Paradise regained … excerpt from “Le Paradis”.

One day – in the not so very distant future – even my vision will seem “normal” in the eyes of the world.

Le Paradis is a 100% fictional work, touching on many issues in today’s French Polynesia: poverty, wealth, ecology, mythology and the conservation of culture and tradition (au sujet de la pauvreté, de la richesse, de l’écologie, des légendes, et de la conservation du patrimoine culturel).

It is my hope that this work will evoke interest regarding both the threats and consequences of modernisation, ecological disasters and materialism for delicate small societies outside the mainstream political, economic and cultural structures propagated by the large and powerful countries of the world. Many of these “peripheral” societies are struggling to maintain their traditions and cultural specificities. I would further venture to suggest that we who live in the large agenda-setting centres of modernisation, military and economic power and globalised culture have much to learn from these small societies in the far corners of the world, and that the survival of the Earth itself may be contingent upon a willingness to learn simpler and more holistic and interpersonal approaches to life, culture and spirituality.

This time I have chosen French Polynesia as the geographical/cultural entity that serves as a background for the abovementioned message; however, it could just as well have been another set of islands, or another remote society.

Photo by Adam Donaldson Powell

An excerpt from “Le Paradis”:


Part three / 3ème Partie Tales and poetic homages about / Contes et hommages poétiques concernant Mo’orea


Alain, the assistant hotel manager, had just arrived in Mo’orea for a three-day holiday with his family: his wife Vaea (“Peace”), his five-year-old son Jean-Marc, and his newborn daughter Solange. Originally from Montpellier, France, Alain Gastineau had taken a job as concierge at the luxury hotel on Tahiti eight and-a-half years ago. He had gotten the job through Gaspard, a friend from the time of his hotel management studies in Switzerland. Gaspard had a friend who had just become hotel manager at a newly opened tourist hotel in Tahiti, and who was looking for French personnel with luxury hotel and restaurant experience, ambition and talent. Gaspard had recommended that Alain apply, citing his previous work experience at top hotels and restaurants in Bern and in Marseille. It turned out that the only suitable position available at the time was that of concierge, but the hotel was doing quite well and the staff would eventually grow … as would the number of management positions.

Eventually, Alain did advance to the position of assistant hotel manager – which he had now had for the past three and-a-half years. The timing was perfect, as his wife was soon to give birth to their first-born child. In addition, while Alain enjoyed his position as concierge he did find it demanding to always be at the ‘beck and call’ of the tourists … who often had rather unreasonable requests and expectations. The job of a concierge is to realise that which is “impossible” – no matter what it takes. Although Alain was good at his work, he personally felt that he lacked the personal contacts required to do the job as properly as a member of Les Clefs d’Or (the professional organisation of hotel concierge staff persons) might. He felt that he often had to struggle to find the appropriate local service providers and merchants necessary to fulfill the rich tourists’ whimsical requests; this kind of local knowledge must be built up over a number of years of experience.

Unlike most of his other popaa (Western) friends, Alain had fallen in love with and married a vahine just a couple of years after he had arrived in Tahiti. He had only planned to work abroad (i.e. outside of Europe) for three years or so, but it was pretty much ‘love at first sight’ between him and the beautiful vahine Vaea. They were a striking couple: both were tall, he had thick, blond hair cut just above the neck, a square jaw, thin lips, piercing blue eyes, a classical roman nose, and an ex-swimmer’s physique; Vaea was breathtaking by any cultural standards with her light caramel-coloured skin, her olive-brown eyes, her long and straight dark brown hair, the longest eyelashes and the most beautiful full-bodied lips Alain had ever seen and (of course) a sensuous, curvy body that would have inspired a ‘Gauguin’ of any century and painting style.

Both Alain’s family, friends and colleagues had cast more than a few hints that he should wait to get married, but it was clear that it was not the “hastiness” of the engagement and ensuing marriage that worried them, but rather the crossing of racial and cultural lines. While no one doubted that any offspring from the union would (undoubtedly) be as beautiful and as intelligent as their parents, it was the exoticism of being a ‘demi’ (of Polynesian-European descent) that concerned Alain’s family and circle of friends and colleagues. Vaea’s family also had its reservations, but for them family is family … and they would embrace and support their daughter’s children no matter what they looked like, no matter who the father was … and no matter whether or not a child was conceived out-of-wedlock.

That the couple wished to marry was cause for a big family celebration, and Vaea’s parents were happy that Alain had had a good upbringing and that he had a good job. Many Polynesians were either unemployed, or worked at menial and underpaid jobs. The children of Alain and Vaea would not be illiterate or poor, and they would learn both French and Tahitian … properly. And so they got married, and their son Jean-Marc was born soon afterwards. They had recently bought a bungalow on the Isle of Mo’orea – somewhat tucked away from the tourist areas – which they had spent a half-year renovating and refurbishing. The small abode was situated on the western coast, near the small fishing village Baie d’Atiha (Atiha Bay); and was not far from Alain’s favourite French Polynesian structure: l’Église de la Sainte Famille (constructed with lime and coral). Vaea had taken responsibility for fixing up the charming little garden which now glittered with tropical plants and flowers, replicas of marae (ancient Polynesian sacred site) statues and wind chimes made of shells that she had collected. Alain supervised the small construction work and hired an interior decorator to help find the perfect mix of French modern and island interior design. The work was recently completed, and they had just brought their family of four to the bungalow for a three-day holiday … and to celebrate Alain and Vaea’s wedding anniversary.

Alain was very happy with his new life on French Polynesia. He was always a conscientious student and employee, but after several years away from Western Europe he had begun to realise that he was – in fact – not 100% comfortable with the “rat race”— with the “he who has the most when he dies is the winner” materialistic mentality, nor the dehumanisation experienced through being a “good soldier” who constantly runs after the clock and conducts his life according to standardised values, thought patterns, ideologies and social-economic systems. He was too young to have experienced the “hippie generation” and was – in the eyes of most people – considered conservative and normal. However, since moving to the islands he had learned to loosen his collar, breathe in between appointments, delight in people who were different from himself and to enjoy the nature around him without “scheduling in” a walk in a city park or a summer holiday. He loved his wife Vaea, and his two wonderful children: Jean-Marc and Solange. They were both quite intelligent, and had many of the typical traits of so-called “indigo children” and “crystal children”: they were intelligent (but quickly bored by things they considered to be unimportant); they were empathetic, sensitive, intuitive, curious, creative, independent … but also rather headstrong and insistent that they just knew certain things to “be true”. Jean-Marc particularly loved Vaea’s stories about Polynesian history, mythology and her explanations of the hand and body movements in traditional dance, the symbolism of Polynesian tiki and tattoos, and he was always “hungry” for information about local flora and fauna. Solange – although only five months old – almost never cried, and her broad smile and open eyes were like the sun rising over Mount Mouaputa (“the pierced mountain”).

