Monday, December 31, 2007

Here's to a Bloomin' Great - 2008

There will be no fancy fireworks here in Rabaul tonight to welcome in the New Year, so I decided that I would shower you with flowers from Debbie’s garden in Kerevat instead.

I wish you and yours the very best of health and happiness for 2008.
I hope you get everything you want!!

I adore "quotes", so here are some pertaining to this time of the year that caught my eye:

"I'm a little bit older, a little bit wiser, a little bit rounder, but still none the wiser."
- Robert Paul

"New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions."
-Mark Twain

and my favourite -

"Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to."
-Bill Vaughn

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Breadfruit Bliss

After the cricket match on Boxing Day, we went to friends who live at Kerevat. Debbie is a great cook and she makes something everyone needs to taste before they die – breadfruit chips!!

The breadfruit is picked before it is ripe, sliced up and deep-fried in coconut oil. Bliss!!

Breadfruit comes from a tall tree which grows in tropical areas; fast growing, it can get to a height of 28 metres. Click here to find out how breadfruit caused the Mutiny on the Bounty!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Boxing Day Cricket under the Kapoks

Boxing Day in Australia is synonymous with two long-standing sporting events – The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the start of the Test Cricket. This year India and Australia faced each other on the hallowed grounds of the MCG.

In East New Britain, Boxing Day is synonymous with the Kokopo versus Kerevat Cricket Match, played at the stunning Kerevat Country Club. In the match yesterday Papuan New Guineans, Indians and Australians banded together in a fabulous multi-cultural match that saw the Kokopuddlians come out on top.

The spectators sit in the shade of the massive kings of the rainforest, the Kapok trees.

The cotton-like Kapok fibre can be seen all over the ground from the seed pods high up in the trees.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Greetings

Warm tropical greetings for the Festive Season


all my blogger friends around the world.

Thanks for all your support and your friendship


See you all on the 27th
BTW - My Vietnam Blog has a happy occassion as a Christmas Special.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Decorations – Bah, Humbug!!

This post is dedicated to Dive, who just LOVES Christmas decorations!!

I give up – I’ve been overwhelmed on my visits to everyone’s blogs by their Christmas Decorations, - so here it is, My Christmas Decoration's Post. There will be only one because there just isn’t much around these parts - at work there was a single Christmas lantern, (still wrapped in plastic) hanging over the reception desk!!

At home we have Christmas decorations with a PNG Theme…..

….but the tree is traditional with decorations we have collected on all our travels.

Dive, my Singing Crocodile would just eat your Singing Reindeer………….. you wish!!!

PS You're not going to believe this but as I type I can hear another little piggy being delivered to the resort next door. I need to move house!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Porky Palpitations

Pigs at this time of the year are very twitchy in PNG!! This is the Christmas Party Season, and any party worth its salt has the ubiquitous pig on a spit or mumu (cooked in the ground on a bed of hot stones).

Pigs are very smart. They immediately know that someone walking towards them with a large bush knife and a bottle of pork marinade, is not coming to wish them Merry Christmas. So it is a good idea not to sneak up on a pig at this time of the year; they are inclined to startle easily, which may cause them to jump up, grab their wee little chests, roll their eyes and faint dead away!!!

I am writing this post at the moment with ear-plugs in, as a poor little pig is being slaughtered next door at the resort, as I type. Pigs know they are about to die and the screaming that they emit is enough to chill you to the bone, curl your hair and turn you into a sobbing mess.

The only escape is to go to work for a few hours.

Post script – After I put this in drafts, I removed my earplugs and went to work. I was there for less than 10 minutes when I heard a pig screaming – I thought I was hallucinating, or the pig from the resort had escaped and rushed down the beach! But no, out of the back of the Principal’s ute comes this trussed up pig for the staff break-up tomorrow. The pig will remain tied to a stake, like the one in this photo, until dawn when he will meet his maker. I’m thinking of becoming a vegetarian.!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Some Leaves from the Book of Beach Trees

At Tovarua Plantation Beach there are some wonderful trees lining the water's edge.

Who needs an adventure park when you have a tree like this and 28 degree water to play in?

This old Talus tree died back awhile ago but is now sprouting new leaves.

All you need is a shady secluded spot, a beach chair, a glass of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc………….. and someone to share it with.

I am sorry I haven't been able to visit many of you this week but we had a massive electrical storm here on Sunday night that blew out phone systems, computers, fax machines, power etc. Luckily we missed the worst of it here at Takubar but the phone lines out of here have been horrendous. Hopefully I can visit you all today or tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Visiting hours over

We are still in the Japanese Underground Hospital - see last post.

A rabbit warren of tunnels runs off the main tunnel, some now half caved-in and some filled with water. The injured soldiers were packed in bunks two and three levels high, with the soldier on the top bunk only centimeters from the roof of the tunnel. Imagine their fear, lying there in the dark as the bombs went off above them, the deafening noise as each explosion shook the very walls and ceiling of their tomb-like shelter .

Air vents snake out to the hillside allowing air but minimal light in. Bats, small birds and flying foxes now call the tunnels home and fly up and out when disturbed by your torch light. It is quite disconcerting when they fly over your head!!!

A huge store of ammunition found in one of the tunnels lies rusting in the damp.

Not a place you want to stay in for too long, so we all climbed up the long tunnel to the fresh air with renewed vigor.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Japanese Underground Hospital I

Not far from Kokopo, on what is now Coconut Product's Plantation land, is the Underground Japanese Hospital. This engineering feat, built by the Japanese during World War II to protect their injured soldiers from the Allied bombing raids, has become a memorial to those who designed it, who labored building it and who died within it.

