Welcome to Hawaii – Paradise Cove and the Lu’au


ImageSaturday, July 7, 2012 – Phil is working again until noon. I spent the morning at the pool at Hyatt Regency Waikiki, enjoying quiet time without anyone around. I suppose I enjoy being alone so much because I am a writer, and writers truly need the isolation to nourish the creative muse. The morning is gray and overcast; however, the pool attendant has assured me that the clouds will clear. Based on my few days here in Honolulu, I believe him. The weather is extraordinary in paradise. Humidity – almost none. You must realize, I am accustomed to humidity of 90% and higher in Charleston, SC. Summer time in the deep South leaves one to feel as if he or she has stepped into a sauna. There are times we do not have these welcoming, refreshing tropical breezes, even on the Atlantic Ocean. Mornings of gray overcast clouds in the South usually describes a gray, depressing day. In the summer, we are so hot that a simple excursion to the mail box, or to set out the trash leaves one dripping with perspiration. My friends tease me about this, telling me I do not perspire, with exception of glitter! Yes, I suppose it is true, I do enjoy glamour, make up and so much more!

Remembering the weather in Charleston, I am so encouraged to appreciate this amazing weather in Honolulu! Along the coast of Charleston, don’t even think about walking barefoot outside, by the pool or along the sand. Feet will blister – almost immediately! So far, I haven’t felt any humidity or stifling heat in Hawaii. Yes, the temperatures are in the 80’s, but the weather is so pleasant, especially when the tropical breezes kiss a forehead or an arm. Although I awaken early to overcast, dark clouds, they will disintegrate as the beautiful morning sun awakens the city to another splendid, tropical day. It is easy for me to breathe in Honolulu, and I have forgotten to use my inhaler, prescribed for asthma. Oh well. Not to worry. I breathe easily in Honolulu, without wheezing, nor do I need to stop, just to catch my breath. After all, I am in Paradise, the beautiful tropical setting of my dreams. Sometimes I must pinch myself, just to make certain I am not dreaming!

Our night is planned. We will leave the Hyatt Regency Waikiki onboard a bus headed to Paradise Cove. We must be at the green awning at 3:40pm today. I polish myself with tropical sunscreen while enjoying the morning. Relaxing by the pool, it is still overcast, but I do see the sun striving to break through. Not to worry. This too shall pass. I feel a slight dampness, touching my face, raindrops drip on my skin. Other guests at the pool rush away, grabbing all of their personal items. “Don’t leave,” I say. “The rain will stop in a few minutes.”

One lady looks at me. “When it rains in Seattle, it usually stays for a while.”

“Not here,” I say, introducing myself. “Every morning I’ve been here, morning rain occurs for only a few minutes, then it leaves. It might rain again later, but only for a bit.”

She places her things back on her chair. “Maybe I’ll stay.”

I smile at her. “See…it’s stopping. Today will be a beautiful day.”

“You’re pretty confident,” she says, rubbing her skin with sunscreen.

“It’s to be a beautiful day…it will not rain on my parade.”

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I check the time on my BlackBerry, anticipating the evening festivities at Paradise Cove. The lu’au was a bit more expensive than we anticipated paying, especially since we are on a budget, but Phil and I decided to indulge with this event while budgeting on meals. So far, we’ve done well with not overspending a bunch of money and we haven’t used credit cards at all. I’m a bit proud of us and how careful we’ve been.

For the Paradise Cove Lu’au, we chose the Orchid Lu’au Buffet Package. Included are: Transportation from the hotel to Paradise Cove and back. We will receive a fresh flower lei and Mai Tai greeting upon arrival. We have two premium drink tickets, orchid lu’au seating, and an authentic Hawaiian lu’au buffet. When we bought the tickets at the concierge’s desk, the video of Paradise Cove looked so inviting we could not resist.

At 3:30, we arrive at the green awning, dressed appropriately in Hawaiian attire. Phil wears a red Hawaiian shirt and dark pants. I wear a black Hawaiian print dress, with a red flower in my hair and comfortable sandals. We join the crowd waiting for the bus. Introducing ourselves to a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary in Hawaii, I tell them they are the second couple I’ve met celebrating a 50th anniversary. It must be the romance of Hawaii, the climate, the beauty and the aromas of such a tropical setting. This will be a fun night! Aloha!

