Tabubil to Cairns. 26th September 2010.
The last week has flown by in a blur. Working 7am to 5pm does that to you. Monday after working all day we went to the Hash Club for their walk and then after the walk we have dinner there. Dinner is supplied by the Mess Caterers and this week it was Roast Lamb with vegetables and salad. It was delicious and one of the best meals we have had. We met up with Mick (the relieving doctor) again this week and invited him for dinner on Tuesday night.
Mick is a most unusual man with a very dry sense of humor. He says he comes up and relieves for the real doctor and has been coming up to Tabubil for a long time. He has worked all over the place and is very interesting when you talk to him. The tricky bit is getting him to talk. He bought Chili Chocolate with him, so he is OK. We cooked up a storm with Pork Chops, caramelized onion and a nice sauce we made out of mango and paw paw chutney and some Hoisin-type sauce that was in the fridge. We cooked some veggies to go with it. It tasted great. Entrée was cheese and biscuits and dessert was a Sarah Lee Blueberry Danish. Not bad for living in the jungle.
Wednesday night we went to the Golf Club (grilled barra was very good!) and Thursday night we ate at the Mess. When you eat at the Mess they pile your plate so high you have to tell them to stop. Two large spoonfuls of rice goes with everything. The Natioanls eat the whole plateful and then add half a loaf of bread and dessert. So the week rolled by and we just worked, ate and slept. Not very exciting, I am afraid. Friday night we lashed out and bought a couple of pies at the Supermarket and stayed in for Gerard to do work and me to read my book.
Saturday the Toyota dealer loaned us a twin cab 4WD ute so Gerard could take me up the road. We collected Ian, Linda, Kimberley, Dean and Enem and headed up the road just before lunch. We had a great day. Dean is Linda’s son and home for the holidays and Enem comes from Linda’s village and lives with them. She cleans the house and minds Kimberley while Ian and Linda are at work. Kimberley is nearly three. Dean and Enem rode in the back of the ute, you can do that in PNG. Kimberley sat in the front with us on the way up and fell asleep. We stopped at a couple of villages and bought bush bananas and cooking bananas.
On the way back we stopped at the 115km post where there is a fresh creek that runs through a culvert under the road and forms a pool on the downward side. We stopped and had a swim in the waterhole and made a fire and cooked the cooking bananas. I can’t say I was really fond of them, they taste like a potato but have a very course texture, which kind of makes your mouth go dry. Kimberley dips hers in the water and shared them with Gerard and I. Just what everyone wants a half eaten wet banana that tastes different, but she is so cute you can’t refuse. She calls us Auntie Jayne and Uncle Gerard.
On the way back we drove through the tunnel and visited the hydro scheme. There isn’t enough water at the moment, so they are running diesel generators to power the town. If there is a long dry spell, they shut the mine and send people back to Australia or back to their villages. They did that for 6 months in 2002. Most of the ex-pats found new work in that time in Australia and didn’t go back.
When we got back we returned the car and went to the mess for tea. The Hash Club had a disco on, so off we went to the disco. Gerard has told me they are great, but this one was terrible, instead of the usual rock n roll they played head banging stuff, it was more like a night club. Bugger, we went home early. We had to get up at 5am for me to be at the airport by six, so it didn’t matter anyway.