Hitching To Town
12 October 2012 | Ile Uvea 13 20.163'S 176 11.179'W
It's quite a trek to Mata 'Utu (the capital) and we were told that no one here walks anywhere. It's too dang hot!! We made the fairly short walk up the hill from the anchorage to the main road and in short order a little car stopped to pick us up. We happily squeezed in with the three Wallisian occupants who were on their way to town. They were happy to coach us on the pronunciation of the local greetings as we drove and seemed pleased that we wanted to learn. They insisted on dropping us 'exactly' at our first stop of the day. That would be the gendarmerie (police station) to check in and have our passports stamped.
Over the centuries, Wallis has been invaded repeatedly by the Tongans so we notice a number of cultural similarities. The language, the traditional fale architecture, tapa cloth and woven pandanus mats. We also see the influences and conveniences that come with being an 'Overseas Territory' of France. Money in the bank, very little if any subsistence living, cars, paved roads, baguettes, French cheese and wine. C'est tres bon (if you don't look at the prices)! Flights from New Caledonia are quite expensive so there are virtually no tourists and not many yachts call here. We're pretty much the only papalangi around. There are, a large number of French expats and government employees who live here though and the ones we've met describe life as "tranquille" with a big smile on their face.