The entrance to the hospital gives no outward sign of the structure that lies below and the thousands of men who were hidden within.

The main tunnel runs steeply down into the hillside to where the main operating theatre, kitchen etc were located (at a depth of 5 storeys we have been told).

The tunnel is pitch black with the floor slippery and uneven, with deep cracks and some rock falls.

The door from the operating theater to the ledge on the side of the hillside has a massive steel frame filled with concrete that was closed when bombing raids took place. Behind the door was a small Shinto shrine through which the bodies passed before their removal into the jungle for cremation.

We only had a small camera with us as we didn't want the good one damaged (there is water dripping from the ceiling and the chance of slipping is high), so these photos are fairly poor quality. More next post

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lukim yu tupela meri

My "adopted daughters" are flying back to Brisbane today. We have all had such a great time together, and I will miss all the giggling and noise in the house. My two daughters will stay until the end of January with us which we are really looking forward to.

Yesterday we took a boat out to Pigeon Island and swam and snorkeled, and my younger daughter and I dived. The weather was perfect, the sea magical and we had a terrific time, so it is with these photos I say lukim yu tupela meri.

The coral that you can see in the foreground of the photos was about 7 metres below the surface of the water.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fun in the sun

How to entertain teenagers - all you need is a jet ski, a biscuit and a warm sunny tropical afternoon.

My daughter and her two friends have a turn.

While they were churning up the water a number of dolphins joined in the fun. I was lucky to catch one as it surfaced. (The photo has not been doctored even though the dolphin looks like I have darkened it - weird??)

My second daughter and a friend on the biscuit. Notice the volcano erupting in the background just to add to the excitement.

On my Vietnam blog there are some of my favourite photos of the girls, having fun in the waters of Halong Bay.

Monday, December 10, 2007


My daughters and two friends are still visiting, so we have been off each day doing lots of touristy things. That is why I have been unable to visit many of you - four teenage girls are keeping me very busy!!

The other afternoon, I managed to organise a short dance by one of the Bainings dancers (see November 21 post) - the guy in the very, very tall mask. I took lots of photos but you have already seen them so I decided to post photos I took of some of the people who were waiting for the dancers to arrive. This group was formed of women of all ages who chanted and beat a stick on a block of wood to keep the beat for the dancer.

The dancer worked his way around this small group during the ceremony so I was unable to take close-ups of them while they were chanting. But as I watched them, it was obvious by their ages that this was a stunning example of how the traditions are passed on.

The baby watched wide eyed, the little girl joined in when she could as the younger women and
the older one lead the group, familiar with the words and the beat.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Rhythm Road

Last week in Moresby, a friend took me to a concert that is part of The Rhythm Road American Music Abroad Program, which is in sponsorship with Jazz at the Lincoln Centre and the US Department of State, Educational and Cultural Affairs. American musicians are touring the world holding concerts, master classes, workshops, jam sessions etc with local musicians to sponsor cultural exchange.

We saw the Dana Leong Band which includes Dana Leong, Baba Israel, Elliot Humberto Kavee and Jason Lindner. Dana has played with the likes of Barry White, Alanis Morrisette, Earth Wind and Fire, Norah Jones. Ray Charles and the like. He is absolutely sensational!!!

They played “hip-hop funk rhythms and rock propulsions” which isn’t really my cup of tea but was certainly powerful and entertaining. The best part of the evening was when they jammed with one of the local PNG bands.

Music crosses all boundaries doesn’t it and what a great initiative of the American Government – bouquets to them!!!

These are some of the photos Greg took

Check out my Vietnam Blog today to see an interesting occupation.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Whip Dance

On the way to Rabaul the other afternoon we saw these men walking down the footpath on their way to the Kokopo High School Graduation Ceremony.

We stopped to take their photos and they honoured us by doing an impromptu demonstration of their dance - The Whip Dance. I think the sight of four gorgeous young ladies may have spurred them on!!

The whips are made from the dried and hardened stems of a large variety of ginger that grows here - see this early post of mine. The men go off into the bush for "secret-men's-business" which they say puts them into a trance. They then perform a dance during which they whip each other, all over their bodies.

The only room they had was on the road so one lane of traffic was blocked while they completed it. The wonderful thing about PNG is that this sort of thing creates not even the slightest annoyance by fellow motorists and everyone took it in a festive way, by blowing horns and calling out encouragement.

This guy is kneeling on the ground waiting to be whipped!!! The noise is unbelievable - like the sound of a traditional whip.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Three Girls and a Volcano

My daughters are home (with two friends), so we spent this afternoon in Rabaul doing all the touristy things which includes a walk-on-the-wild-side down to the hot springs across from the volcano.

The water at the base of the knoll the girls are standing on is boiling.

With the girls here it means my time to visit other blogs (which usually takes a few hours) is now almost non-existent for a week or two. I will still post but may not get to many of you - sori tru!!

More photos of the Japanese Bridge on my Vietnam Blog today.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Church at Kadakada

Along the North Coast Road you can find some quaint churches - this is the Methodist Church at Kadakada.

BTW My Vietnam Blog has a belated bridge for our Theme day yesterday - cross over and see it!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December Theme - Bridges

Sometimes in PNG when you need a bris (bridge) you have to build it yourself.

Bit rushed - have just flown in from Port Moresby, will visit tomorrow.