Alain had found his “paradis” here in the Society Islands. He was – in many ways – “reborn”. The three days passed all too quickly, and seeing how much Vaea and the children enjoyed the bungalow and their time on Mo’orea, Alain suggested that they stay for several more days. Alain had to return to the job on Tahiti, but could return to Mo’orea on Sunday to bring his cherished little family home. When Alain returned to Mo’orea, he was overjoyed to see his loved ones. They had never before been away from each other for so many days. Solange had been sick for two days – nothing serious, but had a fever – and the local doctor had recommended that she remain at rest for a few more days and return to him on Tuesday. This meant, of course, that traveling back to Tahiti already on Sunday afternoon was out of the question, and Alain telephoned his boss to tell him that he needed a few more days on Mo’orea. His boss (Bruno) was quite understanding, and suggested that he take a two week vacation, as Alain had been working very hard the past months – often relieving Bruno of many managerial functions while the new hotel annex was under construction.

Both Alain, Vaea and his children were ecstatic over being able to remain at the bungalow for yet another two weeks, and that papá was going to be with them every day – without running to work every day and working long hours. When the children had been tucked in for the night, Alain and Vaea had an evening romantic picnic for two in front of the bungalow – with French wine, bread, fruit and cheeses from France and Switzerland, which Alain had brought with him from Pape’ete – and held each other and kissed for what seemed like hours as they gazed out over the Mo’orea landscape and breathed in the luscious, fresh country air.


“Bonjour, mon amour !” said Alain, leaning over a still-sleeping Vaea.

“E aha?” replied Vaea sleepily.

“Ia ora na. E aha te huru?” (Good morning. How are you?) whispered Alain into her ear, while kissing her neck.

“Bonjour Alain. E aha te hora i teie nei? Quelle heure est-il ?” (What time is it?) exclaimed Vaea as she attempted to bolt out of bed in panic for having overslept.

“Aita pe’ape’a! Pas de problème !” (Don’t worry!) replied Alain, lightly pushing Vaea back into a reclining position. “Il est huit heures et quart.” (It is eight fifteen in the morning).
“But what about the children … and breakfast?” asked Vaea.

“Both children are bathed, dressed and waiting for us in the kitchen, and breakfast is all made. We are only missing you … our Polynesian Queen. Why don’t you bathe and get dressed, and we will see you in fifteen minutes or so for a nice Continental breakfast – Tahiti-style,” said Alain, before he kissed Vaea on the lips.

Vaea smiled but pushed Alain away when the kiss began to get a bit too passionate, saying: “Be careful … or I may never get out of this bed. We both know what that kind of kiss leads to!”

Alain tickled her, and they both laughed for a minute before Vaea suddenly ran from the bedroom into the bathroom and began singing in Tahitian. Vaea stood naked before the bathroom mirror, combing out her long dark hair which reached down to her shoulder blades in the back and covered much of her breasts on the front. She thought of her relatives and her childhood friends, and how different her life was from theirs. She had “married well” in relation to most. Her husband was kind to her, generous, a loving father, faithful (as far as she could tell) … and he made a good, stable income. She lived neither in the slums on the outskirts of Pape’ete nor on one of the poor outlying islands where the amenities of modern civilisation were worlds away. She should be happy … and she was – except for moments like this, when she suddenly longed for a simpler and more carefree life, without possessions, without time schedules, and without all the constant expectations that had to be lived up to … both with regard to the French purebred, the demis who were trying to balance between their French/European, American or Chinese roots and their Polynesian ancestry and customs, and her own Polynesian friends and relatives. She wondered what kind of life her own children would have as adults: how they and their children would adjust and fit in, and how much of their forefathers’ cultural traditions and wisdom would remain in their environment and their personal identities. Both she and Alain had attempted to provide the children with a bilingual upbringing, and Vaea and her parents always told the children stories and legends passed down in her family from generation to generation. However, Vaea could already see the results of Western materialism at work, and she knew that her children would have to strive to become as “French” as possible in order to maintain their living standard when they became adults. She was torn. On the one hand, she wanted her children and their children to have all the conveniences that went along with a European or American upbringing: to live well, to have good-paying and secure jobs, to travel the world, go to the best schools, etc., and on the other hand she wanted them to become local leaders who would work to resurrect soon lost traditions and values and, perhaps, even to work for independence for French Polynesia. These were things she wanted for herself actually as well, but she accepted that her greatest contribution and hope was to raise her children to achieve these dreams for themselves and her countrymen. A lone vagabond tear slowly streamed down her left cheek … soon followed by another welling up in her right eye. She splashed some water on her face, put on a Polynesian wraparound and joined her little family in the kitchen for breakfast.

“Ia ora na”, said Alain as he kissed Vaea on the forehead. “E aha te huru? (Ça va ?)”

“E ma’i to’u”, Vaea replied, repeating in French: “Je suis malade.”

“Tu es malade, mon amour ? Qu’est-ce que c’est ?” asked Alain in a concerned tone.

“Aita pe’ape’a (“Don’t worry”) … it is nothing. I feel a little depressed. I think I am just a bit tired.”

“It is no wonder,” said Alain. “You have had the kids all alone, twenty-four hours a day, for several days now. Why don’t you take the day off, and go be by yourself. I can take care of the kids. Besides, I have missed them and have already made plans with Jean-Marc to drive down to the bay and hire a boat for the afternoon. We will take Solange with us. It is no problem, really!”

“That is not necessary. This is your vacation, and we are supposed to be enjoying this free time being together and celebrating …”

“Chuut !” Alain interrupted. “Not another word. We have several days before us, and we will have many fun activities together. You need a break. Perhaps you could go for a walk and take in some nature, or go swimming … or even just relax and do nothing.”

