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.