Friday 12th August 2016
When we were wandering around Kaveing (New Ireland, PNG,) a young chap, slightly incoherent and keen to chew and spit betel nut at my feet…
was very keen to shake my hand, repeatedly, and to speak to me in imploring but incomprehensible tones. I was polite enough but extracted my hand (several times…) and walked off down the street. A very dignified older lady came up and clasped my hands. She looked a lot like my friend Rhondie from the Kavieng Hotel, without the turban and with a halo of beautiful grey frothy curls. She apologised to me, in her marvelous English, and said,
“I am so sorry. That young man who was talking to you is a beggar. He wanted you to give him one kina.”
I apologised in my turn, and said I didn’t realise, and hadn’t given him anything.
“Oh no!” she continued. “We would prefer it if he went to his village and tilled the soil to ensure his own survival.”
I just love the way people speak in PNG – beautiful turns of phrase, perfectly constructed sentences.
Happy news – the new autopilot (thank you Michael Powe from Island Marine!) has arrived safely in Kokopo (New Britain, PNG,) via Peter Frappell (thank you Frapps!) Pete has installed it, at lightning speed, and says it is working perfectly. He is VERY happy and relieved, and I will be too next time I take a turn at the helm and don’t have to watch our course every single second!
Meanwhile in Hobart…I have somehow managed to overflow a bathtub containing two small girls and many bubbles all the way out the door and down the hallway. Many many towels later…