Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Slip Slidin' Away

(or “Fun in the Remote Highlands of New Guinea,” Vol. 1)           
Papua New Guinea is known for its rain forests, and precipitation is one commodity we certainly do not lack … at least during much of the year.  While we don’t exactly live in a rain-forested area, we still get quite a bit of wet.  Over the last 30 years, the average annual rainfall here in the Aiyura valley has been 2,156 mm (for those of us cursed to have been raised under customary measurement systems, that about 86 inches … more than 7 feet.)
I’m pretty sure that in 2010, we had that reached that amount by sometime in May.
I have pictures of my kids and their friends last year, “watersliding” down the concrete culverts in front of our house.  And we have the torn shorts to prove it.   :)
This rainy season has been much drier, but that doesn’t stop people from having fun with water.
Behind one of the youth hostels here is a long hill, just perfect for a slip-n-slide … the extra-extra-extra large variety.  Last weekend, under the burn of the tropical sun, the center youth group held a fund-raiser there. Thanks to several water hoses and a case of Palmolive dish detergent, kids of all ages (literally) enjoyed the fruits of gravity.
No, I did not indulge.  I had a responsibility to get good pictures for the blog, you know.
The youngest I saw flying down the black rubber tarpaulin was about 2 years old.  The oldest, a PhD-holding high school teacher from Great Britian … I am guessing in his late 50s.  To see these individuals throw themselves onto the tarp and suddenly lose all control (literally) was quite a sight.  Once they got going, there was no stopping.  At least not at will.  Several teenage boys were at the end with another piece of plastic, trying to “net” those who reached the end of the tarp still going top speed before they slid off into the rocks and/or mud puddles below.
They weren’t always successful.
But I never heard anyone complain.   :)

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(Updated 13 April 2013)