Hiva Oa - Marquesas Islands, Atuona


Stone god plays seek and hide and life in Marquesas



I was a quest in a very nice family today. Their names are easy to remember. Father´s name was "Teiki tinitini toua teaai" and his wife "Titiahina". The first name means something like "The warrier of many many battlefields" and the other name is something like "The queen forecasting the rain". I hope the translation is good because I do not speak French and Polynesian even less.

I must say that none of the many travelers describing quality and quantity of Polynesian food was lying. Perhaps they did not have enough vocabulary to describe it properly. Food is really almost supranatural and to eat everything would last many days. No wonder that a traditional way how to say hello is "come to eat". There is a polite answer to this and it is "thank you I am full" but it was not necessary to use this answer in the old days. Traditional food is POI POI, something like mashed bredfruit which does not smell like a 5 star hotel food but tastes much better. Poi poi accompanies all kinds of other food. We have had a fish - mahi mahi with cream mushroom source (maybe with coconuts), rice and of course bananas. When I decided that I may digest everything instead of exploding, another food was comming. The family likes to talk and to laugh so it was a very nice sunday.


After lunch we decided to see a TIKI (stone carved figure - manlike with big eyes, kind of sacred idol, the god; in Marquesas tiki usually means all human figure artefacts but otherwise it means the highest god - the creator). This one was supposed to be in the ancient cemetery and nobody of my hosts new about it. So of we went. After our arrival to the cemetery, two little boys accompanied us, none of them told us anything about the tiki. I started to believe that I have a terrible bad luck with TIKIs in Hiva oa. Just day before I was looking in another valley for a "smiling tiki" the only tiki in the world which is not serious but smiling. Understand it is not a decent politicianlike grin it is a real smile. Something unusual for a stone god. I spent whole afternoon looking for this extraordinary god. Nothing. I looked everywhere, I even climed all the mountains around the valley where the tiki should be. When it was getting dark I was able to describe exactly where the tiki is NOT but I had to leave without seeing him. I believe this smiling TIKI was playing seek and hide with me. Never mind. Back to the old cemetry. I looked to some open graves, there were bones in some places. We went to look for the TIKI in an old part of the cemetery. There was a lot of grass and bushes. I was looking at the small boy who went with us. He was typical 8 yeasrs old boy: running, jumping, hyperactive, unable to stay in one place for 3 secconds - a sack of fleece to describe it. Suddenly I realised that I can not see him. He fell in a open grave and disappered completely. We looked inside and we saw nothing but darkness. It did not take long and his face appeared. He could not breath because he was laughing and also scared. It was the most quick and funny funeral I have ever seen. Big portion of good luck that nothing happened to him, the hole was damn deep. We were laughing for the rest of the day, it was actually a very comical moment in the very old cemetary. And before we left - I found the tiki under a big tree. It is used as a back side of a tomb and it is an interesting one.  


Tiki in the old cemetary

We went to see the "smiling tiki" for the seccond time. And we found him! It is my favourite tiki on the planet. Look at his smile. Do not you think he has glasses?  


Tiki sourient in Hiva oa



I am sure the man who carved it had to be laughing a lot. Like Teiki tinitini toua teaai and Titiahina who showed me where he is so he could not hide anymore.


Visiting tiki sourient near Atuona

I just want to add something about life here. It seems to me that it is not bad at all. The climate is very friendly. There is a lot of fruits around for free. Of course one can not live out of fruits but it is like a symbol. It tells something about the attitude. You ask anyone for fruits, it is polite and you know you will be given some. There is not much stress in life here but people have all the toys from the big world. I do not know how they can buy it, everything is terribly expensive here but somehow it works. The people certainly do not have "never happy syndrom". Maybe it tells how good the life is here. And of course why should it be different if a man can be a big warrier and his wife the queen! Officially.

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