Nais Bolas

I took a mental health day today, rested, wrote, took a nap. I’ve worked every day since I got here, so I was ready for one.

On my walk to town this morning, as I’ve done every day I waved and said “Mone” (morning) to the lady selling betel nuts near the ship.


To my surprise, she gave me a big smile and said “Mone, nais bola”. Now, “nais bola” in Pijin means something like “good looking”. Between a man and a woman it has some mild sexual overtones.

When she said that, I heard laughter behind me, and when I turned I saw a young woman giggling. I said “O, iu no save? Hemi bes gelfren blong me … bat iu no talim olo blong me, bai hem kros fogud wetim me!” This means “Oh, you no save (know)? Him’e (meaning “she is”, “him” is used for both sexes) best girlfriend belong me. But you no tell’m olo (wife) belong me, bae (future) him’e (she will be) cross for good (very angry) with me!”

They both dissolved in gales of laughter as I walked on … have I mentioned how much I love this country?

A number of boats were tied up alongside the market, Saturday is a big market day.




In the market, I saw this display of containers of white powder:




Betel nut is chewed with lime, which releases the active ingredient. I chewed betel when I lived in Honiara in the 1980s. I played keyboard at the time with Unisound, the best band in the Islands. Everyone in the band but me chewed betel, and I was the only white guy in the band. I couldn’t do much about my melanin deficiency, but I couldn’t also be the only guy in the band without red-stained lips and teeth. Plus, I liked the buzz it gives you, something like maybe drinking a few cups of coffee followed by a beer …

In any case, the source of the lime is the coral of the coral reefs. It’s powdered and sold in either bottles or the smaller packets you see above. Here’s the proprietress in her hammock, assiduously watching over her goods …



As I said in an earlier post, people from the Western Province have lovely skin that is so dark it’s hard to take a good picture in anything but bright sunlight.

In the evening I treated myself to dinner at the hotel. When I started home, it was raining. People were getting into taxis. Me, I walked home to the soothing musical accompaniment of warm tropical rain … when it stopped halfway back to the boat, I was almost disappointed.

I can only wish that your lives are as full of laughter, sunshine, and rain … my very best to all.


13 thoughts on “Nais Bolas

    • Thank you kindly, Ellen. My blood does get all angrified at times, but I do my best to keep them infrequent. In the meantime, the joy of feasting my eyes on the world is the main thread in my life.

      All the best,



  1. You gotta love the skiffs. The one that seems most popular with the strong gunnel , the yellow gold color seen closest in pic, looks like a solid design and appears to be built to allow stacking for transporting from mfg. The 3″ or so gunnel lap could also offer some upward lift and water shedding in bigger waves. Additional flaring trim could be added to increase the effect. Then add a cowl/cover as seen on the front of a couple of other skiffs and you got a winner! A cable/rope operated stick controlled steering device would be the luxury model.

    Are all outboards same mfg and in only 2 sizes, 40 hp and a bigger one? Those skiffs would haul ass with a hand held/steered 40 hp! Defensive driving lessons much! Seat belts?

    I modified a whitewater canoe with front airbags with a water shedding arrangement on the front and it saved my butt many times when nosing into big standing waves and nasty holes and plunging over 6′ – 8′ vertical drops!

    Quality skiff building could create a low energy viable economy.


    • Thanks, eyesonu. Quality aluminum skiffs are all over the western province, built by … yep, Liapari Limited. I built a host of them during my time there. The ones I built are still afloat after 30 years, while fibreglass oness die fairly quickly.




      • One of us needs eye glasses! The ones I am impressed with appear to be fiberglass. A skim coat of fiberglass after 20-25 years and all is well.


        • Thanks, eyesonu. Oh, yes, those are all fibreglass. After 20-25 years here, however, most boats will have gone up on the reef at least once, often more, and a glass boat will likely be dead … whereas the first aluminum boats built at Liapari are still going strong forty years later.




    • Close. It’s generally eaten with a leaf off of some unknown tree, or a long seed-pod kind of thing. You bite off a chunk of bilnas, dip a rolled up leaf in the lime, and bite off the lime-covered part. Result? Your dentist ever use “disclosure tablets” to show where the plaque is? Well, clean teeth don’t pick up betel juice, but your lips and tongue and wherever you didn’t floss sure do …




  2. “the joy of feasting my eyes on the world is the main thread in my life.”
    “I can only wish that your lives are as full of laughter, sunshine, and rain … my very best to all.”

    I love your spirit.

    and from your comment on another posting
    “which is to say, focus on the path rather than the goal.”

    I came across this the other day
    “5 Zen Principles To Live By”
    View at

    Some snippets from there

    2. Enjoy The Moment
    This quote from Thích Nhất Hạnh, a Vietnamese Zen Monk, says it all:
    “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”

    3. Happiness Is Closer Than You Think
    We often look at outside sources for happiness: Travel, a new job, moving to a different city or county, a new partner, more experiences, etc. But if you’re unhappy now, you will probably be an unhappy person with new experiences.
    A quote from the Japanese Zen Master Dogen explains it well:
    “If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?”
    Don’t look for happiness in other places. Find it right where you are. Once you become happy, it’s easier to stay happy.

    4. Focus On The Process
    Zen Monks and Masters don’t care about results. They focus on habits, rituals, and processes that support the Zen way of living.
    Too often, we stare blindly on the results we want to achieve that we forget why we do something in the first place.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to achieve things. You don’t have to give up everything and move to a monastery.
    But make sure you develop habits and rituals that support what you’re trying to achieve in life. When you focus on the process, the outcome will follow automatically.

    The eastern philosophies of life do have something to teach us.

    On #2, there is no other moment. Make the best of the one you have.

    On #3 I would add that happiness is close, but don’t stay inside. Inside is a sterile environment, go outside and experience nature, sun rain fog and all, and smell all of nature’s complexity, not just the flowers.

    On #4, If you think the ends justify the means, you are an extremist, a fanatic.


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