Tuesday, 13 August 2013


The price of a beer was about the same as those boy’s daily wage, so we would shout a few drinks and bring out our bottles of duty free and have a laugh with everyone, or at a certain bloke who wasn’t much of a drinker but would occasionally have one and be shitfaced off it!   Great guy Zutu, really nice bloke,   only 30 but seen as a leader amongst the group as he tended to keep them all in line with his words and calm demeanour, as opposed to Raymond who only needed to give the boys’ a ‘look’.  We all hope to see them again one day. 

We had many a great session at the bar, with Stenty and I usually the last ones to call it a night,   though sometimes Betty made that call for us and just turned the generators off!  She actually got in trouble for that one night when we were all still having a big session with the whole fishing crew.   Her husband Kieran gave her a few stern words and turned the generators back on, he realized that we were all having fun and spending money, so let us go!  

 Besides, the impression we got was that most people who come for the fishing don’t really get know the crew so personally or include them in nights like we did and they really appreciated and enjoyed it   But to us, we were there to connect, be a part of the village life (for the brief time we had) and to make sure everybody had a good time.  

We weren’t gonna sit there greedily sucking on cans of beer that cost as much as a daily wage while the boys went without.
Now that they were comfortable and we were all pals, you couldn’t shut some of them up!  They proudly showed us their Solomon’s chop-chop,  a form of home grown tobacco that is basically black crud rolled in notepad paper and is what most of the smokers classify as ‘their cigarettes’.  To be honest, I didn’t mind it, bit harsh but not too bad.  

It was amazing to notice that even though we were worlds apart on so many levels, even with our different upbringing, education and experiences, that we were so similar!   Get a bunch of guys together on the piss and no matter where we’re from, we talk about cars, fishing, sports and girls!  It was really quite funny.    Even the girls, who did all the domestic stuff while the boys just fished and fixed things, became friendlier and started to have a laugh and a joke with us. 

 They wouldn’t believe that Stenty was Australian as he is quite dark skinned, they kept calling him ‘island boy’ or ‘small boy’ (cheekily due to him being a tall bastard).  Two names we still throw at him now and again!  Lucas with his ample, big boned structure (read: fat gut!! hehe sorry Lucas) and his beard scored the nickname ‘Father Christmas’!   As far as I know I didn’t get one,  I did get a few sweet and curious smiles though!

This place was already feeling like home, to the point where I seriously considered moving there for a while, it was cheap enough to build a simple house there and I’ve always wanted to live on a tropical island!  The three of us even talked about building a place just for a holiday home, a plan that hasn’t been ruled out.   A couple of the fishing crew had some land available next to a river that they would have let us build on,  we all really connected that much in a short space of time.   Two vastly different cultures bonding over fishing, beer and girls! 

But the bar sessions had one downfall, by the time Stenty, the boys and I would finally called it a night we usually had no power back in the room.   We had 1 tiny fan in there that we had on swivel back and forth so we both got a little bit of cool air to try and fight off the searing heat and humidity that was still present at night. 

A couple of nights we only got one little breeze from this fan before the generator was turned off,  we would just have a good laugh, groan and try get some sleep.   One night it started raining as I lay there tossing and turning, unable to sleep due to the heat, so I ran outside to stand in it and get soaked, just to cool off.  Couple this heat with our anti-malaria tablets and it made for some very bizarre dreams. 

My tablets came with a warning of possible pyschosis and hallucinations, and nearly every night I would have these very vivid, extreme dreams.  Some nights I didn’t know if I was sleeping or awake, and these dreams just became known to us as ‘the crazies’.   I’m surprised these things aren’t sold on the street for recreational purposes they were so mind bending!  

After nearly 2 weeks of barely seeing a mosquito, I gave up and stopped taking them, they were just too extreme to have on a daily basis.   From memory they were ‘Malarone’,  if you ever want to avoid them.  Or perhaps try them and have your own ‘crazies’.

Zutu on the right