Redcliffe Pier

Sunday, March 2, 2014

NEED WHEELS

I had been living in Port Moresby for a few months back in 1964 when I realised I desperately needed my own transport. The local buses were not very  reliable, clean or safe so I used to get lifts to work from colleagues. However, if I was to have a social life, I needed my own wheels. I didn't have enough money to buy a car as I had only been working a few months. However, I saw an ad for Honda motor scooters and fell in love with them staraight away. After, writing to my parents and discussing it with them via snail mail, I bought one and had a ton of fun with it. At last I was independent.
With my togs on and a towel round my neck, I would drive down Touaguba Hill to Ela Beach for a swim. Later I bought saddle bags to take my stuff to school and for carrying the shopping home. There were a few drawbacks. When it rained I wore rain gear but tropical rain is heavy and it managed to get inside the rain wear. It was also hot and sticky wearing plastic. Another nasty was driving under Poinciana Trees when grubs would dangle on silky strings down to my level. It was like driving through a curtain of webs with wrigglies attached. But the worst of all was driving behind an "olie" truck, that was a truck carrying a load of native passengers. "All or altogether" in Pidgin English is "olgeta" shortened to "ole" or "olie" or "oley". Anyway often passengers in the open "ole" trucks would spit big globs of red betel juice over the side of the truck which would come sailing through the air at me. I learnt to leave plenty of room between me and an an "olie" truck. Betel nuts were chewed together with lime and the juice was a stimulant drug but the remains were spat out anywhere. The streets were decorated with red splashes and so was I if I got too close to an "olie" truck.

Photo from Vanessa Simmons' collection
Swimming in the tropical sea at Ela Beach was lovely. Occasionally we would see pretty striped sea snakes which spooked me as they are poisonous.

I wanted to make new friends in my new country, so being sports mad, I joined a variety of sporting clubs and started making lots of friends. Archery was my first choice.

 This photo was in the newspaper with an article about the club.

I also joined the 303 rifle club. I entered competitions for women and did quite well for our club. I didn't stay long as it was too hot lying in the sun and often wet with millions of mosquitoes buzzing in my ears and eyes. It made it a bit hard to concentrate and hold the rifle steady. We were advised to take malaria tablets before we arrived in the Territory of Papua/New Guinea and to keep on taking them every day for as long as we lived there. I did take them religiously and I was lucky never to suffer from malaria.

I also joined the Judo Club of Pt Moresby and this is where I met some really nice people. We still have get togethers once a year. I felt this was a really handy sport in that it was learning self defence too. Women had to learn to throw heavier men to the ground.
My friend Del throwing a male opponent-photo Charles Betteridge

Idlers Bay
With my new friends, I travelled to different beaches along the coast. The roads were rough dirt tracks.

Having fun in the sun. One soon had a dark suntan in the days before we knew about sun bathing and skin cancer.

During the easter holidays one of my friends, Helene, from ASOPA college came to Pt Moresby for a break from her small village where she had been posted. We went for a picnic at Brown River.
With wheels, friends and a job that I enjoyed I was having a great adventure. 

27 comments:

  1. Riding a bike would have been fun but yes those red gobs would have been a major hazard.

    I bought a relatively new small car within the first week ... depending on others for lifts was such a hassle and the taxis just plain dangerous.

    I worked for the airline so had to travel out to the airport each day.

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  2. Glad you managed to [mostly] avoid the red gobs! We use an Australian make of rain gear, called Drizabone. And you do stay as dry as a bone wearing it! You certainly had a lot of fun and adventures, Diane. Happy Sunday to you. Jo

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  3. What fun you had back then, & might I add, now too..

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  4. A .303 has a decent kick. I am most impressed but what could be worse than betel juice spit landing on you.

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  5. great account; yes I can see how the scooter gave you a new independence; you have such amazing memories to draw on (I wouldn't have appreciated the sea-snakes either)

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  6. Cute swimsuit!! I wish all of these naked people running around with their half inch use of material in swim suits would realize just how cute and slimming one piece suits are. And...I've always wanted a motor scooter. Only now it would be suicide on the highways.

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  7. your life has been and still is one big adventure. finally you posted about two things i can and have done. archery and shooting... that is about the extent of my adventures...you looked like a true 'biker babe'

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  8. Diane, these photo glimpses into your earlier years were great fun as was the accompanying narrative. You are still an adventurous person that's for sure, and great to see!

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  9. The scooter sounds like a fun way to get around..except for the red gobs. You look cute in your bathing suit and doing the archery. Great post, Diane! Have a happy new week!

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  10. Reminds me a bit about my first scooter, I was 16.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  11. you are so darn cute, adventurous and a good sportsperson, too! what fun you had!

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  12. Beauty, brains and an adventurous spirit!!

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  13. This is really interesting, Mum! The bugs dangling would be enough to freak me out!!

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  14. What a treat this post was Diane! I love hearing about your 60's adventures and life. There's something magic and new and exciting about that period in time.
    Your wheels for independence were GROOVY and, I adore the swimming cossie.
    Have a great week!

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  15. Thanks for yet another instalment Diane. Obviously you are still a teacher because I learn something interesting all the time from you story!

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  16. Thank you all for your supportive comments. It motivates me to keep writing. I worry that there is a bit too much,"I am" stuff.

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  17. Hi, We are home from a wonderful trip to Arkansas with friends. Photos tomorrow!!!!!

    Hope you have had a great week. Love your special transportation back then.. PERFECT.

    Great set of photos --and it looks like you enjoyed every second of your time there...

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  18. What fun. The beach with the white sand looks so inviting. Not sure about the sea snakes tho.

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  19. I really like your wheels. I've never had a motorcycle, but have always felt they were a great way to travel. You did mention some drawbacks, but it sounds as if they didn't keep you from enjoying your ability to get around.

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  20. It does sound like you had a very adventuresome youth, DIane, that left you with many nice memories! Riding a Honda shooter sounds like fun! Modern versions are all over Italy these days.

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  21. Hi Diane...I keep seeing your comments on other bloggers' blogs and I thought I'd pay you a visit.

    It's nice meeting you.

    Your flashback post is very interesting. You must be a fun person and filled with adventure. Loved all your participation in sports/activities. All because of a motor scooter!!

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  22. You made the best of all the opportunities overthere. The motorbike was an excellent choice to move arounds. I had one too in Amsterdam in my twenties!

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  23. What a wonderful walk down memory lane. And you have so many wonderful memories to remember!!!!! And what a cutie you were and are.

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  24. Well, Diane, back then you would have been called a Dolly Bird. I am not sure if that was also an Australian term but over in the UK it was a term for a gorgeous lady. Great post about all your adventures, I had to laugh about the betel nuts and at the same time said 'yak', the dangling wigglies didn't seem so bad after that :) Love these tales of your life.

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  25. You certainly were an very active (and attractive) young woman ! I never had a scooter, but had a sort of bike with a motor but didn't use it very much, I had my first little car at that time a Fiat 600. I never liked sports, but I loved dancing, yes, and I also played tennis. Wonderful memories !

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  26. So adventurous! The more I read your memories the more I wish I'd done more things myself. :)
    When I was in high school my Dad bought a Honda 50 motorcycle for him and my brothers. I did learn to ride it around the dirt roads and once took it into town. My girlfriends were amazed.

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  27. I'm glad I came back to check through what I hadn't read these past couple of days Diane. I've always been impressed with your "get up and go" and your sense of adventure from an early age.
    This post is no exception. Love your scooter and could imagine that feeling of freedom that came with it.
    Thanks for sharing your earlier days once again :D)

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