Friday, February 12, 2016


On Tuesday we attended a Luau at the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club, courtesy of wonderful arrangements made by our landlady Ingrid. It was a perfect day with a moderate temperature under a cloudless sky on the Marriott's magnificently landscaped property with palms, flowering shrubs and waterfalls overlooking a calm lagoon and ocean.

Ingrid arranged for Premium seating, close to the stage. After entering, a lovely Polynesian lady adorned each of us with a freshly made purple and white Leis. Next we were grouped together with the local Chief Sileu Avela and some of his performers/staff for a photo. We quickly realized how very well known Ingrid is as so many staff greeted her warmly as "Miss Ingrid". After being seated we were served our first Mai Tai. Surrounding the perimeter of the tables and chairs were local craftsmen, proudly selling their carvings, jewellery and other products.

Soon afterwards one of the performers blew on a conch shell to announce the uncovering of the Kalua pig (fire made of kaiwe wood, covered with rocks, then the pig placed on top and covered with banana leaves and wet burlap). The ceremonial pig was paraded around before the guests prior to the buffet meal being laid out.

The Luau is a traditional Polynesian feast to celebrate happy and important events. Locally, it is presented as a way for tourists to learn a little about the Polynesian culture and cuisine. After loading up our plates from the buffet with Kalua pig, Mahi Mahi fish, BBQ'd chicken, various salads and Poi (if you dared), we sat down to the feast while enjoying the wonderful music being played / sung by the performers.

As the guests were finishing up their food, the activities on stage began. This included a palm tree climbing demonstration, hula dancing, fire dancing and music from various Polynesian islands (including Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa) perpetuating the stories, traditions and culture of the Polynesians.

The Polynesian men are very fond of their tattoos. Our performers had tattoos covering from their waste to their knees, plus their arms and chest. To create a tattoo, their tradition calls for the use of traditional hand made tools made including whale bone, turtle shell and wood. The tattoo delivers information about the owner, telling a story. Tattoos are used as a sign of character, position and level within a hierarchy. Polynesians believe a person's spiritual power or life force is is displayed through their tattoo.

Late in the show, the Chief called all who were married more than 40 years, to join him on stage. He spoke at length about marriage and love and family values. He devoted special attention to Fran's parents who have been married 67 years. Afterwards, each couple were presented with a lovely flower and they danced to The Hawiian Wedding Song (written by Elvis Presley for Blue Hawaii). It was quite wonderful.

Earlier, when the ceremonial Kalua Pig was being paraded around, Ingrid asked the staff if she could buy the hind quarter of one of the pigs to bring home. After the show wrapped up, we were looking for the staff to bring the pig to Ingrid. Shortly afterwards, the Chief and three of his fire dancers turned up with a large bag with the pig. After paying for it, one of the performers volunteered to bring it to our car. When we got back to Ingrid's house we were shocked to find that the Chief had given Ingrid the whole Kalua Pig. It was enormous and very heavy. We helped Ingrid package it up in about seven separate bags, having quite a few samples as we worked and washing it down with a beer. We brought home a bag Kalua Pig for subsequent consumption.

This was our third Luau in 28 years, but it was far and away the best one we've seen. The food was great and the show was fantastic. It will be long remembered.

No comments:

Post a Comment