November 12th 1983

posted in: The way back | 0

Madang market

In the morning Eddy gave us a ride to market on his way to work, + then we were left to our own devices for the rest of the morning.  The market was fascinating, fair humming with life – easily the most colourful we have seen in PNG, tho’ the fact of it being a Saturday may have helped.  There was lots of art + craft work on display, + many more tourists to appreciate + buy it.  There wasn’t too much in the way of fruit or vegetables – in that respect the Highlands markets were considerably better – but there was a fascinating fish house in the centre, with cooked octopi + various other exotic-looking delicacies, both cooked + raw.  Val was determined to buy herself a bilum, or native-crafted string bag, tho’ it took much wandering around, 2 visits, + any amount of mental anguish, she was finally rewarded with a fine example for K6, well below the regular market price.  We happened to see Ann wandering around, +she gave us the go-ahead for Val to cook pasties tonight, so we bought the necessaries for that, + then strolled home.

The lady who sold Val the bilum

When Eddy returned, we all took off to spend the afternoon at the pool at the Madang hotel.  It was pleasant there – we had some drinks brought to our table, + then dived in.  The water was rather too warm, unfortunately – it was salt water pumped in form the adjoining sea, but it was nonetheless pleasant.  And we were able to take advantage of one benefit of having kids around, since they gave us an excuse to play games.  We began by throwing the Frisbee around, which developed into a game of piggy-in-the-middle, which became a sort of possession rugby with 2 teams, the Budds against the rest.  I like playing games in the pool, + thoroughly enjoyed myself on this occasion.  Unfortunately, little Kerry was too small to compete successfully in the piggy-in-the-middle, so went off for a sulk.  I felt sorry for her, since I was similar sort of child myself (have become, for that matter, a similar sort of adult.)  By the end of the afternoon, tho’, she had been coaxed, more or less, into joining in a game I had been playing with Belinda + a school friend of hers.

Val started work on the pasties immediately we had returned, with Ann as her capable assistant, so before too long they were sitting on the table.  And very tasty they were too.  Not the best she had ever made perhaps, but not the worst either.  The evening was spent in relaxation, watching half of the TV production of The Thorn Birds, which seemed to me a bit torrid + Dallas-like, but was, Val assured me, a reasonably faithful adaptation of the book.  Tho’ once again, I only had half an eye for the screen – I seem to have become less + less a TV watcher.  At least, I certainly hope so.

A pleasant enough day, taking it easy while doing some light shopping, swimming, cooking… all pleasant enough but actually we really want to get back to some real travelling. Or maybe that is just me thinking that, forty years on, while at the time we were more than happy to rest up while the opportunity was there.

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