The sun will set without thy assistance.

My idea of "The Coast" has always been an east/west one. The idea of the sun not rising or setting over the ocean was almost unfathomable. It's odd to wake up and look directly out over the ocean and have the sun rising to my right hand side, over land, while the grey-blue sea meets and an equally grey-blue sky. But that's Wewak, on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea.

Here, in the province of East Sepik (pronounced Seep-ick) you are about 300kms from the equator. The heat makes everyone drowsy and if you're not careful, you'll find yourself kipping at 11am. The afternoons are dark with the threat of rain; hard, harsh tropical rain that can flood any road or creek within minutes. The evenings bring little relief from the oppressive warmth. Ceiling fans spin 24-7 and the gentle hum of air conditioners are heard in all buildings that are owned by those that can afford the machine's upkeep, which isn't many. The view from each window is no less than stunning; vast stretches of green covered peninsulas, blue water gentling lapping sandy beaches, lush palms that mimic oriental fans, coconut trees laden with their fuzzy, milk filled spheres and everywhere there are vibrant grasses and flowers, alive with colour from the saturating rains.

The town itself is very dynamic with something new being built or renovated every fifty metres. It's relatively clean, relative to other PNG cities and towns, that is. Wewak (pronounced Wee-whack) has no roads connecting it to other provinces, so everyone that is here was either born here, could afford to fly here or came by ship. As a result there is a sense of pride and good behavior that goes with maintaining ones own place. Ask any highlander what they think of Sepik people and they'll tell you they are violent, harsh, rude and war-like. Ask any Sepik person what highlanders are like and you'll get the same answer.

As you fly over the highlands, with the plane almost skimming the tops of the mountains, you are struck by the sheer ruggedness of the country. A terrain so fierce and harsh looking that it's hard to imagine anyone living there. Without announcement, the mountains suddenly stop and you find you are flying over the Sepik river floodplains. Hundreds of kilometres long and flat as glass. Apart from where the river breaks it, the whole area is covered with dense, dark, mysterious jungle. And if the sun reflects the right way, the whole ground starts to sparkle as if it's imitating a firework display and you realise the jungle is growing through the water and the water blankets the entire area. And people live here, lots of people. They interact very little with the outside world, not by choice, but because the water levels are either too low to get a boat in or too high to drive through.

There is a surrealism here I cant quite explain. I dont know whether it's a result of my urban upbringing and my exposure to tropical environments having been limited to travel magazines and television, or whether I'm still not accustomed to the idea of living in a country so close to my own but so completely different in countless ways.

I've been to Madang, which by any western standards is a remote tropical paradise. But while you are there you cannot escape the fact that you are in Madang, even out snorkeling on the reefs you can look back and see the town and the buildings and there are boats and people and noise. Wewak is different. It feels remote, it is remote and you can never forget that you are flanked by seemingly impenetrable jungle on one side and endless, boundless ocean on the other.

The area could be fertility embodied. Life is abundant in any direction. My hotel room's bathroom had at least two geckos in it; the sand underneath the balcony was crawling with sandy coloured crabs with bright yellow pincers and pink scuttling legs. The main road holds back the wild jungle that tries to engulf it as it winds its way around the shoreline. A line of palm trees stands single file, the only barrier between road and timeless sea. They stretch out over the water, making almost identical acute angles, with the tide teasing their sand covered bases.

Collapse )

Bone dust and spider guts.

I.Kitty Vs The Arachnid World Part III

Yesterday was my appointment with the dentist. He looked at my x-rays and couldn't tell whether my wisdom teeth were going to cause me hassle in the next 12 months, so is going to send them on to The Great And All Knowing Dentist God who will call me with his advice. Then, he gave me my first ever filling. I didn't quite know what to expect, so my fear was largely non-existent. Things started out ok, he was happily drilling my tooth, I was noting with interest that the smell of drilled tooth is really quite repulsive and then the pain hit me. I remember once in primary school I decided to grab the zip on my pencil case with my teeth and close it. Nails on a blackboard are nothing compared to that sensation, I assure you. And having a tooth drilled without anaesthetic is somewhere in the vicinity of a thousand times worse.

