Holy Crap…

… its been a long time…
So long in fact, that I had forgotten my Facebook password. No matter, Facebook wasn’t working much once I got on and I couldn’t actually do/see anything. And then there was the 100+ emails. Real emails. That is not counting the forwards and mailing lists. So, an hour later, I have sorted through those and am saying hi on here. I long ago gave up any hope at being a good email-replier. I love reading them, but until I have internet that costs less than, say, 45kina (like 20 dollars) an hour, I’m going to resort to this.
This is, mind you, the first internet I have used in the fair country of Papua New Guinea. PNG is possibly the hottest place on earth. Seriously. 30 degrees Celcius is now cold for me and I reach for a sweater. Katie and I have checked into the Madang Resort for tonight and the next night as they are our days off. This is the first time I have left our airconditioned room all day… and it was into the airconditioned “business centre”. It doesn’t help that we have food and there is a mini bar and a tv with a movie channel.
Watching TV reminds me of how much goes on without me having a clue about it – CNN and BBC are full of the news of Bhutto’s assassination. I only just found out that a family friend died a month and a half ago. My friends had a baby. I have loved reading christmas letters emailed to me and finding out about your lives over the last 6 months that I’ve been away. Maybe I can implore some of you to make lists of books I need to read and movies I need to watch when I get home… and perhaps if something earth shattering goes on, make note of it. I devour the Economist, TImes and Macleans when Dad sends them, and then they get passed around the boat to all the other news-deprived people. ANd to think I used to consider myself up to date on current events!
Well, Leg 4 has come to an end. December 8th was officially Half Way Day so it is less than 6 months until we sail into the Inner Harbour. Right now, I am dreaming of cool weather dispite the fact that I will freeze my butt off in it. I console myself with the fact that every other day I will be warm in the galley and that I never really have to go up on deck if I don’t want to.
This leg has been the most challenging in terms of my job on the boat. The heat has been killer and I have never sweat so much in my life. Just walking into the galley makes me break out in a sweat, a la Pavlov’s dog maybe? My funky blisters have pretty much dissappeared, which is great. We think we have a diagnosis, I just don’t remember what it is. A couple other people ended up with them too (although not as bad) which makes me feel like less of a mutant.
THe Soloman Islands were possibly the hardest place I have ever had to find food. PNG has been a pleasant surprise, although they let me down with the lack of taxi service, thus necessitating us to beg and borrow shopping carts from the local supermarket and make lots of runs back and forth. However, with the exception of our frozen meat and a few other things (like TP, which we almost ran out of in Kimbe, it was pretty sketchy there, we were down to 2 days worth… yikes!) all of our shopping is done. We’ve only spent about 9000USD here in the last week. Wow.
CHristmas was fun. We drew names and made presents for our person. I had Noah, the Skipper’s 9 year old son. I made him a sling shot out of a piece of wood I got in Kavieng, New Ireland Province PNG and all of us are living in fear now. From my Secret Santa (Matt) I got a hammock made out of a blanket and I am looking forward to many non-cooking days being slung between the main mast and shrouds… provided the sail is not up of course! THere was some amazingly creative gifts given!
There are so many things that have happened in the last month since I was on: swimming with whales, dory adventures, shopping trips, crazy rides with port agents who are ex-assassains-for-hire, climbing active volcanoes, sailing over areas marked “mine-field, do not anchor” on the chart, crazy beautiful sandy beaches, dugout canoes, amazing snorkling… I could go on.
Now, with three legs to go, we head north in a few short days. Look out new trainees, because we’re crossing the equator in less than 5 degrees… We leave here new years eve (pending safe arrival of all trainees, Air Nigini cancells flights to Magang first and it took some 3 days to get here from Port Moresby, so you can pray for that) to head north to micronesia, Guam and then Shanghai. Skipper has asked me to prepare some briefing info on China, maybe teach some Chinese words and plan some trips! I’m looking forward to cheaper internet (I hope) and more of it. I’m convinced that there are no more than 2 computers in this country. Oh well.
Until then, I will sign off and hope that I can send you some fabulous photos at a sooner date rather than later. Lots of Love! 🙂

PS – My updated Books I read this year list is up!

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