November 11th 1983

posted in: The way back | 0

The Budd family

Breakfast was provided by the guest-house as part of the nightly fee, so Val + I were able to recoup some of our outlay by eating heartily.  It was, tho’ no more than cereal, toast + coffee, + tho’ we did ample justice to that lot, I’m sure we still paid a substantial amount for our rooms.  Then we showered + packed + went to meet Eddy – I had rung him last night, + re-confirmed the time + place.  He was there on the dot of 9, + then it was simply another trip to the bank – our money is disappearing at an alarming rate – + then on the road again.  Only this time in stereo, air-conditioned luxury.  Eddy had had a successful trip, by his own account, having made some very big sales indeed, so he was in a good mood, tho’ now quite happy to return to his wife + kids.

We arrived back in Koiknantu, the town with the craft centre where he had picked us up, at around lunch-time, so we wandered around the Centre while he conducted some business.  The craftsmen + women were at work now, tho’ it was hardly production-line stuff.  The pottery impressed me most of all – much of it was etched with a design before firing, + was very attractive.  More so, to my eye, than its usual English equivalent.  Eddy was soon back with us – he had only made the one call, since he couldn’t be bothered, so we had a coffee + a sandwich + were soon on our way again.

Up till now, we had been back-tracking towards Lae, but shortly beyond Koinantu we came to the turn-off to Madang – they haven’t yet been able to construct a more direct route down to Madang from the Highlands.  We had heard many stories as to how bad the Madang road was, but it didn’t seem too bad to me, tho’ it was still a long + rather slow road, with one or 2 long pulls up the hills.  When we could get going tho’, Eddy put his foot down, + we fairly bombed along.  Once or twice we weren’t in total control as the car slipped + slithered on the loose gravel surface, but there was no harm done, so it just made for an exciting ride.  Just outside Madang, Eddy stopped to show us a sulphur hole + stream, all part of a nature reserve – a very pleasant spot.  Then the last few miles, arriving at Eddy’s house just on 4.

We were introduced, of course, to Eddy’s family – his wife Ann (rather plainer + older-looking than I would have imagined, but very pleasant) + the kids – Belinda, 10, Kerry 7, + Antony 3.  Our first act was to have a cup of tea, then a shower.  After that, we felt quite human again.  Val + I have become devoted followers of the American/Australian a-shower-a-day notion – don’t know how we’ll manage back in England.  There were a couple of other visitors to the house, Fred + Peter.  Fred they had known back in Lae, from where they had recently moved, + he was combining a work trip, installing a computer at Ramu Sugar Refinery, with pleasure, playing in the PNG squash championships being held this weekend in Madang.  Fred is an ex-pom, with quite a sense of humour; his mate Peter an Oz, quieter, tho’ still pleasant.  We arranged to meet them later at the Coastwatchers Motel, in town.  We then had a very pleasant roast dinner meal, tho’ it was interrupted as a social occasion by the arrival of Eddy’s work colleague, another Peter, with whom he proceeded to discuss business.  Afterwards Eddy + I amused ourselves with a couple of computer games he had acquired during his trip.  They were ostensibly presents for the 2 girls, but they didn’t get a look in edgeways.  It was shades of Juneau, with Eddy + I competing for the top score.  At the end of the evening, I was slightly ahead, with a hundred + something.

The evening in the Coastwatchers was reasonably pleasant, tho’ I did find I was spending most of my time entertaining the kids – I’m afraid I prefer to do my drinking without the company of the younger generation.  When we returned, we watched a video movie – “Fun with Dick and Jane” with George Segal + Jane Fonda.  I watched it intermittently, between writing this + playing the video game, but it was no more than light entertainment.

More expat life, which certainly makes for a comfortable, if faintly dull, life. Interesting comment on the shower, and its regularity. It has become a British things too nowadays, having a daily showere, but we were still ocked in to the more usual bath (often weekly.)

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