The kindly dentist, who had a bodily shape not unlike The Fat Controller, noticed my wincing and stopped. He then suggested that some anaesthetic would help the whole process go a lot smoother. I agreed but with reluctance as I knew that what he was really saying was, "I'm going to stick this sharp, dripping sliver of metal into your gum, into the most sensitive spot I can find, ok?". I'll spare you the details, but thankfully it wasn't as bad as I had feared and the whole drilling and filling process continued, as did the pain because the anaesthetic didn't really seem to start working until I was paying the bill. I have a sneaking suspicion that they do that deliberately so you don't have a heart attack over the fee.

After my egress from the dental surgery, and after realising that I wouldn't be able to eat the plump, juicy steak that was currently waiting in my fridge, I decided a trip to Woolies for soft foods would be in order. Of course, I forgot that half my face was numb and that I looked like a stroke victim. People stared as I held two packets of pasta, examining the benefits of four cheeses over carbonara. People stared as I mumbled to the woman in the deli that I'd like some semi-dried tomatoes. They stared as I looked at the ginger snap biscuits and gave out a defeated wail. Even the woman at the check out spoke to me in her best condescending tone.

I came home and felt like I had been smacked in the face with a fry pan. After a brief and futile attempt at trying to see the filling, I gave up and set out to make some soup and arranged to drool on myself. It was around 8pm that I came down from the anaesthetic in a record 30 seconds. I took some painkillers and amused myself by reading the warning information on the packet. A habit I really should break. I watched the tennis and was comforted by Jungle Boy's online antics. Alicia Molik had just won the first set against Venus Williams when it happened. It pelted up the wall, from behind the fridge and sat on the roof just long enough for me to fully comprehend what was happening. It's eight eyes blinked independently of one another before it ran across the ceiling.

The facts of the situation went through my mind. Huntsman. Bigger than my hand. In studio apartment. Nowhere for me to hide. Bug spray on other side of room, impossible to access. I live alone. I have to deal with this myself. I'm wearing a slip, can't get neighbours. Its after 10pm, can't call friends. Painkillers that cause drowsiness are taking affect. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.

In the space of approximately ten seconds my body had managed to cover itself in goose bumps and at the same time be dripping with sweat. I had also came to the realisation that I had to kill the spider. There was no way I could sleep/live until I knew it was gone. And I sure as hell wasn't getting an old Chinese container to capture it in and place it outside. I watched. I waited. This was no ordinary huntsman; it didn’t just sit in the one corner and move only when you weren't looking. This huntsman was crawling everywhere. And my god do they move fast.

It managed to out manoeuvre me and found its way behind the kitchen wall. Using every ounce of strength and bravery I moved to a safe position where I could view the kitchen. I couldn't see the spider. I inched closer. Still no sight of it. Choking and shaking I stood on my bed, one hand holding the wall, one foot gingerly being placed on the ground, neck straining to see around the wall, skin crawling with fear. I had a complete view of the kitchen. And I couldn't see the spider. I knew I had one option left. I had to grab the bug spray from the kitchen and spray in the direction of the cupboard in the hope it would cause the spider to reveal itself, as it could only be in one of two places; on top of the cupboard, or down in the small gap between the cupboard and wall.

My plan worked. I sprayed and the spider came running out, right towards me. I of course freaked and ran to the other side of the apartment where I did The Spider Dance, which involves running on the spot and waving my hands while making an "eeeii" sound. And the spider kept coming towards me. Its thick, hairy legs clinging to the ceiling. I sprayed. It changed direction but I was still backed into a corner. I sprayed again, this time cursing like a drunken, Scottish sailor. It ran back. I followed, still spraying. But it wasn't even slowing down. I kept spraying. It ran down a wall. I shook the can of Mortein one handed, in the same way Sarah Conner does with her shotgun at the end of Terminator 2 and sprayed again. The spider dropped off the wall and hit the tiled floor, its legs coated with spray as it flailed about trying to regain traction.

