Friday, 11 March 2011


dear friends
i hope you are all well. I am having a great time in Tahiti. we woke up even earlier than usual this morning for the tsunami alert.. it is a wonderful place... everyone wakes very early.. around 6 am and i get so much stuff done my midday it is amazing! I really like that... anyhow today we woke at 5ish and at 7am we all walked up the hill and chilled in the early morning sunshine. There was a loud siron then tom and i played music for the families there and I sketched and jammed with some teenagers... it was pleasant but no wave appeared at ALL not even the slightest sign of one... as if man could predict natural disasters!... we were all hoping that the homes near the beach would get one good splash but we were dissappointed... i had even brought my water colours up the hill so they would not get ruined! I had a great time doing a little art class with the children on the hill drawing with half a dozen kids and joking and laughing. There were three siblings... twins called Heimata and Heiarii and their older sister Heiura... which means in Tahitian Crown of Eyes, Crown of the king and Red Crown respectively. Such nice kids!
So everyone gave up and came home around 10ish and I slept for an hour or so then had breadfruit and salad for lunch and am now just relaxing at midday... this is really like paradise this place.. such abundance of everything... yesterday we went surfing in the morning on small waves but big enough for me... I caught one cracker for a good 10 seconds standing on a shelf of surf rushing headlong toward the coconut trees on the beach in a brilliant burst of energy and ending with a fantastic flop... at my level of surfing the most important part of the show including lots of noise... most other surfers are silent but i like to yell and shout about the waves... noone can really hear me... some of the tahitan kids make woooo sounds when they zip along on their boogie boards but i am the only adult who jumps up and down and tries to do backflips off the board... strange that!
after a relaxed picnic by the old french lighthouse we drove to the valley in the centre of the island and walked along a very undulating track past dozens of huge waterfalls and huge rearing peaks of wonderful exotic beauty. Wow we were pretty puffed when, after a swim in the river, we returned hback to the car and it started pouring down in buckets. On the drive home we stopped to watch a large traditional dance group practice for the big show tonight and then popped into a restaurant by the marina where two guitarists went zonky on their instruments playing very fast modern intellectual cheese sound... it was not so bad actually ... some really sad songs which tom and i improvised slow football chants to which was hilarious. still i thought their talents were wasted on guitars... they could both go much further if they consolidated their natural genius for air guitar.
so tonight we have a big show to watch... i have been sketching and drawing about 3 pictures a day which i am pleased about and also playing a bit of music just to amuse myself between times which has been a nice break from the art! Between Lucine... the lovely french girl who used to live with cecile in Nice and is now studying here... and sophie my old friend from Lille... we are being looked after like kings. wonderful relaxing time after quite a incessant two weeks bumming around in NZ... i am really impressed by the ukulele players... they only play a few chords albeit with very clever phrasing but the rhythms are what really get me... they even propel the ukuleles by the left hand on the neck against the right strumming hand to get the really fast rhythms ... so beautiful.. and lovely soft singing!
I have been inspired by Polynesian culture to try to invent some dance songs... songs with dances for them that you can do at the same time. I also liked the Haka in NZ... they had quite a violent culture but the Haka is both a war dance and a greeting and the idea of doing a DONT MESS WITH ME DUDE dance as a beautiful cultural exhibition and lovely singing followed by warm hospitality appeals to me somehow. I may try to write something like that in English... even when the Maori soldiers stepped off the ships back onto New Zealand soil after the desert war in North Africa in WWII where they faught as crack night time attack troops they were greeted by a stripped maori warrior dancing with little steps like a librarian with red hot coals in his slippers and waving a spear at them on the dock. He slowly retreated as he danced and yelled or sang infront of them as they shambled forwards with lowered heads. I only saw one rugby game in NZ which was a girls team ... I am seriously telling you I think I would have been flattened by these teenage girls and even Louis would have found them more than a handfull if he could get over the idea that they were girls... cracking pace and they knew how to collide with certainty.
Unlike i had previously expected Tahiti is really not very touristy at all although i have only spent a few hours in the main city Papeete... and i was playing music in the park and getting my ass whipped by a huge jabber the hut local look a like who lay Roman style on a bench with his belly reaching for the floor and beat me with really classy unauthodox openings and deadly finish boomerang style from behind my classical gormless barrage of pawns. It seemed the less fat you are here the worse you are at chess. I managed to beat the skinny lad but the second in command who looked like he could crush a deck chair but would loose to Jabba in a bench battle, well he beat me pretty neatly too. SO i am putting on weight and going back to the park soon for a rematch. The Tahitians are generally a little smaller in height than the Maoris in NZ but equally stocky and hold their traditions stronger. the french dont distroy the romance and beauty of Pacific islands as well as the Anglo Saxons it seems... they allow the wonderful chaos to continue and maybe even add a bit to the elegance and beauty of the local customs whereas the british only really seemed to admire the Maoris for their quality as chunky ruggerbuggers or soldiers for the empire, i hope i am not correct. everyone we meet here asks why we are staying for such a short time in tahiti ... no one asked that in NZ and here is certainly a place i could stay for a good while.
anyhow this time next week we head for LA to meet kester then i go to San Francisco to see some old friends like joe and stanford and then to New Orleans which is going to be great fun for April... back to London in early May via Iceland seems the most interesting way. should get some great painting done there.
Tom flies out of LA to london after 3 days... he is out of money and we both miss home a bit actually.
if you have any recommendations of places i should go or people to meet in USA please tell me
lots and lots of love

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