Saturday and Sunday 7 & 8 May - We chilled out all weekend because Steve not feeling well from the mexican night on Friday night. JR dropped in around lunch time on the Saturday with two huge mud crabs for steve from the Malara Markets. They were 10K each and really big. We had only ever had the smaller crabs bought off the side of the road before and they do not have a lot of meat. The muddies had heaps of meat but they were really smelly from the mud. Yuk. So I made Steve cook them cause I wasn't going near them. Plus they were still alive and I can't do it. All the times I had cooked crab for Steve and Monique, they had been frozen for a week or so and not alive. These suckers were tired up with grass to make sure they didn't get you with their claws but were still very much alive. The biggest pot we had wasn't really big enough so Steve cooked them one at a time. Boy did it stink out the house. And the mess made while taking all the meat out of the crabs was horrendous. It took 24 hours of airing out the house before it went back to normal. But Steve really enjoyed that crab for a number of meals. I had tuna sushi - tuna from a tin. It was fantastic.
Monday 9 May - Some of the big bosses from Brisbane were visiting for the annual png managers meeting today and tomorrow. All the managers went out on a night cruise drinks and dinner. Lealah and I stayed at the yacht club and had dinner and chatted. It was a great night, quiet but good, but I got a cold from Lealah that night and pretty well spent most of the rest of the week resting to get over the awful cold.
Tuesday 10 May - Steve had meeting all day at Ela Beach Motel with bosses and then we headed to Yacht Club again for dinner with some of the fellows still in town. I had woken up with a head cold and did nothing much all day.
Wednesday 11 May - There was a committee meeting at Nessa's for BBP which took up all of the morning. We have quite a few plans for fundraising now and it will take some work to get them up and running, but hopefully they will work out well. Afterwards, Shivani and I went to the BBP office for a meeting with Ali and Francesca about the following week Goroka trip. I then came home and picked up Lealah and some of their friends who were visiting from Rabal to drive around doing the tourist thing, buying some art work and things. It was a lovely afternoon.
Thursday 12th May - I was to meet Lesley and Shivani at the general hospital to go into the BBP library in the childrens ward, but when I went into the carpark, the guard
would not let me in and as I was still not feeling well, I turned around and headed home. They phoned to say they were on their way to the office, so I turned around and went there to meet them, and they got held up at the hospital talking to Mara's parents (Mara was a little girl who Lesley and Shivani had gotten to know in the library over a couple of months - she died on the Monday and Lesley in particular was very upset about it - she spent a lot of time trying to track down the parents to find out when the funeral would be held) and after waiting for half an hour talking to Francesca, I just went home. When Lesley and Shivani had
finished what they needed to do, they came to my house and we chatted for ages. That night we met up with Shivani and Praneel at the Lamana Motel for the Indian Buffet. It was an amazing meal and we left fairly early as we were all tired. We plan to go to Daikoku with them later on.
Friday 13 May - Lealah and I went to craft group and had a great time. We seem to be finally accepted into a close knit group because we have been going consistantly. A couple of ladies were talking about their book club and I mentioned that if there was an opening, I would love to join. Last time I said that, I was told that there were a heap of people on the waiting list and that was that. This time, Marilyn and Debbie said that they would get in contact with me to let me know when and where, so we'll see what happens. After craft, Steve and I went to lunch at the Aviat and not long after lunch when Steve had gone back to work, I got a phone call from him to say that him and Steve lock and load would be picked me up in 5
minutes. Apparently Hastings Deering has rented a 3 bedroom unit in a compound called Era Doreena and JR had offered for Steve and I to move in there so that Steve could get away from work. We went for a look with Steve lock and load because he had all the stickers and keys etc to get through security. Era Doreena is located off the top of Lawes Road (a notorious road known for being "rolled" which is local speak for having a gun pointed at you and your car being taken - I go through there at high speed, right over the huge pot holes and all because I just don't want to slow down) right at the top of the mountain, overlooking the ocean. The security for the compound is particularly good and some of the
buildings are really new. The unit available was one of three on the bottom floor of one of the older buildings, with three flights of stairs to go down from the carpark - yeah for exercise, not. It was a lovely unit with a small balcony off the loungeroom where you could sit and look out. The main bedroom is huge and has an ensuite. There are two other toilets, one in the living area and another near the other two rooms. The compound has 3 pools, a sauna, a brand new gym with a lap pool and a really great walking track up and down the side of the mountain. We came back home and discussed and decided that we would take the unit, so Steve let JR know, and it's ours. Yahoo. We move in around the 8th of June. We have to get another car for me because Steve will need to drive to and from work now but that's all good. We are both really looking forward to moving in, and another advantage is that the compound is literally around the corner from where Shivani and Lesley live. So great. It will also be good for Steve to get away from being in such close contact with work and those he works with for a real break.