“Well … if you are really sure. I will have dinner ready for you when you get home…”

“Forget dinner,” interrupted Alain again. “We will pick up some delicious food down at one of the restaurants at Cook’s Bay and bring it home. Today you will only relax – Mo’orea-style! It is twenty past nine now; and we will not be back home before six this evening so you will have plenty of time to do whatever you want.”

Jean-Marc was quite excited about spending the day with his father, and had a thousand questions he wanted answers to: what kind of boat they would drive; if they would go fishing; if they would ride Le Truck or a car etc. Solange just smiled and cooed, happy to be a part of any joy and excitement.

Vaea felt a little guilty, but mostly relieved to have a day to herself, and after breakfast urged her little family to get on its way and to leave the dishwashing to her. She kissed each of them as they left the bungalow, and stood in the doorway – waving goodbye until they were out of sight.

She had decided to pack a knapsack with food and drink and to hike around in Opunohu Valley, visiting the many maraes such as Marae Titiroa, Marae Ahu-o-Mahine and Marae Afareaito. If she had time, she might even continue all the way up to the lookout (Belvédère) and take in the fantastic view of Mount Rotui. She became quite excited as she scrambled to put on her t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. This expedition reminded her of those she often took in her youth – sometimes alone, and sometimes with her closest friends. She thought of the delightful chestnut tree forests, the streams, the often elusive side paths known only to locals and the sometimes steep climbs … and the magical maraes – remnants of her forefathers’ civilisation. Vaea was again singing as she left the bungalow and mounted her off-road bicycle. If only for today, she was now on holiday …

The maraes

The warm, mild breeze felt soothing upon Vaea’s face. Sometimes it seemed strange to her how different she felt being on Mo’orea. Even though the island is situated only sixteen kilometers northwest of Tahiti, being there felt almost like she had traveled to another Polynesian world. While there were many tourists on Mo’orea during the tourist seasons, their bungalow was outside of the tourist district, and Vaea both knew of many places she could escape to on the small island as well as the best times to visit natural and historical sites in order to avoid tour groups.

Mo’orea is (of course) famous for its emerald-coloured mountains, its valleys, waterfalls, jagged peaks and volcanoes kissing the skies, incredible views, fabulous lagoons and the delicious sandy shores. It is not strange that it is thought by many to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet. But Vaea also loved the easier pace, and the closeness to traditions and ways of living practised by many of the local inhabitants, as well as the lush abundance of fruits and flora found in the mountains, along the coast and in the valleys: mimosas, puaratas (New Zealand Christmas trees), tree ferns, acacia, lantana and guavas, coconut palm trees, uru (breadfruit), mape (Tahitian chestnut), tou, fara, purau (used to make grass skirts), aito (Iron tree), pineapple plantations, gardenias, heliconias, plumerias, hibiscus etc.

Vaea set her course in the direction of Mount Mouapouta to visit the ancient maraes built by her forefathers and the Belvédère lookout point. She looked forward to sitting and meditating at a couple of these maraes in particular. She always felt both a profound sense of peace and an energising effect when she was there in the middle of the forests, communing with the spirits at these previous social and religious gathering places – well watched over by the tikis (statues).

Vaea took the valley road past the agricultural college and soon reached the Marae Titiroa. She felt her heart begin to race as she dismounted her offroad bicycle and walked through the mape forest. She soon reached the tohua (platform of the council) and the two small maraes nearby. She pulled some bottled water from her knapsack and sat cross-legged on the tohua, breathing deeply past her chest and into the lower regions of her mid-section … releasing all the stress and tension that had built up since the last time she had been at the maraes. After about fifteen minutes of meditation Vaea stood up and walked her bicycle further down the forest path toward Marae Ahu-o-Mahine. According to local tradition the marae is named after the grand chief Mahine, who was chief of the area during the time of Captain Cook. As she approached the altar in the centre of the marae, which was edged by hand-hewn round stones, Vaea asked the spirit of the great Mahine to continue to watch over her family. She felt an inner warmth overtake her, and she was almost certain that the sounds of nature she heard around her were the sounds of the marae coming to life. In her imagination Vaea could discern the voices of groups of her ancestors bartering and exchanging goods, socialising and discussing local politics. She marveled at how these sacred gathering places had been maintained from generation to generation, even building newer maraes around older ones or stones from other maraes. She remembered that the summer solstice was approaching soon; the perfect time for being at the marae as it was generally during the summer or winter solstice that chiefs were honoured. This because the solstices were identified as times where the portals to the stars were most open; and traditionally, deceased chiefs were transported from the coast in holy war canoes and burned on funeral pyres at the marae. For Vaea, these thoughts and stories concerning her ancestors were beautiful “family jewels” to be passed down to her children and their children as a way of preserving at least some of the culture and heritage of Polynesia internally … even though modernisation and globalisation was wiping out much of the traditions and the old ways of living.

From Marae Titiroa, Vaea continued on to Marae Afareaito. The path between the two maraes was confusing for non-natives to follow, but Vaea remembered the way instinctively. She had taken this path many times before in her teenage years. This large marae was her favourite. She sat for a good half hour on the ahu, leaning against the back rests originally used by priests, and gazing out at the crescent-formed archery platforms used by archery competitors in ancient times. She smiled to herself as she thought of the daily news reports about warfare and the use of weapons in violence and crimes all over the world, noting that archery was always a ritual and sporting activity amongst her ancestors … and never a form of warring.

Vaea looked at her watch. It was two o’clock in the afternoon. If she proceeded onward now she would reach Belvédère (the lookout point) in time to eat her lunch and still arrive home at the bungalow in time for dinner. She mounted her bicycle and began the steep climb up the winding road to Belvédère. Belvédère had always been one of her favourite places on Mo’orea, with its scenic views of half the island: including Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay, as well as Mount Rotui. There were several tourists and hikers at the lookout when Vaea arrived, so she decided to leave after ten minutes or so … after all, this was a view she knew with her every heartbeat and breath; it was a gateway from her very soul. She proceeded to one of the island’s waterfalls, which was just a short walk from Belvédère. Fortunately, she found herself completely alone except for a young Polynesian teenage couple … embracing and kissing on the opposite side of the waterfall. Suddenly Vaea thought of Alain, and wished that he were here to share in the natural paradise at hand … but part of the magic of this place and the moment for Vaea was being alone; alone with her thoughts, alone with nature and the internal and external silence and harmony.