The battle went on like this for a while. It was still moving too fast for me to get close enough to squash it, so my only option was to keep spraying. Eventually it flipped itself onto its back and its legs curled up. I grabbed my big fuckoff boot, aimed and let fly. Its unholy body burst and spider guts went everywhere. But I didn’t stop. I continued to hit it, grinding its body into the hard surface, taking out all my rage and fear on it. I dropped the boot and stood back, still shaking and covered in sweat. I scanned my apartment for any more invaders and satisfied there were none, I lit a cigarette and sat down to see Molik take the second set and enter the quarterfinals.

Below is a picture of the abovementioned spider. I apologise for its blurriness, but I was shaking too much to be concerned with getting a picture perfect shot.
Collapse )
  • Current Music
    Henry Mancini - Hub caps and tail lights

I.Kitty vs The Angry Bug Battalions.

Today, the insect world was against me.

I awoke as usual and wished once more than I had a gun by the bed so I could wake, shoot, and get on with my day. I hauled my sorry ass out of the warm blankets and into the nearest piece of clothing I could find - an old faded Cradle of Filth shirt. I sat cross-legged on my black mobster chair, wearing knee high black and blue socks and aforementioned shirt, holding a cigarette and desperately trying to think of a new daily msn name.

I was just about to bang my head on the monitor when my I remembered I had promised myself not to do that in an attempt to control my morning anger. I threw an empty packet of cigarettes across the room and stumbled down stairs to make some tea. As I was making my tea I saw a note I had written myself a few days ago in a fit of filthy hippie wisdom. When I could focus I saw that it read "Go outside for VD" Some quick thinking told me that VD stood for Vitamin D, not venereal disease. The jug was going to take its time boiling, so I walked out the back and looked out to the ocean. The knowledge that it was filled with my future army brought a cold smile to my face and I felt the absolute hatred boiling in my blood subside.

And then there was a pain like ten pins being driven through my kneecap from behind. I looked down and realised I was standing in the midst of a thousand angry ants. Wishing I had my cup of boiling tea in hand to pour on these little fuckers, I did the "I have a bug in my hair" dance and tried to get the scrawny dots off my legs. After a few moments of looking far from cool, I was free of my would be attackers. I walked inside and armed myself with two secret weapons; a jug of boiling water and surface spray.

I used the boiling water first. I swear I could hear them scream and hiss. I cackled like an old woman, and I'm sure had my neighbours been watching, certain authorities would have been contacted. I stopped the trial by water and pulled the bug spray from my pocket. I shook slowly, giving the survivors enough time to realise that death came from above. I drew a circle around the nest, cutting off all escape routes. Then I focused my powers of destruction on the nest it self. However, being the child of the eighties that I am, I soon lost all interest in genocide and left my victims for naught, meandered back inside, made some tea, and went back upstairs to chat on msn and generally waste my day.

Two Hours Later

As I sat in from of my pc, smoking cigarette after cigarette, the craving for something edible hit me. Again, I made my way downstairs. Looking about the kitchen for things that might please my palette, I spied the can of surface spray and instantly remembered my killing spree from before. I sauntered outside once more and surveyed my work. The ground was littered with tiny bodies frozen in their death throes. It was like an insect Normandy. As I continued up the path, careful not to tread on the tortured bodies as a mark of respect, a sound rang in my ears. Looking about I tried desperately to locate the source of the noise. My eyes looked over the graveyard at my feet and to the contrasting colourful lorikeets play fighting in the now barren apricot tree. But still the source of the sound eluded me.

