Wednesday, 14 August 2013


One of our afternoons back at camp after another indulgent lunch, we are having a cold beer as we do most days on our 3 hour layup between fishing sessions to avoid the worst of the heat.   We barely move from the bar for the next 6 hours and never make it back out for another fish that day as we finally meet the village chief who has been away from the island for a couple of weeks. 

 He is having a beer with Solomon, the chef, (Solomon from the Solomon’s?!  classic!) and they are getting stuck into the betel nut.   We have read about this nut and we tried some in Honiara but didn’t have the proper know-how to do it properly.

 It is a small, hard, green nut that you have to get the shell off to get to the inside.  They have a dish which contains the crushed, powdered form of one specific type of coral, it is the only one they use for it.   You then use a mustard tree stalk to dip into the coral, and chew it all together, forming a completely vile taste and turning your whole mouth, gums and teeth red.  The footpaths in the capital, Honiara, are covered in red stains from when everybody spits, as seems also part of the ritual.  

 Apparently you get a good buzz, but the chief and Solomon warn us against mixing it with beer…..    as they chew their betel nut…   and drink beer!   The session, the conversation and the laughs roll on into the afternoon, Solomon is a one of the funniest bastards of all time.  After having the run of the place, we have 4 new guests arriving tonight from Queensland.   They all turn out to be great blokes and prone to some piss drinking and shit stirring - our type of people!

By the time the new group arrives we are all getting a bit hammered, especially Solomon who has been ‘on the nut’ and drinking all arvo, even scoring a couple of Wild Turkeys’ from our duty free stash.   When the QLD crew turn up, it’s the usual meet and greet with the staff.  Solomon gets his ass severely kicked by Betty later about being totally wasted when the guests arrive, he was giggling like a schoolgirl the whole time and could barely stand up.  Haha, and this guy was about to go and cook our dinner!

Fresh betel nut

Ready to go with mustard plant and powdered coral...

The end result!