Monday, 30 May 2016

Rain In Port Moresby

Before my journey in Papua New Guinea has even begun, I had already looked its geographical location up on a globe as part of self-mind conditioning approach to leaving home for another country. It is located in an area just below the equator at around half the longitudinal line. 

Google says its exact coordinates are 6.1360° S, 143.9555° E.

If you take a ruler and measure out the distance between Port Moresby and the Equator, and use the same measurement to outline the space between the Equator and the Philippines, you will end up in areas around the Northern Mindanao. As a child, I have lived a couple of years in Cagayan De Oro. At around May to July, that place will receive a lot of rain throughout those times.

 Not quite so in Port Moresby. 

In Papua New Guinea, rain comes around to wash the place from December to January.  Sometimes it extends its showers up to March. But unlike the Philippines, our friendly rain here doesn’t come too often. But when it does come, I would usually expect a heavy downpour.

Apparently, our friend Zay Moe in the photo wasn’t expecting it.

When it rains here, it doesn’t usually last long. But it’s enough for our local friend Graham, to bath the truck that he used to drive around.

And himself too. 

I’m not much of a cook, but if there’s one thing that I’d like to eat while it was raining, it should be Lucky Me Pancit Canton. Yes, they do have it here so you can relax now.

If you’re somewhat wondering how I was able to take photos in the rain, my left hand was actually carrying an open umbrella while I did the shooting with my right hand. I must admit it has  taken some time to get used to but I'm now getting the hang of it.

When it rains, we hang our clothes close to our rooms. It is easy for us to gather them afterwards and it avoids getting mixed up with someone else’s clothes. We have not thought of coming up with a more modern way to dry our clothes but I guess such modernization is going to upset our electricity bill.

Including our financial manager.

This is Yoki. He would usually sit under this makeshift hut after the rain. If you’re wondering what he's doing, he was actually slicing off the husk from a young coconut.  Although I knew the answer beforehand, I still asked him, “What’s that, Yoki?”

It’s all part of breaking the ice and striking up a conversation.

If there’s one thing I’d like to do when it was raining, it would be reading a novel until I fell asleep.  I’ve had these few Michael Chricton collection which includes the Jurassic Park novel. Now, I’m not sure where these have all gone to.

 After a long but intermittent rain during the night, it’s nice to see how everything is damp. It brings out the vivid colours from everything. Here’s the bus shuttle that I usually drive every afternoon. It’s got a manual transmission and a bit heavy to drive, but I already got used to it. A PNG license must have a class number 4 or 6 before its carrier is allowed to drive this behemoth bus. I have upgraded mine to Class 6 a couple of years ago.

Soon enough after a heavy downpour, our sun, which prefers not to get its feet wet comes out of hiding to play. I guess Papua New Guinea is where it likes to shine and stay when someplace else is cold and rainy.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Life Goes On At POM

“And when darkness dawns upon us all, fear not and stand tall, because only in darkness that light may appear bright and noticeable.” Said I.

And while I was composing this, I hastily asked my staff these through the LAN Messenger, “Dispela tupela kakaruk na rais, em hamas?” 
(Translation: This two-piece chicken and rice, how much?)

To which he responded, “Lo Kaibar ah?” 
(Translation: In Kaibar eh?)

And then I said “Nogat, em blo big roostah.” 
(Translation: No, in Big Rooster.)

There was a delay then he replied “Mi no save.” 
(Translation: I don’t know.)

I happily replied “Last taim, em hamas?” 
(Translation: Last time, how much was it?)

“Mi save tasol lo KFC, big roostah mi no save.” Said him. 
(Translation: I know about KMC, but in Big Rooster, I don’t know.)

I quickly responded with “Ah, na lo kmc, hamas?”
(Translation: Ah, and in KMC, how much?)

His reply was quick as well, “Original combo em K16 samtin.” 
(Translation: Original combo is K16 something.)

This time, I have run out of tok pisin. I replied, “What’s inside the combo?”

