Thought you might enjoy this photo of Seven a la mode Tahitienne. Actually, I believe only the women wear flowers in their hair, but I think it suits him.
Seven is definitely still provoking interest, especially among the Islanders, and all our most interesting encounters have been with people who want to know who he is and where he comes from. One person guessed Hawaiian; another thought he might be Rarotongan. No one yet has thought to suggest New Zealand, which seems like the obvious choice, or Tongan or Samoan for that matter. This would seem to indicate that there aren’t too many non-French Polynesians traveling in these parts.
Our encounters really emphasize how separated the Pacific is by this English v. French colonial divide, but it’s frustrating seeing people with so much in common separated from one another in this very fundamental way. Maybe if his Maori were better they would have a Polynesian lingua franca, but I don’t know. Everyone tells us that speakers from different island groups are mutually unintelligible.
Or, rather they tell us that people from other islands can understand each another, but that they can’t understand them. Marquesans, we are told, sound like Maori; or Tuamotuans sound like Marquesans; or Easter Islanders sound like Hawaiians; but no one, apparently, sounds like Tahitians, at least from the Tahitian point of view. We have, however, met an interesting assortment of people from the eastern Pacific, including a guy from Rapa Nui (Easter Island) who spoke to us in a mixture of French and English, taught us a few words of Rapa Nui, and counted out our change in Spanish!
On a completely different subject, I have become painfully aware (from questions put to me by people at home) how little I know about birds and plants and I’m sorry to report that I cannot be at all interesting on either subject. However, I did see the most magnificent pair of breadfruit trees the other day. They were so huge and glorious that I made Seven turn around and drive back about a 1/4 mile to take some pictures. (The kids were utterly bored by this; “Hey, let’s stop and take a picture” is becoming code between them for anything time-wasting and stupid). You can’t really get a sense of how big they were (this is shot down from the roadside above) but they had to have been 40 feet high at least.
This is what the leaves and fruit look like up close. Beautiful, isn’t it?
Breadfruit is, of course, the cargo that Captain Bligh of the Bounty was supposed to pick up in Tahiti and take to the Caribbean (where it would be grown to feed slaves) before his crew mutinied and left him to perish in an open boat. It is prepared in various ways, including most famously a fermented mash, which is, I believe, an acquired taste. Dani wouldn’t get near it…
Abraham Joins the Crew