She sat down on a rock near the cascading water, removed her shoes and ate her picnic lunch consisting of pineapple and guava, cheese and bread. After eating she stretched out onto her back, resting her head upon her clasped hands. Daydream soon turned to sleep, and when Vaea awoke to the sounds of tourists who had found their way to the waterfall she quickly looked at her watch … noting that the time was now almost five o’clock in the afternoon. She must be getting home.

And with that, Vaea proceeded to walk back to Belvédère and the road. On the way droplets of water began to “rain” from some of the trees. She heard the tourists in the distance exclaiming that a storm must be coming, but Vaea looked up into the clear blue sky and smiled while thinking that the tourists had obviously not been told about the “raining trees”. Vaea had her own ideas about this phenomenon, amusing herself with the idea that the trees occasionally rain tears of sorrow in remembrance of dead chiefs … upon command from Oro, the Polynesian God of War. It was, after all, the followers of Oro who brought the tradition of building maraes from Raiatea (Havai’i fanau’ra fenua, or “Havai’i the cradle”) to Mo’orea and Tahiti. (Vaea had experienced “raining trees” on both Tahiti and Mo’orea.) She also wondered if the trees were not crying because the marae tradition had been abandoned. By the time Vaea reached the lookout, there were no tourists left and she spent another fifteen minutes gazing out at the reflections of volcanic peaks in the waters in the distance. It was then that she decided that she would convince Alain to move to Mo’orea. It would be better for the children, for her and for their relationship. She felt the stress of living in Pape’ete even more so now that they had been away for days on end. Alain could initially commute weekly to work on Tahiti … just as some of the other inhabitants of Mo’orea. Besides, in his line of work, she was certain that Alain eventually could find the same kind of job at a luxury hotel on Mo’orea.

The bicycle ride home seemed quicker than the journey to the maraes and Belvédère. She was a woman with a purpose, and the seeds of change were waiting to be sown. It was a quarter to seven in the evening when she arrived home. When Vaea walked through the doorway of their bungalow, she was received affectionately by Alain and their children. Alain had bought Tahitian poisson cru for dinner (cubes of raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk).

“Ça va ?” he asked eagerly.

“Oui. Ça va bien !” replied Vaea.

Vaea hugged both her children and spoke only Tahitian throughout the meal. After tucking the children in for the evening Vaea walked into the main room of the bungalow, began to sing and dance in a flirtatious way before Alain and then pulled him to his feet, explaining: “Come with me to the bedroom. We have a lot to discuss …”

Alain needed no further coaxing. And Vaea smiled wryly, humming to herself the old film song: “A man chases a girl until she catches him.”

Copyright Adam Donaldson Powell


Save the planet … excerpts from “Le Paradis” (Paradise).

One day – in the not so very distant future – even my vision will seem “normal” in the eyes of the world.

Le Paradis is a 100% fictional work, touching on many issues in today’s French Polynesia: poverty, wealth, ecology, mythology and the conservation of culture and tradition (au sujet de la pauvreté, de la richesse, de l’écologie, des légendes, et de la conservation du patrimoine culturel).

It is my hope that this work will evoke interest regarding both the threats and consequences of modernisation, ecological disasters and materialism for delicate small societies outside the mainstream political, economic and cultural structures propagated by the large and powerful countries of the world. Many of these “peripheral” societies are struggling to maintain their traditions and cultural specificities. I would further venture to suggest that we who live in the large agenda-setting centres of modernisation, military and economic power and globalised culture have much to learn from these small societies in the far corners of the world, and that the survival of the Earth itself may be contingent upon a willingness to learn simpler and more holistic and interpersonal approaches to life, culture and spirituality.

This time I have chosen French Polynesia as the geographical/cultural entity that serves as a background for the abovementioned message; however, it could just as well have been another set of islands, or another remote society.


Part One / 1ère Partie

A story about / Un conte au sujet de
Pora Pora (Bora Bora)

Part one / 1ère Partie – chapter one
a meeting of friends

“Bonjour Afaitu ! Ça va ?”

“E aha?”

“E’e, aue ho’i e. Ia ora na. E aha te huru?”

“Très bien, Eperona. Et toi, comment ça va ?“

“Oh, comme ci, comme ça. Je pensais que tu voulais parler uniquement en tahitien aujourd’hui !”

“Excuse-moi, je ne t’avais pas bien entendu, j’étais perdu dans mes pensées.”

“Qui t’a volé ton coeur et tes rêves cette fois-ci ? Est-ce Mireille ou le beau Matahina ?”

“Non non, je pensais à certaines des vieilles histoires que mon grandpère me racontait au sujet de notre ancienne patrie; Lemuria.”

“Ces vieux contes de bonnes femmes ?”

“Fais attention, Eperona. Les dieux n’aiment pas que nous nous montrions irrespectueux envers eux.”

“Tu es étrange, Afaitu. Tu as toujours été un peu étrange. Mais bon, parle-moi de Lemuria.”

“Qui est-ce qui vient vers nous ? Ah, c’est Erik. Bonjour mon ami ! Won’t you join us for a little Tahitian storytelling?”

“Bonjour Afaitu … c’est si bon de te revoir, Eperona. I have been asking about you in Pape’ete. So you have been hiding out here on Bora Bora? Are you visiting with Afaitu?”

The three men greeted each other with handshakes as well as with a kiss on the cheeks, and Erik (the Swede) sat down besides his two Polynesian friends.

Erik offered them cold beers from his rucksack. Eperona eagerly accepted, but Afaitu politely declined.

“Il fait chaud aujourd’hui. Tu n’as pas soif ?” asked Erik.

“Afaitu is in one of his serious moods today. He has been trying to get in touch with his spiritual ancestors, and is therefore staying away from the Devil’s brew (you know: pia). But I am certain that he would like some cold water and a joint,” said Eperona with a playful snicker.

“Pakalolo? Sorry man, I wish I did have some marijuana. But I do have some bottled water with me and (of course) a pack of Marlboro cigarettes. Will that do?”