His last reply before I kindly sent him to buy for the two of us were “Bikpla chicken pieces na chips + free drink.” 
(Translation: Big chicken pieces and chips + free drink.)
This kind of conversation doesn’t find its way much to regularity and with all the formulated measures having considered and taken into place, the possibility of this happening is far from being repetitive and has largely been due to conditions being met.

The contributing factors that led to satisfying a predetermined condition, as I think about it thereafter, can be linked to unusual actions perpetrated by me. Sleeping off too late at night comes on top as the main reason and the result of which is not being able to wake up early. And while I race against the undefeated time, few things are bound to get sacrificed and packing up lunch is among the first casualties.

But the chicken and chips from KMC tastes good, so I’m somewhat bewildered if it is what fuels my motivation to sleep very late at night knowing that if I fail to prepare food for lunch, I will just retreat to the convenience of eating fast food.  

Here’s me, Ben and kuya Levi. Remember Ben from this post? Back then, I've been meaning to learn his art of buro-making but haven't got around to that yet up to now. I'm considering to give up the idea. Apart from ate Des, he was the only man in this place who could come up with a nice buro. So now, I don’t think he’ll get mad if I call him The Buro King.

Right, Ben?

The view from the first photo is what I took from the balcony of  this new restaurant called Savannah Cafe, which is built just across Vision City. In Port Moresby, the temperature is a bit humid and warm and it is sometimes wise to dine indoors under the protective sheath of airconditioners to cool down a bit.

 In Savannah Cafe, you don’t have to call audibly for the waiters to come and attend to your requests. They have these little wrought-iron sculptures which have buttons installed at the base. When you press this button,  a fairly loud bell is heard throughout the hall and your table number goes out to an LED display.

It’s nice to visit places like this every once in a while to slow down and unwind from our busy lives. Having to eat a nice dinner on a shared expense other than what our meagre cooking skill can present is everyone's privilege but at times considered a  luxurious attempt to cover up for a lazy afternoon. It's good enough if done infrequently because the weight of the cost is too much to bear and it is impractical to do so in the long run.

But I must admit that one of the few reasons why this young blogger is attracted to this place is because of their Choco-Lava. This thing is soft on the outside and when you slice it open, a hot liquefied chocolate will ooze out like a molten lava. I guess that’s probably where it got its name from.

A couple of months ago, I and some other managers were invited on a little picnic in this place. We don’t have a swimming pool in our accommodation so we treat this kind of event as something special.

With me on that day are Emerson, Malou, Ben, kuya Lito and kuya Arnold. All of whom are managers in the company that I am working with except for Malou who has just moved in to another company. In this photo, it looks as though we will leave the place in a mess but on the contrary, we have kept our end of the bargain and cleaned the place up like how it was before we arrived.

We went on from happy managers to happy cleaners afterwards.

And who does not want a happy selfie on this nice pool? Probably not me.

Here’s nanay Ada on a wheelchair being assisted by Pyi Soe, our branch manager. Since I came here, I had not as much as seen her got bothered by sickness. But one day, we were all alarmed when she complained about having a terrible back pain and not being able to walk.

One Burmese manager named Thuya brought her to Paradise Private Hospital on the decision made by the management. Most of us followed her at the hospital on the night after work. You can see some Filipinos lining up on the couch. We were all concerned about what she might have to go through this but I guess the doctors must have pointed out the need to rest it off because that's what she did.

At the time of this writing, she’s back to her old self and was busy once again in the premises of our kitchen.

Here’s a picture of the illusive rat that I’ve been trying to trap for a couple of days now. I’ve experimented enough with different kind of bait just to get it captured. First, I used a fried chicken which was my left over from lunch and he didn’t bite it. Then we used pork bones and it still ignored it. Lastly,  I used an overripe banana and this was what I saw the next day.

It doesn't look so happy though. Oh, Rat, what should I do with you then?

That’s it for today. Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Faber Castell 48 Classic Colour Pencils + 2B Pencil & Sharpener

When I was three decades younger, I used to fill the backmost pages of my notebooks with sketches of just about anything I could draw.  I usually sketch in school and mostly during classes.  I know it wasn’t a good idea to begin with, but if you had a last name that began in letter "V" you'd end up being asked to sit at the back along with other children whose surnames started with y, u or z. Far from the teachers prying eyes, it was not long until I found myself filling up my notebooks with crayon sketches.

