Wednesday 30 January 2008
PNG is one of Australia's nearest neighbours, being just over a 2 hour flight from Cairns, Qld. It sits on the Ring of Fire which is a volcanic region of the Earth that experiences earthquakes and tsunamis and not a Johnny Cash song. Japan and Hawaii also live on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
I was born in Rabaul which was recently partially wiped off the map (or covered in 10ft of ash) in 1994 by the volcanoes that also call it home. The best way to describe Rabaul is being like a half full cup of tea. The tea in the cup represents the water over Rabaul Harbour which covers the flooded caldera of an active volcanic. The rim of the cup is the circle of volcanoes that surround the harbour and just inside the cup above the liquid sits Rabaul. That description never sat well with me as a child, especially when we were woken in the the early hours of the morning as children and made to walk down the stairs and stand outside our house while it shook from a larger of the hundreds (yes hundreds) of earthquakes experienced each week.
PNG is in the southern hemisphere. My sister was born on a naval base at 2 degrees south of the equator on Manus Island. I often mistold the story and said she was born on a naval boat in international waters. Sorry about that K.
It's a country like Australia that likes to dig up and sell it's dirt to the rest of the world. 72% of it's exports are oil, copper and gold. That's one reason they dispute the succession of Bougainville so strongly because it has a helluva lot of the countries resources.
With just under 6 million people, it has around 1000 languages and dialects. That's about one language per person and it sure feels that way when you visit. English is the official language but the main lingua franca is Tok Pisin. If you are Papuan then you should be speaking Hiri Motu.
Papua and New Guinea were separate territories until they were brought together after WWII. Everyone has had a go at running the place including the Germans and Dutch and finally Australia before PNG gained independence on the 16th of September in 1975.
The currency is the Kina - you'll get K2.3222 for $A1.00 at the moment. It is the 54th largest country in the world sitting on the world's 4th largest island. Sweden is the same size as PNG.
It is a beautiful country with rainforests, white beaches, coffee plantations, infrequent snow on it's highest peaks and lots of friendly black people. I love it and always will even if my Mum does sometimes look disappointed with how Aussie I can be :o) Yes, the main cities like Port Moresby and Lae are dangerous but the rest of the place is worth a visit.
Saturday 26 January 2008
Wednesday 23 January 2008
Monday 21 January 2008
Wednesday 9 January 2008
Monday 7 January 2008
I Am Legend
I Am Legend is another incredibly entertaining Will Smith movie. If he hadn't done Men In Black + Independence Day, that might not sound like such a bad thing. It's very 28 Days Later but without the spring loaded cats. In all honesty, they are all copies of Day of the Triffids so stop the complaining. There are layers to this movie that I did not anticipate. It left me lying awake thinking until late in to the night after watching it. Well worth the trip to see it on the big screen.
No Country for Old Men
The Cowen brother's movie is based on a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy. It is set in the open, dry expanse that lies at the US-Mexican border and follows a man who discovers a case full of money, lots of drugs and a circle of dead drug dealers. Of course he takes the money and spends the rest of the movie being tracked down by the biggest psychopath since Hannibal Lecter. There is a lot of death as a result of every kind of weapon imaginable, including a cattle gun.
It's about fate and chance. The psychopath Anton Chigurh is a great personification of Death. He drives a car with a horse on it's bonnet, flips a coin to decide the fate of some of his victims and follows the rules as set down by the empty space that is usually occupied by most peoples conscience.
If all the paths you choose bring you to watch this movie, then are meant to be there.
Saturday 5 January 2008
We were on our way to the Art Gallery of NSW that is well known as the home of the Archibald Prize. It's a building we walk by often on our regular walks through the gardens and the Domain. After Julian told me it is one of the top ten places you must visit in Sydney according to some random guide book, I thought "who am I to argue with a top ten list?" and decided to pay it a visit.
G and I spent a good 3 hours there, starting with lunch in the cafe and then casing the whole joint except for the not so appealing serious looking English portraits with ugly gold frames. We'll save that for next time.
The highlight for me, in their great collection was a painting by surrealist James Gleeson called The Arrival of Implacable Gifts. I'm not sure if photos are allowed but after standing in front of it and bending my head and twisting and turning, I decided that I'd frustrate other viewers less if I simply stole a shot and moved on. At the shop we searched for a print but only found a postcard which I bought. It's really worth going just to see this painting.
The Arrival of Implacable Gifts
The other artist who I found amazing was Jeffrey Smart. I scored a mounted print of Central Station in Sydney and a few postcards of his. He's a modernist who concentrates on urban landscapes. He wanted to be an architect but ended up studying art. I enjoyed reading that although his art has been called surreal, he argues that it is the world that he depicts that is surreal. I agree with that :)
Friday 4 January 2008
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion diced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
200g french lentils
4 pork sausuages cut into 2cm pieces
250ml chicken stock
250ml dry white wine
Fry onion and garlic until translucent.
Add sausages and cook until brown.
Add pepper to taste.
Add chicken stock, wine and lentils.
Turn down the heat, put the lid on and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.
Serve in a bowl with a chilled glass of white wine.
Wednesday 2 January 2008
It must be hard to hang out in malls and feel misunderstood. Hopefully my posts can show them that someone out there does care enough to take the piss.
Peace to your momma!
Tuesday 1 January 2008
We spent NYE at Milson's Point looking up at the bridge, across to the city and over to a barge. Thankfully we chose to sit inside the fenced off area with the sedate family types and away from the drunk 15 year olds. On leaving we did manage to witness a hair-pulling fight between two girls. G described it like two stags locking antlers and twisting. It was hilarious and soooo classy.
It took 90 mins to get to the train station. When I worked there, it usually took less than 3 minutes. Personal space was non-existent and this was the first time I thought I'd be trampled to death. It was an experience :)
The first day of 2008 is also my last day of leave so I'm back on the beach tomorrow for 3 days, if all goes well. This year is starting well and will be a fabulous one.
I want to catch up with everyone more often this year. I promise I will.