Marae in Huahine

Do you know what is a church? A municipal building? Well, for Maori people, the Marae is that place where the community can have a spot for religious, political, social meetings. Also, it offers a reference to each tribe as each human group sooner or later would seek for a membership and a landmark that is common to others sharing same ideology. And that is how, for good or bad it could be, the concept of identity is graven throughout the time.
The Marae in the picture is located in the north of Huahine-Nui, one of the Society Island in French Polynesia that impressed me the most.
This beautiful complex rises in front of the Fa’una Nui lake, which is not exactly a lake when you consider that Huahine is still an atoll, although, as it happens very often, the motus are  not perfectly scattered around the mainland.
It was originally dedicated to Tane, god of fishing and war. His reflection on the sea is believed to be the sea turtle and that is why on his Ava’a, a stone placed as the bed of the God, a turtle is curved.
Huahine has got at least 1000 thousand year history on his back and its actual eight districts division derives from the legend of Hotu Hiva and her eight sons.
Everything in Huahine has this special scent of magic, historical and precious stories. Its shaped seen from above looked to me like a broken heart, as well as the heart of Hotu Hiva when she was brought very young to Ra’iatea, away from her lover.
The sunk part dividing Huahine-Iti and Huahine-Nui is connected by a bridge and the island can be traveled all around by car. Hitchhicking is the best!
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Beauty on the way

Today I was cleaning the porch and patio space while in my mind I had the little project of saving some mint plants.

They where gorgeously blooming and many bees and indigo blue butterflies where hanging around. This feast was making me so happy that I couldn’t touch the plant for days, even knowing that once they make the flowers they start to die.

I was quite resigned about mint life cycle, and let it be for a while for the insects to enjoy, when my grandma told me there might be a way to save it.

I tried with a couple of plant from the graden. I chose to not try with all of the mint plants we have at the Timbuktu Hostel, cause I’m not sure I’m the right person to take care of life, no matter if it is human, animal or vegetal. I started to cut them following strict suggestions making my way into the bees and the purple flowers.

What I was left with was a several bunch of parfumed flowers and unhealthy mint leaves. I thought they were looking beautiful anyway so I decided to put them in different buckets and make a “show” of their last chance to live. I left buckets everywhere around the veranda where every guest chills and eats and talks. One was left with this wicker busket in front of the main door so everybody could almost step on his beauty.

Somethings are meant to show their beauty from their very last beginning to their very last and tragic end. That’s their purpose, I believe, that’s their only way to be.

VHF and Radio things / connections when crossing an Ocean

The VhF was an important tool for my new life abroad. So it was that I started my “official” and “public” talking in English. At that time I remember it was an issue because even if I could communicate quite well with this foreign language I was still in doubt about my “listening” skills. Imagine when the skills needed are related to safety during sailing, approaching harbours, decks and having infos about weather, coordinates and communications with other boats. I really thought I could mess a lot with this tool in my hands, but everything went right in the end. First time using it was in the Caribbean Sea, Virgin Islands. Everybody on board thought it was my duty to do that, cause nobody was able to say anything in English. After this time that I remember with a bit of fear, this job was quite different…

When I started to travel with a more diversified provenience travellers everything become more “democratic” and the use of the vhf wasn’t a big deal anymore.

During my sailing trip I discover that the SSB Radio (single side band) was a great tool to communicate. In every area you can ask for the frequencies were independent volunteers advise you about everything related to the sea at least twice per day, at a certain time. I found it interesting, especially because you can communicate your position when you leave and people are taking notes of it. That means that they will look for you when you are aspected to come somewhere, somehow. This might sound a bit “too much” but is actually a very useful way to stay safe and “together” even when far apart from each other. Sometimes you meet new sailors because you hear their story on the radio and maybe you even talked, and the day after they are anchoring just besides you.

On those radio “rendez-vous”, there is normally a boat crew who is volunteering. They normally start to call people that were “in” during the last transmission. If you are signing for the first time you go on the queue waiting for the call for anybody else to join. After giving your name and position you can just keep silent and listen to the others or asking your questions and express your doubts on the end. I loved this system, I loved to hear from other people. I loved that we weren’t alone in a little boat in the vastity of the ocean. There were other sailors, many of them.

