Brother in Law had decided to put on a BBQ for boys, his largely national staff hadn’t been apart of this Kiwi ritual before. We cooked sausages, steak, prawns were, with salads and fruit all descriptions to accompany. After cooking the feast, it was time for a formal speech by Brother in Law to thank them for their support and help, a reply from a supervisor and then grace. The boys tucked in, leaving almost nothing behind, a small problem as the five or six ladies who worked there had to put up the left overs.
With the BBQ cleared away we headed to the Lae Markets to pick up fresh vegetables and fruit. These markets are an experience worth having, an amazing array of local fruit and vegetable, in this large compound. About a third of it covered by very long open sheds and the rest of the stall owners sitting outside among a multitude of umbrellas. The stalls consisted of people sitting on the floor under and umbrella with their particular fruit or vegetable spread out in front of them in a small pile, on sacks or an old cloth. The sellers are in the main set out in groups depending on the types of fruit or vegetable they are retailing. You see a group of tobacco sellers with their long strands of leaf knotted together, along side a dozen or more sellers of kaukau (local sweat potatoes), spread over the floor, fruits included pineapples, mango’s, sugar fruit (like a heavy skinned yellow passionfruit), laulau,(a small red fruit with a taste similar to nashi but not as sweet.),bananas, ginger and just about every other fruit and vegetable you can imagine. Most of the fruit and vegetables here are grown in the highlands and brought down to market.
As the only Europeans in the market we had just a bit of reservation in shopping, Al was reticent about using her camera, we didn’t need to worry. The people are extremely friendly, when the camera came out, people lined up to get their photos taken. Set out in little piles the fruit and vegetables have a standard value, no scales, just grab as many piles as you thought you required. We paid between 50 Toea and 3 Kena for our piles depending on the heaps content.
The local bag is a bilum, this bag is, made by tying knots in stringed bark from the Tulip trip, the bags come in a variety of colours shapes and sizes. The bilum is often worn with the handles around the forehead leaving the bag to dangle down the back. Another popular way of carrying your bilum is your head through the straps and the bag hanging in front of you like a bib. Later we found that some very contemporary bilums were produced just for the carrying of a mobile phone. We left with two bilums of fruit, a plant, lots of photos and a huge experience.
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