Departures and an Arrival

It's been a busy old week! On Sunday last Viriamu left me, well not permanently, but just long enough to get to Tahiti get on an a boat and sail back to the Australs. Yep he's an invited guest on the Fafaaite's grand tour of the Australs. A real privilege, and an opportunity for him to learn traditional sailing techniques on a double-hulled voyaging canoe. He left Papeete on Wednesday, there's a film on the Rahui Nui no Tuhaa Pae Facebook page. I've just heard from him, they arrived in Raivavae this morning, right on schedule, after a grueling few days at sea - sounds like he's having a great time! On Friday it was Matotea's turn, she left with a group of school students, Tubuai-bound for the finals of the orator's competition, she is one of five students participating from Rurutu, joined by last year's laureate, who will open the competition next Saturday. With a little luck Viriamu should also be sailing into Tubuai in time for the competition!
It seems like everyone is off having adventures except me (getting electrocuted doesn't count) - even my Mum was away in Lampeter opening a quilt exhibition! What a talented family I have. 

Rurutu near-death experiences

Alright, well it may be a slight exaggeration on my part, but, last week, during a huge thunderstorm, there was a lightning strike nearby that gave me a pretty good electric shock through the laptop. The dangers of freelance translating. It also fried the DSL router and television! But I'm still here to enjoy the dawning of a new day over Unaa, on my Sunday morning croissant run. 
It wasn't quite as scary as the coconut that glanced off my shoulder a few years back, but still, it's up there with cyclones and freak waves. Things are getting back to normal, but it was one costly thunderbolt. The car battery also died on me while I was out and about with a guest yesterday, so, all in all, I'm wondering what I've done to annoy the gods...come to think of it, it's always like this when Viriamu's away!


Alex Du Prel

Yesterday, the father of investigative journalism in French Polynesia, Alex Du Prel passed away. A sad day, at a point in world history where we need to know the facts, more than ever. His magazine Tahiti Pacifique remains a standard. When it was first launched it was the only effective (and often biting) critic of the, then all-powerful, President Gaston Flosse. A much needed voice in the wilderness. There is a touching tribute to him here (in French) on the Tahiti Pacifique website. May his legacy continue... 


Mixed feelings

I’ve just discovered that Penelope Fillon was born near Abergavenny. For those of you not following the French presidentials, she’s the wife of Francois Fillon, the candidate for French left (right-wing in British terms). She and her husband are embroiled in a huge scandal about fictitious employment, after claiming she had never been involved in her husband’s political career, it turns out she was paid very well (some €680,000) over 15 years, as his attachée !!! A hugely damaging scandal that could inadvertently increase Marine LePen's chances (Front National=the French version of Trump) of being elected, even though she has also been involved in a similar, though less costly and flagrant scandal at the European parliament. That, combined with the abysmal rugby results  and Brexit craziness (Wales, unlike Scotland and N Ireland, voted out !) are leaving me less proud of my Welsh heritage, just two weeks after St.David’s  day.