In Ritme, I was using the SSB radio also for sending very concise mails. We had the SailMail account provider connected with a Modem to the SSB Radio (it’s something like 280 $ per year, a pretty fair price for being connected with the world and being able to get the forecast wherever you are). It was quite a funny game for me to look for the best station with the most of the chance to get an email through, unless the Ocean was rough and throwing me up, down and left and right onto the desk. This system is actually very basic: you send a little email to a computer that is always connected on one of those radio stations offered (that is why you need to check the favourite one), that computer will eventually send it for you. Quite often “Niue” or “Honolulu” were the best options. One -few words (10) – email from the Ocean could take from two minutes to half of hour to go through. But, yes, I could tell my sister that I was still alive after many days of silence. It’s a great tool.

I turn 30 and I’m free (some lines I wrote for my birthday, the 25th of November)

The last decade has begun with two mourners that have struck me deeply. I’ve being followed by that cloud of bad feelings during my whole twenties. I can’t say they were horrible; better than the teens, for sure. Many things had happened, including moves, delusions, achievements, and doors slammed in my face. At the beginning of my young life I was a teacher of righteousness. I was good at being in advance in everything, especially in time, in reasoning, in reaching a goal. The ambition that always moved me did not even allow me to be competitive, to look around and compare myself to others: there was no time for these stupid things. I was good at doing many things and I expected the world and its inhabitants to reward me with their graces. This has never happened, especially from its inhabitants, who, despite having studied them long and wide, continue to cause me an immense discomfort and make me feel the need to go to lick my wounds in solitude more often than expected. I remember the times when I used to say that hard work would be rewarded. I have a word for those who still believe in it: “bullshit”. Just bullshit. What is rewarded is when you decide to fuck it all and decide to break through the door that has always been slammed in your face or write on it “Fuck you”, turn and walk away. Those are the finest satisfactions I have ever taken: me, my personal growth and the times when even if the world shows me how unjust it is, I look at him with my glittering eyes and tell him: sooner or later everyone slams the useless baby toe into the useless corner somewhere, somehow. 8d927b37392659.5606670fa529dI grew up in a wonderful place where despite the people I love are always there to wait and show me their affection they often have been the ones to make me suffer the most, with their prejudices and their biases. My mother is the exception. Despite her atavistic negativity, that is the result of ages of watching corruption, bad politics, mafia, and all kind of usurper exploiting us since many centuries, I believe she comes from a parallel universe: her mercy has always misguided me. She can do something I’m trying to do since a longtime now: “Do not bring rancor.” When I was little, except for my closest relatives (which are very special in this) every time I was curious about something, I was answered: “What’s for?” That, translating intonation and Sicilian sarcasm, means “let it go, it’s hard, you’ll probably won’t make it, this is not for you. ” Honestly, I think it is a miracle that I came out as I am from such an ineffective environment, devoted to the impossibility and poor ambition. I am astonished less and less, because in the rest of the world it does not work that way and, since I’ve lived in the rest of the world, I tend to forget the bitterness of an uncle or a relative who “stifles” your abilities. I promise myself that I will smile every time that this will happen in the future rather than get angry. As far as I am concerned, it is ten years that I’m getting all that I want, for terribly contorted and disgraced ways, and I do not think many can say the same. I can, aloud. I have always had very few money and earned with a lot of effort, but this did not stop me from appreciating the slowness of real travels, the struggle for survival and the “barefoot” conquest of what freedom, happiness, knowledge were for me. The difficulties did not stop me from pointing my finger on a globe and saying “I’ll go there” and do it in reality. In my homeland it is always said “no”. It’s an interlayer! Even when we agree with someone we say “no” to intervene. It is amazing how much this attitude for years transmitted makes you become an exile if you do not want to accept it or one of the many “sad” being if you accept it. This mystical impossibility (which in Sicily makes people answer to you questions “no, it can’t be done” and even if you ask why it is not possible to solve that problem, especially bureaucracy related, they answere “because it is so”) made me so angry that I started to denounce my hometown problems with complains that nobody has ever listened to. I started to cure myself with travels, music and moving in a very special city like Turin, which has given me friendships I can swear will last forever. Thos special human beings took me by the hand when my anarchy began to overwhelm the bigots around me, they taught me the beauty of the “blurred edge” while my “sunny” attitude was only admiring the “bright” side of things, they showed me that it is not necessary to hide myself only because I’m a bit different. cropped-fotor_145369593632151Then, It comes about the international friends who have helped me understand that the world is mine, and that love has infinite shapes, apple-shaped, home-shaped, sometimes grave-shaped, sometimes shapeless. Since then, since I only know how to make shabby shapes and chaotic things, I decided that I would have given so much love, free love, row love, fine love, in fact, inform love. Whenever I am tempted to judge a behavior or a choice of life I will ask myself a thousand times if it is not the case to learn again and to accept a new existence shape among my limits. I wish everyone to be free, to love without being “choked”, to be gentle and to send what makes you sufferto the hell, like I did yesterday that I quit my job! I’m going to build new dreams for the next decade, I know already they will be a million …

