November 1st 1983

posted in: The way back | 1

The morning seemed to pass almost before we knew it, but we did perform some chores, + Val even cooked some bread that was entirely satisfactory.  We then strolled down to the port, to enquire about boats.  We also wanted to look in at the Trade Stores along the way, to see if they could provide better than the one Val had already been to, but we weren’t able to find one that was open.  At the port, our luck was no better.  The Port Officer raised our spirits briefly by telling us about a boat to Lae tomorrow, but then we discovered he had mistaken the day, + meant Thursday.  We chatted for a while with Martin, a Malay working for CDC on the HOPPL project, + then headed for home.

We had thought of going to a beach a little way round the coast from the port, but then decided not to – I was tired, + in any case our feet had just been dressed.  I should explain that, after our initial worries about Val’s feet, it was now mine causing most concern.  Both my feet + ankles have swelled up alarmingly, + don’t seem to want to go down, so we are worried that this could be a general infection from one of the ones on my feet.  However, since I don’t have a pain or swelling in my groin – apparently a reasonably sure symptom – we are just treating the sores + hoping for the best.

Washed thro’ our dirty clothes in the afternoon, after which I had a nap.  We had been invited to the Sisters’ flat for dinner in the evening, so we showered + dressed ourselves up a little, + then went over.  I hadn’t known what to expect, knowing that supplies are not easy to get, but in fact it was a real feast.  We were given a cold + delicious fruit drink first of all, plus a bowl of salted peanuts, + then the main meal itself – a tangy meat loaf, served with local vegetables – sweet potato, pumpkin, a sort of local spinach, + choko in a white sauce (this last was my favourite – sweet potato I find too rich.)  Then pears in jelly with tinned cream (now that takes me back – paralysed cream, Dad used to call it, + he said it was like emulsion paint, but I’ve always loved it.)  And then we chatted.  Or at least we fired questions, mostly at Nancy, which she endeavoured to answer.  Not as many anecdotes as I would have liked, but some.  Such as travelling for 5 hours in a canoe to reach a remote village.  And Annette showed us some of her photographs, tho’ they were unlabelled, + mostly snapshots of friends + students, so of little interest to us.  All in all tho’, a lovely evening.

Actually, an update on that not many pictures of the people we stayed with comment; not many photos at all in PNG, though rather more of the more exotic local inhabitants – I suppose they seemed more photo-worthy, but actually, I am sad that there are none of the other people we met. And in particular, Annette and Nancy, who really were a throwback to a different era (as well as being just wonderfully nice.)


  1. Kevan Baker

    Val even cooked some bread that was entirely satisfactory Is that your idea of a glowing compliment. I have always found Val’s cooking to be excellent 😊

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