Saturday 14th May - Les and Lealah, Steve and I went to the Malara Markets which are in town here. We were told that it was safe enough as long as the fellows were with us (I had already been there a couple of times with Maggie and her husband but had only ever looked at the vege end. We were heading there looking for the huge mud crabs that JR had bought for Steve the previous weekend. We parked and walked through the vege section to the seafood section. They have just about everything and its so fresh. We spotted a really lovely looking red emperor which we got for 25K and 2 more huge crabs for Steve at 10K each. We went back to the vege section and got some bits and pieces. As we were walking back
we came across some unusual brazil nut looking things. I asked the lady what they were and she said garlic (or so I thought) so I got two to take home and try. After I bought them, she picked one up and showed me to eat it raw which suprised me but I had a go and it tasted like part nut and part coconut. Delicious, so I bought a heap more. I was thoroughly curious about them being garlic though and when I mentioned them to a couple of others, it was explained that they are "galup" nuts not garlic. So funny what the wrong
translation does. After the markets we drove all over town looking for a large saucepan to cook the crabs in as the saucepan we had at home was too small and Steve had a hard time last week cooking them. When we got home, Steve cooked up his crabs and I sent him outside to get the meat out of them after the mess he made the week before. When he had done that he came back inside and had to gut and scale the red emperor so that we could bake it whole in the oven for the bbq dinner. I raided my herb pot and got some basil, lemon grass, vietnamese mint and tarragon. We cut it all up and put it inside and all over the fish along with a heap of lemon, salt and pepper. It looked amazing. An hour or so later we pulled it out and tasted it. YUMMMOOOO. Definately going to do that again, but I have to have a go at the gutting and scaling myself now. It's a new challenge. Steve said maybe next time we buy a gorgeous looking tuna and try that.
Sunday 15 May - We went driving around to get a few groceries and some bits and pieces for Steve going up to Lihir next day. Steve was running out of his medication, so we asked at the chemist at Vision city whether they had the medication there so that we could organise a script from a doctor. They did have some and we were able to get a months supply without a script. Amazing. I have to take packets of his two other medications to them and find out if they have them. I have heard that if you know what you are talking about as far as medicines are concerned, you can get just about anything over the counter at the chemists. Rather incredible and it saved Steve flying over the Aust for a quick visit to get some new medication.
Monday 16 May - Steve woke me up early this morning to drive him to the airport. He is going up to Lihir for a week this time and is expected back next Saturday. I spent the day pottering around, doing a bit of cleaning, reading etc. I ended up stayed up late to start Tiarna's quilt because for some reason I got motivated late in the afternoon. So at some late hour I had three panels ready to join together. It looks lovely and I really hope she loves what I have done. We'll see. I then quickly packed for my trip to Goroka in the morning. Both of my phones were not working - my png one was turning itself off all the time and my aussie one wasn't charged - so I had a terrible sleep overnight worried that I would oversleep and miss the plane. As a consequence, I didn't sleep much at all. Oh well, that is fairly usual the night before an early flight for me.