About to give up and return to my hunt for food, I noticed something fall from above. I looked upwards to the towering tree overhead. It was an odd tree, something like a palm tree, but bearing a small orange fruit in summer. My eyes were drawn to its flower, a frond of clean, pale yellow that was almost completely covered in bees. I froze. Now, I have no allergy to bees, and have been stung once or twice in the past. But the idea of being stung by many bees at once did not appeal. I know not to under estimate my enemy, and a quick calculation of my situation confirmed my first thought: retreat. Had this new menace seen my ruthless attack earlier? Were they planning some kind of revenge assault? What if these were a new strain of blood hungry bees? Too many questions, no certain answers. I stepped slowly backwards, carefully placing one foot behind the other until I was at a safe distance to turn away from the yellow and black battalion.

I made it safely to my sanctuary and sat myself down, cross-legged again, on my black chair. Thoughts of my misadventure faded from my minds eye once more. Then just as I had forgotten all about it came a sharp pain from under my arm. My face took on the look of a betrayed solider as I raised my arm to see a member of the opposing force had infiltrated my defences and made its way behind enemy lines. With the cold calmness of a man who has seen his own death I stared at the critter, its mandibles digging into my defenceless flesh. I raised my other hand and tried to flick it away. It stayed. It was 'tween thumb and forefinger that my foe met his final demise. I dropped the body into my overflowing ashtray and gave it not a second though.


And so it continues..

I.Kitty vs The Arachnid World - The Return Of The Spider King

The heat was deathly. My mood was worse. I stormed from the house, a maelstrom of anger and bubbling fury. I slammed the car door closed and sped off, the sun beating down on my white skin, frying it mercilessly. I turn up the air con. My mood improves as I speed along, weaving in and out of traffic, flying through amber-marked intersections, Rammstein blaring.

And then it happened.

From under the windscreen wiper came eight hairy legs, eight deathly cold eyes. It paused briefly, making sure its presence was known, then it pelted up the windscreen and over the roof. Now, I am quite a cool, calm and collected person in an dangerous situation, so naturally I had a heart attack without losing control of the car, or indeed, slowing down at all. I pressed the button that would wind up my window, cursing the slowness of the electronic operation. I check the rear-view mirror. The little sucker is running across the boot. Its legs scuttling here and there. And then, as if it knows I am looking, it turns and runs up the back window, across the roof, down the front windscreen and back under the wiper blade.

I remember to breathe again and let out a strained breath which sounded suspiciously like an "eep". I reach for a cigarette as I realise I cant have one. I figure the best plan is to get to work as soon as humanly possible. I change lanes, and stop at a red light. I notice the car in front as the infamous yellow L plates stuck crudely to the back. However, I am forever an optimist and hope that this is an advanced learner, one who understands that driving at the speed limit isn't a bad thing. I was wrong, again life blows a raspberry at me, and I smell the stench of gin on its breath.

After taking 15 minutes to drive a stretch of road that should have taken 5 minutes, I start to notice that it aint so cool in my car no more. My aircon is no longer blowing cold air. I do some quick maths. At the rate I was currently travelling, by the distance I still had to go, I was going to die of heat exhaustion before I had a chance to open a window and breathe some fresh air. Spider Country is bad, but in summer it is hell.

Then - a miracle. The learner driver turned off the street we were on. I speed ahead. I suffer every red light. But I make it to work. I scramble out of the car with all the grace of rusty cheese grater, slam the door and get as far away as possible from this vehicle of death.

I arrive at work, and regale my colleagues with my tale. And remind them of Episode One and we all have a few laughs and forget about it.


The witching hour. All God's creatures safely tucked away, sleeping the peaceful sleep of small children and animals. And the time when the critters come out to play. I approach my car. Keys in hand. Breath in throat. (Mind in gutter, but that's no surprise.) My eyes travel over the car. Nothing. My brave assistant, Jamie, looks under the hood. Clears out some leaves. Still nothing. By this time we are both satisfied that the spider has given in and moved on. We say our farewells and I drive away.

