Tuesday, 4 December 2012

More interesting village visits

We left the extremely secure anchorage of Cigaregare and moved just around the corner to Teripax village. It wasn't as good an anchorage (a bit rolly), but visiting the friendly village more than made up for it. We spent a fair bit of both Saturday and Sunday hanging out with the locals, meaning mostly kids. They don't get many cruising boats visiting, as most stay in Cigaregare anchorage, which is only half an hour walk through the bush though. We did the walk while in Cigaregare with a couple of young men as our guides. The best part of that was submerging ourselves in the creek, only just deep enough for it. It was quite elevated, so no crocs up there.

Anyway, the kids in Teripax were great. Only kids under 8 or so were present, all the older ones stay most of the time in a neighbouring village (a canoe ride away) where they go to school. We brought in baloons the first day, always a big hit. They like getting their photo taken, but they love looking at the camera afterwards. This means they have quite serious faces for the pictures I take, and then I get all the smiles and laughts when they see the pictures! I brought in my old camera, so I was comfortable handing it over to the kids. This produced some quite interesting photos, they definitley relax more that way and also make some more daring poses, for example one guy though it was fun to stick his blood red (betel nut) toungue out in all the pictures! For some reason they also love making hand signs for the camera. Check out facebook for pictures.

Some of the very little kids were not used to white people and started crying if we got too close. The slightly older kids were very facinated by us though. I'd often find myself being stared at by half a dozen little ones. The women were also very curious and at one point started enquiring about my hair. When I released it from the bun they were uhm-ing and ahh-ing and carefully touched it and declared it was very beautiful. To that I could only say thanks, but I love curls :-)

Sunday we brought in our laptop to show a movie for the kids. We had been shown through the village and the men/boys only house was shown to us. We also saw these (from outside) in Nissan Atoll, no women or girls are allowed, only boys. However, for some reason, it was suddenly OK to use it for showing the movie, I was worried none of the girls would go in, but everyone seemed happy to go there. Strange. Anyway, watching a movie is definitely a rare treat, if not even a first for many kids, but it was a little hard to keep concentration naturally as they don't understand English that well or at all, plus it's a quite small screen in a big room.

Later on the women were practising their custom dance and singing, which was interesting to watch. They do the when they have special celebrations and feasts. Buka, Nissan Atoll and also the people we met on Tabar are all been catholic, so there are a ton of kids around and some very young mothers.

Chewing betel nut is done by everyone, including breastfeasting mums and I'm sure preagnant ones too, though we never see them, it's something about preagnant women being taboo or something like that. Even little kids are allowed to chew it. Mark, the resort owner on Lihir Island told us that one ingrediants in betel nut is used commercially as a sedative for horses! The gold mine has a strict no betel nut policy for all their workers during work time.

After an over-night passage, we're now in Kavieng, which is a provincial capital. We're anchored across from town by a small island where there's a resort for surfers mostly. It's a pretty long dinghy ride, but our good steady little dinghy did make it. The town is very typical with a bunch of small shops all selling pretty much the sime kind of Chinese cheap junk and a bit of food. It wasn't until the 7th shop we found ice cream, phew.

We are going to spend a few days here getting ourselves organised before leaving. There tropical low/typhoon we eluded to ealier on did indeed turn out to be a typhoon, for a while it was even a super typhoon. It hit Palau a day or two ago with some damage, but no loss of life and now it's on it's way to Philippines. It's the first typhoon to hit Palau in over 20 years, so we keep our fingers crossed it won't happen again while we're there. The 'scary' part is that it's out of season and the typhoon's path was irregular, I'm sure all signs of global warming!

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