This epic photo extravaganza of a day finally draws to a close with some pics from my first luau. It took place at Tahiti Nui, a well-known bar that's been around for 50 years—although I suspect many folks know it best as the bar George Clooney met Beau Bridges at in The Descendants. The atmosphere was very welcoming—we all received shell necklaces upon our arrival, and the mai tais were free for the first hour. So, really, the fact that any of these photos are clear is a tribute to auto focus technology. First up, a look at the unveiling of the star of the evening: the kalua pig. They invited everyone to come out and watch as it was uncovered, and I managed to snag a spot off to the side that gave me a terrific look at the process:
Peeling off the top layers:
Then the banana leaves:
And finally, paydirt:
Cutting up the meat:
From my iPhone, a shot of my dinner and dessert. I took a sample of just about everything in the buffet, including the kalua pig, teriyaki chicken, sticky rice, potato salad, garlic bread, tossed salad, salmon, ceviche, and probably a couple of things I've forgotten. Although poi enjoys a certain reputation, I dipped the pork in it and thought it was perfectly fine. Dessert included coconut pudding, rice pudding, and some fruit. And, of course, a mai tai to help wash it all down...
Next came the performances, starting with a couple of dances.
Yes, the little girl was just as adorable as she seems:
This woman, who works at Tahiti Nui, performed a traditional Hawaiian song and dance with an absolutely gorgeous smile:
Back to the group dances:
A quick lesson for those brave enough to go up on stage. Note that my location remained the back of the room:
A closer look at the youngest performer:
Of course, no luau would be complete without the coconut bra ensemble...
When the dancers were on breaks, the musicians kept right on going:
Possibly one of the most striking outfits of the evening:
And of course, no luau would be complete without fire:
After the lights went down, I decided to try an experiment. I went with a wide aperture and a slow shutter speed, and did my best to hold the camera steady. I have to admit, I was pretty delighted with the results;
The faster he twirled the stick, the more interesting the light trails became:
One final look at the light show:
All in all, a really fun evening. I highly recommend the experience.