Tuesday, December 06, 2005

nothing new under the rain cloud

Having been back some three weeks and it seems to have done little but rain. It rains between 11 and 4 with some hot sun on either side. Well if this is how you like your sandwiches, who am I to complain?

The volcano was stirred in to activity last week and managed a little "peter" for some few 14 hours and then zilch... all has become humid including my grey and spongy matter.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Well, I’ve just got back and although this is supposed to be about some burning rock in the Indian Ocean even exiles must travel. I went to England in order to visit the One. The One existed long before Neo, but not before the Buddha or Jesus. However, I know that the One exists and the other two were probably figments of some tripping beneath Bo trees.

England is still very much England. This may come as some surprise to those of you who live there. The people are on the whole friendly and hypocritical as long as they can get what they want and if this includes 24h shopping, porn on the internet, cheap holidays and chickens then all is well with the world. Not and I say NOT that anyone I know is like that – and here I would like to say a big thank you dahlings to all those who put up with me on the tour. I am looking forward to the return visits!!!

I believe. I believe that Waitrose has become the opiate of the organic masses.

I believe also that I am impressed by the stirrings of a metaphysical renaissance in the yuff of today – and not just in the One but in many of these pimply, grunting, swelling and generally awake peri-pubescent beings…

I read about Gary Glitter the other day. Methinks he should be used as a mine detector and clear a path through the Vietnamese jungle to retribution. I do not think he should be doing this alone and my list of volunteer mine clearers is growing longer by the day.

At some point I must return to Reunion by a slowly burning France. Is this the beginning of the end of yet another ancient regime? Assimilate this!

Back on the rock and it is grey cloudy and sweaty but at least no one is burning cars. However, given the French record on welcoming all manner of political perverts (as long as they are rich) how long will it be before the beaches of La Sourire Chaud are welcoming the like of GG? Frankly, all the world is sick and tired of perverts whether sexual, political, social, economical and just about anyone who wears a suit…

…the point of this rant is that in the post-colonial etc era nothing really has changed. There is a small movement for the independence of this fair island and they have been trying to reveal the sleazy side of French political interests and the general “abuse” of the island and its people – check out www.lorenione.info

Where do I fit in to all of this? I have been clearing the garden and lopping off tall trees and the like awaiting the impending cyclone season – maybe a little cyclonic renewal is what we all need…

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I thought that blogs were supposed to be things that one vomitted forth on a diurnal basis full of the seething maggoty bile of deconstructed thoughts and gangrenous frustrations...

But i am not that regular and tend to bottle it all up, occassionally, some of the bile seeps forth onto this screen, but usually it just sinks to the bottom of my being and makes me the bitter and twisted bile bound bod that I am.

Enough here is a photo:

So, what is this armed man guarding or protecting. If you can work this out before reaching the end - if you can abide to read that far - you'll win a prize...

Headlines yesterday in the islands other great newspaper, The Quotidien, was that people here eat dogs. So what, I know people who eat frogs, marmite, hamburgers and andouilletes. The front page carried a photo of a cuddly pouch in a cauldron being cooked a la creole. This tells me more about the pathetic quality of the journalism and the interests of the state to debase anything that isn't European than anything else. Let's not mention the rampant corruption or the environmental destruction, no let us talk about cooking a dog.

This could turn into a real fermenting rant so let us get back to international events. In the great war against terrorism nothing is sacred and we must all do our best to protect that which is our way of life etc... Personally, I have not been instructed by God to defend anything but I am happy to see that France is taking this terrorism stuff seriously - hence the photo above. We have to be aware that the terror can strike anywhere and this is why it is necessary to place armed guards...

... on a volcano at 2400m. They were supposedly there to protect the public following the recent small eruption (www.fournaise.info), or was it to protect the volcano from the litter wielding public? Or was it that they were afraid a would be suicide bomber would try to blow the volcano up, err it was already. Why were these people armed? Were they going to shoot anyone who got too close to the volcano? What about all those planes flying around the crater, they could be terrorists - fortunately they only had pistols and not SAMs.

Still, i spent a day at the volcano but was not allowed to get too close for fear of being shot and...

