Well the drama of the ATM card at Barclays continued…they must have an inch thick file of paperwork that has been supplied – the most annoying thing about the whole issue is that back in December I was told it would be no problem, I signed a form or two and would get my card in a week or so…it’s now 6 months later and after more trips and calls to the bank than I care to remember – I now have the card but…and there always is one…they attached it to the wrong account and for me to have that changed requires… you guessed it…more paperwork, letters, faxes…I think I’ll just wait until P gets back from overseas.

At the moment P and Herb are back in Perth, having spent 2 weeks in Indonesia with our first client. They spent a week in Perth prior to that with meetings and research and are now back doing a little bit more of the same. It is highly probable that our second client will be contacting us any day now to say come to Melbourne to start, so I may not see P for another month… STOP PRESS – Melbourne job may be postponed due to Swine flu and the reports of discouraging visits from other states to Melbourne…

Just before the guys left, we had Son 1’s 18th birthday. He was really keen to have a lunch time BBQ then go out in fancy dress to one of our favourite bars “Banana”, a place that has a huge banana tree lit up with fairy lights in the middle and usually a live band playing. We had a few people come for the BBQ but it was really disappointing that many who said they would come (and were catered for) didn’t show. Most disappointing for Son 1 was the Mauritian girls that he had met didn’t come, even though they had confirmed they would and despite all his calls to them, didn’t make that decision until an hour before the start time…and he had made the BBQ at a time that the girls could come since their parents would not allow them out after 6pm. Anyway…it was a pleasant afternoon.

18th night out

Then we got dressed to go out…what a laugh!! Son 1 had bought some things in Perth with Sue’s help from Good Sammy’s and looked like Austin Powers in his get-up. Of course all my dress-up clothes were in a box somewhere in my shed so Paul & I improvised and dressed like Pirates – complete with alfoil covered cardboard swords and eyepatches held on by rubber bands…Herb had had his fiancée, Fifi bring over a Massai warrior’s “kilt” (it does have a tartan pattern!) but since it had turned a bit cool, he couldn’t really wear it as they do – naked underneath…so he added a few bits of his own to make it look African (not hard when you ARE a big black African man)… The other guys were party-poopers and wouldn’t dress up. Obviously it’s not really common practice here to dress up in fancy dress because we got heaps of laughs and stares.

One of the guys who came along was Jeff, an American from Chicago. He and Son 1 got along famously as both were interested in outdoorsy activities so went and did kayaking, trekking and mountain biking while Jeff was here in Mauritius on holidays. He was the one who started the “have to have as many shots as your birthday age” on Son 1’s night out…I had to call “timeout” after the 10th (at Son 1’s request)…a mother’s perogative…Anyway – Jeff has offered for Son 1 to go to Chicago and do some research work for his company for 3 months – all expenses and accommodation paid for…what an awesome opportunity! Son 1 is thinking about it…I know his decision will be based on how things are going with him & Emma…which would be a shame in my mind…but ultimately Son 1’s decision…I wonder if I went as well if I could convince him to stay??? hmmmm….

I have had a little bit of contact (always grateful for a little since it’s better than none) from Son 1 now that he’s in Uganda. He left on 3 June to do some volunteer coaching in a village called Jinja. He was supposed to be doing netball coaching but changed to football/soccer coaching after the first day and absolutely loves it. The MadVenturer group has 6 girls & 3 other guys there from UK, Scotland and Ireland. Son 1 is the youngest, as most of the other volunteers are about 24 years old. He has been helping out with the street kids who live in a shelter – trying to find any relative that could take care of them and playing soccer with them when he can. He’s also gone and helped out at the orphanage. He told me that the feeling he gets from helping these kids is so incredible – and so gratifying – he doesn’t know if he wants to leave…and would encourage anyone to do it. The smiles, he said, are so worth it!

Just before he left, we found ourselves with another stray – this time a kitten about 6 weeks old running around in the garden where we have the office…pretty feral to start with since it had obviously been fending for itself a while. I brought it home and have been making a concerted effort to “de-feralize” it. She is a cute little thing, grey & white, purrs as loud as a chainsaw and now, after 3 weeks, is showing a true kitten nature – with her crazy jumping at shadows, stalking those “big bad pieces of screwed up paper” and running like a mental thing around and over everything. Holly would love to be friends and tries whenever possible to get close – but the kitten just puffs up & hisses – so Holly walks off.

Cifa kitty 2009

On the other hand, the kitten – who we named Cifa (Ceefa…as in “C for” cat) desperately wants to be friends with Ivy but Ivy just doesn’t know how to deal with the hyper little thing…I have had plenty of laughs with the kitten hanging on the same seat as Ivy, just with her head peeping over the edge so she can watch what Ivy’s doing…or when the kitten was playing under her seat, Ivy just stretched her paws over and smacked the kitten on the head when she popped out as if to say – “stop that nonsense under there, you are disturbing my sleep”. Last night I nearly jumped 2 feet off the bed when my feet touched something small and furry and not moving at the bottom of the bed under the covers – Cifa was not very impressed that I had woken her but I didn’t even know she was down there…weird kitty!!

