Who needs Google Maps?
Here in the Kingdom of Tonga archaic technology means that I can't easily use Google Maps and similar programmes to get a God's eye view of landscapes. Who needs digital technology, though, when you've got the mosaic map on the floor of the International Dateline Hotel?
The Dateline was the first large-scale hotel raised in Tonga, and its Kaliningrad-style concrete buttresses and balustrades have had a perhaps unfortunate influence on local architects. Nowadays the hotel is dim, dirty, and virtually deserted; mosquito netting peels from its windows, and the swimming pool which was once the pride of Nuku'alofa has become the sort of septic green stew out of which new and sinister lifeforms evolve in JG Ballard's more lurid novels.
When I look down at the island and its outliers, I feel like I'm several hundred feet high.
With its bright colours that refuse to succumb to the grandiose melancholy of their surroundings, the map reminds me of the mosaic tableaux that survive amidst the Roman ruins of Giovanni's native land.
[Posted by Scott Hamilton]