Thursday 22 September 2011

The Case of the Elusive Ectotherm


Somebody stole my bloody fish!!

(Disclimer: This pic ISN'T of the fish. This is a pic from Wiki Images. MY fish, I didn't take pics of, as it was earmarked to be cooked. wrapped in bananna leaves, with ginger, shallotts and garlic. Which I was unable to achieve. Due to its STOLEN status.)

so. I've moved haus. No more Petyon Place, No more illegal bus stations right outside my bedroom window, with PMV drivers shouting "Lae, Lae, Lae, Lae, Lae. Market, Market, Market, Market, 2 Mile. 2 Mile, 2 Mile" from 6am to 8pm. No more living in the only street in Lae City that provides ingress (and illegal egress)  from the shopping heart of town to the main thoroughfare. No more neighbours playing their music at 11  on the stereo, from 9.30pm to 3am on Tues Wed AND Thurs nights. No more BBQ's with freaky weirdos telling me about Lae's Swinger's Club (whilst furtively licking their lips). No more visits from 2 Kina maris.

No more gun shot victims moaning outside my back door, on their way up the ramp to the 24hr Medical Clinic, No more rock-fights between gangs of Highland and costal boys.  No more waiting 6 months to get the cracked toilet seat changed. No more dealing with the compound managers who refuse to believe that a swimming pool requires chlorine and maintanence to function, and must believe that swimming in custard-thick green slime that smells of effluent is the way we expats like to take our leisure.

Every time I drive past the old compound, I break into my own version of Rose Royce's "Love Don't Live Here Any More":

"Just a vacancy, 
I don't live there, anymore"
CanI have a resounding "HELL YES!!" With a follow-up "BOO-YAH!!"??

So. I've moved to down-the-hill, right at the back of the staduim. Where I swam in my fresh and lovely non-slimy pool and watched the Independence Day fireworks go off RIGHT ABOVE MY HAUS!!!

I have 3 storeys of polished floorboard happiness, 4 bedrooms, 5 staff, a spectacular view across to the Yacht Club and out over the Huon Gulf. I have my quietude broken only by the sound of the next-door-neighbour's kakaruk crowing to greet the gloaming, and the satisfied snurfle grunts of my dog, as she chases skinks in her own back yard. With grass.

I earned every last second of this life, and now I have a haus that I can be safe and happy and content in. It matches my safe, happy and content life. 

EXCEPT, as I was unpacking everything I've accumulated over the past 8 months, a vague feeling of unease washed over me. Now, that in itself is not unusual, given my penchant for conspiracy theories and thet fact I live in a malaria-rich environment, but it's taken my up to a week to identify the case. 

Last night, while nomming on BBQ seafood (mussels, prawns, calamari and fish goujons at the Yacht Club), I realised what was causing this underlying sense of "un profond sentiment de malaise"

When I unpacked my freezer, I hadn't seen my fish.
This fish wasn't just ANY fish. This was a 3kg schnapper, caught for me off the reef at Salamaua. This was a fish I was keeping to really show-case my fishy-cooking skills, and share at the housewarming I'm planning. 

This was a fish caught to SHARE. Destined to be handled with love and anointed with organic garlic, lemongass, ginger and shallotts. THIS was a fish I was even thinking about whole frying Asian-styles. (or wrapped in plaintain lif and served with roasted kau kau and fried bananna.. THis fish hadn't made up its mind yet.)

This was a fish with a destiny, people. This fish had POTENTIAL.

This fish is no longer in my care. This fish has been relocated.It could have been one of the movers, on of the plumbers, one of the electricians. ANY one of the 30 or so workman who've been swarming over the haus, helping me move and getting the solar/airconditioning/sliding doors/paint up to standard.

To whomever unburdened me of making decisions on behalf of the fish, I hope it was freezer burnt and you choke on a pinbone. I hope that as you crawl up the ramp of the 24hr clinic, clutching your throat, gasping for breath, the last thing your conscious mind registers is the smell of rotting vegetation from the pool at 4th Street and your ears are assaulted by a cover version "Back In Black" on  loop,

I'm  piscean, man. You do. not. fuck. with. my. fish.