Tag Archives: Playing Tourist

So this is paradise…

I’ve lived in Hawaii for most of my life. Growing up in the islands, it’s so easy to take for granted things that you’ve come to accept as “normal.” A fresh flower lei, a beautiful scenic drive around the island, a lazy afternoon spent watching the sunset while sitting on a cool sandy beach, attending a luau, going parasailing, swimming with the dolphins…all these things are so easy to do living in Hawaii yet oftentimes get overlooked. I’ve fallen into the trap of “oh that’ll always be there for me to do” or “I can just do that later” and literally YEARS have gone by.

With Marv being back home now, we’ve been soaking up family time (of course) and decided that we’re going to live each day in 2014 as if it were our last. We’re going to accomplish things we’ve been putting off, experience things with the kids that will build fantastic memories, and live with no regrets.  First up on our list: spur of the moment (literally purchased our tickets 2 hours before the show on a whim….) LUAU! We live just 15 mins away from Paradise Cove Luau and have driven by many times in the past on our way to the beach at Ko’Olina, yet have both never been. Tickets were a bit pricey for our budget minded selves, but – having money saved up in my own personal “spend” account, and being Marv’s BIRTHDAY(!) – I decided to treat us all 🙂  **For Military out there, make sure to visit your local MWR ticket office! I saved $50 PER ticket just by purchasing through their ticket office… **

We arrived right when our invoice told us to – 4:45pm and were literally one of the first families in. It turns out that although the gates open at 4:45, the actual luau show doesn’t start until closer to 7:15, so that leaves you about 2.5 hours to do all their activities – there’s only so many activities that can keep our kids occupied and 2.5 hours worth was a bit much for us! Backtracking though, we were greeted by beautiful fresh flower leis (and shell leis for the kids), a welcome drink (Mai Tai for Marv and Guava juice for me – YUM!) and a welcome picture. What a nice inviting entrance! We then were able to spread out and do all sorts of activities: make flower bracelets and headbands, get tribal “tattoos”, play traditional Hawaiian games, outrigger canoe rides, learn how to hula, watch a man carve tiki statues, and perhaps MOST importantly for the kids – play in the sand…

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Once the beautiful sun set over the beach – the “pre” luau festivities began! First up was watching Chief Ma’eva (the future fire knife dancing guy) husk a coconut, followed by a coconut tree climbing demonstration and a shower of fresh tropical flowers from above, followed by a net fishing demonstration, some live Hawaiian music, and finally the ceremonial removal of the pig from the imu (underground oven). FINALLY – the LUAU!

Dinner was a delicious spread of a variety of salads, taro rolls, poi, lomi salmon, fried chicken, kalua pig, macadamia nut crusted fresh island fish, and a HUGE desert table! Needless to say, we were all stuffed. This all in addition to my 2 (virgin) lava flows shared with the kids – they just love those parasail umbrellas – lead to full, satisfied bellies ready to be entertained…  Next, onto the show! (Did I mention we literally had the BEST seats in the house? Front row and center, directly in front of the stage. Didn’t even have to zoom in for any of these picture – they were all taken one handed while holding Maya on my lap…which is probably why they’re a bit crooked… 😉 )

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It was a good 1.5 hours of non-stop dancing, singing, and overall entertainment with so many fancy costume changes! I thought for sure Maya would fall asleep, but nope. She stayed awake the ENTIRE time watching them. Not bad for a 2 year old 🙂


What a great way to start off our pact to live each day to the fullest.  LOTS more tasks to accomplish and memories to build…