Tuesday and Wednesday 17 & 18 May- Francesca, Shivani and I flew to Goroka to have a look at the BBP library there. We had a short flight and arrived mid morning, were picked up by the Bird of Paradise bus which took us back the the Hotel. The BBP library is situated on the side of the Hotel, so after checking in, we went downstairs to the library. I had met Arnold (Head Librarian) when he was visiting POM earlier in the year, so I said hello to him and then met the two assistant librarians, Sam and George. George is a very good looking young man which we had been told about before going up, and also a great addition to the library as he loves his job and you can see he enjoys working with the kids. Sam was very quiet, seemed to be everywhere making sure the kids were safe, and Arnold was great at keeping the group under control. Shivani and I spent time with two of the groups (they have to split the day into 3 sessions due to the huge numbers of children wanting to go - they have over 300 come most days) doing craft activities, singing, dancing etc which was fantastic. This left Francesca time and opportunity to talk to the librarians about any issues, problems and paperwork that needed to be addressed. It was a great day. The afternoon session had a heap of school aged girls who come for help with their homework and access to books for reading. It is so great to see such enthusiam for reading. There was one little boy that stood out for me called Daniel. He was at the first session on the Tuesday and at the session on the Wednesday morning also. He was one of the bigger children there, but was such a little sponge. He followed me around repeating everything I said and loved spending time with us. I taught them the nursery rhyme "Butterfly, butterfly, fly away home" because we made butterflies with them and then flapped all around the room. The room that the library was in up there is huge compared to the ones in POM. It has cement walls and tiled floors and a male and female toilet which is so different to the ones at home. Very lucky and lovely that Steamships were able to let BBP have that space. Steamships is one of our major sponsors and own the Bird of Paradise Hotel where we stayed and where the library is located. In the afternoon, we walked around town, buying fruit and vege from various street sellers. This was incredibly special for us as it is not safe to walk around POM like that, so we took advantage of it by talking and chatting to lots of people. We had a mandarin, a guava, a kowkow that had been roasted in a moomoo (don't you just love the language - a kowkow is a sweet potato and a moomoo is an underground oven). We saw a huge tarp that had been laid on the ground and covered in green coffee beans which were being packed into huge bags to be sent to the coffee factories where they would be roasted and packaged for importing. We stopped the next day at a factory and bought a packet of Goroka Coffee that had been packaged in front of us. How fresh is that. Amazing. The people doing the packing of the coffee beans were happy to tell us what was happening and how they were green
and the shells still had to be taken off the beans. Fascinating stuff. This packing was done in the street, so very natural. I loved it. We then headed to the markets which we were told were not so good in the late afternoon, as most people had packed up, but we looked around and were astonished at the variety of food available and the prices were so cheap. Unbelievably cheap. So we made plans to go back early the next morning. We were allowed to take back fruit and veges on the plane so we took full advantage of that. So did everyone else, because when we got to the airport the next day, everyone had the potato sacks of stuff to check in the same as us. There were also bunches of bananas (without a bag, just labelled like all the bags) checked in - so funny. Oh, I forgot to mention on our flight to Goroka, the fellow sitting next to me was taking his brothers body back home so that they could have a funeral. We discovered when we departed the plane that there were in fact 2 bodies in the plane. Francesca was a bit freaked out about it because she thought that was bad luck. Luckily she didn't know about it until after we had landed so she was ok while flying. Anyway, we spent about 2 hours wandering around, looking at all the billum bags, jewellery and artifacts that were for sale all over the place. I bought a tiny mudman head, two clay whistles and a clay face. I also negotiated to buy a gorgeous green, brown and cream billum bag that had 4 pompoms on the handle. Very cool. We had dinner at the hotel and then went to bed early as we were all tired, except that we spent ages talking - well mostly Shivani talked - boy she can talk, way more than me, and she is so funny and sweet, so it's all good. I think I ended up falling asleep middle conversation at one point because I was buggered. Goroka is up in the highlands, so it was quite chilli overnight. I wore jeans and a jumper to dinner and long pjs to bed. We woke early the next morning and took the bus to the markets. We told the driver, Jimmy, to come back in an hour and proceeded to buy so much stuff. First we got a potato sack with a handle to put
everything in, and then I got potatoes, kowkow - 3 different types, cabbage, baby carrots, beans, peas, strawberries, guavas, mandarins, lettuce, tomatoes, sugarfruit, ummm.... I can't remember what else, but I spent about 30K on the whole lot. So cheap and so fresh. I also got a bunch of everlasting daisies off a fellow which was my grandmothers favourite flower. The baby carrots were sold in bunches of 3 for the grand total of 10toya which is about 3 and a half cents Australian. Unbelievable. Once we had everything we wanted, we took the bags back to the seller and a man sewed up the bags ready for the plane. Love it. We got back on the bus and headed back. I think Shivani bought just about everything, and we were really worried about having to pay excess baggage, but luckily she had a destinations card (membership of Air Niugini) and was able to take more. We scrapped in by half a kilo. After the markets, we had a session at the library, packed up and checked out, lunch and then a wander up the street before Jimmy took us for a quick tour of town and then dropped us back at the airport. We arrived back at 6pm on the Wednesday night. What an incredible, amazing, fantastic trip. I plan to organise a long weekend trip back there
with Steve and do some of the tours out of town a bit.