Fast forward to today’s era,  I notice a big leap in the development of art tools. Back then, I was fine with crayons and watercolors and they were an indispensable kiddie art tools. Now, we have oil-based and wax-based color pencils which can really color drawings more vividly and lively.

Despite my love for art, I am extremely new to color pencil. From reviews, I’ve read that the best two brands around are Faber Castell Polychromos and Prismacolors.  It’s unfortunate that in Papua New Guinea, these two are non-existent.  About a month ago, however, Star Office Works in RH Gordon Branch started selling the Faber Castell Classic Colour Pencils in 12’s, 24’s 36’s and 48’s.

The 48 pieces in suitcase-like plastic container is what I bought.  It costs around K40 to K50. The color pencils are safely tucked within the coves to hold them firmly in place. The red handle is designed to slightly elevate the case on a flat surface at a fixed angle when shifted downwards. I’m not sure how can this be of any help to me but a kid might find a use for it, like a mini-table perhaps?

Hey, now look at that. It also comes with one graphite pencil and a sharpener! 

I have a low grade 12-pieces color pencils before which I bought mainly out of curiosity and in comparison to it; Faber Castell Classic Colour Pencils have bigger lead in diameter.

I was a bit excited to try and draw anything and this is the first drawing that I made with it on a 165g sketch pad. The colors are vibrant and it’s a bit softer compared to my Faber castell water color pencils. It’s easy to blend too.  I haven’t tried the polychromos or prismacolor before so I can’t really say if this is good or not.  

Looking closely though, we can see that this is not quite an artist-grade tool but we can surely draw whatever we want with it.  

Here's my second attempt to sketch a color pencil portrait with Miss Destiny Nickelsen as the reference person. I noticed that I spent the black faster as opposed to any other color despite the only areas I used it up with are the hair, the dark undershirt and the eyes. 

I'm thinking that if I do another portrait, i'd consume another 25% of that remaining black. If I use another media as a replacement for black, I might prolong its life. The classic color is also available in 12 sets which is relatively cheaper so I guess I'd just have to buy the 12's to replenish the black.

I think it's a good idea and money-wise to begin with this type of color pencil when leaning how to use it and then shift to a more expensive and artist-grade tools like Polychromos later when I feel like I'm ready for it.

Update: (07 June 2016)

I must take back what I said when I mentioned in this blog that FBCC was not an artist grade. Now I believe that it is not the tool that sets the standard for a good art but rather it's the talent of the artist itself. This is Iya Eugenio's art. She used Faber Castell Classic Colour Pencils to color this portrait sketch and the secret to that smooth skin tone as she said was perseverance. 

Pretty talented girl I must say.

Update: (02 February 2017)

I've been following miss Iya Eugenio's artworks, particularly her sketch of Avril Lavigne. Last year around June, I had brushed upon one of her works (this) which was then a work-in-progress and I was amazed by the fact that it was drawn with Faber Castell color pencils.  

If you wish to see her other artworks, you may want to visit an FB Group, Guhit Pinas, of which she is a member. A remarkable member I'd say. 

She also has her own page to showcase her artworks. If you like getting astonished by color pencil arts, it's a high time that you visit her page, Isiya's Art. If you find her work inspiring, please feel free to leave a comment or click the Like button to show appreciation. 

Have fun!

Update: (27 July 2019)

I haven't been drawing anything with color pencil for like two years now and I have lost track of what's going on in the art groups that I am a part of. Anyway, just today, I was able to come to my blog and check the comments. One of the comments is for this post and I kind of wonder what has happened to Iya's Avril Lavigne color pencil artwork. 

Unfortunately, the FB links that I've posted here no longer work. But I managed to search for her new FB account (I guess) and have found this public post of her. So without permission from her, I just grab this wonderful artwork and posted it here. Iya, if you're reading this, I hope you won't get mad. Thank you for completing this lovely artwork. I truly like this. 

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