My Thanksgiving celebration was really spectacular. It was indeed, as I imagined, a way I will probably not have the opportunity to do again on Thanksgiving. We started off the night by meeting up at 3:30 in the afternoon, but not being able to get on the buses to Paradise Cove for an hour after that. Once on the bus, it was a 30-40 minute trip to the spot. The locale itself was very tropical, with straw/tiki-like booths set up all over the place, and right alongside a beach. We walked through various lanes/gates, and were greeted by getting lei’d. Also upon arrival, we had nearly 2 hour before dinner was served. During this time, we were able to walk the grounds, browse the little shopping booths they had, and enjoy various games/activities. I went ahead and tried throwing a spear. However, I missed the bulls-eye. Everyone who tried it received a shell lei…so then I had two!
Just before dinner was served, there was a small ceremony in the amphitheater involving digging the pig out of the ground, and poi samples being given out. Upon my mother’s suggestion, I wanted to try poi at the luau, if they had it. I didn’t come upon the ceremony/ritual until the end though, when the women serving the poi (to folks who wanted a taste of it) were packing up. We then moved on to dinner. This consisted of the pig in shredded portions, chicken, fish, and rice. Dessert was a kind of coconut cake, with pineapple and a small gelatin-like cube on the side. I skimmed the coconut off mine, and then just ate the cake and the pineapple. Along with the food, there was a great consumption of tropical beverages consumed by those attending. This was due in large part to being able to get unlimited mai tai’s, included with the more expensive of the two tickets. Now, before you get worried, I had a few and didn’t over do myself (as those few were well-spaced out over the whole evening). Along side those, I drank guava juice, passion orange, and pop.
The show itself, after dinner, included many things. There was a large Samoan guy that was the emcee for the night. He led the audience through some history, and then various performances began. Among things that were displayed were: hula girls, guys/girls dancing all across the stage in whatever kind of dance it was (maybe Polynesian), a fire-dancing fellow who had 1-2 sticks of fire at various times, and then as well they brought quite a few audience members on-stage to show off their limited skills as hula dancers (after a short lesson).
One of my other major events in the last few days in Hawaii was shopping. On the day after Thanksgiving, I went out with a group of guys I work with and hung out at the mall most of the day, after going to a flea market that was near the base. I walked through the mall and looked at a few stores, bought remaining Christmas gifts, and then hit up clothes sales for myself. Without intending to initially, I spent more money on myself than on the aforementioned Christmas gifts. However, I think that I did complete my Christmas shopping, and thought I would present myself with gifts. I bought all the clothes at Sears, and most for 30-50% off their normal price. These purchases were: new Hawaii t-shirt, three button short-sleeve Henley, button-down striped Oxford shirt, jeans, and a pair of striped lounge pants. Other times in/around the described activities were spent on base, and largely at the liberty center(s). They have a couple liberty centers that have restaurants in them, inter-net access, movies shown, comfortable furniture, pool tables, juke box, and more. Oh, and I did l laundry too!