Afaitu graciously thanked his Swedish friend for the water and a cigarette, while suggesting: “Hey, why don’t we take my boat out to a motu and spend the afternoon just chilling out? We can pick up some sandwiches and fruit, and perhaps even some mahi mahi on the way.”

“Mahi mahi sounds good to me,” said Eperona in his slightly post-adolescent manner … grinning, while adding: “and some more beers too!”

Afaitu shot his two-year younger friend a pretend-stern look, and then broke out into laughter.

“What? What did I say that is so funny?” asked Eperona, himself unable to keep from smiling. Erik thought he had been left out of a personal joke, and his eyes quizzically darted from Afaitu to Eperona, finally resting on Afaitu.

“It is nothing, my friend. You have been exactly the same since you were sixteen years old: the joys of your life are so simple. As long as you have fish, women and beer, ‘tu es au paradis’!” replied Afaitu, smiling and throwing a pebble at Eperona.

“Hey, cut it out!” retorted Eperona, as he playfully wrestled Afaitu onto his back, pinning him down with his muscular arms and shoulders. “And speaking of women … should we invite some to join us? What do you think, Erik? I know this hot …”

“Merde ! What a fucking braggart. Don’t listen to his crap talk, Erik,” said Afaitu while pushing Eperona off of himself. “You would think that Eperona is the biggest stud and womaniser in the whole of French Polynesia.”

“Et alors !” joked Eperona, now standing over his two friends and thrusting his hips and groin forward in repeated erotic movements – half dance and half sex simulation.

“Damn, Eperona! You look like a raerae or a mahu impersonating an amateur Polynesian dancer for tourists,” shouted Afaitu … causing Erik to laugh and Eperona to pounce on Afaitu again.

“Amateur? Raerae? My uncle is a raerae, so I take that as a compliment. In fact, you should BE so lucky! Here … I will show you how a “raerae” fucks a titoi (a wanker). Roll over … I’ve got something for you!” cried Eperona out as they tussled; and all three men laughed uncontrollably.

“You are both fucking weird,” shouted an amused Erik. “So where is this motu, anyway?”

Afaitu once again pushed Eperona off and brushed the sand from his chest and thighs while saying: “It is Eperona’s and my favourite motu here on Pora Pora. Trust us … you won’t be disappointed, I promise. And once there I will tell you both stories of our beloved ancestors from ancient Lemuria.”

And with that the three young men proceeded to the market to buy provisions before boarding Afaitu’s small fishing boat. There was a refreshing light wind blowing over the turquoise-coloured water, and it already looked like paradise.

After securing the boat the two Polynesian men and the long-haired, tall and lean, blonde Swede scrambled onto the sands of the motu, eager to bask in the salty air tempered by a cloudless sky, a mild breeze and each other’s company. Afaitu had even managed to find a few joints while Eperona and Erik shopped for food and drink at the market. …

“Oui !” exclaimed Erik to Afaitu. “Tu as raison. C’est bien le paradis !”

Afaitu grinned as he lit up the first joint, his glistening, sweaty caramel-coloured skin the perfect canvas for his dark locks of hair, his green, orange and blue pareu tucked up like shorts, and the elaborate tattoos covering his neckline, shoulders, chest, upper arms and upper back. Eperona was already busy unpacking the mahi mahi and pia, like an excited teenager about to re-affirm his achievement of manhood Eperona’s orange-red French-cut bathing suit highlighted his blondish-brown long curls well. Unlike Afaitu, Eperona did
not immediately resemble a traditional ethnic Polynesian in manner or dress, due to his dual ancestry (part Polynesian and part European) and his family’s high social status. However, he had friends in all social classes and knew how to have a good time at the tourist discotheques, in a fishing boat, in the poorer sections of Pape’ete … and on a somewhat remote motu, together with friends.

Afaitu took another drag from his joint and exclaimed: “And now for a story from the ancient land of Lemuria (also known as Mu or Hiva) … the paradise of my forefathers.”

“Yeah, yeah ‘aitu’ (priest),” quipped Eperona. “Stop hogging that joint … Pass it around and tell us a good tall tale.”

At that moment a sea bird deposited a dropping on Eperona’s head, causing him to swear and his two friends to break up in laughter (the effects of the marijuana added to the hilarity of the bird’s unfortunate poor aim). Afaitu forced himself to stop laughing long enough to point a finger at Eperona, saying: “I warned you earlier Eperona. Don’t fuck with the ancestors!” He then explained to Erik that the name Eperona means ‘offshore bird’ in Tahitian.

And with that they all began laughing all over again … including Eperona this time.

Part one / 1ère Partie – chapter two
a legend about Polynesian Mu (Lemuria)

Afaitu fell to his knees and raised his right fist to his brow (in the fashion of the ancient Atlanteans from the regions currently known as Santorini and Crete). He then took a silent deep breath, closed his eyes and emitted a low humming sound reminiscent of a didgeridoo or a huge cruise ship announcing imminent departure. He then began to explain that the people of Mu were polytheistic, and worshipped many atua (divine guardians) as well as a pantheon of gods on a more secondary level. These gods were competitive with each
other, and were in their own constant struggle for survival. Their power was localised to certain geographic regions. Some of the primary gods identified with the Polynesian region of Mu included Oro (God of War), Tane (God of Craftsmen), Ta’aroa (God of Creation), Tu (Man God) and Hiro (God of Thieves and Sailors). For example, the cult of Tane (ousted by Ta’aroa and later succeeded by his son Oro) was particular to the Society Islands; and Hiro was solely worshipped on Ra’iatea and Huahine. (Hiro’s phallus can still be seen in the background of Maroe Bay at Huahine.) The gods “inhabited” the ritual instrument called the to’o… a stick wrapped in braided coconut fibres and made colourful with red feathers … during ritual ceremonies on the marae.

“Our legends have been handed down orally from generation to generation, and (for those with knowledge and trained eyes) traces of ancient stories can still be deciphered in traditional Polynesian dance and ceremonies performed for tourists, in the maraes (sacred sites) and even in some tattoo art,” said Afaitu in a calming tone that both had the effect of creating a sense of intimacy between the three men and – at the same time – encouraging openness to that which would follow. “The story I am about to tell you is one of many handed down in my family for many generations, told to me as a child by my grandfather Ra’anui (which means ‘Highly sacred one’ in Tahitian). In our family it has been traditional to teach these legends through storytelling, thus enabling the young to more easily remember intuitively. The question of whether or not these family legends are true is inconsequential. They are basically fables that mix true familial stories with myth, and serve the purpose of promoting family bonds and identity with ancestral pride. The particular family legend I will
recite for you now is from the region of ancient Mu where we used to live, and includes some information about the history of Mu (or Lemuria, as it is often called today). So please lie back and close your eyes and open your hearts and Higher Selves to the archetypal remembrances I soon will re-awaken in you.”

