We decided to take the tour to see the real Hawaii. As a walk-in--you are assigned to a tour "on the hour." You can't walk around the site on your own. We were the only ones in our group and were very interested in seeing what it must have been like as an immigrant to Hawaii brought to the island for a sugar contract. Our tour took 2 1/2 hours. The first 30 minutes was a lecture by our very learned tour guide while we sat at a picnic table. We thought that we would never start walking. We walked thru the tunnel and it was explained to us that we were going back in time to 1913 and would be walking for 27 years. (The last house was a depiction of what a house would have been like in 1940 for an immigrant family.) And yes--it felt like we were on the tour for 27 years--our guide talked and talked and talked about why Hawaii was not a melting pot, but was rather "multicultural." Despite the fact that my mother in law is 80 something and despite the fact that the tour could have been tailored individually to our group--our guide continued to expound on this topic until we started feeling like hostages. My mother in law--finally told him that she had to sit or else she was going to collapse--and even that didn't stop the lecturing. She then dragged out the orange juice and told him that she was dying of thirst and he still kept on talking. We would have preferred hearing more about the historical objects in the houses we went into, but frankly--I was afraid to ask any more questions for fear of making the tour even longer. This is an incredibly interesting site--but the tour was geared more to the sociology/history of the groups of immigrants who came to work on the sugar plantation rather than to what their day to day lives were like. This is absolutely not a site that children or teenagers would enjoy. (Or maybe they give the school groups a different type of tour.) The price was reasonable and after the tour I now feel qualified to deliver a lecture on the difference between a melting pot and a multicultural type of society.
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