Archive for January, 2011

Up the garden path.

The internet habits of “googling” and hypertext clicking (link-hopping?) are probably changing many of the ways which we look for information, read text, digest data and words, and so on. This isn’t really the time and place to dwell on these matters which frankly others are doing better than me anyway. But, thanks to WordPress, I get a little list of search terms that led people to this site. Not sure if they found what they were after, or whether they were happy to have themselves led up the garden path in a virtual sense. Virtual seekers, seek on, and good luck to you.

Here are some of the terms that seem to have brought people to this humble blog. Some I offer just for expanatory purposes, so that if the same search leads someone here then they may get the answer. Some are included because they’re just odd. Here we go:

Tok pisin olgeta: “olgeta” means “everything”. Hence the name of this blog – “olgeta longlong”, i.e. “everything’s crazy” or “everything’s insane”.

How did Mt. Tavurvur get its name?: I dunno, but I daresay it’s a Tolai name. Sounds impressive though doesn’t it? Say TAR-VUR-VUR in a sonorous voice, like James Earl Jones would after he’s swallowed a nice cup of gravel. I think if you pronounce it like that, it means “goddamn awesome” or “do not fuck with my shit”.

Big supermarket in PNG: As I’ve written before on this blog, the most popular expat supermarket in Moresby is the aptly named Foodworld. An entire WORLD of FOOD. Makes the mind spin. There’s also a place by the harbour still often referred to as Anderson’s, although it was sold to the SVS Group a while before we got to Moresby. The supermarket formerly known as Anderson’s now smells putrid, and old timers are sometimes heard moaning things like “bloody Malaysians turned the place into a bloody trade store”. There is also a whopping new supermarket called Vision City, which houses one of Moresby’s three RH Hypermarts. Vision City will also make your mind spin, due to the fresh aroma of cheap imported plastic toys.

Meri Buka porn: As far as I know this blog does not feature pornography featuring women from Bougainville. All the best with that though… hmmm.

Forget in tok pisin: Sori, mi lus tingting!!!! Ridim dictonary pastaim.

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Brave old world.

Things certainly work differently down here. Propriety is different, not so much snobby but more stylish. The classic Yacht Club outfit sported by Moresby upper crust will not do in Sydney. Where are the floral shirts? The stripes and saggy breast pockets? At least sandals and thongs are still OK, if somewhat less ragged and dusty. I find myself slipping into the old uniforms with surprising ease – new Bonds t-shirts are a comfort after not being able to wear them much, thanks to that swift Moresby slickness that comes up every time you step into the heat.

An iPhone in Sydney is part of the kit. Requisite. An iPhone in Moresby is a fatuous gesture, a joke, a trinket good for being thieved and not much else. Selecting a good kalamata olive leaves one boggled for choice. In Moresby, it is one kind or maybe the other and by God you’re happy to have it despite the clearly indulgent price. Bicycles and after-hours strolls. The ability to get snobbish over instant coffee and wallow in internet that loads like a breeze. Drinking beer with names like “Fat Yak” and in styles like “amber ale”, with the words “south” and “pacific” nowhere to be seen on the label.

On beer – a reunion BBQ in Brisbane by the river sees a pair of mates show up with the cheapest beer they could find in the bottle-o: a six pack of nothing less than the mighty SP brown. I made eyes at the free bottle opener that came with it, and am thankful for their generous gesture – nowhere in Moresby did I see one for sale. The memorabilia and the memories keep coming, like little shockwaves one month on, elegiac ripples of sorts (for isn’t nostalgia a kind of mourning in its own way?). I hope they keep coming, I really do.

Memory is tricky and motivation is fickle. I am no longer in PNG but Kit and I have aspirations to return – just not quite yet. In the meantime I hope to use this nether-space as a repository for the moments, images and stories that the last two-and-a-bit years have given me. Subject of course to the two factors mentioned above. There’s enough to keep this thing going a little while longer in any case. Until then – Manda. Apa kanda. Catch. Luuukkiiiiiiimm yuuuu.

PNG news clippings link.

This website made me laugh and I hope it continues to be updated. Ominously it was last updated on December 7th 2010, but stranger resurrections in the blogosphere have happened before – witness this very blog’s revival. Enjoy.

Too-rah!

At about twenty past four in the morning I had what is called a “blowout”. As far as I know a blowout is when an item of footwear – usually a thong, but sometimes a shoe or in this case a sandal – suffers fatal damage to a strap or some other bit that is essential if you need the piece of footwear to remain on one’s feet. The timing was almost perfect. The sandals had been loyal and enduring for two years, three months and the woozy small hours of one day. If they had lasted another eight hours they would have got me all the way home.

It was December 15th 2010 and we had just finished loading our neighbour’s car for the final run to Jackson’s. We’d made the dead man’s watch trip to the airport a few times to help out needy mates and fellow volunteers. We’d be back in bed by five thirty or so – just enough time to lie awake and ponder the futility of getting back to sleep before the neighbours starting clanging and bellowing. But this time it was our turn to be deposited for the check-in queue and the discombobulated wait for boarding. We were pretty much gone.

Five minutes before the fateful blowout I fulfilled a small promise I had made to myself. I stepped out onto the balcony and took in the view for a final few moments. I recall that the streets were quiet, the stillness exerting a sense of calm and order that was incongruous with the day-to-day reality of the city we were about to leave. The Mobil service station had its big street light on (the letter ‘o’ still suffering from its own blowout suffered months before), the light on our own street illuminated the big pile of dirt scraped off the hillside where the new neighbours had carved out a driveway to their home, but otherwise the darkness of a city with few street lights dominated. The garish daylight that was a constant factor to be endured, avoided and overcome was not present. Nor were the crowds, the hurtling fish-like schools of PMV buses, the insidious dust, or the haphazard hubbub of a city replete with rules rarely obeyed.

I had expected a swelling of confusion or nostalgia or giddy trepidation. Some kind of emotion worthy of the occasion – my final view of the place that had been home, from the balcony we loved, in the humble home that had kept us insulated from the worst and cocooned us inside with the best, the home where (among other things) we decided to get married for God’s sake!

What I actually felt at the time was my belly feels funny. Not because I was nervous or overwhelmed, but because my belly always feels funny when I get up too early. That’s all. Maybe I should have saved one last SP for the moment. I took it all in for a minute or so, then stepped inside and locked the door to the balcony for what I guess will be the last time.

Minutes later I suffered the blowout. I tossed the sandals into the bin like the newest piece of junk they were and got in the waiting car. The security guard did not take too long to wake up and open the gate. The deluge the previous afternoon had created a wild new mound of soil to traverse halfway up the road. Otherwise nothing was unusual. Goodbye Waigani Heights. Dare I say it? Until next time.