6 (Pearl Harbor, Dole Plantation, Polynesian Cultural Center, & Ha: Breath ot Life Luau)

Thanks to the government shutdown this day was a complete fiasco. We were supposed to be picked up by the tour company at 6:00am. If it wasn't for my persistent calls the night before I would have had no idea that we were actually not going to be picked up until 8:30. When we finally did get picked up it was 8:45. But here is the kicker the buss was just transporting us to another hotel where we would get picked up by the tour bus we would actually be taking.

That tour bus didn't actually arrive until 9:20. The tour guide almost immediately apologized knowing that he was late. I think he could tell from the look on the faces of the nearly dozen people that we were all less then happy.

After we were all on board he introduced himself as Kona like coffee and told us we had just a few more stops before we would be underway. Moments later we were out of Waikiki and heading towards Pearl Harbor. Even though the shutdown closed the attraction we learned that the tour company had failed to advise a group who were flying over from a different island that their tour was cancelled and we would have to pick them up at Pearl Harbor.

We arrived at Pearl Harbor at 9:50. This is where we all really got annoyed since we found ourselves sitting in the parking lot of the attraction we were supposed to be visiting waiting endlessly for another group they failed to call. After sitting restlessly and Kona telling us they were just around the corner for the last 20 minutes I told him I was going to walk down the street to try and get a picture of the memorial. Another tour guest joined me and we managed to find a decent view over a chain link fence of the Arizona Memorial and snapped a few pictures.  As I turned around Kona was driving down the road towards and it was about 10:45.

We continued on to what should have been our second stop at the Dole Plantation. We arrived at  11:15 and were only allows to spend 20 minutes since we were running behind from all the delays. I managed just enough time to buy a Dole whip, some pineapple flavored gummie bears and a Hawaiian Quilt pillow before being hustled back to the buss.

We stopped quickly at subset beach where we should have had 30 minutes for a quick photo op. Having been there already from the Circle Island tour this was a redundant stop for us and we just put our feet in the sand and waited to get back on the bus.

Still running behind we arrived at our final stop at 12:15. We were supposed to be there for a 12:00 buffet. Sadly by the time we all got our tickets it was 12:30 giving us  only 30 minutes to scar down lunch at the Island Buffet before our first presentation by the Aotearoa tribe. We arrived late and missed the first half of their presentation. Next up was tonga then the 4d movie about the Polynesian culture.

If was after the movie that I learned Kona would be leaving us behind and that he was actually running 2 different tours of his bus and that we would be picked up later after Ha: Breath of Life by a different bus. I asked if he minded if we stayed with him until they left rather then wander around. I learned that after the Canoe Parade that they were leaving but he did give us a an idea of what we should do.

The Canoe Parade was impressive and it gave each represented group an opportunity to demonstrate to the crowds their culture through traditional dance. After the canoe parade we moved on to the next village to watch a demonstration by a Samoan teaching us how to cook and survive on coconut. We also got a show and demonstration on how to climb a palm tree. It was an excellent show.

Next up was Fiji where we learned how to greet and perform a traditional song using bamboo shoots as instruments. It was interesting but very warm in the hut that provided us shelter from the sun.

Our final village was Hawaii where we played traditional village games and tour traditional structures. After a good 30 minutes playing the various bowling like games we grabbed a ride on the canoe to take us back to the main pavilion where we would be having our Ali-Luoa dinner buffet. It was a little early to eat since we ate late because of the delay but we enjoyed the presentation and the pulled pork dinner before leaving the venue.

We still had an hour before the show started and enjoyed the International Marketplace Bazaar where we explored the different handmade and mass produced products. None of us bought anything but I almost bought a hand carved tiki man.

Finally people started to queue up for the show and we joined them at 7:00 promptly they opened the gates and we found our seats.  They were excellent 3rd row side center seats that gave us a great view of all the action. The show told a story of a village and that of a man and woman who would marry and continue the traditions. At the end we were treated with an amazing fire show. It was really an impressive sight and we cold feel the heat from the torches as they spun them with precision.

When it was all over we found the mega bus that would take us back to our hotel. The ride was a good hour with all the stops to drop everyone off and we got home about 10:30. It was a poor start but the show finished our day leaving us all with a smile on our face.

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