Thursday 10 March 2011

This morning's haul

It's Thursday. In Lae, it's pretty much universally referred to as "stay-at-home Thursday". Primarily because it's pay day for a lot of the locals, and the queues for the bank are so long, the often stretch around the block. Combine that with scorching heat, and strength sapping humidity, and you've got all the ingredients for a couple of the locals to let their inner raskol out for a run.  It's just another way we bounce up here in Lae. It's also means I get to work from home, so Thursday is going to be by blog/obligatory email home day. And I get to go to the market nice and early, to pick up the best the vendors have on offer.

Today I grabbed a mango for breakfast, a hand of eating bananas, some more rambutans and some kina. Kina is the name of the currency up here, but also the name of a tasty mussel/pipi/clam-like mollusc. Originally, transactions were made in Kina shells, thereby giving rise to the name of the currency. They are large and meaty and I think they're going to be awesome on pasta tonight.They're currently de-sanding themselves in the bath. You have to rinse them for at least 4 hours before you can cook them, to get rid of the sandy grit, and also the tiny kina crabs that live in some of them.

Lae is shrouded in its usual haze of overcast cloud, wood smoke and dust. The local ladies are getting to know me at the market now, They call me and show me their wares with smiles  that are blindingly white, and heart-grippingly genuine. Some of them have walked 6 hours down from the mountains to bring just a few hands of bananas or a bag of charko lif down to town. Pikininis stare unabashedly at my hair and ask their Mamis why the white lady has buai in her "gras bilong het".

The smell of Lae is one of woodsmoke, BO, mangoes, dust and the sea. Sometimes, when the mackerel factory is canning, it smells of that, too. When the vanilla factory AND the mackerel factory are processing at the same time, it can be a little...err...overwhelming.

We had an awesome tropical storm last night. torrential rain, lightning, thunder, the whole shebang. The overnight rain has damped down the dust and pulled some of the humidity out of the air, I don't need the aircon on just yet.  It's my haus mari's day off.. the workmen next door have yet to arrive and switch on that bloody gen-set, I have a puppeh at my feet, an organic, free trade, single source coffee in my mug  and a 'fridge filled with all sorts of local goodness.

Every day, I feel more and more contented, and more and more home.


Anonymous said...

As we are grearing up for yet another snowstorm in Montreal (the second in a week), I am so GREEEN with envy right now it isn't even funny.

- Jazz

LF said...

Hello there! Just stumbled upon your blog via the kabsa chicken recipe :) I was given a spice mix from a friend in Jordan, and I dont normally go for the pre-mixed spices AND I didnt know what Kabsa Chicken was anyways and had to do a bit of research. Lots of yummy things here.