Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Polynesian Cultural Center

The last Friday before Carrol and Jim left for home, we took the kids out of school and went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. It's on the North Shore of O'ahu, about as far from our house as you can get. (The trip there took over an hour!)

The Polynesian Cultural Center is like a small version of EPCOT, but only Polynesian cultures and Hawaii are represented here. (http://www.polynesia.com) There are demonstrations of dance, music, food, ways of life, and arts. You can ride a canoe from one end of the center to the other, and along the way view representations of Polynesian living. There was a beautiful IMAX presentation on the demise of the coral reefs of Fiji, an enjoyable luau with blue bread, and an evening "Horizons" show that is one of the best live shows that I have ever seen. It was breathtaking, truly. All 3 of the kids were engaged in it, even Abby (who can't seem to sit still these days...)

Here are a few pictures to let you see some of the beauty we saw that day. I'm planning to add the slide show later, when I have 5 more seconds free:

It was a neat place. A little pricey, I thought. But, as "residents" we got great deals on annual passes, so we can go back and see more. If you go and don't get to see everything you wanted, you can go back again free within 3 days of your first visit, so it's something I would recommend doing if you make it to O'ahu to visit and have the time. We enjoyed what we saw, and plan to go back later in the summer.
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Another cool thing we did was to tour the USS Missouri. For those of you that aren't into history, this may or may not interest you. I have always been interested in history, and I found that since moving here and being surrounded by it, I am even more intrigued. The USS Missouri was the location at which the war officially ended. (We saw the spot where the Japanese signed the official "Instrument of Formal Surrender".

There were staterooms set up to show you how the sailors lived and worked on the ship during WWII. It's amazing how small the quarters were, and the beds were so narrow that you couldn't roll over! We take for granted sleeping in our comfy beds at night. Those sailors lived meagerly while fighting to preserve our great nation and its freedoms.

Even more interesting than many of the cool facts I learned that day, the USS Missouri also saw action during the Korean War and the 1990 Gulf War. She was decommissioned in 1993 and towed to Hawaii in 1998 to stand proudly and tell her tales. It was such an interesting tour, and I really felt the honor and pride that she must have felt, participating in the greatest war of the greatest generation that America has seen.
Near the end of the tour and after, the girls hammed it up (they were tired and starting to get restless...)

And finally, Alissa's signature expression these days:Luckily she got happy once we returned to the car and headed toward the Cheesecake Factory for dinner:

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