Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Northeast Tiki Tour 2007


This past weekend saw the big send-off of the very first and hopefully, annual, Northeast Tiki Tour!

Friday night was dinner & a show at the Hukelau in lovely Chicopee, MA, where Johnny von 10X & I met about 25 of our future busmates on the tour. We met a lovely couple, Paige & Jill, who live a scant mile or so from the Aloha Alcohula and sort of waved down the table at everyone else.

I've been to the Hukelau before, but much to my dismay, they're dismantling the majority of the Tiki decor. As for the show, it was both bizarre and cheesy. The band was very good (and the keyboard player looked an awful lot like Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats fame, but with Leif Garrett's hair...no, THIS Leif Garrett hair!) but the drinks were pretty much alcohol-free...

The band was playing when the dancers came out, and instead of some really great drumming, the instruments were guitar, keyboard, regular drums and bass.....so the show had a 'Hair'-like, 60's musical sound to it. And the female dancers were wearing skin-colored bodysuits at some points. Welcome to the Puritan Polynesian Experience!

After dinner, the group pretty much broke up, kinda chit-chatted a bit, and then the majority of them went to the hotel for a room crawl- by the looks of the pictures on Tikicentral, it was very successful....

Saturday found us at the Super 8 Motel in N. Attleboro for the commencement of the tour. We already had fabulous swag donated/created/generously provided by several folks on the tour: nametags with the official logo on a tropical lanyard, personalized drinking mugs, burlap bags to hold said swag that were stenciled with the logo, stickers, bracelets, cards, etc. There were also raffle tickets for many fabulous items and our first cocktail of the day- something delicious that won second place on the Tikicentral website - the Tiki Torch. It was an opportunity to finally meet those we waved to the night before! There were people from CT, RI, MA, NJ, NY and PA. Most knew each other from the Tikicentral forums, so this was a chance for many to meet face-to-face.

So, we boarded the (thankfully air-conditioned) bus and it was off to our first stop: the Mon Kou!

The Mon Kou has fabulous tiki/tropical decor and good, strong Mai Tais - with a hint of cherry juice- possibly the maraschino kind. So we all scrambled for seats, had drinks, feasted from the pu-pu platters & other delectable, delightful dishes. This was to be the m.o. for the entire tour: bus-stagger-restaurant-stagger-drinks & food-stagger-bus.....

I think about 45 minutes later, we were herded back on the bus, given more swag & as we sped down the road, the raffling ensued! And someone (I believe Hula Cat) made a couple o' kegs of very delicious Mai Tais - your royal guide did not heed Pappy the Sailor's words: 'This isn't punch- this is really strong!' Oh, yes they were strong. So strong, I was pretty 'faced by the time we reached the South Pacific in Newton...this was in a dingy strip mall, but the inside had one dining section that had murals & a peaked roof....Mr. Ho from Waitiki gleefully pointed out to us that one of the Polynesian fishermen was wearing a not-so-Polynesian swimmer's face mask.....

Next stop, the New Tiki in Westford! The manager, Brian, was beaming the whole time we were there, making sure his staff were very good to us (and they were!) I should mention here that each place we stopped at was presented with a tiki mask by Sully, our Grand Master of Planning and Ceremonies. Waitiki played in the lounge area, so it was more socializing, eating & drinking- by this point I was all done with rum & switched to the kinder, gentler vodka.

(The tour and Waitiki were mentioned in the Boston Herald on Aug. 24! )

So, back on the bus (and everytime we got back on, we got more swag!) and off to the Bali Hai - absolutely no tiki decor, but very strong drinks. There was also an insane amount of mug-and-menu purchasing being done- I ended up with 3 mugs and a menu (a reproduction of a 1974 menu with a fabulous tropical drink centerfold.) I think they made about a gazillion dollars just from that!
Our final stop was at the fabulous Kowloon - I believe we were in the Volcano Bay Room which feels like you're eating outside at night on a boat. The food is really good here (I had some very delicious sushi) and there's quite a variety.

So, full of delicious food and many, many cocktails, we all hopped back on the bus to go back to the motel. I know I fell asleep, and when I peeled my eyes open, I noticed the entire bus was as quiet as could be - a far cry from the rowdiness all day long! The video screens were playing some black and white Hollywood/Hawaiian shorts, and all the little tiki angels were asleep.

This tiki tour was a blast and it was a great bunch of people, all there for the same reason, to have fun and share their love of all things tiki.

Mahalo nui loa to Sully and all the others who were so generous and to all the tourmates who made this a worthwhile experience!

Queen of Exotica