White Savages in the South Seas

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Verso, 1995 - Travel - 203 pages
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This is a book about Polynesia after the cruise ship has left, the jet has flown off into the sunset, and the mai tai curtain has dropped on a dream that was more performance than reality. This first-hand narrative introduces the reader to the Cook Islands and an extraordinary array of their inhabitants: Susy No Pants who lives an uproarious life of pleasure, but never strays far from who she is or where she came from; a nuclear nomad from the Tuamotus who attempts suicide by ancient means in California's Balboa Fun Zone, home of the chocolate-dipped banana; and French bureaucrats who concoct an elaborate charade to create an uplifting image of the Foreign Legion in Papeete, Tahiti. The author encounters missionaries, randy kings, dictators, sailors, drunk island tyrants and visionaries on remote isles where tourists seldom tread. Kernahan does not find paradise, although she admits to having looked for it.
  

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Contents

Behind the Mai Tai Curtain
15
French Foreign Legion in Eden
36
Simone
54
What Do Naked Women Want?
67
Life of an Ariki
81
Damn You Robert Dean Frisbie
95
The Young Unmarried
111
Boardinghouse Island Style
127
Defection to Mitiaro
144
HMNZS Waikato Day
161
And on the Seventh Day
180
EPILOGUE Death of Three Heroes
193
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Mel Kernahan has written for Cosmopolitan, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Sacramento Bee as well as various Pacific Island publications. She was the first woman ever selected by the Cook Islands government to serve as Overseas Public Information Officer, and has worked as a cultural consultant on Polynesia to the City of Los Angeles and UCLA.

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