Anthropology's tourist gaze in Hawaii.

Essay by italdudebudUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2005

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We have discussed in class, ideas and theories of doing tourism. David Crouch, however, in his article, "Surrounded by Place: Embodied Encounters", acknowledges that as important as some of these ideas which contemplate the tourist gaze are, they overlook the notion of the 'embodied experience'. Crouch claims that the tourist experience is physically performed, as it is a full, bodily experience and not just a visual, gazing one. By looking at Desmond's article, "Let's Lu au", this point becomes very evident as we are shown how specifically Crouch's notion of surrounding space can relate to tourist sites so much better than just the idea of distant space.

Surrounding space can be thought of as what we see, touch, smell, and the way in which we meet and interact with other people. A perfect place where this space of tourist practice can be exemplified is in Hawaii. Tourism in Hawaii is all about embodiment and enactment as you are constantly being, acting, and looking Hawaiian within dynamic new relationships with either resort staff, other tourists or sometimes even local residents.

A major part of these festivities are the Lu au and the hula girls who make the most of their bodies as always trying to appear sexy and exotic, yet never aggressive, when trying to get the tourists into the act. The bodily experience does not just end after dancing with a hula girl however. There are also usually live musicians who are almost equally as likely to respond to and interact with the crowd. Aside from these kinds of relationships with the resort workers, tourists are set up with other visitors in all sorts of fun and games which many of the times, just involve people kissing others, quite randomly. One reason for this may be what is known...