Bora Bora 2005.10.24

Bora Bora 2005.10.24
Bora Bora 2005.10.24 ©2005 Mark Phillips

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Structure

The resorts are rigid. Packaged and scripted: you move from Point A to Point B to Point C. They have to do that to process everyone.

Which makes the kind of spontaneity impossible which happens in an environment with fewer constraints.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.22 Club Med, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.22 Club Med, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Friday, October 28, 2005

Local Friends

The American surfers have very lovely friends.

Business boys, lawyers and executives, gym-toned and well-to-do. Their girlfriends are local, Huahine beauties, tawny and lithe with light-up-the-dark smiles, and they make it clear in sizing me up that once the lawyers fly home they’ll be happy to be my local friends instead, for a consideration.

At night geckos mate on my wall.

It all feels very lonely.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.18 Huahine, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.28 Huahine, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Club Med

Scrawny little thing, she looks so skinny. Don't these rich people feed her?

I got a whole plate of fish for her and she scarfed it ravenously, jumped up on her hind legs to get to it before I could even put pieces on the ground for her. She took it right out of my fingers, her little claws out to steady herself on my outstretched hand. Desperate. Don't they feed her?

In the morning she'd forgotten me entirely. Wouldn't let me near.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.22 Club Med, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.22 Club Med, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Blindsight

I closed my eyes and walked the length of the pier imagining what it would be like to be blind. Using just my ears to guide me. The sound of lapping water on both sides.

It was perfect. When I arrived at the end I was exactly in the middle.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.24 Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.24 Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Monday, October 24, 2005

Emere

In a cottage on the grass behind the beach you sit at a table in gathering dusklight enjoying your conversation.

She's small, thin, very bright, very kind. She's suffered, she has a painful physical ailment. But, she's not bitter. She's joyous and warm, and when she learns of your interest in the people and their lives before the missionaries came, she tells you this story.

Up the mountain through the jungle on dirt trails not usually mapped there's a marae with a ti'i that yet lives. Visitors don't go there, even the archaeologists who've rebuilt other sites. Only locals. And not very often.

One time the pain from her illness was so great that her family took her to the old marae. She made an offering, praying to the ti'i for relief. She slept there that night, and when she awoke she had no pain, none, the first time without suffering in many months. It lasted three full days.

"Don't go there alone!" she says. "The trail is slippery, it's been raining. And anyway. Don't go there alone."

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.17 Huahine, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.17 Huahine, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Gulls

Sea birds have voices that were made to complain.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.18 Huahine, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.18 Huahine, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Kuomintang

In a dilapidated courtyard, on a run-down veranda, in Uturoa, Raiatea, French Polynesia, the banner of the Chinese nationalists.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.19 Uturoa, Raiatea, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.19 Uturoa, Raiatea, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Rose

Rose, lovely and helpful, stands friendly behind the reception desk. Tiare behind the left ear; tiare behind the right ear. The left ear: married. The right ear: available. With this simple semaphore she signals the basic contour of her life, at this moment in her journey. That her marriage was a mistake which has ended unhappily. That now she's ready to move on.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.11 Moorea, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.11 Moorea, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Calm

"Australe?"

"Non. No - American."

"Ah! Engleesh?" Smiling, shakes hands.

"Oui. Yes - English."

Smiles, shakes hands. Points to the harbor, says, "Calm." Waves his hands back and forth to show how calm it is.

Start of a good day.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.17 Huahine, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.17 Huahine, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Saturday, October 15, 2005

View From the Room

Each room is like its own lifetime.

Look through the pictures. Each hotel, each experience, each city a different world, so filled with its own finite reality that to your perception it begins and ends discretely.

Here: at this point in time: in this place: a world opens and closes.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.10 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.10 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Friday, October 14, 2005

Meralgia Peresthetica

Le Docteur Francais who doesn't speak English avec le American gimp who doesn't speak French were able to get their various points across by combining signage with Latin medical terms and a selection of words which in our respective languages descend from Latin cognates. The American gimp with the numb leg and the highly owie lower back has meralgia paresthetica. While not life-threatening, it's not helpful, and he should see his neurologiste en America. Meanwhile a diet of anti-inflammatories plus capsules pour le dolor will get him through the day. It's alright to walk and hike and climb, and swimming is positively good. Just watch your step, since you can't feel anything with that leg.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.10 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.10 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Smoke

The smell of burning leaves.

All around the island, the people rake their yards, empty their trash, then burn the results. On any horizon there are always one or two small fires visible. Gray smoke. Orange tongues against explosions of green.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.11 Moorea, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.11 Moorea, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Language

Young woman in tears. Distraught. Young man guides her by her tawny copper elbow. She weeps, and is ashamed to be seen.

Tears, frowns, smiles, laughter: things we all do in the same language. Kisses, maybe.

Saddened all afternoon by her sadness.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.19 Uturoa Harbor, Raiatea, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.19 Uturoa Harbor, Raiatea, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Monday, October 10, 2005

Paul Gauguin

Gauguin's women are everywhere on the streets. Same features, same pareus, same tiares. No differences, merely a detail: the cell phone hanging from their soft cloth belts.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.25 Club Med, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.25 Club Med, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Pain

Pain. Loneliness. Struggle.

There had been misgivings. One's instincts are nearly always right. You go wrong when you overrule them.

No, no. There's a point to all trials. Life steers you. Alright then. Where are we going now?

Nowhere, today.

Pain. Loneliness. Struggle.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.19 Raiatea, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.19 Raiatea, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Blue Bayou

Hawaiian-style pedal steel drifts from a bar on Boulevard Pomare. Familiar, foreign. A Tahitian arrangement of Blue Bayou.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.10 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.10 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Friday, October 7, 2005

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay

Pretty girl, white sun dress, white hat. Sits on a pylon near the ferry landing, blowing tentative but mournful notes from a white wooden recorder.

That's her life, those notes.

Sittin' on the dock of the bay, watching the tide drift away...

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.10 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.10 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Papeete

Papeete: tatty cloud of colonial diesel fumes.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.06 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.06 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com

Saturday, October 1, 2005

The Myth of Polynesia

Honeymooners, retired couples. The romance of the isles.

My romance is different, more about identities and history and Good versus Evil. Probably just as visceral.

What happened to this happy-seeming culture, and how that makes me who I am today.

Me and you both.

Mark Phillips, 2005.10.19 Uturoa Harbor, Raiatea, French Polynesia
Mark Phillips, 2005.10.19 Uturoa Harbor, Raiatea, French Polynesia

Source: www.markphillips.com