Thursday 19 May - I had a sleep in this morning after my exhausting trip. I messaged Leisa and Lealah to see if they wanted to go shopping and have lunch for Lealah's birthday. I bought some material for Lealah to continue her quilts, and we had lunch at the Ela Beach Motel. I had a vegetable curry which would be one of the best meals I have ever had. It was so good. Lealah and Leisa both had burgers which they said were also very good. While we were there, we spotted a heap of nationals dressed up like mud men doing a traditional dance for one of the conferences. We stopped for a look. Afterwards, we headed to Vision City so that we could get a few groceries and I needed to get a new phone to replace the one that kept turning off. Steve had told me to get a decent phone this time instead of the awful one I currently had. So I got this jazzy little flip top thingy which I don't know how to use but I'm sure I will eventually. We came home after that and I read and slept before heading to the yacht club for canoeing with Lesley and Theresa. We went out on the six men boats which I'm so glad about because you are less likely to fall out of them. As usual, there was a strong wind and as it was overcast, it got dark quickly so we were treated to a spectacular view of Port Moresby city in lights. So very beautiful. I'm not as sore tonight so hopefully that means that my arms are getting used to all that rowing. Dinner when I got back was vanilla icecream with fresh strawberries, pawpaw, sugarfruit, banana and apricot juice. YUM. Then I had a cheese, tomato and onion gluten free toast. YUM AGAIN. What a great dinner.
Friday 20 May - Lealah and I went to craft group in the morning which ended up going for most of the day. One of the ladies is leaving to return to Australia, so we had lunch at the new Chinese restaurant at Vision City. Vision City is filling up really fast at the moment. They now have a Brumbies, Hogs Breath, the chinese restaurant, a japanese restaurant, eventually a Donut King or something like that, and there are rumours of a cinema going in on the third floor. Lunch was lovely and we ended up finishing about 2pm. There was a new lady at craft group. Her husband works for exxon and they have just arrived from 5 years living in Nigeria. The range of experiences that people here have done is really fascinating. Hopefully she will be there next week so I can chat and get to know her a little better. After lunch I had to race to pick up Shivani for a meeting at the BBP office. When Shivani got in the car I handed her my new phone for her to make the necessary changes such as a decent ring tine, the correct time etc. I love having someone who knows how technology works. Luckily the meeting was short and sweet, cause I was feeling exhausted from not sleeping properly the night before, so after dropping Shivani home, I went home and had an early dinner of cheese and tomato toast - gluten free of course - and icecream. Yum. I love icecream.
Saturday 21 May - Steve came home today. His flight was delayed for 45 minutes so he arrived at 9am. We got a few groceries at Boroka and then headed home. We had to go out again after lunch because I needed some eggs and flour. I was cooking jam drops, coconut macaroons and gingernuts this afternoon for everyone in the head office on Monday. My weekdays are getting so busy, I am running out of time to do any biscuits lately. Anyway, so we went down to SVS Harbourcity for the ingredients. At the bottom of the hill, I showed Steve were a truck had lost control on Wednesday and rolled over the opposite side of the road and through the carpark of SVS. There were 5 fatalities including the driver and it had made a hell of a mess. While looking around, I spotted the man who had sold Steve his huge bow and arrow. He was on the side of the road holding a really large and elaborate spear. After we grabbed some groceries, we went back, found him and bargained for it. We got it for 500K and it is well worth it. Steve spent the drive home making me giggle by talking about racing around the compound chasing the cats with his bow and arrow and spear. I told him he wasn't allowed to do that until I had got hold of a video camera, cause it would win hands down on Funniest Home Videos. At home, I made my biscuits, gave some to the guards, took the clothes off the line, went swimming for ages and chilled a bit. Fabulous day. Dinner was icecream with strawberries and sugar fruit. Luckily the tub of icecream has just about run out so that I will get back to some vegetable eating.