July 29th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 2
A fellow passenger

In the morning we had to contend with the same sort of jostling for position, tho’ this time even worse.  Fortunately, Bernadette was about, + was able to acquire a corner for the 5 of us.  The Polynesians certainly stick together – naturally enough, I suppose –  + would push us out the door entirely if they could.  We certainly haven’t yet encountered the laughing, happy, generous people of whom one reads.  We are pushed in front of in queues, the cook gives us a worse deal, + we have our sleeping space cramped in upon.  But I suppose it doesn’t do any harm for we normally overprivileged WASPS to receive the rough end of the stick for once.

Val and Dave with their pamplemousse

A lot of yachts in Nuku Hiva, + quite a few either Val or I recognise – the cruising world is small.  The weather was lousy today, + quite a lot of rain got through – they have [plastic curtains to keep the rain out, but they don’t fit too exactly.  However, we braved the rain + went for a walk.  Immediately, we dashed into the first shop we could – and then bought 3 loaves of bread in the next.  Wandered out to the church (tho’ we later discovered it was a cathedral.)  Very impressive – an ultra-modern building of stone + wood, with some fabulous wooden carvings.  During this trip I’ve been trying to formulate what I think about religion.  My position is a little paradoxical, since I am at the same time atheist yet very fond of the trappings of religion – its art, its buildings, its music, its ceremonies, its mythology.  I think that the Church, especially the Catholic church, has been a force of positive evil in the world, yet the loss of the church would be to the world’s detriment.  And it’s no good saying we should keep the trappings + dump the feeling, since the former without the latter would be meaningless + lose 90% of its value, an empty can of coke.  So I don’t have an answer, not yet.  In the meantime, I’ll watch the people praying + enjoy.  But I suspect the stones will have to come down.

Because the rain came down again, we headed back to the boat to unload the bread + get some lunch, tho’ we did stop for a while to chat with some yachties.  They were talking yacht tho’, + I’ve had enough of that particular dialect.  Dave has now become Dick the Mennonite – the former because a drippy American girl came on the boat + called him Dick, the latter because his heavy beard gives him something of that appearance.  Don, from the Bonnie Lass, also came on board.  All those people seem really nice – he hasn’t jumped ship tho’ – he was just there for a chat.  Braved the weather again after lunch – meat + rice –  + back into town.  Posted letters, strolled round to another beach, + then went to find the man who’d done the carvings in the church.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford what he had to offer, tho’ it was good stuff.  He would have carved us a small piece, but that would have taken 5 hours, + unfortunately we didn’t have that time to spare.  So we had to be content with 2 more loaves of bread, + back to the boat, + prepare to take off.  The Taporo III is much fuller now, so I suppose we’re fortunate to have a place indoors, even tho’ it’s very cramped, + our neighbours are unfriendly + seemingly determined to restrict us as much as possible.  We’re carrying quite a bit of livestock on board now – lots of goats, a couple of dogs, a pig, + their smell, together with the powerful ripe Roquefort smell of the copra, is making the deck somewhat odorous (+ slippery.)  Val went down + joined some singers + guitarists in the evening, when we were underway, but I just read (I finished “A Passage to India” – a fine book) + then tried to sleep.

Apologies for the rather pompous moralising about religion. Not that I feel the need to backtrack on my comments particularly, but I was on my high horse rather. Good to have some company at this time, but not to feel beholden to anyone else.

2 Responses

  1. Pamela J Blair

    I couldn’t agree more, about both religion, its amazing cathedrals and religious art.

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