Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Never leave a lantern alone

Well that was one lesson we learnt the EASY way! Thank goodness we didn’t learn the hard way!

We used to always just leave our lantern burning away by itself whenever we went to visit other parts of the village to chat to people at night. Then one night when we were at another house, the lantern had a bit of a funny turn and had big flames shooting out the top of it. Thankfully some of our village brothers were near and saw it. They took it down with a long stick and then threw some wet hessian bags over the top of it to put the fire out.

We were very lucky – if our brothers hadn’t been there to come to the rescue, it could very well have set the kitchen house on fire and burnt it down. That would have been a disaster! There is a black mark on the roof of the house now from the flames which is a permanent reminder to us that one should never leave a lantern alone, especially if it’s temperamental.

Now we have to babysit our lantern. If we go anywhere, it comes with us or we turn it off.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some nights it gets cold

My sympathy goes to those of you suffering through the cold winter in Melbourne. Our weather never really gets very cold, but since we’re used to high temperatures of 30 degrees most of the time, when the temperature drops to 25 degrees or below, we feel it cold. That usually only happens after dark. I have a blanket which I use on these nights as one sheet is not enough. If it drops down to 21 degrees, I need to fold my blanket so that it is double thickness, but it doesn’t cover my legs then.

One day it was rainy and overcast all day, and when it was shower time in the afternoon, I couldn’t face having a shower with cold water, which wouldn’t have had the chill taken off it by the sun that day, so we heated up some water and mixed it with cold and I had a nice warm shower. So far, it’s only been once that we’ve needed to do that.

Here are some photos that were taken on that same day later in the evening, when they had started a fire for warmth. I too, heated myself up next to the fire.

Even the dogs felt cool and appreciated the warmth of the fire.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Yikes! Falling tree!

One day as I was showering, I heard this loud noise very near, which sounded like a tree cracking and falling. I was undressed and all wet and my greatest fear was that the tree would land on the shower walls, exposing me! It didn’t really cross my thoughts that if it came that close, being injured would probably be of greater concern!

It was a coconut tree that had been leaning across the road that fell. If I had looked up, I surely would have seen it, but I was just focused on the wall that might come crashing down. It fell in the direction it was leaning and was really of no great threat to me. But it was pretty scary – I could hear the sound, didn’t know where it was coming from, and couldn’t run!

The base of the tree was only about 3-5 metres away from our shower house. Here are some photos, our shower house is the metal structure with orange curtain.

Clearing the coconut tree off the road. They had the road cleared within half an hour, they were very quick at moving it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Local food – “iobo” – Sea sausage?

We have this local seafood, which in Teop is called ‘iobo’, but we don’t really know what the proper English term for it is. We have heard it called a ‘sea sausage’, but I googled that and didn’t find anything that looked like iobo. It’s not a sea cucumber either. So if anyone out there reading this is a marine life specialist and knows what it is, please post a comment and let me know!

Here’s one that’s recently been caught. It is covered in sand, so you can’t really see it properly. Its mouth is at the end on the left.

Iobo is an invertebrate and it’s not a crustracean. It has no arms or legs, and it lives just under the sand. I haven’t been to catch iobo yet, so I can’t describe the process, but it is done at the reef when it is low tide.

They turn the iobo inside out to gut it, and it remains inside out when it is cooked and eaten. Here is some iobo on a plate.

So, what is iobo like to eat? Is it gross? No, it’s not that hard to eat. It has a bit of a fishy taste to it, as you would expect since it comes from the sea. It’s a bit rubbery like calamari, but it breaks down easily when you chew it (unlike calamari that hasn’t been cooked properly which you have to chew for ages).

I am quite happy to eat iobo and I don’t have an allergic reaction to it. It seems that some people do, as they have asked us, “When you ate it, did your skin get itchy?” and our answer is “No”, but obviously it does affect some people giving them itchy skin.

A plate of food which has one iobo going across it:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Catching car to Buka

This may be a thing of the past now, since our village now has its own car, but before then, to get to Buka, we had to wait for other cars travelling past and wave at them to get them to stop and take us.

It was usually quite a problem as by the time many of the cars from further south get to our village, they are already full, and we’d have a long wait, sometime up to two hours to find a car that had space for us.

There’s a bend in the road just before our village, so we only have a short bit of road to see cars coming:

Standing by the road waiting for a car:

Here’s our luggage:

Finally, here we are squeezed into the back of what they call a ’10 seater’. It’s a four wheel drive that has the seats in the back going along the side instead of the usual way.