Ivy – aka “Killer” – who has never shown the slightest bit of interest in catching the ‘tung’ or any other mouse like creatures…I mean seriously – a cat chasing a mouse – whoever heard of that??? has now decided to change her ways – well has decided to include tung and mice in her repetoire of creatures she brings inside and lets loose. It all started on the day I found a tung looking very bedraggled hanging on for dear life onto the pool hose. Son 1 and I did another rescue mission & got it out of the pool and put it in a nice warm dry place to recouperate. Later that same day, Ivy brought a tung (I’m guessing probably the same one) up and laid it at Holly’s feet and walked off. Holly thought this was the best present ever and spent the next couple of hours chasing it around the yard. The next day, Ivy brought in another tung – this time into the house – and put it down in the kitchen and then I spent the next couple of hours chasing the squeeking stupid thing out – much to the amusement of Ivy, I’m sure. Later that same day, another present – this time a small field mouse which Ivy bolted upstairs with as soon as I saw her…the next few days were spent trying to find the poor thing and chase it out of the house – Ivy had given up well and truly by that time…needed to get her beauty sleep by then…

The weather here has turned quite cool – some days we have had a min of 16 and max of 22 – I know is not really cold weather like in Perth, but definitely jumper weather for me here…The nice thing is, although it is cooler, it is lovely to have some days warmer and then the storms roll in and it rains, then sunshine again…Today was a beautiful day after 3 days of windy rainy weather…only negative thing about the cooler weather is that the water is less inviting to go diving – My last dive was about 2 weeks ago and it was a little chilly in the water. We went out in the Dive master’s uncle’s boat – an old traditional wooden Mauritian fishing boat – a beautiful old thing. We dived on a wreck then swam our way to another spot before surfacing. It was a great dive but when we surfaced the guy who was in the boat was fishing some ways off and it took us about half an hour to attract his attention to come & pick us up. In the meantime we had to keep swimming with all our gear on in a fairly strong current to keep out position…was completely exhausted at the end of it all…

With the cooler weather I have noticed too the small weaver birds haven’t been as active – for a while the nests in the gum trees next door looked like they had been abandoned, although I have noticed the adult birds have started tearing thin strips off the palms again to re-build their nests…maybe this is the “autumn” babies time?? I had made “friends” with some little red birds – looked like big finches – earlier in the year but they have all disappeared now – wonder if they are migrating birds?

I mentioned before about meeting the new neighbours – Ron & Jean – an Aussie & an “pyseudo-Aussie” (a Brit who lived in Oz for 28 years)…they are great company – I have spent a few nights with them gasbagging until early hours of the morning – even better is Ron’s love of Maths…LOL – I knew there was a reason why we got along!!! We have been madly exchanging books written in English which is always important in a country whose official language is English, but where everything is written in French!! We went out to a great little local restaurant the other night, “Coin de Nord” in a small village called Poudre d’or. The prices of the main meals, mainly local kreole curries, were about 150Rs (rupees) = AUD$6 and were so delicious…brought enough leftovers home for the next night’s dinner…

They moved here after 10 years in Karratha as retirees and love it…they have promised me a trip to some of the small places they have found in their exploration of the island…a nice way to see the island as “locals” rather than tourists.

I have been doing a lot more driving here and slowly are coming to terms with the chaos on the roads…but every now & then, something happens to make sure you don’t become too complacent about it – like the day that I nearly was squashed by a truck, doing far more than the 40km limit the sign said it did on the back, driving on the wrong side of the road around a corner – luckily I had stopped…or the time when Son 1 & I were heading to dinner before he headed o/seas – Son 1 was teasing me and saying that I was driving like a granny (no offense to Grannys of course), just headed over a rise, and there, in the middle of an unlit road, in dark clothing was an old guy…had just enough time to swerve him & miss a car coming in the opposite direction…hmmm something to be said for “granny driving” I think!! Actually it’s just better to avoid driving where possible!!!

Much better as a passenger – you get to see all the gorgeously coloured saris the Indian women wear…even in “Winter”, there are the beautiful bright colours, unlike Perth winters which usually involves grey, black with small splashes of maybe red or yellow…I am always so amazed at the combinations that these women put together – greens & oranges – blues & pinks – blues & greens – blues & yellows etc etc..and they are all so coordinated – the blouse top matching the pants or sari and contrasting with the wrap thing or a scarf…the real “lookers” are stunning and even the older fat mammas can look decent…although I still have issues with the serious muffin top look bulging out over the wrap/skirt thing and I really don’t like the yellow & pink combo. It’s quite lovely to watch the people walking down the street (they seem not to like to use the footpaths)…that mix of Indian and Western…

Well soon we will be heading off to Uganda ourselves. Herb, who works with us, is getting married in July. We have planned to go rafting on the Nile and tracking mountain gorillas in the time between the Quandula (where the groom & his friends bring gifts of goats, cows etc to the brides home) and the actual wedding/reception which is a week later. That should be another interesting experience – I’m looking forward to it.