“Okay, Afaitu. You are starting to scare us now,” joked Eperona. “But alright. I’m in … just light up another joint.”

Afaitu chuckled at his younger friend’s playful comments, fully knowing that Eperona had heard many such stories from his relatives. “How about you Erik … are you ready, willing and open for this journey?”

“Självklart … mais certainement … I mean, of course. This is better than the cinema or cable tv!”

“Careful, Erik! Don’t let this go to his head … it is already too big for his shoulders!!!” quipped Eperona.

They all laughed heartily, and Afaitu explained further: “The story I am about to share with you is also partially depicted in my tattoos.” Erik then decided to try a little comrade humour, and kidded Afaitu by asking: “So, actually we can just sit here and get high smoking our joint, drinking some beer and get off on your tattoos while you pose and flex your muscles?”
Of course, Eperona could not resist jumping in, and added: “That’s exactly correct … exactement, Erik, mon ami ….. And Afaitu does not even need to open his mouth. I am warning you; once he gets started, his loquaciousness …”

“Not so fast, boys! You are not getting off SO easy!!!” said Afaitu. “Now pass me that joint, and shut up before another sea bird shits on both your fucking heads.”

Eperona looked up into the space of sky immediately over his head with a facial expression that conveyed slight unease and superstition, causing both Afaitu and Erik to laugh. And both Eperona and Erik fell onto their backs under the azure, cloudless sky with the murmur of early tide washing against the motu’s sandy edges. They closed their eyes and fell silent to the wisdom and legends of the ancestors of Mu and Polynesia.

The legend of “Vaite”

Vaite (the pure soul of the divine child) was a young girl of some twelve years when she first discovered her special extrasensory abilities. She was picking hibiscus flowers on the tropical slopes which made up the walls of the lush valleys in the part of Mu later to be known as Pora Pora. This was long before Ta’aroa, the great Supreme One, fished the island out of the aqueous depths after the creation of Havai’i (Raiatea), and named our island “the first born”. You see, many thousands of moons ago the area now known as Pora
Pora, the surrounding islands and landmasses in the Pacific basin area were all part of the Great Continent of Mu. It was a magnificent civilisation; highly-developed culturally and technologically, and it was (according to legend) originally populated by Ancient Ones from faraway stars.

Well, one day young Vaite had stayed out on the slopes longer than usual and looked up into the sky to judge how much time she had to reach her family’s hut before the dusk was overcome by nightfall. To her amazement, she saw an apparition in the skies: blue-white lines and curves that joined together to form circles, squares, triangles, and other geometric formations. Each formation appeared for only a very short time before it was replaced or joined by yet another, each more spectacular than the previous one. Vaite was fascinated by
this “light show” and tears of joy and rapture streamed from her eyes as she laughed nervously and exclaimed to herself and the Universe: “This is it … this is IT!” What IT was, she did not know. However, she did sense that this special vision was a gift to her … and perhaps to her alone. After all, who else was around to see it? “No one,” she murmured while looking back over her shoulders, and noticing (with a feeling of slight apprehension and elation) that she was – in fact – all alone. And yet, she felt also a kind of inner peace and completion as she relaxed and took in the fantastic visual light show. She could almost feel the vibrations of these symbols; they seemed to be humming and whirring, and each symbol had its own variation on a high musical tone. Vaite stayed until the last stage of dusk began to give way to darkness, and ran home, where her parents were preparing a dinner of fish, breads and fresh fruits.

Vaite was the only daughter of Arenui (“the big wave”) and Hemia (named after the goddess of pregnancy). Arenui was a fisherman, and Hemia was a midwife and herbal physician. “Vaite!” called Hemia out to her daughter as she saw her approaching the hut. “So late you are today! Where have you been, my precious?”

“Mamá, you would not believe what a wonderful gift Ta’aroa (the god of creation) has given me! He has shown me the secrets of the Universe!” exclaimed Vaite.

“The secrets of the Universe, say you?” replied Arenui with laughter in his eyes. “Hemia, what did I tell you? It is time to tell the child about the facts of life. Soon she will start to think that babies are born by having sex with the gods … just like some of those fools down in the village say when they try to deny or cover up whose “fruits” they have been enjoying.”

Hemia rolled her eyes at Arenui, laughed heartily and said: “Arenui, I have delivered most of the babies in the village for the last fifty moons, and I can assure you that all were made of flesh and blood. I have yet to encounter one incidence of divine conception. All you men are alike … you all basically think, boast and act in the same ways – thanks to your …”

“Come here my woman!” interrupted Arenui. “I will show you what ‘divine conception’ is supposed to feel like.” He grabbed around Hemia’s waist and attempted to drag her to the floor just inside the doorway of the hut.

Hemia struggled against him, saying: “Stop … you old fool!” And they both laughed hysterically until they noticed that Vaite was standing over them, handing her mother a bunch of hibiscus flowers she had picked. “How beautiful, Vaite. Now run and wash your hands while I finish getting supper ready.”

During the meal, Vaite told her parents about the blue-white rays of light in the sky that so playfully tried to communicate with her. She was convinced that one day she would learn to understand the meaning of these symbols, and unlock the keys and codes of this ‘Language of Light’ the universe was unfolding to her. Her parents were amused by their daughter’s fantastic imagination, and encouraged her to try to draw some of her visions with a piece of coal on tree bark. In those days, only boys were sent to the priests and wise men in the
village to learn about the stars, science and religion. Vaite’s parents knew their daughter to be both intelligent, curious and sensitive, and they were convinced that she would put all learning to good use … even if she had to learn all by herself, without the help of teachers or priests.

Vaite often returned to the same spot on the slopes overlooking the valley, and she always took with her bark and coal with which she could record the mysterious symbols. Often, the symbols in the sky appeared to her so quickly that she barely had time to properly draw one before the next one had presented itself. It was almost as though the skies were urging her to learn their language as soon as possible … it was as if they had something very important to tell her.

