Have you ever missed your sailing deadline on a cruise ship? You know the drill...the ship is ready to sail and over the loudspeaker comes the captain's voice, "Will Mr and Mrs so and so please contact the service desk immediately!" You roll your eyes and look at each other wondering just what kind of people don't get back to the ship. We came very close to being a couple of those kind of people.
Hawaiian dances are lyrical and gentle. Tonga was a big hit with a great drummer who brought up folks from the audience to perform. The dances of Figi were dramatic, especially the men, and the audience was involved and played the bamboo sticks to support the dancers.
What we learned as the afternoon went on is that the Polynesian Cultural Center is an LDS venture, associated with the adjacent Brigham Young University Hawaii campus. Most of the employees are attending university and this is the creative solution of the church to help the students pay for their education. The students come from 72 countries, and the dancers and musicians are native to their respective islands represented at the center. That explained the lack of bare midriffs.
The Samoan exhibit was the most entertaining in my opinion. The guy was a kick, a great low key, very dry comedian who kept us laughing as he started fire with a stick and some dry coconut husks. He was pretty impressive when he whacked open a coconut with one blow, offered the juice to a spectator, and proceeded to grind coconut and wring out the milk while he told funny stories. The entertainment climaxed with an young man skinning up a coconut palm. Pretty amazing to see, actually.
We then took advantage of the free tram tour that went out of the park to see the BYU campus and the Mormon temple that is adjacent to the campus. Interesting tidbit: the Mormon church bought more than 6,000 acres here in 1865 planning for the education of the Polynesian peoples in the Pacific islands.
Once back on the ship we dropped off our stuff in our cabin and headed directly for the bar. A stiff shot of Jack Daniels was my cure for the still wobbly knees. All is well that ends well and we are safely on the ship ready for the next few days at sea.