Monday, January 29, 2007

Consumer goods...

Ok so one of the things that we haven't really spoken about a whole lot in the blog so far is, well, stuff. "Stuff" as in the physical things that you can buy with your hard earned Kina, "Stuff" as in consumer goods and trade goods.

Now obviously for those of you out there in the developed world there is a lot of "stuff" that can be considered "nice to have" or even just luxury items but when the chips are down and we are pressed for an opinion most of us all easily acknowledge as unnecessary.

That being said these trappings of wealth are also pretty easy to get used to having and not having them or other things such as a thai restaurants (along with a tendency for the majority of the population to walk around with knives almost as large as themselves), all combine to make living in the developing world somewhat of a challenge.

Anyway wether we like it or not the cheap plastic consumer goods are everywhere (even in the provinces of PNG) and they are here to stay. Most of the "stuff" that we get here comes from the asian markets with Indonesia and Malaysia the primary sources. With this as the case there are occasionally some pretty weird items on the supermarket shelves... We haven't really been keeping a track of these but as of this weekend we have to share this one with the world...

Yeah that's right lollies, but look a little closer and you'll notice that they are lollies with a free gift, a free gift of a Stanley knife, lovely. Can you imagine finding something like this on the shelf in Occupational Health and Safety crazy Australia? Maybe it is the last stop for your international terrorist who needs a sugar hit? (a big part of my enjoyment of the whole package is that fact that the "Orange" lollies are not in fact "Orange" but hit your tongue as the fabulous "Vitamin C Flavoured Fizzy Candy")

The thing is, as crazy as this all seems, there are probably few countries in the world where the general shopping public are as "knife literate" as those in PNG, perhaps the world hasn't gone crazy after all...

Monday, January 22, 2007

What We Get Up To With No Restaurants

One thing we have been missing A LOT while we’ve been in Alotau is the lack of dining out options. There are a few places, but I’m afraid the variety is somewhat lacking. And we don’t really have access to a car so getting to and from these venues at night is not so easy.

So Cam has spent many a night figuring out how to make our eating habits more interesting. Recently he has focused on the lack of Vietnamese cuisine here – as many of you may know one of our favourite restaurants in Sydney is the local Vietnamese one – and has been exploring the supermarkets for any ingredients that can be used in the making of it.

While watching a show on foods of the world we all found ourselves drooling over Vietnamese Pho, and Cam decided it was time to take the step and try his hand at one of his favourite dishes. And boy are we glad that he did! Leanne, a volunteer from Goroka was here to enjoy it with us, and we had a lovely (almost restaurant-ish) evening.

Big thanks to Cam and his constantly improving culinary skills – but now the pressure is on for more yummy food! Unfortunately this week we’ve had to give him a break due to him experiencing his first dose of malaria. He’s been brought back to health and solid foods by lovely Nurse Jane – although on reflection if he had of thought about it, he could have made another big batch of Pho to sustain himself through the fever.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Our Live-Aboard Adventure

So in the last post we mentioned something about going on a boat. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of live-aboard boats – apart from what the title implies – these are boats that one lives on in between getting in the water and diving.

Cam has been doing training with various dive operations, and was asked to train on this boat. When the opportunity arose for Jane to join him on a live-aboard adventure she jumped at the chance! What an amazing opportunity! The boat sailed around the Milne Bay Province, taking us to places we had never been before – Kwato Island (where there is a beautiful old church),

the Engineer group of islands, the Amphlete group of islands and Goodenough island – higher than Mount Kosciuszko, but pretty much straight up from sea level. The type of image that takes your breath away to behold (as corny as that sounds). Amazing stuff.

Of course, we also had the chance to do lots of diving.

The average day on a live-aboard is:

6:30am- wake up and eat a (cold) first breakfast. Then dive.
9:00am- get out of the water and eat a (hot) second breakfast – just like a hobbit. Then dive.
12:00pm- get out of the water and eat lunch. Then dive.
3:00pm- get out of the water and eat afternoon tea. Then dive.
5:30pm- get out of the water, chill out, then eat dinner.
Occasionally after dinner there is a night dive on offer.

Phew! Luckily it wasn’t compulsory to do all of the dives as Cam is slightly more of a fish than Jane is, but the regular eating habits suited her just fine! However they both got a little bit obsessive about the underwater photography – it really is a lot of fun. And when you are in such an amazing location there is just so much to see! Such as:


lion fish,

ornate ghost pipefish (hard to find),

rhinopias (again hard to find),

frog fish (also hard to find),

clown toby (cute – and Jane is very proud of this picture),

fire sea urchins,



and sea fans galore!

And we couldn't forget the usual clown fish photo either.

Also sometimes one finds a wreck of a plane on the bottom of the ocean – this is a B17 bomber from WWII at 47 metres underwater. Very cool.

Anyway, the point is we had a great time. The fellow guests (Peter,Kathy, Sarah and Chirs) were lots of fun, and provided great conversation and good diving company. We’d like to thank Paul and the crew (Simeon, Connie, Rose, Adrian, Jimi, Freddy and Max) for being wonderful hosts and helpers, and for looking after us so well. A trip we won’t forget – but for all the right reasons.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Our First Garden Harvest...

Welcome to our first garden harvest! This was a fair while ago, but we've only just managed to obtain the photos. You'll notice in this picture carrots, capsicum, spring onion, cucumber, tomoatoes, ginger - all from our garden in Alotau! Here's hoping some of you will share in the excitement on home grown goods.

We had a great New Years and hope you all did too! There will be pictures of our New Years night coming up soon in a future posting. But for now we will be going away on a boat for a couple of weeks. Very exciting! So we won't really be able to post in that time, but never fear we should have plenty of piccies and stories when we get back! Happy 2007!