I spent the day hoofing it around this side of the island (again)…but it is Saturday here so there are all new things to see. Most importantly was the neighborhood pick-up game…soccer on the “field” for all creatures between the ages of 4 and 11…I will have to take a picture of it. But to get there I walked past the would-be MOMA “Rubbish” exhibit which was now covered in children. I would love to see one Seattle mom let her 2 or 3 year old crawl all over a rusted out vehicle filled with garbage—the kids were having so much fun! But down the block to the soccer game which was already at full throttle by 9am. There were definitely more than the regulation number of players but the play was heated. These kids have mad skills. Adults were sitting on the side of the road watching them and adolescent boys came out today in droves on their BMX type bikes.
Walking along the water, I can share without a little embarrassment that the tourists are annoying even to me. An Australian man who was not exactly what we would call “fit” was walking with his shirt off and he was covered in tattoos. I had the pleasure of walking a bit behind him and watching the reaction of the locals as they scoffed, stared, and pointed when he passed by. Women off the cruise ships stroll about town wearing next to nothing in a country where over 95% of the women wear skirts or dresses below the knee just look like, well, jerks.
I meandered down to the waterfront park where it was church time. Church today was a loud speaker blasting reggae music so loud it could be heard six blocks in any direction, warning of the coming end of days and joyfully exclaiming all kinds of good things about the possibility for redemption. Families milled, children were jumping into the water and vendors were doing their best to sell to the tourists.
I noticed that they are very very good at some public works here. For example, they have water slides on the sidewalk that drop children off with a happy plop into the ocean. My kids would go bananas for this activity. It is very high level fun—perhaps PhD level fun, even. The slides are bolted into the sidewalk for everyone to use and seem to call out, “have fun!” “take a slide!” “step this way!”. If I didn’t know intellectually speaking that slides can’t speak, I would have climbed right up and had a slide myself they were so convincing. Other things they are not so good at here include garbage collection. Which is why, I suspect, there is garbage nearly everywhere and this could also explain the headlines in the paper, “What a Lot of Rubbish!”. Indeed.
My favorite sight of the day came down the road from the water slides where two men were fishing. This activity was accomplished via an old camp-style-metal-row boat. One man was wearing a snorkel mask and held a giant fishing net and jumped off the side of the boat. I waited to see if he came up with anything when I noticed the bulk of the action was in the boat where the rower was baling water out of the boat with a 4-cup square Tupperware at full speed. It seems they were in a race to see if they could catch any fish before the boat went under. Every few minutes the fisher would jump in the boat and bale water out with his snorkel mask then dive back in and check the net. This only lasted about 15 minutes before the fisher jumped in, hauled in the net and the paddled back to shore with the rhythm “paddle, paddle, bale” until land was reached and they hauled the row boat out of the water. Since I witnessed a man biting the head of a live octopus in Hawaii after his big catch, I am no longer afraid to see what fishermen haul in. These two caught a fish. No biting of the head necessary.
Today was exceptionally hot and humid…I was very glad to get back to where I am staying and have the breezes rolling up the hill. I just stood outside and enjoyed it, which is pretty much what all the locals were doing this afternoon as well. I have one more day until I report for duty at the hospital and plan to make the most of it by making the least of it. I am growing fond of only knowing that it is day time because the sun is up and it feels like it is time to put my flip-flops on and take lazy walks around the neighborhood and wish everyone “hallo!” and “good morning!”. I keep thinking about how I will scare my husband and kids when I get back and I greet them with such enthusiasm at the crack of dawn.