Merry Christmas, everyone! What do you mean, Christmas is four and a half months away? You wouldn't know it around our boat. The girls have been a festive mood for weeks now. They sing Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (not to digress, but a song with a horrific message about the power of celebrity. I hope Rudolph ignored those reindeer phonies who suddenly loved him until his dying day). Stylish plays Good King Wenceslas on her recorder. And tonight we endured Barbie, A Christmas Carol. Which is a wonderful film if you like totally implausible British accents, bad animation, and you don't actually listen to the plot points. (Scrooge McBarbie only reforms once she discovers that she will become poor if she continues to be mean and work too hard. Enough said.)
And now that I've been all high and mighty, I must come clean and admit we bought ourselves a present today. It isn't easy to buy things on Fatu Hiva. The prices here make Paris look like a bargain basement. A dozen eggs costs $7 US, for example. Since the supply boat from Tahiti only shows up twice a month, supplies are limited and priced accordingly. So we've tried to keep our pennies in our pockets and live off our reserves as much as possible.
However, trading is quite popular. Mostly, we have traded for fruit and fish. I also scored some onions, which is a bigger deal than you might think. Fishing line, hooks and beer are happily accepted in return, although we have also given out aluminum, rope, garlic and antibiotics (not currently available on the island). Today, after long deliberation, we traded for a rosewood-handled stone adze carved by a friend in town (photo forthcoming). The Tiki carvings here are quite beautiful, and it was all we could do not to leave with a boatful. But after our mola blowout in the San Blas, we're trying to hold back a little. The future Papillon Crew homestead is going to be a collection of world art and fond memories, I tell you truly.
So, Merry Christmas to us, as we prepare to leave Fatu Hiva. We've enjoyed the waterfalls, the mountains, the long hikes (except perhaps Indy, who, dropping to the ground while tromping down the mountain today, whined, "I wish we could apparate!"), and the people. We'll move on to Nuku Hiva within a couple of days, where I hope finally to rediscover the internet, and to read the millions of notes from you people waiting in my inbox.
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