Posted by: nativeiowan | July 31, 2017

2017 v7.31gottaluvanislandtale

I am siting on the ridge above Honiara. Weather is overcast and rainy.  Temps are pleasant. A cool breeze rustles the vegetation. Birds sing.

The sky is hazy. I can only make out a feint outline of the Florida Islands. The seas are flat and grey. Cooking a big hunk of beast on the bbq for this eve. It is smelling great.

The hounds have aggregated around my table. All five of them loiter leisurely. I like having my hounds around me. This is Iowa and Rhett…

Eric Clapton, John Mayal and the Blues Breakers are singing about having rambling on their mind. The hounds like the tunes.

I am preparing to fly back south tomorrow. My time spent in these islands is always poignant, both sweet and bitter sweet. Both fun and frenetic and laidback and luxurious. From a full day of “office work” to a long day and a longer night sitting out on the water watching the stars and listening to the waves.

Every trip to these islands provides another worthy tale. Another story in the ol-skool EPIC tradition.

And I do have another classic “island tale”…

A tale of woe, severe hangovers, planes to catch, transfers from island to island, and very important cargo.

No doubt, many of my faithful readers have indeed experienced similar, noting most y’all have been drunk, delayed and painfully hung-over, if not in the islands – somewhere/ sometime- in life…

The story begins:

A Thursday morn, a 430am wakeup in Palmwoods, Qld, AU. My bags are packed. My trusty 20 year old truck is fueled up and ready for the run to the airport.

It should be easy – but for “The Bruce”.

One of things I really, really like about our place in Palmwoods is that it is not more than an hour and a half from our door to the International airport in Brisbane. If “The Bruce” cooperates.

The only road from door to door is known as “The Bruce Highway”. (remember Monty Python with their Aussie “Bruce” routine?)

Anyway, “The Bruce” is the only viable road to the airport. Of course, you can drive an hour inland, then an hour or so south, and you’ll be about an hour from the airport. Not ideal.

The Bruce is the arterial roadway from North of Brisbane into the city. For all vehicles, persons and pets living north of The City.

When traffic is kind (very kind) you can do the run in a bit over an hour. If traffic is unkind you simply do not get anywhere.

Last November I was traveling home from a trip and it took me 6 hours to do the run. A multiple vehicle pileup had taken place less than 45 minutes from home. Both lanes were completely closed.  I sat in traffic, engine off, for over 4 hours. The dual-lane roadway was a parking lot. I could not get off. I could not turn around.

So, Tuesday morn, I hit the road early. My flight is at 10am, so I am on the road by 6. This gives me up to 3 hours to do the run and still make my flight.

And all is well.

Traffic is not “bad”. I do the run in under 2 hours. Check in and am sitting in the lounge with well over an hour to kill.

The flight was non-eventful. Walked straight out of customs and immigration into the wet-heat of Honiara. Paul is waiting and we are home pretty quickly.

Paul and I are flying to Gizo the next morn so we have things to discuss and a dinner with a friend/ business associate at 7pm. We do a bit of work, play with the babies before supper.

All is good. What could go wrong in my world?

Anyway, buddy Hans at San Bis asked if I could bring up some good meat. On the way from the airport to Tasahe we stopped and bought a full rib fillet. It weighed over 6kgs and cost over 2000 SBD. Its frozen so I set it out to thaw so I can cut it. I’ll take half up to Hans and cook the other half when I get back next week.

All is good.

Time comes for us to head down to the Mendana for a Japanese meal. Our buddy, Clive, is on time so we have a couple beers before supper. Order a big mess of raw fish as an entre, and open a nice bottle of red to breath before supper.

The beer was cold, the raw fish delicious, the Bento Box very good – it went surprisingly well with the bottle of red. We are having fun telling tales and discussing people we know. Basic bullshit/ gossip session moderately fueled by alcohol.

Clive is the guy who is doing the Chokolate here. Check out:

So we are having too much fun.Clive suggests cognac and chokolate for desert and heads to his room for both.

A friend of Paul’s, Peter, has called. He was at a different watering hole and was wondering when Paul would be done and ready for a night-cap. Paul invites Peter to join us.

So Clive brings a good (if not great) bottle of Hennessey and a selection of his life’s work. We settle into sips of dark-brown-hot fluid and nibbles on bitter-dark-sweetstuff. And time flies…

Paul brought the bottle home as a trophy: IMG_6313

And time flies by. I have no clue what time we dispersed from the Mendana but the bottle was empty and the chocolate all devoured.

