Redcliffe Pier

Thursday, May 15, 2014

BEWARE THE TOMATO SOUP

At the end of my first year of teaching in PNG in 1964, I was getting used to living away from home in another country. I had made quite a few friends and I was having fun. I was living in a women's hostel where our meals were provided in a communal dinning room. One evening we were served tomato soup as a starter. It tasted quite nice but I felt something crunchy enter my mouth. At first I thought it might have been a piece of parsley so kept on chewing on it but it didn't taste like parsley. When no one was looking I discreetly spat out the crunch into my soup spoon. Upon examination I was horrified to see a half chewed up cockroach sitting in my spoon. I promptly put off all my friends at the table from completing their meal by telling them that I had found a cockroach in my soup.
Needless to say the hygiene in the kitchen wasn't the best.  Just to prove that point a few months later I became very ill and I was diagnosed with hepatitis. I couldn't keep anything down and I turned yellow. I was admitted to hospital and isolated. I was looked after well in the hospital and after a few weeks I was almost better and allowed to go back to the hostel and work.
I even managed another weekend outing to visit the village of Riga on their show day where they display their traditional culture in houses, art, dress and dances.
 Tradition Riga village houses.


I was amused to see the bicycle, ice cream carts which were in contrast to the ancient culture of the native people.

I tired easily and suffered from the heat as I was still weak after being so sick. Luckily a few weeks later it was end of year school break and I returned home to Sydney on leave for six weeks. I was pretty tired and run down but my Mum brought me back to good health again ready to return to PNG the following February. I was happy to return but I was determined to find better accommodation. 

31 comments:

  1. ...I can imagine how distressed your Mum felt at this time too Diane. Great photos and an account of a not so special tomato soup!

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  2. Eating ell is so much harder when in a developing/undeveloped country. I'm guessing the following year was better.

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  3. I would certainly not want roaches in my food, YUCK! The Hepatitis was a scary event! The Village photo is neat! Have a great day!

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  4. Diane, you had a very adventurous life as a teacher; luckily you recovered from Hepatitis, young, healthy and Mum's care.

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  5. Glad you recovered from the Hepatitis. Tropical primitive conditions can be dangerous indeed.

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  6. Oh my gosh! Just --- oh my gosh.

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  7. That was certainly a nasty taste in your mouth, Diane. Glad you recovered well from the Hepatitis, nothing like a mum to get us better and in mint condition..

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  8. We are all constantly amazed at your adventures Diane. This post serves to show the 'other side' of being where you were. You were brave to want to go back.

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  9. Life wasn't easy back then, was it???? Sorry about your illness--but the sanitation was not a priority back then in areas like that... No wonder so many people got sick and died.. One of my grandmothers died from the flu back then...

    Glad you got to go home to recoop--and then go back.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  10. oh, my. definitely not always life in paradise. :)

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  11. Ack! Cockroaches and hepatitis! I'm glad you found a better place to come back to for your next year of teaching. What an adventure.

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  12. Hepatitis is so serious, I am surprised you didn't fly home to recover before the Summer break. Did you have any lasting effects?

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  13. I'm not sure I could have ever eaten tomato soup again after finding a cockroach in my soup. I was sorry to hear about your illness, but I am glad you had good care, especially after you were able to get home for the holiday.

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  14. I had tomato soup for dinner - thank goodness I didn't read this prior to eating! You sure had some adventures during your teaching service!

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  15. You did have a double dose of rough times, Diane. Hope the tomato soup did not get on the menu again...or any other food,MIT seems.

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  16. Sorry for the typos it my previos post, meant to end with "it seems" Thping early in the morning and on an iPad keyboard results in many such errors for me.

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  17. That's disgusting ! I almost had the same adventure. My mother always gave me a sandwich for school and when I bit in the bread it cracked, I had a look and it was a cockroach ! It was baked with the bread ! Just after the war nobody cared about hygiene as long as you had something to eat ! I can still hear that cracking in my head ! Fortunately I didn't become ill !

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  18. I guess in a way it's all part and parcel of living in an underdeveloped part of the world Diane.. but a cockroach eeeew.. that's just horrible.. although probably quite nutritious, I have heard that eating bugs could become quite normal :)

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  19. Oh my how gross......good thing I don't like tomato soup because it might turn me off it if I did

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  20. Oh, my goodness. No wonder you have so many adventures in your mature years - you got an early start and have been at it all along! :) What a fascinating life you have led, diane.
    Have a great weekend - Marsha

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  21. I am sorry you became sick, the cockroach must have horrifying. Yuck. Glad to hear you are better.

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  22. Ewwww, on the cockroach but do remember a similar incident when on holiday Gregg found one in his burger. I refused to eat mine after that. He laughed it off and quipped "extra protein'. I didn't find it funny at the time. You must have been glad to get home for your Mum's TLC after being so sick.

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  23. Your life has been quite an adventure, Diane. Ugh, cockroaches in the soup! So glad you were able to recover from that serious illness.

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  24. I had terrible trouble with giant cockroaches when I lived up there but never cooked any in the soup ( I hope).

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  25. Oh boy Diane, I bet your Mum met you with open arms and couldn't get you home quick enough!
    So unfortunate for that to happen ... you really didn't need that extra protein did you ;D)
    Once again it's been beaut seeing your photos back then - love the ice creameries :D)

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  26. Oh dear. The dark (and crunchy) side of Paradise. Yeeew. (Since we spend time in Florida now I actually know what a cockroach is. Which makes your story even yukkier.) I bet you still don't like tomato soup.

    Nothing like a mum to help you recover from a bout with a serious illness.

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  27. 'Tis said, somewhere, that if we could overcome our aversion to insects it would be easy to feed the world. Forget the cockroaches - I have trouble with the very idea of tomato soup!

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  28. Finally got caught up and am now able to read all your fascinating blog posts I'd missed. It must have been scary to be so ill and away from family. Can't wait to find out if you found healthier accommodations! New installment, please!

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  29. It must have been a hardship to live and eat under unsanitary conditions, Diane! However, I think when we are young, we tolerate things like this much easier.

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  30. Oh shudder and ugh!! Double Ugh! Triple Ugh! I hate cockroaches! So sorry that you got so sick from the unsanitary practices of the kitchen staff. Going home and having your own Mum take care of you was just what you needed at that time.

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