Travel Ideas

Polynesia

Whilst certain islands in the Pacific are geared up for fat-walleted tourists keen to say ‘aloha!’ 1000 times a day and dance the hula, the Pacific is vast. Stick a pin in the map and find islands of every description, religion, language and cultural background.

The Pacific is just too far away for most people to be bothered going to and, as it’s not especially cheap to live there, most travelers give it a miss. But there are still plenty of islands where the villages live in the same style as they always did, give or take a steel pot and transistor radio or two.

In fact, the main contingent of foreign visitors have been the missionaries who feverishly followed the rumours of cannibalism. As Paul Theroux noted, cannibals and Born-Again Christians share an irresistible magnetism. Thus the islands are a mix of fearful Gospel and lurking animist beliefs, both faiths smouldering in the hearts of the Polynesians who prefer to hedge their bets.

Despite the joyless influence of the evangelists, people still like to get drunk, drink kava and smoke herb on the islands and parties can get pretty wild – just try not to be around when old tribal feuds surface.