...sour grapes? ;-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sleepy Isle

I went swimming yesterday at St Leu. More to the point, I went snorkelling and the lagoon here is one of my preferred places. There are plenty of fish and the coral isn't too damaged by the onslaught of progress - yet. Always the big Yet, all the monsters of fact and fable could be summed up by the big Yet. Yet is the final outcome of the human races' folly; a monster of our own creation. It would seem to be a thing, a terrible final ecological solution, that we have created in our sleep whilst dreaming of profit and progress.

Sleep, not the tender embrace of Morpheus (him before the matrix) but the blind atrophy of the conscious mind and a refusal to see the repurcussions of oursomnabulant rape of this planet.

If all this is beginning to sound like a morning rant fueled by a hangover, I'll offer an example...

Two days ago a large cargo vessel collided with the island.


Now, the island is a big rock reaching up some two miles above the Indian Ocean, it does not move - unless one is talking on a geological timescale - it has been sitting here for some three million years and so qualifies in my books as an unmoveable object. The force that hit it was not unstoppable and so the shiup stopped not far from the "capital" of St Denis. No loss of life, no one hurt and not much damage done. This all happened because the crew were asleep. You can see the analogy coming...

The press were up in arms and it even pushed puppies off the front page. Why the concern? The press are concerned that the island is not properly protected against terrorism. If the crew of the ship were sleeping, what were the coast guard et al doing? There seems to be an uncanny and incomprehensible desire on the island to prove that it partakes of all that is bad in the world out there beyong the sea.

It seems that we cannot be content to be an island with its own identity, but must prove ourselves to be "whiter than white". This is seen in the culture of being French. There are many creoloe of my acquaintance who yearn to be more French than French. It is as if being creole is not enough and the terrible process of assimilation throughout all the Frecnh colonies has worked by alienating a people from their own and true culture and making them aspire to the unattainable.

The point of all this is that Réunion seems to want to have all the problems of the world in order to prove that it is a modern "progressive" island. In doing so it is blind to the real potential and needs of this little Eden, that was.

Last year, a large fishing vessel run aground at St Leu in similar circumstance to the one of two days ago. At St Denis, there is no coral barrier but at St Leu there is. Last year the vessel tore through the barrier and landed itself high and dry upon the coral destroying a large amount in the process. There was much weeping and a wailing because of the damage caused to...

...the ship. The destruction of the coral was all but ignored, the ship was pulled off, damaging even more coral. Coral grows, given the chance, at some 3mm per year, we can build a boat in a couple of months - are we still sleeping?

To have the opportunity to swim amongst the coral, to glimpse the fish that dance there is something which I am grateful. I would also like it to be there still in generations to come.

When the ship surfed onto the pebbles at St Denis, it was three youths returning from a music festival who raised the alarm. Whilst us smug adults are dreaming of where next to make a profit maybe we should wake up and listen to those that are younger than us, more idalistic, less cynical and probably a lot more aware as to just what is going on in this great ship of sleeping humanity.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A dog's life

There was a great hue and cry last week - front page of the "Journal" (www.clicanoo.com) no less, because a puppy had been found all prepped and ready for a mission. The mission? Oh well that was to go big game fishing - more precisly, shark fishing. Now, I have never seen a dog fishing and a puppy of several months is certainly too young for such sport. Let's face it dogs don't want to go fishing they would much prefer getting on with their lives. Certain offshoots of the human race have other ideas and decide that the best way to catch sharks is to take a live puppy stick hooks through its jaw and paws and throw it in the sea attached to a long line. This may seem barabric to you, it is.

Dogs have a strange life here. Everyone seems to have one. It is an obligation if one is to protect oneself from criminals, display ones machismo, generally feel secure if you haven't got or don't want a machismo. But wanting a dog is not the same as looking after a dog. Most of the dogs one comes across here fall into three categories.

There are the pampered pooches of the nouveau riche, functionaires and ex-pats. Now, we shouldn't really call them ex-pats because they are French and this is France, right. OK, take a look at the atlas that you bought from Reader's Digest last year and see if you can see the geographical link between Réunion and France - yes it is as obscure as that between the UK and the Falklands - I was going to say Diego Garcia, but none of you would know where that was, nor what devious post-colonial trick us Brits played upon the people there. More of all this geo-politicing another day.

The other sort of dog is the stray who just happens to roam around looking all dishevelled, barely animated and begging. These seem to copulate incessantly and produce as fast as the cars on the "quatre voies" can terminate them. I am not sure if this is an offical policy, or if one gets points for keeping the island's dog population down, but there seems a determination on many drivers that borders on an obsession. I have yet to see paw marks chalked up on the doors of cars but the way things are going...