Borders, how to survive by car, by boat, by foot

When I started to study Anthropology some years ago, the word Border was passing by everyones notes like a ghost, carrying its historical and sociological meaning of wall, fence, division and exclusion.

In a certain way we were avoiding to use it, because we would have rather to talk about ethnic groups in a cultural relationship instead of using strange words like “identity” that was like a summit rising successfully from the pride of being forever diverse in a corrupted world, while becoming immediately corrupted itself. I must say, I could talk about this concept hours, especially when I see people misusing it and defining things just to divide instead of clarify. For me the word identity has been always dividing and find a substitute to it gives me the same pleasure of chatting about love and relationship in the society: null. That is why I never do that.

But borders are real and political and since I started to travel way out of Europe I had many experiences. I got familiar with some special deals in between countries, that is why even if you go many times in the same place, you can have very different experiences depending on where you are coming from, at that specific time. I got familiar with vaccinations, quarantine and the value that some countries give to the food, to the drugs, to organic products or luxury goods.

Crossing by car is very interesting, even if procedures are more intrusive (checking a whole car can take a lot of time). The behaviour of the frontier forces can tell a lot about the country you are visiting but also yuur own behaviour can compromise your staying in the country.

The most beautiful and sometimes long and boring “check in” is by boat, especially when you have to wait some hours or days before you can actually put your foot on land. The reason why I don’t enjoy this process is obviously related to the sailing itself: sometimes you are just busy to find a proper spot, put the anchor or approaching the deck that the last thing you want is talk with somebody. Sometimes the whole trip has been so rough that the boat is a mess (who wants to receive guests when the house looks like hit by a hurricane?) and the first thing you want to do is put everything in order, clean, have a shower, drink some water and wash the salt out of your clothes, cushions, sails, cabins (sometimes it happens) or just sleep for 12 hours. The reason why I like this procedure is because customs people, even if they seem to not understand how hard it is to arrive from sea, they are normally very relaxed and friendly. They don’t deal with millions of people per day and they come ready with all the papers you need. All they ask for is documents, passports and some signatures. In the end, is not a big deal and after that you can enjoy your sleeping time for many many days. It’s actually quite awesome the freedom you can access once you get all this paper sorted. Just try to smile, even if you and your crew know how many times you have been puking or messing around, even if you know how much effort it takes to stay on route and get the boat safe in a harbour. Just try to take it easy, smile and be always polite. People don’t know what you have been going through and neither do you about them.

The importance of the edges

When the ocean meets the rocks, I believe, there you find the Life, there you smell the nature so strong. There it starts the poetry.

Week twentyone in Australia

Safety is the feeling I have everytime I walk from work to come back home. When I think about it the only time I ‘ve got this feeling was sailing across the Pacific ocean. This is a really huge difference here but I think is also because the space is really wide, there are many “residential” places where nobody is actually walking: that’s why nobody can possibly annoy you. But still, when I hear from some friends oversea I feel sorry for them, because this is an issue in Europe: you need to plan your paths very well if you don’t want to have surprieses.