Not two minutes later, sitting on the hood like some bond-villain was the Spider King. Its eyes glinting in the yellow moon light. Its hair rippling in the breeze. This time, I am prepared. I know its tactics, I like to think I have the advantage, yet I cant help but feel like an American G.I in Vietnam. I have the technology and the raw power, but it knows the terrain and is small and swift and can strike without warning. My terror rises. It makes its move. It scuttles to the left, along the side of the car. And like that, it was gone. I check the rear-view: nothing. I look over my shoulder: still nothing. I drive on and wait. Still nothing.

And on I drive. I have no choice. I follow the road longing to be home, and again dreading it all at once. Has the beast found some new place to hide? Has it fallen off along the way? I start to get paranoid. What if this Spider King is hiding, forcing me into a false sense of security, waiting for me to think it has gone, only then to strike! What horrible spidery things would it do to me?? I knew not. I knew only that tonight's denouement was near.

I park. I grab my things. I open the car door and leap to safety, my bag still inside. My eyes dart over the car once more - it appears to spider-free, but I know not to trust that. I grab my bag. Its snagged on the park break. I tug. It wont move. Was that a spider on the roof? Its too dark, I cant see well enough. My composure cracks. I lunge into the car and unhook the bag, yanking it free. The door slams. I fumble the keys trying to lock it. I hear a click. The car is locked. I grab the keys and bag and run into the house, I close the door and sink down, breathing heavily. I did not win, but I did not lose.

And thus details yet another saga from the I.Kitty vs The Arachnid World Chronicles.
  • Current Mood
    exhausted exhausted

(no subject)

I finished work last night right on midnight, which was nice. Got in the car, was driving home. Got to a main intersection where I usually need to turn right. They were doing road works. And as such I could not turn right. Surely they would have outlined some kind of detour, I think. But no. Just one stupid little man with a little flashing power-stick waving madly like he was the God of Semaphore.

So there I am, conforming and turning left, and pondering exactly which way I need to go in order to be heading in the right direction, when I notice a huge fucking HUNSTMAN sitting on one of my headlights (I have pop-up headlights coz my car is an 80's flashback nightmare- but its great for pick up lines "Wanna sit on the front of my car and see what pops up?" But I digress.) So there was this eight-legged freak just sitting there. Non-chalant. Not caring that I was having a heart attack. (For our international readers I should clarify that hunstmans are rather large hairy spiders, cant kill you but would give you a nasty bite and for anyone who is slightly irked by spiders, these things are just freaky.) Now, normally I am quite a rational person. But spiders I can not tolerate. I hate the little fuckers and would gladly donate a kidney if it meant I never had to see one again in my life.

Eight legs. Eight beady eyes. And it is crawling all over the place. I cant watch the road because I cant tear my eyes away from this thing that only be classed as some creation-diety's mistake. I mean, what was it doing? Car surfing? Was it some sort of extreme-sport spider? Was it suicidal? I figure I can probably drive and watch the spider quite effectively if I just kept my mind on the task. It was at this point that my body decided it needed a cigarette and it needed one now. I couldnt wind down the window, this was spider country. But I could last till I got home, it was only another 10mins or so, right?

10mins later I was stuck at more road works. Trying to concentrate on spider that I now cant see. Where has it gone? Need a cigarette. How slow do these fucking trucks move? Need a cigarette. Stupid roadwork man and his stop sign. Need a cigarette. Still have no idea where the spider is. Still need a cigarette. Eventually the stupid roadwork man who is probably being paid more than me flips his sign and I get to crawl along for a kilometre or two. End Roadworks. Thank fuck. I speed home. Park. And encounter the problem I had been successfully ignoring. How to get out of the car, not knowing where the spider was, without falling over or getting bitten.

The details of my speedy exit form the vehical will remain only in my memory, let us just say it was not graceful, but I survived.

And thus details yet another saga from the I.Kitty vs The Arachnid World Chronicles.

  • Current Music