It’s been a week now since I unpacked my suitcases loaded with floral print dresses, Aloha Shirts, Cosmic Laser guns and the newest Tiki mugs that I bought at Tiki Oasis 15… but I still have Tiki Dreams… I close my eyes at night, and it all rushes back into my head; surf rock, giant Moai, and rum all jumble together in a colorful swirl.
I wake in my own bed and feel a little lost, the connection slowly slipping from my consciousness. I’m back in the mundane real world.
Tiki Oasis 15
What is it that brings hundreds of people to the Crown Plaza in San Diego to worship the Tiki god; to drink, to laugh, to dance, to learn, and to wear wild floral prints? Is it a desire for a time that never really existed? A simpler mid-century lifestyle? Many of us are old enough where we caught a bit of that time in childhood. It’s a memory of parents or grandparents laughing in the backyard with a cocktail in hand. It’s a photo of a trip to Hawaii with a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center, or a Luau with Fire Dancers. Maybe it’s the colorful dresses, worn at a time when fashion was straight lines, couture was important, and bold colors were a break from the dreary every day. For some it might be the music, lively and fun without the harsh synchronized beat that we hear all too often on the radio.
Tiki Oasis is a chance to connect with others who share that desire. Age, appearance and economic status lose importance. Friendships are formed over the print on a shirt or the mug in your hand. Who you are in the real world matters less than your enthusiasm for a surf band and some awesome go-go dancers.
Otto and Baby Doe von Stroheim have created this wonderful fantasy world for Tiki-philes. What started as a backyard luau has evolved into a fabulous party for 3000! But, Tiki Oasis is more than just a 4 day Bacchanalia. Certainly, you can spend your time at the Crown Plaza in a Rum soaked haze, dancing and floating from one room party to the next. But you can also turn it into a fun family vacation by the pool. (Yes, there were full families in attendance…. kids and all. Special programs and rooms are set aside for the young ones, everyone is welcome in the pool, and overall, the event is family friendly…)
DJ’s spinning records all day and high energy Bands (like Jason Lee and the Rip Tides) played well into the evenings giving the scene a constant party atmosphere. Dancing and drinking were the norm, but I never saw anyone take it over the top. It was as if everyone was there for a good time, and no one wanted to wreck it by going too far.
Well planned seminars give us a chance to learn. Topics like “Where did the rum come from”? “What is the best way to mix a drink?” “How can I throw a tiki party on a budget?” “What are the basics of surf guitar? And what the heck does “tiki” mean anyway?? We even heard from the legendary Sven Kirsten (author of Tiki Pop… and all around Tiki Icon). These talks were more interesting than anything I learned in school… and most of them included a cocktail!
And don’t forget, it’s a chance to shop! Find that perfect hand carved sign for your bar…. buy 2 or 3 (or 5) new Tiki mugs that you just can’t live without from the talented artists who created them… and of course, you need that fabulous new dress for tonight’s room crawl.
Tiki Oasis us all together.
In the real world things move at the speed of light and there isn’t much time to breathe. We text, snap chat, and the internet zaps information around the world before we get the chance to finish a thought.
Tiki Oasis takes us back.
It’s a loosening of life that allows us to slow down, to savor bold colors, exotic music and newly forged friendships with kindred spirits. It’s a way to remember that not everything must be cold and digitized.
And we remember what we think might have been. We strive to touch a memory … A simpler life….. with a lot of rum.
And remember everyone….