Polynesian Cultural Center

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Our first visit to Hawaii was great, despite the heat, humidity, very long flights(from UK), and expense. My most enjoyable day was spent at the P.C.C. and was worth every dollar. (Shame about the name which might sound boring, but it's NOT!!). A coach arranged by the Center collected us at 10 a.m. from our hotel in Waikiki and the jovial driver pointed out various film locations on the 2 hour drive to the Center in the north of Oahu. Spread over hundreds of acres, it portrays Polynesian islands e.g. Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, each country being linked by bridges and canals. We opted out of a guided tour, and wandered around at our own pace, with map and programme of events like boat pageants, shows, cooking, and the luau feast. We saw displays of crafts, traditional games and dancing, art and artefacts, all in authentic dwellings or meeting halls. Every native Polynesian wore brightly coloured traditional dress, but spoke excellent English as well as their native tongue, and were friendly, informative and often funny. We snacked and had lots of soft drinks at various cafes we came across, but the culinary highlight was the luau, a native barbecue where we saw "our" pig being lifted from its clay pit, of burning embers, after being slow roasted for many hours , wrapped in banana leaves. The whole buffet was delicious, with very generous portions and choices, and, as we ate we were entertained by a very colourful show of dancing and music.

The day ended with a very avish spectacular called Ha – Breath of Life, which told the story of the cycle of life, love and death, then re-birth. It was very dramatic, easily understood, by all nationalities and the climax with flaming torches was very thrilling. It was a superb end to our stay in Oahu, and a light antidote to the very sombre visit to Pearl Harbour, which is equally worth seeing, but very sad. Those on a lower budget or with less time can opt just to see the Center, with no shows or meals. But, I thoroughly recommend the whole day and evening experience if you can, you won,t regret it!

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