Friday, 14 September 2012

A deluge of rain and Pepsi

Sometimes it does not feel like I am living in paradise. It has been raining non-stop. Anywhere else everyone would be shocked and overwhelmed by the ferocity of the downpours (think Newcastle in June, but for several days). Everything is so wet. John tells me that foot rot is common here - it is not only in my imagination that my toes feel like them may drop off of my feet. Everything has a sheen of greasy dampness to it - the floors, the dining room tables, the bedsheets - it's enough to make one want to blowdry one's life.

The dampness, living out of suitcases and the thought of Alex going back to the UK soon has been a little emotionally challenging. However, looking at the bright side of life, eating out here has relatively inexpensive and mostly a delight: Indian, Chinese and John's regular, the Bad Dog Cafe (usual tuna sashimi to start, Sir?). However, after two weeks of it, I would like to eat some home cooked food that is a little more complex than pasta and jarred ragu sauce.

Mike Sweet, a post doc that works with John, and his MPhil student, David, arrived the other day to entertain us (and to do some work). Even though our Suva stuff is mostly packed up (with the UK stuff still somewhere between Newcastle and Fiji), I decided that it would be a good idea to cook dinner. The trip to town to go shopping started in a rare moment of sunshine. Optimistically, we only brought one brolly.

On the menu was lamb chops, vegetables from the market stall and my mother's key lime pie. However, by the time I got out of the supermarket it had begun to sprinkle. The kids were staying in town to go to the movies so I gave them my umbrella. When the taxi stopped at the market stall, it was like standing under a blasting hose pipe. In the five minutes it took me to do the shopping, a small river appeared between me and the taxi and I had to do a running jump to get to the other side.

When I got home I was soaked to my underwear. I dried off, changed my clothes and unpacked my shopping and began to cook. The first challenge was the pie. Digestive biscuits are four times more expensive than other biscuits so I got gingersnaps. They were the hardest damned cookies I ever had the displeasure of crushing by hand (using one of my precious zip lock bags and a wine bottle). The rest of the pie making went smoothly though the pie turned out orange because of the type of limes here - they are more like sour oranges.

Looks like orange, tastes like lime.

As I started prepping the vegetables (mustard greens, tomatoes for salsa, sweetcorn, pumpkin and a white sweet potato) the power went out during a particularly heavy bout of rain. At this point I decided to sit down with my book and a glass of diet Pepsi. I opened the freezer to get out the 2 litre plastic bottle of Pepsi which I had put in ten minutes before and dropped it. It exploded. Really. Two litres of diet Pepsi dripped off of me and walls. It had even blasted up into the cupboards through the slats. My clothes were soaking wet. The bottle lay on the ground looking completely intact but empty - only a smallish crack in the bottom of the bottle gave a hint as to the physics of disbursing a large amount of liquid in very small amount of time over a maximum area.

I had put the Pepsi in the freezer because I can't figure out how to get the ice cubes out of the ice cube tray. This is something that I've had problems with since the demise of the metal ice cube trays with the lever that those of you who where born in the 60s will remember (or those of you that watch Mad Men). An attempt to put ice into my drink the other day resulted in splintered plastic in my drink and a shattered ice cube tray in the bin.

After standing in mute disbelief for a minute or two, I got the mop and cleaned the kitchen. Just as it was getting dark, the lights came back on. I finished cooking dinner which turned out fine bar the corn which was only fit for livestock. As I slipped between the damp sheets I reflected that life isn't too shabby at the moment, even if it is still the dry season.


  1. We had a similar fizzy-pop explosion whilst in a holiday villa in Majorca. The floor was covered, the cupboards and the walls, it was dripping off the ceiling. It was quite shocking. We just did a cursory mop of the floor and cupboard doors, but left the newly speckled ceiling alone, it actually looked like it was supposed to be like that.

    And this is the dry season for you? Heavens! I'm looking forward to hearing about it once it becomes rainy.

  2. I do believe your sense of humor will turn out to be the most important thing that made the move with you. The writing is fantastic keep it up :0)