ALOHA! Or, Fuzzy's And My Creepy Suburban Adventure


One of the million awesome things about being married to Fuzzy is our shared sense of adventure and cheesiness. We have such fun at everything we do, and he makes even the weirdest experiences fun.

And so was our anniversary.

About 9 or 10 years ago, I went to a tiki bar in the suburbs (let's just call it Kala Hahiki, which is almost close to the actual name. But I don't want to offend anyone that might stumble upon this using a google search.) That night was the most fun wonderland of drinking, with huge drinks on fire and long straws, and laughing and fun. I have the most wonderful memories of going. Fuzzy, however, had never been, but had been hearing about it from me for years. We decided that since we'll be in Hawaii in a few short months, let's get the party started with a night at the tiki bar.

The bar is about a half hour drive outside of Chicago, so that posed a problem as well. Drinking and driving, as they say, don't mix. Not a problem! There is a Super 8 up the street from the bar! It's no secret how I feel about the Super 8 Motel, as you remember. When Fuzzy was booking the room, he noticed that there was one online with a queen bed and a jacuzzi tub. Since we moved and no longer have a jacuzzi tub, whenever we can get one, we take it. So here we are, Wednesday after work and we are checking in to the room. The woman at the front desk asks our name.

Fuzzy: Gerdes
Woman: (exclaiming with familiarity) OH, Yes!
Me: (laughs)
Woman: (pointing at me) Well, she's laughing!
(Fuzzy and I exchange confused looks.)

The woman continued to make clucking and knowing sounds and oohs and ahs and it was making me embarrassed and tickled at the same time. She kept making comments about me like "she's awful happy" and stuff like that. Then she says:

"You've seen this room, right?
Fuzzy: No
Woman: You didn't look at it before?
Fuzzy: No, I just saw it online.

She then took off her glasses and got really serious:
Woman: Look, I'll be honest with you. This is our honeymoon suite, and a lot of people don't like it. The room has a round bed.

I was suddenly REALLY embarrassed.

The room was unlike anything I'd ever seen. Big giant round bed, string lights surrounding it, all sorts of light switches and recessed lighting in the ceiling.

Erica presents the Super 8

And it was not a jacuzzi tub, it was a jacuzzi pod in the corner of the room:
Jacuzzi shower pod thing

It looked like something out of Barbarella. It even had a little TV in it. That didn't work.

Erica presents the Super 8

So then it was time to head to the bar. We walked down the pedestrian unfriendly side of the road to bar, which looked glorious.
Hala Kahiki
The bar is GIGANTIC and the back of it is a gift shop. Fuzzy and I are huge cheeseballs, so we decided to start with a drink and then later hit up the gift shop. We ordered the drink I had had before, that was on FIRE. Well, the center of it was on fire. And it was smaller than I remembered. And much less tasty. Really sugary, with a weird flavor. You know, not the kind of drink you wanted a lot of, and this was a drink built for two.

Volcano at Hala Kahiki

Fuzzy drinks from the volcano

Erica drinks the Volcano

At that point, the mosquitoes were eating us alive, so we decided to move indoors.
The inside of the bar smelled like 25 years of stale cigarettes concealed with massive amounts of sickening smelling pineapple and coconut air freshener. And we were sitting right next to an intake valve.

We were getting near the end of our volcano, so we decided to split one more drink for funsies. Fuzzy chose the "Suffering Bastard" a drink that was touted as being really tart. We like tart, so we went for it.

It was bad.

Like, bad. Not tart bad, but like a weird mix between bitter and sweet with some weird thrown in. It was a poor choice. We were suffering bastards indeed. We decided it was time to visit the gift shop, so we asked our waiter how to get there.

Waiter: I don't know.

We laughed, like oh, how funny, "now really how do you get there?" He informs us that he literally doesn't know where it was because it was only his second day.


So a minute later the manager comes over and tells us to give her a few minutes so she can turn on all the lights to the gift shop so we don't hurt ourselves.

I guess a lot of people don't go back there.

We thought that it might just be a room of stuff in it that you would later bring back to the table to pay for, and the woman told us to just walk past the velvet rope to go. We walked through the skeleton of several more abandoned giant tiki rooms, crossed the velvet rope and were in the gift shop.

Which was not empty.

There was a woman working the shop who was in maybe her late 50s and obviously doesn't get a lot of visitors. She instantly took the chance to point out every little thing in the shop and how much it cost and what was new and what wasn't. Suddenly Fuzzy was nowhere to be found. He had thrown me to the wolves.

Lady: These earrings are $2.99, these are $4.99. If you ever have a party, here is this this and this and this and blah blah.
Me: Ok, thanks! I am just going to look around for a minute.
Lady: Ok, but let me just show you all of our children's clothes and blah blah ramble ramble......
Me: That's ok, I am just looking, so I am going to look around.
Lady: Ok, well, I want to show you these dresses in case you ever need one in the future or know of anyone who does. Nom Nom Nom....
(repeat a similar dialogue like this for about 10 to 15 uncomfortable minutes.)

Finally, when Fuzzy showed back up, I couldn't make eye contact with him for fear I would start laughing. Finally, we were able to remove ourselves from the lady and do some shopping for real. She kept interjecting from her counter post, asking me about my hair and if we live around there and if we were throwing a party. When we were paying for our goods, she also pointed out some shot glasses that seem to be popular with people "doing the tequila thing." It was really weird.

I have this theory that the lady just sort of lives back in the gift shop. She only has human interaction every 50 years, and if she were to cross the velvet rope she would NO LONGER EXIST. She reminded me in some ways of the Radiator Lady in Eraserhead. She might even feed on human souls. I later had a thought that if she was some sort of demon or banshee and we were trapped back there and needed saving, we would be screwed because our waiter WOULDN'T EVEN HAVE KNOWN HOW TO FIND US!

Goodnight, table

Light-up tiki at Hala Kahiki

I guess some things are more memorable when you are 21 and drunk.

Fuzzy and Erica at Hala Kahiki

Finally we headed out for the night and had an uncomfortable night's sleep on our super hard round bed with a severe lack of pillows. The jacuzzi was actually pretty nice, and I got a huge kick out of watching Fuzzy try to used the half broken weird spray jets in the pod.

We had some other weird experiences at breakfast the next morning, and as we were driving back to the city, I was all the more appreciative of our wonderful city, amazing friends and own flavor of weird that we have in our own day to day lives. We spend the rest of the day off on Thursday drinking beer, eating delicious food, napping, watching tv, riding bikes and enjoying each other's company.

It was pretty much a perfect anniversary.

Erica and Fuzzy

Erica and Fuzzy

All photos by Fuzzy, who writes a much nicer review of our experience here.

Here's to many more decades of weirdness and fun!


That whole evening sounds AWESOME! I love weirdly uncomfortable places like that. Ask Fuzzy about the night a bunch of us went to the now-defunct Latino/Latina drag-bar Lolita's, and watched one 60-year old drag-queen that looked JUST LIKE Bea Arthur serenade her friend who BORROWED A DRESS TWO SIZES TOO SMALL from one of the acts at the club. As "Bea" sung "Wind Beneath My Wings" to her sobbing friend, we COULD NOT stop laughing. You can't script an act as funny as that.

Happy Anniversary! I can't believe it's been, what, four years since your wedding?


No, it was on Clark at Montrose, I believe. I think it's an Italian restaurant now. All the great Latino/Latina drag bars are gone in my area now... El Gato Negro on Irving Park by CIC is gone now, too.