When we go to Hawaii (and it's twice now, that we've been), I make Mr. Jones go to Luau. I know it's cheezy. I know it has nothing to do with real Polynesian culture, but it fulfills a Brady Bunch in Hawaii need in my heart. It's like a wedding reception in paradise where you know no one, not even the hosts, but there is good dancing:
Previous to the dancing, the Master of Ceremony stands on stage and literally holds up food, on a fork, and tells you what will be in the buffet: "This is Poi. It is made from taro root and is a traditional Hawaiian food. This is Hawaiian Sweet Potato. It is also blue. This is Macaroni Salad. It has nothing to do with Hawaii!". No, it sure doesn't, but doesn't Whitey just love it! We also were offered craft time, where Mr. Jones and I were taught to make fish out of palm leaves.
The other option was to get a "Hawaiian tattoo" (drawn on your upper arm with Sharpie marker). Your choices were a sea turtle, or something of your choice, which also looked like a sea turtle. Or you could learn to hula dance. We chose the crafts, and after a false start in making the darn thing, I was posing around with my leaf fish like you would not believe (ok, of course you would).
My luau dress was homemade, from Simplicity 2178, in a linen/silk from Fabric Depot's outdoor sale. Please zoom into the best shoes in the world, which made a certain maraca sound as I walked, bought at a Portland estate sale for $4. Perfect.
Luau was in the garden of a hotel that looked like a space station. We sat at a table with a bunch of characters: two sweet teenage boys on their own in Hawaii while their father attended a convention on astral projection. They were excited to report that Judith Light was also at the convention, and they had met her. Mr. Jones and I noted that when you come away from meeting people saying "nice polite young boys" (as we did), you're getting old (as we are). There was also a middle-aged male gay couple from New Jersey, who told us, while we plated our buffet, "We're Catholic..." (hard road, I thought to myself)...priests." I almost dropped my poi. They went on to tell us who won all the Tony awards this year. Finally, there was a 40-something married couple, the father bragging to me how unconnected to technology he was, the mother trying to convince the teenage boys to go into the military: "My son is a Marine! They broke him DOWN! He had to write a letter to me like he was DEAD. And college will be FREE", and two young Japanese girls who did not speak one word of English, but who wanted photos with all of us at the end of the evening. When one of the priests took their camera to photograph us with them, he screamed "SAYYY SUSHHHI".
Well, what more can you say.
We were then treated to a Polynesian fire show, and went home.