Jamaica Kincaid wrote a book about tourism in the Carribeans that was riveting. She exposed everything ugly about tourism, about the poverty and cultural degradation that came with this 'ugly' tourism, from her resentful native lenses.
I loved that book and over the years forgot all about it.
Until I returned to this place.
And I realised that her laments were nothing but painful truths.
Locals view you with distrust, dislike, dis...locate-your-face-if-I-could.
There was once a bustling little market, in the middle of town where freshproduce were sold from the back of beat up pick up trucks. farmers displayed their wares proudly, taro still brown with mud, and bananas still sticky with umm, sap.
Today, that small market has grown beyond its means, the farmers have been relegated to the outskirts, away from the shiny, ready made huts selling generic made in china rubbish and plastic everything.
Still, there is hope, as I look about me, and notice the wide use of traditional thatch to cover much of the hotels/restaurants and other tourism roofs. All traditional thatches.
until I got closed to admire it and notice the thatch has a company logo. Each one. Because they are all. Plastic.
I despair about tourism here because that is where we are headed, and already, many places of our country have arrived at this tourism convenience supermarket fast food experience.
But it begs the question, at what cost?
What price are we paying for this overexposure to tourism?
Are we ready to pull out the kava bowl at 11am each morning to perform the kava ceremony for our guests? But only the short version?
What about what is important to us?
I remember Pio Sioa's comment on Cjs fb page one time, when he asked "Is nothing sacred anymore?"
No, nothing much is sacred anymore.
we are already on the road to selling our culture, and in turn, the things that made us unique.
We have already traded ula fala for a two dollar shop necklace.
Our fine mats for long Rolls of cheap fabric.
Our umu for Chinese trays and size 2 pigs ready for pick up.
Our souls for a few tala?
Ioe, that too, because it's on sale.
thank you for your listening, let me get back to my cocktail,