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Archive for April, 2012

Seeing

Recently we visited the National Orchid Garden. There were some truly magnificent orchids on display.

These curly ones were my favourite variety.

There is a lot of public art around Port Moresby. However, most of it is too difficult to photograph from the car – a lot of the sculptures are in the centre of roundabouts and it is too dangerous to stop. But the National Orchid Garden did have some art that was easy to photograph.

Then we went next door to the Wildlife Sanctuary, which really just has birds. They have a breeding programme for birds of paradise, but my favourite bird of the visit were these.

Victorian Crested Pigeons. They are about the size of chickens and live in the undergrowth of rainforests. There was once a great market for their head feathers which were used to decorate the hats of fashionable ladies.

Today Gorgeous Girl had a school free day, much to her disgust. This was due to the government strike and planned protest march. Other international schools in Port Moresby also closed as marches sometimes have the tendency to turn violent making travel on the roads dangerous. Gorgeous Girl and I have spent a quiet day at home.

Living in an emerging economy requires organisation and patience. A hoarding tendency also helps (if you see something you use a lot of it pays to buy several packets and stock up since things do disappear from the shelves for periods of time). Our power is pre-paid so I need to keep an eye on the metre to make sure that it doesn’t run out.

I’m beyond thrilled that I have gas to cook with, but I need to make sure that I have a bottle of gas on hand. Yesterday I noticed that our gas bottle was getting rather low, so I went and paid for the biggest bottle I could buy (this way it should last me for almost a year). It was to be delivered to the house. When it arrived I’d been given the smallest bottle available.  So this morning Gorgeous Girl and I went back and spoke to the gentleman who took my receipt yesterday (you pay in one location and deliver your receipt to another location who organises delivery) who assured me that they would come and collect the smaller bottle and deliver the big one. It’s now 4.45 pm and I’m still waiting. I’ll go back tomorrow and every day thereafter until it is rectified. There is a significant price difference between the two gas bottles so it’s worth following up.

Speaking of waiting. I think I have found an internet company who can connect me with internet in the house. They were supposed to come yesterday to see if their wireless signal could reach our house. Still waiting. I’ll be chasing that up tomorrow as well.

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Making

Making a quilt:

Two rounds of hexagons added to the quilt. I’m pleased with how it’s turning out and I’m finding the hand stitching very relaxing.

Making a scrapbook:

I started this album while visiting my friend Kerin in Perth in January. The letters and patterned paper are from her scrap stash.

The stickers and zebra ribbon are left over from when she did her own African album many years ago. I supplemented Kerin’s generosity with a pad of neutrals I picked up before leaving Australia.

Making a pencil case:

For Christmas Gorgeous Girl received a lovely set of pencils from my wonderful friend Kerin. We needed another pencil case to hold them. An old Pringles tin did the trick.

Gorgeous Girl has been eyeing off this paper for a while and was thrilled when I said she could use it for her pencil case. (And yes, I did also bring a pack of patterned paper with me from Australia – part of the reason why we had 178 kilos of luggage when we arrived in PNG). The ribbon trim was added at Gorgeous Girl’s insistence.

Making a shopping list:

Allow me a Mummy moment. Gorgeous Girl has shown a great interest in writing for a long time and we’ve been working on her letters whenever she has asked. Last week she wrote a shopping list for me.

Excuse my poor photography. Because she can’t read yet, I had to spell out each word to her.

Making Rice Patties:

Erin asked for the recipe for the rice patties, so here it is (such as it is)…It’s a good one to have up your sleeve if you have vegetarian guests coming to dinner.

1 cup of uncooked rice which has been cooked and cooled

1 packet of cream of mushroom packet soup – if using cup of soup sachets use 2

1 egg

a shake of flour

Combine the ingredients. Add enough flour to hold it together but not too much (less than 1/4 of a cup)

With slightly damp hands form the mixture into small slightly flattened balls.

Leave covered for at least 30 minutes in the fridge

Fry in a little oil.

And finally I’ll leave you with pictures of the little fellow we found staring into Gorgeous Girl’s bedroom last night. Poor little thing didn’t know what hit him as all three of us trooped out with cameras.

It’s a white-lipped tree frog.

And it has taken me almost an hour to upload my photos and do this blog post. Hopefully we’ll have an internet solution soon.

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So, we have moved into the house that is to be ours for the next 4 years. I still don’t have my own furniture (or plates or yarn, paper and fabric stashes) but the house comes partially furnished, so we are managing.

We don’t have any glass windows in the house. Just flyscreens and metal louvres. The garden needs a lot of work, Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl made a start on it today and there will be pictures when it is a little further along. I’m thrilled that the previous occupant planted basil. Otherwise I would need to buy stuff imported from Australia (usually half dead and at a great price). We also have some very large mango trees which I have been told bear prolifically, lots of banana trees (two of which have bananas growing on them) and papaya trees. The fruit bats keep beating me to the papayas though. There are also some very small sick looking pineapple plants, so we are going to see if we can give them some TLC and get them to bear fruit.

Yesterday we discovered a hardware store which sold seeds and so we have tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum (bell pepper) and watermelon waiting to go in to the garden once the weeds have been cleared.

I’m struggling with internet. In South Africa we had high speed fibre optic cables to the house and a wireless router so I could connect from any room in the house. Here in PNG I have no internet in the house. I am connecting through a portable USB modem which is very, very slow and expensive. It took me 15 minutes to get one blog to load yesterday. I miss seeing my blogging friends on a regular basis and often when I can read your blog I am unable to leave a comment. Bear with me. I’m sure we will get it sorted out soon… We need to, so much of my social interaction happens online that I’m going through withdrawal 🙂

Right now I’m not working and so have become very organised with cooking. I currently have a meal plan for the next week and a half. Shopping is interesting here in PNG. Most of our household budget goes on food. I pay the equivalent of $10 for two litres of milk. Milk is shipped in once a week from Australia, our butter comes from New Zealand as does our normal cheese, feta comes from Australia. Cereal is about $12 per box. One of the supermarkets here sells Kellogs breakfast cereal from Australia and the other sells Kellogs from the USA. I try to remember to buy the Australian one as their Special K (Gorgeous Girl’s cereal of choice) has more whole wheat and does not have High-fructose Corn Syrup. (Not wishing to start a fight, just my personal preference). Ice-cream is also from New Zealand and Australia.

One thing that did surprise me about food shopping here is the range of Asian food. There is a great range of Asian food available and we’ve been taking advantage of that. I just bought a 5 kilo pack of rice (11 pounds) and am expecting to use it up pretty quickly. Gorgeous Girl is a big fan of rice. On the menu for tonight is Vietnamese rice-paper spring rolls (filled with vermicelli noodles, tofu, basil, coriander and carrots) and baked spring rolls (from a packet).

I’d better go. I need to go and make some rice patties for lunch tomorrow. I reverse engineered the recipe. We had them at a friend’s place when we first arrived here and I asked for the ingredients and went from there. They are simple, quick and tasty.

Gorgeous Girl has been home on holidays and we have had fun drawing and painting and turning a Pringles can into a pencil case for her. The only crisps we can get are Pringles. Photos of that project and some of mine once the camera battery is charged and I can get on the internet again.

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