Posts Tagged 'sydney'

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.

In the interim.

I suppose a brief explanation of what’s happened in the last couple of months might be of vague interest. Not that there’s too much to report. We moved into a smaller room. Larry and Deni became our new housemates. I worked for a significantly wealthy aid and development organisation for a few weeks, was the ‘principle author’ of a report, and got used to wearing sensible clothes five days a week. I drank beer, salivated over Leroy’s blog, and in turn did my best to eat as much good stuff before the dreaded Age of Kaukau begins. Indulged in a great deal of a certain illicit enjoyment that I won’t name seeing as my history with said stuff actually threatened my visa application at one stage – no details forthcoming, if you don’t know already you won’t know. I bought some more books, including a compendium of original Conan the Barbarian stories. In short I almost forgot I was leaving the country…

Another month.

Word arrived the other day. A reappraisal of the situation. No more week-by-week plan, no more living tensed and on the brink of sudden departure with belongings poised to be stuffed into suitcase and backpack. We wait another month. Hopefully a realistic date to work towards, otherwise who knows how long before whichever ineffectual bureaucrat manages to do some data entry, click ‘print’, and apply a rubber stamp of authorisation.

Meanwhile schemes to avoid glassy-eyed ennui are flapping around in my head like a fish trying to extricate itself from the dry world back into water. Frantically at first, but not for long. Soon the same answer presents itself as it does every other time, almost inevitably – booze! Or thinking practically if not realistically – a job. Wait a second, I just quit two of those.

It’s cash I’m worried about pissing against the wall. The same can’t be said for time.

PNG time.

There is a concept called ‘PNG time’ that we’re supposedly going to have to get very accustomed to. It is a similar notion to ‘hippy time’ and ‘koori time’, so if you’ve not heard of or encountered these things I won’t bother trying to explain them too deeply – suffice to say you either learn patience, grit your teeth, or lose the plot.

PNG time is I suspect why Kitty and I are still in Australia as I type. Which isn’t necessarily all bad. If it weren’t for PNG time we’d both have flown out of Sydney a mere day and a half after finishing our respective jobs, with no chance to ease our way into our imminent new lives. As it happens we’ve managed week up north to see friends of mine in Burringbar, Brisvegas and family up near Melaney – a blessing in hindsight. Now however we’re back in Sydney again, with no news regarding visas and departure dates.

Seeing as Australian Volunteers International (AVI) handle the visa negotiations and plane tickets we can’t complain too much, although I’ll be squawking when the cash runs out. At least we still have a room, albeit a smaller one – thanks guys, you know who you are.

Now we wait, and find more stuff to do and buy. Shoes. Find a new home for my bike and ugg boots. A new backpack (maybe). Some condiments to fire up what I am told is a rather repetitive diet (kaukau and meat from tins, ahoy). Stuff to shave with, assuming I bother with that. Negotiate a price for Larry’s camera. More odds and sods from the chemist. Last-chance beers with those who missed the farewell party.

The buffer of the mundane before the clutching terror of the new.