Thursday, December 22, 2005

12/9/05 – 7:25 AM

Another day in paradise. Funny, how it feels more like paradise now that I’m here on vacation than it ever did when we lived here. It’s that old nasty four letter word that starts with a “W” that makes the difference, I guess. When you have to go to work, it’s doesn’t feel much like paradise.

As I mentioned earlier, I’d never gone to a luau in the four years we lived here. Don’t know why, exactly, except that it was always pretty expensive, and money was tight. In fact, I can think of only two ways we splurged on tourist things while we were here—the whale watching tour on the Navatek and the time we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore.

We arrived at the luau about 5:00 and received our tropical drinks and a shell lei. Then we all sat on this grassy lawn on beach mats and watched the entertainment. When they asked for volunteers to come up and learn how to hula, I’d had just enough of my Blue Hawaii to answer the call. So this hula dancer taught us a simple dance, and as uncoordinated as I am, I’m sure I looked like an idiot, but it was fun.

We watched the guys dig up the kalua pig from its pit; the aroma was wonderful. We then went to our tables, right up close to the stage but off to the side, and began eating our appetizers—a salmon-tomato relish, marinated seaweed and a salad of pickled cucumber and mango. I didn’t try the salmon-tomato relish because of the chopped onion in it, but the seaweed was interesting, and I loved the salad. And then…the poi arrived at the table. Now, I’ve always heard just how nasty poi was, and I didn’t think I’d have the nerve to try it. I have to admit it didn’t look promising. But I tried it—the traditional way, with two fingers, and it was…bland. Not bad, not good, not anything, really. Then I dipped a banana in it, and that was pretty good. The main meal arrived—a plate of kalua pig, teriyaki chicken, mahi mahi, rice, potato, glazed beef tips, all of it delicious. My favorite, though, was definitely the kalua pig. Dessert was coconut cake and some kind of bland gelatin. The show was great with lots of hula dancing and singing, but my favorite, as always, were the Tahitian dancers. Not only do I love to watch the girls twitch in their full grass skirts, I love the beat of the drums and the native music. Frank was expecting to get pulled up on stage by a Tahitian dancer as had happened almost every single time we went to a Polynesian show in the past, but this time, much to his relief (he claims) he was passed on by.

Today I’m meeting Lynne for lunch at Ala Moana. We used to work together at the base library 17 years ago. Wonder if we’ll recognize each other?


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