Week six in Australia (all seasons-all jobs bag)

Well well everybody says in Australia there is a beautiful warm climate. I didn’t experienced it so far. Till now I needed to get out from home with two bags of cloths for all seasons. I cannot buy an umbrella because when it is rain is also windy: the umbrella would break in 2 seconds. Every time it rains it does when I need to run to catch a bus, and the only sunny spots are when I’m sitting on the bus. (If I ever make to catch it). Work situation was so bad that in my two bags I was carrying also shirts and pants for crazy and unpredictable hospitality jobs last time callings.

It was such an unlucky week indeed. All my efforts to find a place to stay weren’t enough. It’s worse than a competition. If you want to share a house you need to pass the “flatmates examination”: some of them want you to be a party animal, some of them a boring money maker machine with a serious job but not serious enough to let you buy a house.

That was the period in which I started to make the way back plan…

But …

The nbc orchestra wanted me as cellist and that turned my ugly week into a rainbow!

Travelling with a cello

wp-image-973934392jpg.jpegWhen I decided to leave Italy again I didn’t care about what I was bringing, cause normally I try to travel with things that I can get rid of, or that I can trade…but this time there was something special I wanted to bring : I introduce you to Claude, my cello. I must  say that Claude was waiting for me since a long time cause when I was travelling across the Pacific Ocean I loan it to a friend of mine. When my friend had to move quickly back in the Sicily she didn’t have time to bring Claude back to my sister’s house. That’s why my cello was in somebody’s house waiting for me. Thanks to Gab, one of the angels around me, when I arrived in Torino for my last stop in Italy before leaving I found my beautiful cello back! I must say that people really love musicians around, or at least they like to see people travelling with musical instruments: I didn’t remember that they checked my ID…perhaps I forgot, or perhaps they where so curious asking me questions about that weird shaped guitar that they ignored myself to smile at the cello! I take it like a gift from the people: you always want to be thankful to people that make your life sensitively better, playing and perhaps making you smile or cry (depending on your need)

A lagoon in Fulanga (facing south)

LRM_EXPORT_20171201_233750.jpgFulanga is located in the southern Lau Group in Fiji. The only way to arrive there is with a sailboat or every couple of month with a boat from Suva.

There are three villages and a really nice community. Once you arrive there you need to do the “Kava” ritual. And this is to let the chief of the village know how many people arrived, which one is in which boat, and to get assigned to a hosting family which will provide you food and goods.

The kava is a root that all the sail vessels are searching for in Tonga because they want to go in Fiji and be prepared to meet the chief of every village.

This ritual can make your life a bit complicated, first of all when the village is far away from the first landing place. But when you think about it, you need to do the custom procedures in every country, so the real difference in Fiji is that you are going to do it in every island.

http://mapcarta.com/20418012

Travelling with a cello

When I decided to leave Italy again I didn’t care about what I was bringing, cause normally I try to travel with things that I can get rid of, or that I can trade…but this time there was something special I wanted to bring : I introduce you to Claude, my cello. I must  say that Claude was waiting for me since a long time cause when I was travelling across the Pacific Ocean I loan it to a friend of mine. When my friend had to move quickly back in the Sicily she didn’t have time to bring Claude back to my sister’s house. That’s why my cello was in somebody’s house waiting for me. Thanks to Gab, one of the angels around me, when I arrived in Torino for my last stop in Italy before leaving I found my beautiful cello back! I must say that people really love musicians around, or at least they like to see people travelling with musical instruments: I didn’t remember that they checked my ID…perhaps I forgot, or perhaps they where so curious asking me questions about that weird shaped guitar that they ignored myself to smile at the cello! I take it like a gift from the people: you always want to be thankful to people that make your life sensitively better, playing and perhaps making you smile or cry (depending on your need)

Oldstyle medicine

In Paris, while suffering and being cold I had the best time before going back in the south hemisphere. Staying with my friend at home (she has now a really beautiful home) chatting, relaxing, cooking and chilling out. One of the reasons why I hate to be cold is because with the cold I get also all kind of pains and my left eye was one of them this time. It became little by little really thick and painful. I could just cry and feel that something was scratching inside the eyelid. Well, in those cases, even if you don’t know what is actually giving you so much pain..watching the bottle of oil is a real relief! I’ve heard about it before but I never had this eye sickness (thickness) before.

It’s impressive how useful is the olive oil for our health!