Our consciousness about things Polynesian was raised by publication in 1950 of Kon Tiki, two years after its original publication in Norway.
The author was Thor Heyerdahl, who believed that the Polynesian islands could have been populated by South American explorers. He built a raft using the materials and building technology which would have been available at the time and sailed across the Pacific in an effort to show that it could have been done. We were fascinated.
It is in large part an adventure at sea, but the name and the destination added to our fascination. We loved the name.
Motels sprung up named the Kon Tiki.
The last one there, in Venice, Florida, is lacking in imagination. It is more like something you’d expect for a mobile home park, such as this one in Chandler, Arizona:
There were restaurants – and resorts – and even a playhouse in Naples, Florida.
When I showed these Kon Tiki photos to my friend, he got misty-eyed on me. Why? As a boy his family had gone on a road trip to Florida and stayed at the Kon Tiki campground in St. Augustine. He went to his room and came back.
First he showed me a sticker that he had saved all these years: