Hallucinating in Lau
20 July 2017
I'm getting a bit worried.
It's a bit of a walk to the village. Half is along the beach, rock scrambling at high tide, a flat walk on the coral at low, every step crushing years of growth making us feel quite guilty but then, the locals tramp around all day in search of the days meal and have done for generations.
On these walks, with our cruising buddies Seven and Eight, aka Sven and Lisa but the locals can't get their tongues around that so they've become numbers, what started as a joke saying we'd pop into Starbucks and have an ice cold mocha latte with caramel topping, has become quite serious. We're hallucinating about treats and maybe a wifi hit.
Why, I don't know as last summer's on-board speleology expedition to the depths of our freezer means we have loads of burgers, steaks and chicken left. We even had a bonfire with hot bananas, chocolate sauce and ice cream on the beach two nights ago. Nonetheless, we, or maybe it's just me, gabble on about what way we want our epicurean burgers and coffees done.
All this when we clearly know that there's absolutely nothing in the village to eat let alone electricity, that hasn't been grown in the jungle, fallen off a palm tree or been out in the reef recently swimming around with its mates thinking, "what a lovely day for a swim......ohh.....look, a juicy clam hanging on a wee wire just there....chomp....Ow, whoa my gums. And bingo, a juicy green parrot fish becomes tonight's dinner.
Our guide, the guy who can't speak or hear yet manages to understand and be understood, took us to the village well today. Lucky he couldn't make us drink. This pool of water was apparently the bathing spring. The island is a big limestone rock and the well is the sump where rain water which has flowed through the limestone for decades, rich in minerals and naturally filtered comes to the surface in the middle of the village.....and lies stagnating with a bit of a soapy scum on top. Not quite Highland Spring, or indeed Ramlosa. (this for our Swedish reader). Or indeed, Poland Spring for East Coast USA!
I've previously mentioned that I feel what we're doing is a bit of voyeuraging, like Red Nose Day but without the celebrity tears, but it is quite an experience to step off your first world platform, anchored in "paradise" and then see how basically the villagers live. Corrugated iron shacks, possibly a bunk but more likely just a bit of foam on the floor and a bit of cloth separating the "rooms". All cooking outdoors or maybe a separate shack over wood fires in battered, blackened pots.
On the other hand, if they'd ever left the house with me at 04:15 to drive to the airport then fly for 3 hours to haggle and get beaten up over next year's contract or "your labels are falling off" (despite the fact they sprayed them with WD40) so here's our claim for $1million, my guess is they'd be thinking, "poor bugger, imagine living like that".