Tuesday, November 29, 2011

winged pod update

The building team are into the final stages of the winged bedroom pod and adjoining bathroom; when they aren't texting on their phones or having a smoke break.  The occupational health and safety regulations are conspicuous by their absence, as is any type of insurance or building code. Following the architect's drawings is also optional, and regular site visits are essential to ensure the project is built as per the vision.

If you missed the last update, you can see it here.
Photos of the main house here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

playing with the boys

At the end of the season, when the guests have gone home and the days heat up, we spend more time at the hotel, hanging out by the pool with the manager Greg (far right) and  his painfully cute son RJ.  As a small token of celebration I stepped behind the bar to make a choc-banana smoothie for Johnny Bay's (far left) birthday. RJ thought is was heaven; hanging out with Dad and the big boys while scoffing his own glass of smoothie.  Every day he gets more cheeky and adorable, and doesn't he know it.  Before long he'll have a man sized Bintang singlet and be chugging back beers with his mates, while Dad and the Aquamen relive their days of glory.

Monday, November 21, 2011

another rock in the wall

Part of our back fence took a tumble while we were on our visa run. It is only dry stone with a concrete capping, so is vulnerable to Humpty Dumpty moments. We rallied the rock monkeys for a days work before the whole thing fell down.  The foreman said they would start at 8am, but they turned up keen to start at 6.45am -  who knew rubber time works in both directions?

The team endured the morning heat with constant chip and chat. They used the public path as the cement mixing zone and added a token course of mud through the middle of the wall to add strength.  Lunch was a few little fish cooked whole over the open fire, a cigarette and a glass of water. 

The team boss is Pak Lance, a jovial and avuncular character who maintains his svelte figure climbing by lontar palms and chewing betel nut in between meagre meals.  He offers a sideline in "sports massage" which includes free exfoliation from his hard working hands.  Check out his amazing curved feet in the next post.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

the short walk to freedom

Over the years our season here as extended to take in the shoulder months of November and December. One of the main attractions is the opportunity to surf this right hander further south. Most of the expats have gone home, so aside from the odd intruder, it is the stage for the return of the Tom and Gerry show.

I am no gun surf photographer - I don't even own a water housing for my camera, and if I did, I wouldn't be hanging out in the wall, treading water to within an inch of going over the falls.  Plus I get too distracted, turning my lens to the rockpools, trees and shells.  I like to consider myself more of a surf documentary photographer; capturing the moments between the waves, the rituals and habits of Aquaman and his mates.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

best foot forward

I was born with wonky feet, but compared to old Pak Lance, my foundations are positively rock solid. He has the distinctive footprint of a lontar climber;  their feet grip like hands on the trunk and depending on their style, they either develop a C-shaped curve or a large Y between their big toe and second toe.  He is always barefoot, even when building a rock wall, and the soles are so tough I'm sure he could walk over smashed glass without flinching.  My foot is sporting an infected cut, hence the attractive gaffa tape. We could both do with a pedicure.

Friday, November 18, 2011

late arvo glass off

The late afternoon glass off is a surfer's panacea to an ordinary day. Not that we consider any days here to be ordinary.  This time of year, as the winds dance, rest, then swing, we can be treated to a cool onshore or becalmed in a steamy stillness. Despite a deluge on the mainland, the rain is still eluding our pocket of the island.  Cloud banks build and subside, and the quality of the light changes in intensity and warmth as we spin eastward toward the golden glow of sunset.

the walk to work

A fortuitous mid November swell has the boys frothing.  Banking on a long session in the office, Aquaman has employed the full sunsafe superhero costume; the sun is intense, even early in the morning.  As often occurs, John Tinngi's arrival has co-incided with the waves - perhaps his prescence draws the groundswell - and this morning I accompanied the two water boys on their commute to work. I branched off at the kiss-and-ride zone, returning home to sweat it out until the lagoon opens for my afternoon paddle session.

Monday, November 14, 2011

300th post!

Here's to my 300th post and our official status as custodians of the land on which our house stands.  The future fate of Remote and Raw has been secured with official signatures and money in the right palms...and I don't mean the coconut variety.   It is with great joy I share words and pictures from our simple island life and thank everyone for your support and comments over the last three years. Share the love. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the barefoot studio

Aquaman's been splashing around paint rather than water of late. Surf conditions have been pitiful, but not unexpected for this time of the year.  When a small bump in swell arrived yesterday the southerly blew the bejesus out of it.  Doesn't bother this little mermaid, as my lagoon activities are unaffected by the capricious breeze.

I've been doing my own bit of arty farty carry-on in my studio.  I put together a driftwood "mosaic" and have started on a "busroll'.  To protect my desk from paint, I'm using one of only two newspapers to arrive this year, and have caught up on the Arab revolt and the all ordinaries index from June.  Plenty of aspiration without expectation, with time for tea, cake and friends in between. The decoration of our only solid wall is complete; must be time to extend.

Sasha from Mick's Place, me & Karen

Saturday, November 12, 2011

prodigal mango returns

Just when we were mourning the end of the mango season and the return to Timorese two-fruits, we had a fortuitous meeting with a local who told us his backyard tree was pregnant with goodness. For less than A$8 we received a basket full of fruit bliss. 

Tom scoffs his like the wild man of the jungle, while I prefer the dainty spoon technique.  Whatever the method, we recommend you eat mangoes naked.

aquaman at large

You can take the surfer out of the water, but...

After great persuasion, Tom agreed to demonstrate his barrel riding prowess for my naff photo desires.  Waves are everywhere when you start looking, so I don't know why we have to live in some backward desert island without a decent soy latte so Aquaman can get his thrills.  You can see here the smile on his face.  Who needs water?  It only makes you wet and turns your sores pustulous.  

Pitching barrels found on our recent trip to Singapore and Penang.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

roof maintenance

Our roof is almost seven years old and holding up well except for a few holes along the hip ridges and loose tin along the apex. Before we dissappear for the wet season we thought we'd get the boys together and secure the roof against the onslaught.

It isn't the climate for a sunroof, and with the ridges removed, I was in danger of getting sunburnt at the sink.  Fine leaf matter rained down onto every surface, and the house once again regressed to a building site.  We struck up a contract price for the work that included coffee and lunch for two days. I was the morning tea lady and cook, while Tom drove the broom and mop to provide a clean working space in the kitchen. I  let the boys add their own sugar to their coffee (at least three teaspoons), and while I fed them up with  a variety of vegetables, they stealthily added a hunk of boiled fatty pork they had received as payment for helping a mate move his boat.  I'm not sure where it was hiding all morning and didn't dare ask.

Eli (seated above right) was our original roof builder and smiling Dens (below right) made our furniture and front stairs.  Along with their cousin Yos, they are a crack team, having completed the equivalent of an Australian standard apprenticeship under the tutelage of our neighbour Colin.  Over a three season marathon they helped Colin build his house and learned valuable skills, including English, that they can take to new projects.  They have acquired motorbikes, sunglasses, shoes, and their own home improvements, still Eli professes his desire to return to the simple life of a fisherman. Stress free.

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