Vaite was so open in her spirit and in her heart that she allowed the symbols to penetrate her inner intelligence without question or analysis, and she soon learned to intuit the meanings of many of the more common symbols so well that she could ask questions in her mind and receive answers or comments: first visually in the heavens, and then immediately afterwards inside herself – as confirmation that she had indeed understood. It was not long before Vaite became known as a great oracle in the village and beyond. She was taken in by the priests, and lived in luxury in their village compound. Her only responsibility was to present a new oracle at each full moon, for the pleasure of the priests,
the leaders and wealthy people of the village … and the other local residents.

The oracles were well-received by all, but only Vaite, the priests and the very highest leaders of the community knew that the priests and the leaders often changed or embellished her pure channelled messages to their own advantage. Vaite did not think this was correct, but she was afraid to protest too loudly as her parents’ standing in the community had greatly improved ever since Vaite had become the village oracle. The family home no longer resembled a simple hut, her mother was given an office in the village from which to work and her father was afforded many amenities, including paying less taxes to the village leaders.

All seemed to be going quite well for Vaite and her parents until one day when Vaite gazed into the sky and was presented with a feu d’artifice of a light show that she never before had experienced. It was downright frightening, and the strength and frequency of the symbols bode of violent destruction: the end of the world as known. Vaite shivered as she returned to her room in the priests’ compound in the village. She knew quite well the consequences of bearing messages of ill omen or which could not be used to benefit the leaders or the priests, and she could not imagine that such a terminal message could be used to anyone’s advantage … no matter how ‘clever’ the priests were at “deciphering and translating” her oracles to what they meant was the true message from the gods. At the same time, Vaite knew that she could not hold this information back … it was too important, and the symbols were quite intense and adamant. So, she returned to her special viewing spot every evening for the next five days to double-check this incredible oracle. The symbols sometimes changed but the message was always the same: prepare for total annihilation. When Vaite asked why they would be annihilated, the answer given was that it was because of corruption, and loss of true spirituality on Mu due to issues of spiritual separation and sexual exploitation of animals. Vaite had tears in her eyes as she returned to the village to present the priests with the sad news. As expected, Vaite’s message was not received well … neither by the priests nor by the village leaders. She was beaten and raped, under pressure to take back or change the oracle. But Vaite refused. In the end she was sent back to her parents’ home … in disgrace.

Her parents saw their daughter’s distress in her eyes, which usually shone with light like stars. Vaite could not bear to tell her parents what had happened to her, nor about the oracle. Had the Universe played a terrible trick on her, or was this really the end of the world? Vaite could not bear the thought of her dear parents suffering because of her fall from grace, and kissed and hugged her parents dramatically while explaining that she must go away for a few days.

Vaite walked and walked until she reached the top of the volcano. Standing on the inner edge of the rim she looked once again into the skies and asked for a final oracle. The message from the Universe was the same as before. Vaite threw herself into the depths of the active volcano, and as she as consumed by the flaming abyss Ta’aroa became so angry at this most recent offensive violation by the priests and the village leaders that he increased the effects of the volcanic eruption so that it created a series of super volcanoes across the entire continent of Mu. The ensuing tremendous tidal waves and tsunamis buried most of the continent under water … the continent of Mu was not to rise again
before humanity had shown itself worthy of a new golden age. The date was Friday, the 13th.

Ta’aroa decreed that Vaite would return to Terra when time itself had come to an end, and that she would – in her new incarnation as the Goddess of Creation – first then return to reconstruct the paradise of Mu, as a sanctuary for future workers of the Light and those who had renounced idolisation of materialism, spiritual separation and war.

Part one / 1ère Partie – chapter three:
return to the island

Afaitu concluded his storytelling by making the same fist-to-brow salutation to the gods and low humming sound he had begun with. Eperona had fallen asleep, but Erik had opened his eyes and smiled at Afaitu. “Merci de tout coeur Afaitu. C’était magnifique. Génial !”

They hugged each other in the fashion of true comrades who had just enjoyed a deep spiritual and emotional experience together. Eperona opened his eyes, asking: “Are you finished already?”

Afaitu and Erik laughed, and Afaitu said: “You got kind of lost in the journey, my young friend. How do you feel?”

Eperona rubbed his eyes, smiled broadly and replied: “Mauruuru! (Thank you!). I feel great. I was actually floating above my body and was soaring high above us – just like a bird, traveling through time and space, taking in the images you created as true memories, finally recaptured after a long period of forgetfulness. You are truly good at this Afaitu … much better than my relatives!”

“Don’t rag on your relatives, Eperona. Your parents have named you well,” replied Afaitu. And both Eperona and Erik nodded in compliance.

Afaitu looked out toward the sea and said: “It is time for us to return to the island; we should pack up and get going while the sea is still calm.”

Erik then asked: “Afaitu, you have told us that Mu will once again resurface as a continent and civilisation. Does that have anything to do with the predictions about Armageddon and the shift of collective spiritual world consciousness … you know: ascension, tribulation, and the ecological challenges we are currently facing?”

Afaitu looked quite pensive, and replied: “I believe so, anyway. Although one would think that Polynesia would certainly be washed away as a result of polar shifts, nuclear testing and the growing materialism which is overtaking our spiritual identity due to tourism, the legends predict that Mu will re-emerge and that Polynesia eventually will again become a flourishing spiritual centre and haven for the enlightened beings in this part of the world.”

And with that, all fell quiet … and no one said another word until they took it upon themselves to bid farewell to each other when they docked the fishing boat on the island of Pora Pora. Once on land again, they hugged and kissed each other saying solemnly and slowly (as if they did not want the moment to end): “Parahi oe ….. Au revoir”, and they parted ways … returning to their own individual realities, forever influenced by their deep-seated – collective experience.


Part one / 1ère Partie –

Four poetic homages about / quatre hommages poétiques concernant Pora Pora (Bora Bora).

1) A palette of delicacies

Cloudless azure skies
break silently
against turquoise sea lines.
The sun burns hot
on tattooed skin,
dripping with sun lotion
and sweat.
We devour a
palette of delicacies;
astounding views,
a peacefulness beyond description,
a dish of mahi mahi and a cold beer
next to our beach chairs.
We are born again …
on the island of Bora Bora –
the ‘first born’ paradise –
truly, a homage to the godliness in us all.

