August 30, 2004
Day 3, Monday
Up early again, 5 AM. Beautiful moonset. Warm, 75 degrees at 6:30 AM according to the local news.
No sign of dolphins yet. Our plan for the day is to hit a couple of different snorkel spots and go to the Luau tonight. Tomorrow we will drive down to the volcano.
After a lazy morning we head back down to Kahalu'u beach. Still as crowded as yesterday, but not so bad. We head into the water, this time at low tide, so it's a much easier entry when you can see the rocks to avoid. We spent almost an hour in the water and saw a huge variety of fish including puffer fish, parrot fish, angel fish, and sea urchins. The water was very warm and cold in some places so you could see a visible thermocline. At one point there was a large burgundy colored fish chomping on the coral, it was so loud you could hear the "crunch crunch" under water. The turtles seem to keep to the shoreline, nibbling on the algae on the rocks.
After we got out of the water, we ate the sandwiches I'd packed and sat on the sand. I made the mistake of tossing a piece of bread to a little sparrow. Suddenly we were besieged by about 30 little birds, all staring at us with beaks agape, like baby birds awaiting a meal from mommy. The little buggers were insistent and fought each other over every crumb. I think they would have eaten out of my hand had I tried.
Tired, we went back to the condo for a rest before the luau at the Royal Kona Resort. To the luau, Dave wore his new Hawaiian print shirt, and I wore a 1960's vintage Hawaiian dress. This dress has been in my closet for years, once belonging to my Grandmother I believe, and I was thrilled to finally get a chance to wear it. Everyone at the luau had on some sort of Hawaiian garb.
I called and the recorded message said they would open at 5 PM with the uncovering of the imu (the buried cooked pig) at 6 PM. We left the condo at 4:30, wanting to be early enough to snag good seats. When we arrived, they did have our names on the reservation list and the ad I'd torn out of the magazine saved us $22 which was very nice. First stop was a "shell lei" (a strand of very tiny shells) and a photo, which was later on sale for $20. Then over to the open bar with large bowls of weak mai tais (with optional extra rum offered) and other drinks. I drank quite a few mai tais with no visible effects, so my guess is there was very little rum in there, if any. We found some decent seats with a good view even though we did not opt for the "extra special prime view seats".
David ran into a couple we had met on the plane with their two daughters and they sat with us. We chatted as we waited for the dinner to begin. There was also a trio of musicians playing during this time and two of the dancers offering lessons in sarong wrapping and spinning of balls on strings (sorry, don't know what this is called). They also did a "fashion show" of various ways to wear sarongs for both men and women.The Imu ceremony happened around 6:30 and there was plenty of opportunity to see the process. The pig is put in a cage made of chicken wire and covered with ti leaves. It is then buried in the ground covered with hot lava rocks, more leaves, sheets, and dirt. It is then left to bake in this earth oven, or imu, for 8 to 10 hours until the meat just falls apart.
While we waited to be called to the buffet line, the MC tried to keep people entertained with some cheesy hawaiian history and song.
The food was decent, though I wonder how bad the food is at other luaus if this is considered one of the best. The setting is nice, ocean side at sunset. The Kalua pork and the beef were the best things on the buffet table. The ahi poke looked a little suspect and poi should be avoided at all costs. Dessert was uninspired, mass produced coconut cake and pineapple upside-down cake.
The entertainment began after the plates were cleared. It was basically a review of all the different polynesian dances from Hawaii, Tahiti, Rarotonga, and New Zealand. The dancers were really good, but the MC belongs in a tacky Vegas lounge. It began to rain at the end, during the fire dance, and then turned into a downright downpour. By the time we got back to the condo (about 2 blocks away) we were absolutely drenched.
last updated on 01/22/05