Saturday, March 21, 2009

The chicken or the beef?

What a week that was, one minute I'm sitting calmly in the office, and the next I'm up to my neck in cows and not much Internet access (don't ask).

Anyway, in this ridiculous job that I have, I really love the fact that basically you get cart blanche to find out all about other people's lives.

Humans are so fascinating. Mental, but fascinating.

They can be fascinatingly dull or batshit crazy insane and everything in between. And even the dull are interesting (until you have to spend extended periods of time with them).

Last weekend I worked with a German guy and discovered that he used to work in Bourgainville. As soon as I heard that, it was sayonara to me talking to him about the stuff that I should have been be talking to him about and me whining for 'more scary stories about Bourgainville.'

Needless to say I am reasonably confident he thought I was an idiot by the end of our time with him, but I am completely at home with that.

He did say that, all things considered, his time was fairly mellow when he was there. ( I didn't bring up the time a travel journo happened to be at the airport when there was a gang shoot out, killing seven people and elevating Port Moresby to the top of the The World's Worst Airports' list). However he admitted to feeling rather twitchy when he opened the door at 3 a.m to a guy who was demanding matches - and holding a pump action shotgun.

He said his first thought was, 'Why does he need matches at this hour?' And swiftly followed that thought up with, 'He's got a pump action shotgun, why do I care?'

He also was trying to explain how completely different the way of life is and the accepted norms of how they live. I quote,'It's a payback society. Say, if you accidentally kill somebody from another tribe, then they will feel duty bound to kill one member of your family or your tribe. But if you accidentally kill an elder, then the payback is with three lives.'

I made a mental note not to accidentally kill people when in Bourgainville.

He and his wife were working on one of those projects that makes life better for the locals (it's one of those jobs that make me realise just how insignificant, indulgent and and frivolous my job really is). A builder who was a close colleague of his told him that when food was really tight during the civil war in the nineties, he would go hunting for people. To eat.

I made a mental note not to go to Bourgainville during civil war.

Oh and yes, of course I asked if we tasted like chicken.

But I can't tell you if we do or not because naturally this man had the good taste not to ask.

(Now you can refer back to paragraph #6).

3 comments:

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jothemama said...

Oh my god.

I mean I'd seen Once Were Warriors.

But there was no cannibalism in that.

Fucking hell!

I thought people tasted like pork?

laughykate said...

Scary, huh? I just said chicken cause doesn't everything taste like chicken?