The grounds were just incredible. There were men playing soft Hawaiian music, the plants and flowers were glorious. There were people in native costumes making headbands out of palm fronds, chopping up fresh coconut for us to taste, handing out flowers for us to put behind our ears and handing out seashell leis to each guest. It was very relaxed and peaceful.
This was a Samoan man who kept us entertained during the cocktail hour. He was very funny! Check out those tattoos. He said the tattoos were part of a rite of passage that he had to go through. He said it took fourteen days to complete the tattoo and, yes, it hurt. And yes, everything was tattooed.
They picked people out of the audience and gave them a quick hula lesson. Katie was thrilled to be one of the people chosen and of course it irritated Ben because he thinks Katie is such a show-off.
They dug a pig out of the pit using an ancient Hawaiian tool called a "shovel" and then called us to dinner by blowing through conch shells.
When we sat down at the table our appetizers included lomi-lomi (raw salmon, tomatoes and onions), seaweed, pickled vegetables, and poi (that's the purple stuff on the pineapple slice there. Despite what it sounds like, everything was delicious; except the poi which is not awful, but just sort of tasteless.
Emily took one look at the appetizers and burst into tears.
I assured her that she didn't have to try anything she didn't want to and that there was regular food on the way which she would enjoy. But of course she was in a full blown pre-teen hormonal snit and her life was apparently ruined. She loves fresh pineapple, apples, oranges, and bananas all of which were on the table also, but she refused to touch any of it and kept snarling, "I'm just not hungry!"
(Note to future hormonal pre-teens: nothing ruins a good snit like finding something you actually enjoy, so in order to retain that "my life is horrible" attitude you have to refuse things that you normally like.)
The food was fabulous and plentiful. We each had fish, pork, beef, chicken, rice, and potato. The flower may have been edible but I just set it to the side.
Miss "I'm just not hungry" ate everything on her plate and the leftovers on everyone else's plates and then griped about how she couldn't see what was happening on the stage because the lady in front of her kept moving her head.
Dessert was a slice of coconut cake and a pink pudding/jello square. Emily ate the cake after scraping the coconut off and then stabbed her jello thirty or forty times with a fork.
I've never been to a luau before so I was expecting lots of slow soft music and gentle hula. Which is nice, but a little too calm after a while. I was very impressed to find that the show involved humor, many different style of dance, lots of costume changes, energetic music and FIRE.
And our host was Glen Medeiros! Remember him? He was a teen star in the 80's with the song "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You". He is a Hawaiian native who now teaches high school history and sings at the Hale Koa. I can remember watching him on VH1.
Even Emily managed to have a good a time, and that's really saying something!