We took the ‘Pink Line’ hotel shuttle bus down to Denny’s for our breakfast this morning. The highlight should have been the ‘grand slam’ breakfast, but today it was the ‘Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer’ kid’s special pancake breakfast, complete with chocolate milk in a ‘Rudolph’ cup. And Rudolph ears and antlers for Max. And a Rudoph red plastic nose (that didn’t fit Max’s cute little nose, but clamped onto my schnoz no problem!)
After breakfast we went across the street to visit the Halekulani Hotel, one of the most impressive 5-star hotels on the strip. Sue, Alex, and I stayed there in 1992, when a ‘travel agent discount’ put it in our price range. Not anymore! Sue and Alex continued scouting out expensive hotels and shops in the area while the boys headed back to the hotel.
Just before 4 o’clock we all headed down to the pickup spot to get on a bus which would take us to the “Chief’s Luau”. The bus ride was about 45 minutes, and took us past Diamond Head all the way to Sea Life Park. We waited while about 10 other busloads unloaded, and then filed into the Luau area and found our table. Turned out our ‘cheap’ ($100US) tickets got us almost as close to the stage as the high-end (purple wrist bands instead of our goldenrod ones) $172 tickets. But we only got ONE free mai tai, while the deluxers got three. We were encouraged to walk around and look at some ‘local’ crafts and trinkets before we were called by table to file by the buffet. Same paper plates and plastic cutlery for all levels of tickets here. And the ceremonial roasted pig had now been turned into warming trays of something that looked like pulled-pork in gravy, or chicken pieces in gravy, or cooked fish in gravy.
After we’d had our dinner it was time for the show. The chief is a large Samoan man. He spent the next couple of hours encouraging us to give a loud yell and applaud anyone and everyone who’d had a birthday or anniversary in the last few years. And he called said people to the stage, and asked them their name and where they came from. And between the crowd’s cheers and chief’s interviews assorted costumed dancers came on the stage and demonstrated their skills. It seemed to go on a quite a bit too long, and it was all we could do to keep Max awake so he’d see the highlight of the whole evening, the ‘fire dancers’. But he persevered, and so did we. And the finale was nearly worth the wait. Ironically, just when the big chief finally started his fire by rubbing sticks together, the skies opened and showered us with a misty rain! But the dancers carried on despite the mini-shower. And as soon as it started it was over. And so was the show, and we were all herded back to our respective buses. Max was fast asleep on his parents’ lap, and couldn’t even be roused enough to change out of his dinosaur t-shirt into his dinosaur pajamas. Happy and exhausted. Another day in paradise.