That’s the good news, we had a great feed with grand company topped off by glorious grog… The bad news is Peter is renting a house from us and lives in the compound, so he heads home with Paul and I… where he promptly gets his guitar out and we start having fun… more fun… we can’t let the fun stop… we want fun, more fun…too much fun…

Peter is an eclectic string-tickler with a passion for the blues with a slide on his finger. He is pretty good, sober or drunk.

All is good. What could go wrong?

Friday morn I wake to noise of a family on the move. Paul is rolling his bag to the car, Betsy is making noise with her household of females, we’ll be heading to the airport “soon”. I hear… It is 7am.

I am on the couch. Did not make it to bed. I very little recollection of even getting into my house. My bags though are packed and I am pretty much ready to walk out. A quick shower and I should be good to go… but…

But I feel like death.

It has been ages and ages and ages since I have been foolish with a bottle of dark, hot, alcoholic liquid. I know them all well, the bourbons and scotches and irish and kentucky single malts and french vsops and italian brandys…  I know their lying characters…. Their promise of a sweet mouthful with a double burn as it all goes down with a smokey after burn/ taste. I love good liquor, but imbibe very rarely anymore.

I hear sniggers n snorts in the peanut gallery… yes, my father did say that I’d drink horse-piss if it was 10%, and he was not far wrong – THEN. Nowadays I am a cultured well mannered ol granddaddy. Stop the snort’n…

My hard liquor days have been over for a couple decades. I am too mature and old and smart to fall in and drown in a bottle of hard liquor…

But I feel like death.

It is a well know feeling. That feeling of being poisoned by too much fun. It is a feeling I thought I hd grown past…

All is not well in my world!

I get showered. Cut the beast in half. Put Hans’ in a big double plastic bag and the rest in the refrig. Grab my bag and head to the car where I lay down in the back and try to go comatose.

The effort of the move was too much.My equilibrium is quite unhappy…  I suppress an urge to spew. Betsy gags as I dry retch. I get the window down in time to spit. It was a close call… Betsy had the kid-lock on so I could neither get the window down or the door open… it was close.

But I exert supreme control. I know once I start spewing I won’t stop so I lay and suffer in a harsh state of self control under tremendous pressure.


I was a bit better by the time we reached the airport.But no much.  I laid in the car as Paul checked us in. I got up to board the flight. I was carrying my backpack. Paul had the beast and his bag. I spoke little. Kept my feet in focus. One foot in front of the other… one foot in front of the other…

What could go wrong?

I have zero recall of the flight. Once in my seat I crawled into my cocoon of painful illness and woke only when the plane bounced onto Nusatupe.

So we get to Nusatupe, I am feeling ok, but very, very dusty. Paul is laughing at me. Snapping pictures for future reference. We canoe over to Gizo where I promptly climb onboard ICE and continue my recovery. It was maybe 1130 when I headed down the passageway into ICE’s airconned interior.

I slept until about 230. Got up and drained the bilges and drank some water. Shook myself like a wet dog and headed into the office to see about the work we need to get done.

My couple hours onboard ICE were as forgettable as the flight. I was proverbially “dead to the world”.

That’s when I think about the meat. As I head to the office.

Paul and Don are out. I check the refrig in the office. No meat. I check the freezer and find a crocodile. (doesn’t everyone keep a croc in the freezer?)

But no red bag of beast there…

Too much movement was making me feel queasy so I sit.

Don and Paul come back and we discuss the missing meat… we ask and look and hunt, again, and then decide it had been forgotten onboard the plane. A few more phone calls and some checking and we find that the meat is in Honiara. Back at Henderson in a refrigerator. All safe and sound.

Gotta love them islands. You can forget a big hunk of beast in a bag onboard, and its not lost. But its not here either. It’ll come up on a flight “tomorrow”.

I let Hans know what has transpired. I am going to spend the night at his place but now don’t have supper in hand. So I take a bunch of kidding and abuse.

Forgot the meat… He laughs when I say it’ll be delivered “tomorrow”. Yea, right!

We have a quiet eve at San Bis. The restaurant there does a mean chicken fricassee so we did not go hungry. I drank only water and went to bed early.

Saturday was a full day of office work. The meat did arrive on the afternoon flight. Hans was very happy. I had supper up with the family on the hill and did not get back to San Bis. We flew back here yesterday morn.

But the beast that was misplaced was indeed finally delivered. No losses incurred. Very little fallout or negativity… just a killer hang over and another great island tale.

And a good feed to be had tonight…  IMG_6314.JPG

Big smiles to all…


  1. Sounds familiar, love it!!

    • Big Kev, good to hear from you… hope all goes well.

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