1) Palette de délices

Le ciel azuré, sans nuages
se brise en silence
sur l’horizon d’une mer turquoise.
Le soleil brûle
sur la peau tatouée,
l’huile bronzante
se mêlant à la sueur …
nous savourons
une palette de délices;
vues époustouflantes,
paix indescriptible,
un plat de mahi mahi et une bière froide
à côté de nos chaises longues.
Nous renaissons …
sur l’île de Bora Bora –
le premier de tous les paradis –
hommage éternel à la piété des hommes.

2) Tiki

Our otherwise smiling, amenable and
rather handsome island tour guide
had suddenly had quite enough … of
overweight and slow-moving,
middle-aged Americans; of
crude, photo-snapping idiots and
tattooed pseudo-celebrities; and
of the rude European nouveau-riche –
not to mention his own tired feet …
all he really wanted was a
swim in the lagoon (alone),
and afterwards a few
cold beers with his friends.
His patience was already
spent as they approached the
tiki at the last stop of the tour
before returning to the point of departure.
He smiled dryly to the group
and explained that the statue
emulated an ancient Polynesian
God who was both quarrelsome
and impatient:
“You see,” he said.
“He could not bear idiocy …
obviously, he was on the
wrong planet.”

2) Tiki
Notre beau guide, d’habitude souriant,
en avait soudainement assez …
de tous ces Américains, essouflés et vulgaires,
avec leur surpoids, si lents à se déplacer;
prenant des photos à tout va;
de ces pseudo-célébrités avec leurs tatouages;
des nouveaux-riches européens fats et arrogants –
et, de surcroît, il avait maintenant mal aux pieds …
il n’aspirait plus qu’à prendre
un bain dans le lagon (tout seul),
et ensuite, qu’à partager quelques bières fraîches avec ses amis.
Il était à bout de patience,
tandis qu’ils approchaient de tiki,
dernière étape de l’excursion.
Avant de revenir au point de départ,
il sourit sèchement au groupe et
expliqua que la statue représentait
un Dieu polynésien de l’antiquitié,
querreleur et impatient:
“Voyez-vous,” dit-il.
“il ne supportait pas les sots …
de toute évidence, il appartenait à une autre planète.”

3) Vahine of Bora Bora (my secret love)

I have a secret love:
as mysterious as the coral reef,
and as sweet as the scent of
coconut oil mixed with tiare flowers.
We have never spoken, and yet we
instinctively recognise the caresses
clumsily hidden behind our stolen
glances and repressed giggles.
I have a secret love
who cannot be possessed.
She is an object of beauty
to be admired from a distance
and to be made love to in my dreams.
I am for her a curiosity, and only one of many
images of passion to be communicated
in her ritual and ceremonial dances.
I cannot help but stare at the sensuality
of her womanly curves and gyrations
which capture me and hold me hostage.
I have a secret love:
she is my vahine …
in my dreams.

3) Vahiné de Bora Bora (mon amour secret)

J’ai un amour secret:
aussi mystérieux que le récif de corail,
et aussi doux que le parfum de l’huile de coco
mêlé aux fleurs de tiare.
Nous n’avons jamais parlé,
mais nous sentons instinctivement
les caresses maladroitement cachées
sous nos regards volés
et nos rires étouffés.
J’ai un amour secret …
qui ne peut être possédé.
Elle est un objet de beauté,
que l’on admire à distance
et à qui on fait l’amour en rêve.
Je ne suis pour elle qu’un point de curiosité,
et l’une des mille images s’immiscant
dans ses rituels et ses danses.
Je ne peux que la regarder fixement
admirer la sensualité de ses courbes,
de sa souplesse féline
qui m’envoûtent
et me tiennent en otage.
J’ai un amour secret:
dans mes rêves
elle est ma vahiné …

4) The Universal Language of Light.

Dusk sets quietly over
the lagoon at Bora Bora …
on the horizon
are blue-white particles
of light energy;
coagulating and forming
a slideshow projection
of ancient and futuristic
symbols from worlds
long since forgotten –
and many as yet unknown.
This strange ‘language’ is
no mere phenomenon,
but it also has properties for
healing, teaching and communication.
Not merely meant to be seen
as apparitions in the sky,
these symbols are light-sound
energy imprints and transmissions
which constitute a new means of
telepathy between humans
as we move into the Golden Age
and the Fourth Dimension.
Needless misunderstanding and
separation of consciousness
within the humanoid basic triangle
– intellect, heart and soul –
are no longer an impediment nor
a source of disillusionment.
(Shhhh … )
If you are closely attuned you can
both hear and feel the vibrations
of these perfect symbols accompanying
the beating and humming from your
own heart and soul, calming the
ruminations of the Mind down to
the most basic energy sound of all:
“Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhh …”

4) La langue universelle de la lumière.

Le crépuscule s’étend majestueusement
au-dessus du lagon de Bora Bora …
a l’horizon, les particules blanc-bleues
de l’énergie lumineuse se coagulent
puis s’assemblent comme
dans une projection de diapositives
où l’on reconnaît les symboles antiques
et futuristes de mondes
depuis longtemps oubliés
et jusqu’ici inconnus.
Cet étrange langage n’est pas
qu’un simple phénomène, il a également
des pouvoirs de guérison,
d’enseignement et de communication.
Il ne s’agit pas que de simples apparitions dans le ciel,
ces symboles sont des sources d’énergie,
de bruit et de lumière, constituant
une nouvelle forme de télépathie
entre les humains, alors que
nous entrons dans l’âge d’or et
dans la quatrième dimension.
Malentendus et séparations inutiles
de la conscience au sein du triangle
qui forme la base de l’humanité –
l’intellect, le coeur et l’âme –
ne sont plus ni empêchement
ni source de désillusion.
(Chuuut …)
Ecoutez, écoutez donc …
vous pourrez alors entendre et sentir
les vibrations de ces symboles
qui accompagnent le battement
de votre coeur et le chant de votre âme,
apaisant toute révolte de l’esprit,
étouffant le cri le plus fondamental de tous:
“Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhh …”

Photos by Adam Donaldson Powell

Copyright Adam Donaldson Powell