Finally, the bus arrives. A bit late, but nothing to worry about. We’re headed to Paradise Cove and a great night of festivities. Our bus guide is named Bev. She looks like she is a genuine native of Hawaii. Richly thick beautiful brunette hair, wide, dark eyes and a beautiful face. She is very pleasant to meet and perfect for this job. She shares the details about Paradise Cove, mentioning a bit about what there is to do, and there is plenty! The culture of Hawaiian games, the fishing, the making of lei’s, temporary tattoos, outrigger canoe rides, meeting the Royal Court, the Imu Ceremony (unearthing the pig from the traditional ovens) underground. I am ecstatic, so excited to learn more about Hawaiian culture and to experience it firsthand.

On the drive, I admire all of the tall palm trees, mimosa, red coral, banyan trees, and beautiful landscapes along the highways. Some of the trees appear to be taller versions of palm trees along the East Coast, with exception of how gorgeous, tall and colorful they are. For a moment, I am curious as to the condition of my landscape and I’m hopeful Charleston is getting some much needed rain. Just maybe my ferns, mimosa trees, and flowers will survive a week without water. I make a mental note to ask my pet sitter if it has rained at all in Charleston. I’m hopeful she says yes.

Arriving at Paradise Cove, I realize we are on an extended field trip. Buses are everywhere.

“Wow. There must really be a crowd here tonight,” I say to our guide.

“We have over 1,000 people here tonight.”

Suddenly my excitement disappears. Just how will 1,000 people get to do everything mentioned in the brochure given to us when we purchased our tickets. I share this thought with Phil.

A beautiful Polynesian woman places an orchid lei on us, sharing a slight kiss. Aloha! We are directed to an area to get our photograph taken, then we follow along to find our seats. The lines are already long at every activity. The drink line is too long to get into at this time. I saunter over to another line – I wanted to do the outrigger, but the lines are long and not moving. Another line to join to make a lei, and so on. I’m really disappointed. My suggestion to Paradise Cove is not to overbook, and if 1,000 paid tickets are sold, be certain to have additional settings and lines for the events so all the paying guests can enjoy.

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We decide to join the drink line. There we wait…and wait…and wait while listening to the sounds announcing additional events – where the lines are much too long to participate. I make another mental note to myself to mention these lines and the overcrowding on my blog…Enough said?

After we finally get our tropical drinks, I go back to the table to grab my camera bag. “Since the lines are so long and the events appear to only last a few minutes, I think I’ll capture some things with my camera.” Phil nods. He knows how disappointed I am.

“They really should not overbook,” he grumbles and I agree with him.

“I know…I wanted to get a plumeria tattoo, and to experience the outrigger, but I think they’ve already quit. This really is a disappointment to me. We paid too much money not to be able to join in the festivities, but the lines are so long we almost have to fight our way…”

I rush over to the beach area where the sun is beginning to set. For once, there isn’t a line, so I look for a good place to start taking photographs. Before I realize it, I’ve taken over 100 shots, beautiful images of the coast of Hawaii, the landscape of palm trees and sunsets. The photographer in me has kicked in and I click away…almost too excited to find Phil. In the distance I see dolphins, but my camera lens does not capture them.

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One final note about Paradise Cove http://www.paradisecovehawaii.com/index.htm My suggestion to Paradise Cove is to add additional lines to all events. One line for each event, when there are over 1,000 people in attendance was not effective or considerate! When we booked our tickets, the one thing that sold us to book with Paradise Cove was the video playing advertising Paradise Cove on the monitor at the concierge’s desk. While watching it, I noticed tents for events, china on linen draped tables. Our spread consisted of a Southern barbecue, complete with plastic plates and utensils. Yes, I admit it – a travel writer is accustomed to receiving some of the finer things in life, such as china and linens. C’est la vie or should I say “Aloha!” The food presentation at Paradise Cove is a disappointment to say the least!

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While the lines were long and overbooked, the entertainment exceeded my expectations. The Polynesian dancers were beautiful, dressed in colorful, authentic costumes. Although a bit overpriced and definitely overbooked, Paradise Cove introduced the magnificent culture, music, dance, and traditions of Hawaii, to the 1,000 people in attendance. Next time, we will probably go to the Polynesian Culture Center. http://www.polynesia.com/evening-show.html How I wish I had the time to discover the Polynesian Culture Center prior to my visit, but – truly my bad!

Now, if only I had seen a whale at Paradise Cove. Wouldn’t that be a great image to capture! Perhaps tomorrow along the coast headed to Blow Hole! Aloha until Day Four!

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Photography credits: Barbie Perkins-Cooper

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