Monday, November 26, 2012

The other village

That's Mayor Dale with the machete in
his hand.
Round 2 - The other village

Mayor Dale and his people have been very nice to us and very warm and welcoming. They still ask us to do a lot of stuff, but the attitude is different and therefore ours is different, making us much more eager to help. Apparently, there was a meeting yesterday (with both the Mayor and Joey), and the anchoring fee is not $50 (as quoted by Joey), or $35 (as quoted by the mayor and what we actually paid), but $25. The money should be collected by the Mayor and go towards the municipality, not just one village or chief. Makes no difference to us as we've already paid, but maybe it will be a little clearer for the next yacht that comes in here.

So far, Andy has spent an entire afternoon trying to fix a chain saw, with no success. He thinks it's the timing but we don't have the tools to confirm or fix it. He's patched up a water tank for the local school principle as well as programmed his GPS (it had him somewhere between Montana and Kansas). Andy has fixed a block on one of the outrigger sailing canoes and secured himself a position on Wednesday's sailing crew. He's really stoked about that one! Imagine sailing on one of the traditional built canoes with the locals! (Incidentally, I have asked him to take his hand held epirb - emergency beacon - as there has been more than one tale of an islander floating up on another atoll) The only job left undone so far is fixing the GPS for the "oldest master navigator" on the island(I know, funny right? Which came first the GPS or the Master Navigator?). We think it's probably just batteries.

Not too sure what's with the peace and gang signs, but
all the kids seem to like to use them in their pictures.
Melony is on the left.
George, one of the guys that translates for us with the mayor sometimes, rowed up to the boat last night with his three daughters. He is originally from Lamotrek and wanted us to take some letters to his sisters for him (no names, just ask around he said). He also brought another lava lava for me to buy. I got this one for half the price of the one Joey sold me...hmmmm.... George's 11 year old daughter, Melony, was one of the girls that sat on the boat the other day and stared at me while I made a bracelet. She's very beautiful and spirited but her English is lacking so our communication was pretty basic. She rowed out today to give us some more letters and some papayas George had promised us. This will be a much welcome change as the boat is slowing sinking from bananas and coconuts. She also made me a beautiful little headdress made out of some local flowers...very sweet. I think I might give her one of the beaded bracelets I've been making for people. I usually give them to the "woman" of the house, but she's been so sweet...
Jake climbing a tree to retrieve his very own

While we were talking to the Mayor one day, we were told Jacinta wanted to meet us and we were sent to the kitchen house. There she was with a huge smile on her face and nothing on but a skirt. We had been told that the women in Lamotrek were very traditional and went bare breasted, covering nothing but their thighs...the most provocative part of the body here. But we hadn't expected it here in Pulawat. It seems that everyone over 50 is pretty traditional (i.e. no shirts), but the younger women wear the newer uniform of long skirt and t-shirt. Andy, not surprisingly, seems to think it should be the other way around. We had tried to prepare Jake for this as he's obviously not used to seeing so many boobies but I think we left something out.... When we got back to the dinghy, he said "Mommy? I wasn't surprised by the boobies, but I was surprised by something else."

"What was that?," I asked.

"I thought they would be BIG, not LONG and hanging."

Ha! So, that began a whole different conversation about sizes of boobies and why everyone is different. I bet you wish you were a fly on the wall for that one, huh?

It turns out the reason Jacinta wanted to meet us was to offer us to come back later in the day to give us some taro to try. It was the best taro we've eaten by far. Jake even liked it. It looked like she boiled it and pounded it, as is traditional, but not too much. Then put the coconut milk on it and gave it to us immediately! That last part is key. It goes sour pretty quickly and well, our taste buds (or stomachs) haven't adjusted to that yet.

Preparing Taro

The Master Navigator's hut.  Not many building codes here...

Today we're going to try to secure ourselves a guide for tomorrow to go up to a lighthouse they have here. They say it's through the jungle so it's not really feasible to go by yourself (if you don't want to get lost). We'll see if we can find any takers...

I have a feeling the next major update will be after the big sail on Wednesday. Apparently, there are people from other islands coming in tomorrow (possibly a big feast?), and who knows how many boats going out on Wednesday...we're just going with the flow. Stay tuned.

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