Saturday, 27 April 2013

Unexpected beauty

I'm doing a favour for a friend at the moment. I'm looking after her business while she's on holidays. Her business is running a school. So 28 years after I vowed NEVER to enter a school room again, I'm back.

My 'job' consists mainly of sitting on a  stool telling 3-4 year olds to 'listen' and 'sit up straight'. All those lectures on Piagetian theory of language aquisition are STILL not being put to any use, but it's ok. I am actually quite enjoying myself.

The staff are wonderful. They think I'm quite mad. With my dreads and weird clothes. Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with teaching the alphabet by dancing to "YMCA, while wearing a Bristol Anarchist's T-shirt and silver sparkly flip-flops, but that's just me.

And the "Macarena" is a great way to sneakily get some kineseology happening for some of the 'slower' kids.

The staff, the "aunties" are some of the most devoted teachers I've ever met. They are wonderful, generous women who care deeply for the kids. And one of the lovely things they do for each other is bring in fruits and flowers from their gardens to share.

And yesterday one of them bought in this:

It's called a Black Orchid, but I am reliably informed it's actually a lilly. Either way, it's the most spectacular flower I've ever seen. It looks blacker in real life... Matt flat black. And it's HUGE, the flower is as big as my hand, and the feeler thingies take the whole thing to the size of a dinner plate.

Apparently they grow like weeds in Aunty Susan's garden.

So yes, I'm getting some cuttings and I too am going to have these gorgeous things in my garden.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Girly talk

Ok blokes, bugger off for a minute and let the ladies have a quiet word.

Let's talk about boils.

Yep, you read that right.


Not just big pimples, blind ones, but boils as big as plums.

In your lady garden.

Or, as in my current case, under my arm pit.

There a fact of life up here. Learn to wear cotton knickers and ditch the cute lacy G's. G's just rub the wrong spots and make matters worse.

You can also forget about trimming up the garden, unless of course you can spen the next 24 hours with the garden airing in an airconditioned room, cos razor rash is the leading cause of boils in yer nethers.

At the first sign of a boil, get thee onto some antibiotics. Augmentin Forte is available here over the counter. Ase industrial strength pain killers. Get some of those, you're going to need them.

Now, you can just sit around and let the drugs do their magic, or you can help them along a bit. I prefer the beer bottle method.

Take a stubbie of SP beer and drink it. While Husbang is preparing the rest of the show, skoll a bottle of vodka. Get Husbang to fill empty beer bottle with boiling water. Empty out water and then immedietly place the mouth of the stubbie over the 'eye' of the boil. Physics and vacuum pressure will do the rest.Try not to pass out.

Don't think about it too much, ok. Just trust me on this.

Other options are letting some local Doctor with grubby fingernails and a clear lack of sterilizing equipment at it. Or even one of your haus staff.. all of which have 'proven' remedies for dealing with boils the village way. I once saw this done, and it involved going into the garden, and getting a seed plant from some random grass, and JABBING said seed pod into the middle of a suppurating tropical ulcer and pulling out the 'core'. But unless you're prepared to show your flowa boi or your haus mari your personal pink parts, this is to be used only as a last resort.

And here's the thing. We all talk about it. About our labial boils, our gastro symptoms, our under-boob ulcers. Because, unlike home, these things are pretty much a fact of life up here.

Here's a snippet from a conversation I overheard last week between two VERY chi-chi pooh-pooh executive wives up here:

"No, she didn't come to the meeting, because she's got another boil"
"Really? Another? Didn't she have one on her butt crack last week?"
"Yep, that's why she didn't come. Can't sit down, poor thing."
"And she's just got over that nasty explosive gastro, too?"
"Yes, I had that, too. It was horrible, Couldn't leave the house for three days. Didn't dare"

Again, I say unto thee. Lae. NOT for the faint-hearted.

Beautiful Madang

Worth every kidney-jarring pot hole on the six hour trip.

All the above photos were taken at Jais Aben resort. Stop what you're doing and go there now! The staff are amazing and, more importantly, the food was outstanding. Without a doubt, the BEST restaurant food I've ever eaten in PNG. The twice-cooked pork was amazing! We kayaked, snorkled on the reef, (which, as you can see from the photos comes right up to the edge of the shoer so you don't have to swim miles out to see the most amazing sea creatures... a good thing when you've got a slightly shark-phobic Husbang), ate, drank, snapped and snogged for three days all inclusive for less than $1400 USD!

Sunday, 7 April 2013


One of the awesome things about living here in PNG is the amazing opportunities for travel. We spent Easter at Goroka, the gateway to the Highlands, and one of the loveliest towns in PNG. The weather is delightful, the scenery to get there spectacular and Goroka town, while as dirty and dusty as all others in PNG, is usually quite safe for walking around.

I remember my Grade 6 teacher, Mr Boxall, showing us Super 8 movies of the Goroka Mud Men, from his Army days up here, and I have been fascinated with them ever since.  Here's a pictorial of our Easter.