Not Just Food at Foodland…Tikis Too!


While we were staying at the Westin on Kauai, the Foodland in Princeville was our go-to grocery store. Well, it’s really the only game in town, but they get big bonus points for all the different kinds of delicious poke they serve at the deli counter.


Foodland also stocks products made from Hawaiian companies, including some that feature tikis in their designs, like Hawaiian Eateries Kon-Tiki salsas.


Meanwhile, the label for Da Kine Hawaiian BBQ Sauce had sort of a tiki-pineapple hybrid. It reminded me of the pineapple jack ‘o lanterns tiki folks carve at Halloween.


In the souvenir section I stumbled upon this tiny army of probably imported tiki figurines, keychains, bottle openers, frames and mugs. Nothing too notable about them, I was just a bit surprised to see so many.


Then I turned around and saw these stickers from family-owned, Kauai-based company Tiki Toes. This stylized Ku is just one of their neat tiki designs — you can see several more on their web site.


And how could you go to Hawaii without buying some chocolate covered macadamia nuts? Might as well pick the Hawaiian Host box with the big tiki on it.


While not truly tiki, I also liked the Hawaiian-style Hello Kitty stuff they had, this cute coin purse most of all. Aloha, everybody, and Happy Friday!

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A Walk Around the Ruins of the Coco Palms – Kauai


An abandoned hotel wouldn’t normally be high on my sightseeing list, but the Coco Palms on Kauai was a notable exception. (Sidenote: I do actually find ghost town-type places kind of fascinating, like China’s haunting Wonderland amusement park or the now-demolished Nevada Landing, a riverboat hotel adrift in the desert near Vegas.)


Behind that chainlink fence and ominous No Trespassing sign is what was once Kauai’s premier resort that played host to Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, who helped make it famous in a little film called “Blue Hawaii” in 1961.


Through the overgrown trees I could see the lagoon from the romantic scene at the end of the movie where Elvis serenades his wahine with the “Hawaiian Wedding Song” as they float on a double-hulled canoe. (The web site has some screen caps of that scene.) But the land’s importance goes back way before “The King” to Kauai’s actual kings — this was their ancestral homeland and the site of burial grounds and other sacred spots.


So what happened to the Coco Palms? Twenty years ago, Hurricane Iniki hit the island, the hotel suffered damages and it’s been closed ever since. It’s easy to spot as you’re driving along Kuhio Highway in Wailua, north of the airport. Even in its decaying state, there are parts of it that are still captivating. It’s also kind of spooky to see lamps still in in the windows of some of the hotel rooms.


Plans to build a new resort on the property seem to have fallen through, but Pacific Business News reports that the site has been sold to new investors. It seems inevitable that the original buildings will eventually be torn down, so I’m glad I got to see some of what’s left.


I only checked out the outside area, but it is possible to get a closer look. Bob and Jerri Jasper, original founders of Hawaii Movie Tours, offer tours of the Coco Palms Monday through Friday at 1:45 p.m. for $20 per person. For more information, call 8-8-346-2048 or visit And apparently Coco Palms’ longtime entertainer Larry Rivera even coordinates “Blue Hawaii” themed weddings among the ruins.

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Havaiki Oceanic & Tribal Art – Hanalei, HI


In Hawaii, where cheap souvenir tikis can be found everywhere, Havaiki is a diamond in the rough. This Hanalei gallery, named after the legendary homeland of Polynesians, specializes in traditional art from the Oceania region and points beyond.


In 2002, Jim Punter and his wife, Vicki, left their home on the Virgin Islands and for five years sailed around the South Pacific, buying and trading for art directly with villagers. Their goal was to open a gallery on Kauai, which is overseen by Dylan Thomas, a native of South Africa who was first mate on that epic voyage. He’s a delight to talk with (especially with that accent!) and a wealth of information about the collection.


Some visitors compare browsing in the store to like being in a museum. I especially like the little room decorated like a hut with a bamboo and thatch entrance.


A wide array of items are for sale, including carved tikis of various sizes, war clubs, shields, masks, paddles, walking sticks and tapa cloth, plus handcrafted jewelry. They also have an online store and a Facebook page where they post photos of the latest acquisitions.


Dylan continues to make trips to the South Pacific to stock up on artifacts, but a growing part of the gallery’s wares come from local artists in Hawaii. In fact I’m quite sure that these tikis were made by the carver I saw over at the Westin Princeville.


A lot of work and care has been put into curating the selection, which is something to account for when looking at the prices. There are some budget buys among the big-ticket items, though.


If you find the island weather too humid and your shorts too constricting, you can purchase your own koteka, hand-woven from natural fibers by the Asmat people in Papua New Guinea. Just tie one of these “penis gourds” around your waist and you’re ready to go…or you could just display it in your house.


One of my favorite pieces was this modern reproduction of a Dayak Kliau (shield) from East Kalimantan, Borneo. The description says it would have been used against blowpipe attacks and the “curvilinear designs convey fierceness and preservation of vital energies.”


Havaiki Oceanic & Tribal Art is located among the stores in the Hanalei Center, conveniently just down the street from the Tahiti Nui tiki bar. The shop is not immediately visible from the highway — it’s in a cottage-like building behind Bubba’s Burgers. You should see a couple tikis mounted on tall poles signaling you’re headed in the right direction.


Havaiki Oceanic & Tribal Art
5-5161 Kuhio Hwy. (Hanalei Center)
Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714

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