When Thor Heyerdahl set out from Callao, Peru in 1947 bound for a vague Pacific destination, he was aiming to prove that ocean-going exploration from the Americas predated Columbus – and may have helped populate Polynesia. His subsequent fame, ensured by the success of sailing a balsa-wood raft thousands of miles from South America to an atoll in Tuamotu freed his hand to turn his attention to other mysteries of the Pacific, most notably Easter Island.
While Thor was gadding about on tropical islands the rest of the world looked on in amazement and responded in the only way possible: by wearing Hawaiian shirts, forming surf rock bands and opening Tiki themed bars serving exotic fruit based cocktails.
In time, this craze passed and the eyes of the world moved on. But there is a corner of Oslo that is forever Tiki: the Aku Aku Tiki Bar at Thorvald Meyers Gate 32 in the happening neighbourhood of Grunerlokka. Not being a big drinker is usually a fatal impediment to enjoying a bar but not on this occasion. Tropical juice cocktail in hand, I sheltered from a chilly Autumn afternoon admiring the Moai motifs, hula sounds on the jukebox and puffer-fish lampshades. Aku Aku refers to a kind of spiritual intelligence, which you will acquire if you drink enough of their Volcano Bowl cocktails. The joint jumps to a 1950s luau beat by evening.
A visit here is the perfect accompaniment to visiting the essential Kon-Tiki Museum on the beautiful Bydgoy Peninsula. Between them, they offer a delightfully bonkers taste of the south Pacific Ocean in neat and tidy Oslo. Other cities take note: the world needs more Tiki bars.
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