Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hash and batching

Hosting HASH and batching
Well it finally rolled round to my turn to host the HASH, unfortunately you never know how many will turn up. So I was told to assume around 25 – 15 chicken thigh/legs (cut into 3 pieces each), 5 of which I put in oven bags and boiled in orange juice; 48 sausages and 6 chicken franks; I also cooked a large beef florentien (mushroom, tomato and basil) with rice accompanied by loaves of bread, crackers and cheese, corn chips, and sliced onions. A feast for the 24 who turned up and then there was the huge slab of chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. The uni security guys also fared well when I took them a large platter and later the leftovers. The last hashers left after 9.30 completing an excellent evening, the new Monk was not able to attend so my naming ceremony was not on the agenda, although I scored a myriad of down-downs. I locked the gates as the last hasher left, stacked the chairs, pots and pans upstairs and retired to a shower and crashed, just a tad inebriated. Unfortunately F was away in Fiji and missed the fun.
So this has been a batching week for me and I got to go fishing and swimming on the weekend. The water was cold being spring fed into a lava tube with resident fish so it was a short swim and snorkel as I arrived late and it closed at 4.00pm. It is situated on the grounds of the Piula Methodist Theological College at Saoluafata about 25 k east of Apia. On Sunday evening, I tried flicking lures on a headland where I had seen locals fishing, 40 minutes produced no strikes and I had an alternative invitation to join friends at Giordanos Pizzeria and they have the best tropical salads. Although last Friday, I joined the girls for an up market lunch, it was for a send-off, at Bistro Tatau. Their tiger prawn salad was also very YUM. As you can tell, I am not much at making salads, so I scoff them when out on the town.
Tomorrow I am going snorkeling at Palolo Deep Marine Reserve.
I packed all my gear into a shoulder fishing bag caught the bus to Beach Road and walked the k to Palolo Reserve, 3 tala gets you access to a shower, toilets, well kept grounds with lots of tables and fales and two small beaches. So I snorkeled for over an hour, showered off and ate my morning tea as I dried off. It was just beautiful to dive with the schools of small turquoise fish and get some exercise. The Deep has seen some fatalities as you are swimming in a bowl on the reef, and on an outgoing tide it rushes out through passes to a lower sea level and can be quite treacherous. So I only snorkel on the last of the incoming tide and usually only in the finger closest to shore. (Thanks to Google Earth for the image) This rule must be applied to any lagoon and reef situation. A family from Germany was very impressed when I gave them some cheese pieces to feed the fish as they snorkeled with their young daughters. Then it was some shopping and a taxi home.
The NUS bus is becoming less frequent with only one bus operating since exams finished. I fear the Green Machine that I featured previously with the shattered wind screen has found a resting place or a make-over (Some say a good thing as the rear axel seals were leaking, that makes brakes not want to work, and the bald rear tyres would not help) to be replaced with the Han00k Tires flag bus, that lacks even a sound system and a driver who travels down to town in neutral. He also clashes gears frequently, this jars my teeth to say nothing of the gearbox.
The Primary School across the road had their end of year prize giving today, 3 large tents were erected on the oval for students, guests and dignitaries. One girl scooped the awards with prizes for English, Samoan, Maths, History and Local Studies. Although there is an emphasis on education in Samoa the main cost is the compulsory uniform that precludes poor families from sending their children to school. So one uniform has to last a student several years. The school across the road has very good local support that was apparent today and I always say Talofa (Hello) to everybody when walking down the street. The PA system was an awesome affair but the music was a good selection mostly in English, they love a bass beat that can rattle windows at some distance. So from next week there will be silence where there is usually some class singing or reciting tables, usually trying to out-do another class. Everybody sings the national anthem at the flag raising with a drum section emphasizing each important phase of the morning assembly. School hours are from 8am to around 1.30pm with two short breaks.
I finally competed my first oil painting and have hung it in the lounge room, it’s a just hatched turtle with a split scene.
R of R&F

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