Lastly there is the house dog - much like its French cousin, the hunting dog, it spends most, if not all, its time chained up in some dingy corner or locked up in some dingy cage. My neighbours have dogs like these and they are never to be seen out of the cage, no one is ever to be seen taking any notice of them, accept to occassionally throw some food - maybe the washing up water - at them. The sole "raison d'être" of these dogs is to bark and whine depending on the moon, the wind and their level of malnutrition.

There is a sub-species of dog of the above type which is usually a great phallus headed pitbull, Staff or the like that is taken out in public in order to terrify children and impress the girls. Are girls impressed by men with fierce dogs with big heads. Personally, they scare the shit out of me and although my attempts at attracting the opposite sex are not that successful, I cannot see how having a big throat ripping dog would help. These dogs may be better fed but this is usually on steroids and besides they spend 99% of their lives in a cage.

The one thing that all these dogs have in common is that they bark. Occassionally, they all bark at once. Two things I don't understand is that; 1) why do people keep dogs if they don't like or want them and cannot be bothered to look after them? 2)Why do all those who don't have dogs put up with it?

The second question is perhaps, easiest to answer. We put up with the barking, bleating canines beacause we don't want to offend the neighbours and one day they may get a Rottweiller.

I have a freind who has a neighbour. The neighbour of some good few years had a dog. The dog was kept chained up and generally whined all night long out of lonliness and sheer misery. During the day was diferent, it barked and then slept. My friend asked the neighbour if the dog disturbed her, to which she replied yes but what could she do as she needed the dog to protect her against burglars. At this point, I should explain that the dog in question is a non-definable fluffy thing about as aggressive as pink fluffy underpants. My friend explained to her neighbour that the dog was not a detterent if it whinged all night long and besides one needed to sleep. Of course the neighbour replied, but what can I do? My friend said she would take the dog and look after it if the old lady was afraid the dog would be left to raom the streets.

Ah! The dog, who is called Whiskey, is now happy, clean fed and petted and rarely if ever barks. Why, because it is not kept on a chain and is allowed to live. All's well that ends well...

Not quite, the neighbour has a big family who cannot imagine their poor old mum alone without a dog, so they gave her another one, only this time it is bigger and more noisy. Which leads me to the conclusion that the giving of dogs is a susbstitute for caring.

I still don't know why more people don't complain. I have asked many of my friends and they say that, "Yes, it is annoying." but don't do anything. You see, the problem isn't the dog, it is the owner and we are supposed to be all grovelling and apologetic because the owner has not got the intelligence or the respect for others.

I cannot understand the human races ambivilent attitude towards animals and their uncomprehendable lack of respect for them. But, we are not much better when it comes to our own species - how many abused children are there that, may not get used as shark bait, but are physically and emotionally abused and are ignored by society as a whole, and the press in particular, because they are not as cuddly as a puppy.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Life after the Prattling Puymozacian

Many moons ago, in a far off distant land, there existed a complete buffoon who wrote bland witticisms under the guise of The Prattling Puymozacian. This pre-web blog was hacked together on an old LC, printed off and distributed free to a list of subscribers. These subscribers had not subscribed, showed no apparent enthusiasm for subscribing and were only fated to receive the aforementioned because they once knew me.

Times have changed and if you are reading this it's your own fault.

This blog emanates from the sulphurous outpourings of a fevered pustulant mind and a fevered pustulant isle. The isle is fevered and pustulant but in a nice tropical post cardish sort of way. The mind of the author is probably full of seething bile.

Let's begin with a bit of history. Now, history as you all well know is a load of bollicks that just happens to be written by those with the biggest sword. The pen may be mightier than the sword but not when it comes to writing history.

Some three million years ago R�union, as it is now labelled, popped up out of the sea in much the same way as its big sister , Mauritius did five million years earlier. This age difference between siblings explains the physical dissimilarities. Tropical islands tend to go all blond and wistful in their old age just like ads for sanitary products. R�union, even after three million years remains a spotty, enchanting, seductive and temperamental adolescent.

That is what you call geological history, not much chance for any ideological jostling there. The next bit is more fun - or just a sad reflection on the human condition - depending on your perspective.

