Sunday, 25 November 2012

Fresh Meat!

All roads lead to Rome. Well, in Lae, all roads eventually lead to the Yacht Club. The Yoti, as it's known. Sooner or later, all noobies up here end up at the Yoti. Sometimes they end up there of their own volition, and you can tell them by the stunned, glazed look in their eyes. That's when people like me walk up to them and introduce myself, and invite them to sit with us. I don't know whether it's the smell of the legal alcohol that stuns them, or the sight of so many white people in a single mass, but they're usually looking pretty gormless.

Sometimes they get taken there by a kindly 'old timer', to be introduced to life in Lae.

Either way, all fresh meat usually ends up at the LYC.

And like all cultures, those of us who live here are eager and willing to share our experience, to give the noobies a hand.

When I first went to the Yoti, I was told MANY things about Lae. I will never forget an older expat woman telling me "Whatever you do, don't over-feed your house staff, you'll only spoil them'

I am still not entirely sure what that means.

I was also told that it;s impossible to buy shoes in Lae (untrue), or women's underwear ((partially true) and that household items such as mops et all are impossible to buy up here (completely false).

The very delicious Dr Wendy, writes about it over at her blog,  and was told that feminine hygiene products were unavailable in Lae. As such, she turned up with a container-load of tampons. And ended up giving them away as gifts when she left several years later.

So The Husbang and I have developed our "Noob Speech:, which we impart to all Fresh Meat with suitable gravitas.

Basically it's this:

Lots of people will tell you lots of things about Lae. Don't listen to them. Discover it for yourselves. You're here, which means that you have an open mind and haven't been lulled into the BS that is spouted about Lae on the Web. Lots of people will want you to see THEIR view of Lae. Keep an open mind. Lots of people will tell you about lots of OTHER people in Lae. Remember, this place is like a small DEEP SOUTH town in about 1974. Everyone knows everyone else, and plenty are quick to judge and gossip. Discover people for yourself and make up your own mind.

But the most important advice we can give noobies is this:


This pearl of wisdom, this Nugget of Truth, if you will, is always delivered in the same sonorous, sing-song tones that one would use to say:


And the comparison is apt. Trade Winds will kill you. Very dead. A lot. And unlike the Kool-Aid, it will be painful and horrible and nasty.

Trade Winds is our local brand of spirits.It's made locally, of godknows what ubiquitous ingredients. It's not the local home-brew, it's the locally made commercial liquor. They manufacture brandy and vodka and bourbon and godknows what other hellish concoctions in their meth lab of death distillery.

I am pretty sure Macbeth's witches, with their "bubble, bubble, toil and trouble" were brewing up an early batch of Trade Winds Vodka.

It's cheap. VERY cheap, compared to imported spirits. And its bottles seductively grace the shelves of the Yoti, batting their fetching eyes like so many Sirens and try to lull you into tasting their wily charms.

""Lae's under alcohol ban", they coo.

"How long has it been since you felt the sweet, sweet burn of Scotch?" they susurrate.

Now I am pretty sure telling women there are no tampons in Lae is part of some hazing ritual that the old timers designed to have a laugh at the noobies expense, but listen to me  people, this thing with the Trade Winds is FOR ROOLZ.

IF you want spirits at the Yoti, or anywhere else in Lae, you MUST ask for it by name, as in "I'll have a Johnny Walker Red with coke, please" or "Can I have a VSOP and ginger ale in a long glass?"

Otherwise, you'll get Trade Winds.

Infact, when The Husbang orders his bourbon, it goes something like this:

"wanpla Jim Beam, No Cock, jus Jim Bim, an ice. NO TRADE WINDS, ya? Tenk yu tru" and we will often follow a new waitress to the bar to ensure we get the Right Stuff.

Because Trade Winds will Fuck. You. Up.

Once, early in our tenure up here, there was an open bar at the Yoti. Some night that some local company had sponsored, and for one hour, EVERYTHING across the bar was free. I'd had a single glass of wine with dinner, and I took the opportunity of getting shit-faced for free supporting local industry. I had three brandy and drys.


The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster was invented by Zaphod Beeblebrox, in  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon, wrapped 'round a large gold brick. It has also been described as the alcoholic equivalent to a mugging; expensive and bad for the head.

Trade Winds spirits are Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters with  pissy attitudes. Trade Winds Spirits are the just-wormed pit bull older more streetwise cousins of the PGGB.

Three Trade Winds Brandies and Dry caused a spontaneous purging from every orifice in my body. With no warning.

There is a very specific headache that goes with a Trade Winds hangover (And you WILL get an hangover, even after only one glass), Waking up the next morning is akin to being reborn. Not in a New Age Pixie-Freak kinda "Past Lives" way, but in a "My mother was a crack whore meth head and I am being delivered using forceps by Dr Nick" way.

And this will last for HOURS. Hours and hours of photophobia and unquenchable thirst and that headache that goes on and on and on.

And this, prospective noobies, was after THREE SINGLE SHOTS.

So when you get here, prospective new residents, take with a LARGE grain of salt, any 'advice' you're given about shopping or crime or tampons or the fact that I worship Satan in bloodthirsty rituals in my basement some of the people up here, But any expat who knows their shit will tell you about Trade Winds.

It's possibly the most important advice about Lae you'll get.


  1. TRADEWINDS! Omg...... I bought a bottle once and a student saw it and warned me not to drink it. So it sat in the pantry until I left.. And I left it in the house to kill the next tenant! And the tampons?!?! I SWEAR on my look-see, I did look for them... To no avail. But the ladies were all happy to get big boxes for their birthdays. Really whack to be known as the tampon lady...(By the way, still haven't run out....)!!!! Bahaha!!!

  2. The fact that someone who knows me had a bottle of alcohol that went UNTOUCHED for 12 months says all there is to say about Trade Winds!