Saturday, November 26, 2011

Te Au Moana... by Barbara (Ruth)

One of the things I have wanted to do since, oh say 1972, is to go to a luau in Hawaii. Why 1972, you ask? Well, does this picture ring a bell?

Yes, that's right. In September 1972 the Brady's went to Hawaii. It was all very exciting, with Greg finding the tiki that was "taboo", Peter almost getting bitten by a tarantula, Alice throwing out her back while learning the hula, and the whole fam damily going to an exotic luau. Ever since then, I wanted to go to a Hawaiian luau too.

Tonight I finally went to one! It looked nothing like the pictures above. Instead, we were at the Te Au Moana (which means "the ocean tide") luau at the Marriott here in Wailea on Maui. We were at huge tables in a gorgeous seaside landscape at a cliff overlooking the ocean.

Belinda, Me, and Melissa
A luau is the Hawaiian name for a big feast, and we are told that they are done to celebrate just about anything - a birthday, a wedding, or a graduation. A group of us was there to celebrate Belinda's completion of her Masters in physiotherapy - an amazing and inspirational accomplishment! So we got our tickets ahead of time, and arrived shortly after 4:30 to settle in, absorb the ambiance, and get ready for the feast.

The sun sets early here in Hawaii, with the first glow starting at about 5:30, and the real show starting after the sun dips below the horizon. The sky goes from periwinkle to orange to fire red and then to dusky grey, and people gather at the sea's edge to watch. Tonight's was the 4th sunset I have witnessed here, and it was truly the most spectacular I have seen anywhere in my travels - beating out even the sunset over the caldera in Santorini!

The sunset was the opening act of the show, and although no one applauded, there were many "oohs and aahs". Afterwards we were led to the buffet tables, and treated to a feast of pulled pork (which had been wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in hot coals under a pile of dirt for hours), teriyaki steak, asian spiced chicken, molokai sweet potato, pineapple coleslaw, and dozens of desserts, all having pineapple, coconut, chocolate, or all three. And I shouldn't forget poi. It's traditional, and basically made from a root (taro) into a starchy and tasteless paste. But I tried some. (Because the Bradys did.)
The coal pit for the pig. Kind of creepy, really.
The little brown driddle in the upper right corner is
poi. It was really unremarkable.
Finally came the show. Some singing of traditional Hawaiian songs, the telling of the story of Maui through dance, the hula, and of course the fire dance (which is actually Tahitian). It was a terrific show, and surpassed all my expectations! I was expecting totally tourist cheesiness. It was definitely for tourists, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Mahalo, Te Au Moana!

1 comment:

  1. I remember that episode! Of course, I remember every episode of the Brady Bunch. There weren't many that were scary, but I was definitely frightened by the notion of something being taboo. Just promise me you won't pick up any talismans!