Since recent and recorded history, many ships have bumped into this rock and partaken of the pleasure found here - for these ancient mariners this meant fresh water, the odd bit of fruit and some exotic birds. Before that, when myths were real and all men knew that God was a woman it was probably known and cherished, but the good people of this mist shrouded epoch didn't believe in real estate and had more respect for the land. In these days it was probably called after some divinity, worshipped as an alien and generally left to evolve in its own charming way.

By the 10th century, people began bumping into it more often. The texts state that the Arabs were the first and the island became known as "Dina Morgabin", or "Western Isle". As opposed to Mauritius, the "Eastern isle". Next came the Portuguese who christened this small family of islands as "Islas Mascarenhas" and then by 1512 'Santa Apollonia". The 17th century saw a veritable identity crisis as various European powers jostled to christen the smoking baby. 1613 - Blakewell decides to call it "England's Forest" at the same time his compatriot settled for "Pearl island". The French were having none of this and by 1649 it became known as "Ile Bourbon".

The French waged war against the indigenous population and like their European partners partook in the slaughter of most of the indigenous fauna - mainly birds. The fact that there is no evidence of prior human population is besides the point - colonisation is tough business and one has to show that there ain't no messing with a great imperial power. As there was no one to oppress, the French were obliged to import slaves from Madagascar and further afield. With an oppressed majority the French go down to some serious 'colonising' which mirrored the efforts of the Brits, Germans et al in other parts of the world

During the glorious age of Reason, or was that egoism, in France the island had something of an identity crisis. In 1806 it became known as "Ile Bonaparte". Due to a spot of Imperial strife the British 'invaded' the island along with Mauritius in 1810. R�union was to remain British for five years and the only thing they did of interest was to rename the island "Ile Bourbon". Of course, they could have abolished slavery, but naw! Too productive. It is said that it is the Brits who were responsible for the sugar plantations - probably, they had a lot of practice exploiting slave labour throughout the known world. By 1848 R�union became known as "Ile de la R�union". After one failed attempt the French eventually got around to abolishing slavery and R�union settled down to a life blissful ignored by the rest of the world.

In 1946, it became an overseas department of France and , in theory, a part of Europe. It was the first 'country' in Europe to get the Euro. But is it really a country? Are the people French? Does assimilation work? Whatever happened to 'alienation' and the movement for independence that one sees throughout the world.

The fact is, that R�union is small - but then so is Mauritius. R�union is an island of majestic landscapes, micro-climates and, until recently, an untouched nature mirroring in microcosm the beautiful depth and variety of the universe. Today, more and more, its destiny is being determined by the people who live here. They come from all four corners of the globe - which is in itself weird, as surely, the globe has no corners. It is the multicultural and racial nature of its people that gives hope for the future. Such a melange of creeds and races should not lead to an Island of Babel.

There is one epithet for the island that I had omitted - "Ile d'Eden" That was a long time ago and it still could be if�

Of course, if we are not careful the island could just get so pissed off that it erupts big time and tears this particular human leaf from the tree of its evolution.

I am writing this blog because I have a love for the island and in the past two years have developed a deep affinity with it. I have great respect for the friends I have made here and am saddened by the voracious development and consumerism that is rife. R�union has, and is, an opportunity to present to the world a model of sustainable development with a respect and a humility before Nature. Its communities can be seen as representative of most of the planet - its landscapes likewise.

Whether this becomes a interesting personal perspective, a rant, or a piece of well needed therapy, time will tell. Comments welcome.

For a more rational - if that's your thang baby! - approach to the history of the island. Well, search the web. Much of the information is in French but I will happily translate short pieces if accompanied by a personal request. I have provided an English translation for one site - ilereunion.com - but have yet to see it in place. The Reunion tourist board also had a translation - but I wouldn't believe all that waffle - still a good place to start.

For a good read try:

Daniel Vaxelaire "Chasseur de Noirs" isbn 9 782080 680129 - I have yet to find a translation but it is an excellent fictionalised account of one aspect of the island's early history.

Cl�lie Gamaleya "Filles d'Heva" isbn 2 907064 10 X - A short book again in French, but easy enough to read as it is captivating. Recounts the three centuries of women on R�union. A good, if brief insight into slavery and repression both racial and sexual.

I have to add to this brief and introductory list Aldous Huxley's "Island". Why? Becasue it is an island and everyone here should read it. Everyone there as well.

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