Saturday, 12 October 2013

Mixed reflections

Hoped to be sitting in a similar seat towards Tahiti as I travelled up to the Marquesas on so I would be able to see what I missed out on first up (no set seats just grab the one you want). Forgot planes take off differently according to the wind. So we took off and I had a view of the featureless sea. Then, I was delighted when the plane banked and flew over the island of Nuku Hiva, more or less finishing over TaiOHae and so I saw some of the valleys I had visited on Wednesday. It was a bitter sweet departure. I know I will never be back and so it is truly goodbye. But such a rich store of experiences will give me much pleasure for a long while. Sensational place but hard work coming from a winter climate. And hard work with too little conversational French. However I wouldn’t have done it any other way. A few nights ago I walked up to the plush resort hotel on the hill, sat sipping a (non-alcoholic) cocktail, chatting to a local, admiring the pretty boy bar girl and watching the guests. Strangely, I was given a bowl of green and black olives which did not blend with the fruit juice I was drinking. But that was enough for ‘dinner’. Anyway I looked at the guests and their well-fed tummies, and their expensive linens and sparkling diamant√© sandals and knew they could never know the Marquesas’ like I have (even though I realised I had only scratched the surface and understood almost nothing) and I felt sorry that even though they all spoke French, their isolation in such tourist enclaves prevented them from really knowing how people lived, laughed, talked and felt. Nor could they know the values of the local people. And without it at least some of that, all they could be doing was ‘seeing the sights’.

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