The majority of the day was spent visiting Iolani Palace
. We purchased a docent-led tour to start, which was very good and quite educational for me. I had no idea that the monarchs of Hawaii were on such equal footing with the rest of the world, nor that the chosen fashion statement for the upper echelons of Hawaiian society was Victorian rather than Polynesian. The monarchs of Hawaii were very well-traveled and worked hard on maintaining and improving their people's standing among countries.
After the tour, we re-upped the parking, got a late lunch, and went back to the palace to view the downstairs galleries of jewelry, photographs, and collections. The jewelry pieces were well-presented and well-documented. (This necklace was from this person as a gift to that person and was worn on this state occasion. It contains the following stones...) The photographs were detailed and specific, though a little random in what they contained. My one big complaint was the obvious use of quotes in the narratives which were displayed without attribution.
The evening was spent enjoying Germaine's Luau
. Along with the salutations of birthdays and anniversaries, the dumb party tricks for clapping or shouting along, and the "everybody come up and dance the hula!" silliness were some spectacular performances. The fire spinning and poi were very good, though too short. The firespinning was short staff, double short staff, and long staff. The poi spinning went from one to two to four poi per dancer. The dances were supposedly from a sampling of islands of the Pacific, but I'm not enough of an expert to say yes or no. The only obviously different/identifiable one for me was the Maori dance, which was far more aggressive and squared off than the rest of the hulas. (Thank you to the Whale Rider
movie for that education.)
The athleticism on display this evening was impressive, and the dancing was all the more enjoyable for it. The women could keep a fast shimmy going for a long, long time. The ladies looked like they were in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties, with incredible hourglass figures and about a b-cup worth of fat on them. Three of the women had full six-pack abs, and one of them had pregnancy stretch marks. The gents had a more obvious range in age, incredible builds, and one looked like a younger, smiling version of Keanu Reeves.