Monday, June 13, 2005
Real Hawaiian luaus do not look like the ones shown on the Travel Channel. You know the ones, some haole woman in her neatly pressed Hawaiian print blouse or dress, wearing a lei, and a plumeria in her hair, visits a "typical" traditional Hawaiian luau. All the family members are wearing Hawaiian prints, some are even matching. There is no clutter in the house or in the yard that it takes place. Everyone is smiling. All the traditional foods are neatly presented on a table with a colorful floral print tablecloth, and elegantly made flower arrangements. With all intents and purposes, it looks like an ad for Hilo Hattie.
But what's missing are the family members who cause trouble. The ones who show up and everyone is talking about. What's also missing is music played by uncles and cousins, and the hulu danced by aunts and cousins. There are no grass skirts or straw hats. What else is missing is the crazy uncle/aunt, who makes everyone laugh. We also say "hello" and "thank you," not "aloha" and "mahalo." What's also missing are the relatives that have too much to drink and get too loud and then are either escorted away or told to shut-up.
Don't get me wrong. Most locals do not hate haoles. But it's just this preconceived notion that the "tourist haoles" have that ruin it for the rest. Televison has completely brainwashed people into thinking that Hawaii is this perfect place and that locals give tourists a bad time. Tourism is their number one source of commerce. I'll never forget this one time I was waiting for my pick-up from the airport. This typical white trash tourist was standing on the curb dancing by himself. He was surrounded by overstuffed luggage. Then his trashy wife came and joined him. They thought they were funny, but they looked really stupid.