Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Not all beer and skittles

Briar and Zane hard at work. Photo / Richard Moyle

This email is to remind you of how nice modern living can be. Since most of our posts have been about how much fun we are having, I thought I would take a moment to remind you all that this journey isn't always that comfortable….

After being here now for over a month I am starting to miss a few things about New Zealand and my lifestyle back home. For instance, as I write this, my feet are stinging from hundreds of mosquito bites. The mosquitoes here are different to the ones we get in New Zealand. They are silent and their bite stings. What’s worse is they can bite right through thick clothing. The last time we went to Takuu (ie the big island in the atoll group) I wore tights under my shorts to try and cover my skin up as much as I could from them and I even put insect repellant over my clothing but when I got back my entire legs were covered in bites, even after having two layers of fabric protecting me... Because I was filming I had to stay very still and let the horrible mosquitoes bite me all over. So each day we have to deal with these unpleasant bites and infections all over our ankles and legs.

The next thing which is really annoying is the dust (coming from termites in the roof) that falls all over our beds and our faces while we are sleeping. Each day I have to shake my mattress and sheets out to get rid of it. I can't even imagine how much of it I’m breathing in while I sleep. And sleeping in general is something I should talk about. I have very rarely had one solid sleep without waking up since we got here. There are so many things that can wake you. The most constant is the roosters crowing on our roof but other times it is a storm with loud thunder and rain. Our beds have pretty simple 1 inch thick mattresses so we can only dream about the nice beds we sleep on back home.

I hate the rats and mice that are continually pestering me and trying to run across the table when I work. Zane particularly hates all the flys that attack his weeping insect bites. We have a chicken who likes to nest her eggs in the corner of our house, so this means that we constantly have birds running through and living in our house...and they never stop making noise and fighting one another!

After a while the noise of babies and children crying can get on your nerves.

There are no greens here, we eat here mostly fish, rice, taro, instant noodles, canned beef, crackers and bananas. I do miss summer salads!

The other thing which is hard to get used to is the lack of space. Sometimes Zane and I talk about how nice it is to be able to travel large distances in New Zealand. We both miss this, it is quite scary thinking “where else can we go aside from here..?”

It looks like we will be on Takuu for another two weeks. This is really good for the project as we need the time to complete all the filming we need to do. I am, however, looking forward to coming back and enjoying some of the pleasures of modern living.

I wonder how long I could last here. I think I could stay here for up to a year but the only thing that would make me go insane is the lack of space. Zane tells me he could last three weeks, well Zane you better be ready for the boat to turn up late...!


Tiff said...

Wow. What an experience. I can relate to the mosquitoe bites whiel filming for sure (from filming in China and Fiji)...your upates are absolutely fascinating and I hope you are happy with the footage you're getting. Another 2 weeks huh? must feel like long time even if it's short time in nz-time. Look forward to hearing more. Keep up the staunch cultural research! I commend you both!

Kimberlee + Lies said...

I remember in Indonesia the mossie repellant I brought from NZ did absolutly nothing to ward off the swarming beasts. I ended up buying some indo made repellant lotion which could probably strip the paint of walls, but it worked! hang in there kiddo!

kim said...

Hi there, You are doing a fabulous job. Enjoy the experience as it'll pass before you know it. Another option although too late now I'd expect, is to use equal parts of Dettol and any cooking oil as a very good "bug" repellant. Works wonders for me and my children but my sister-in-law often tells me to move away cause i "SMELL". I'd rather smell ten get bitten to pieces....I think you'd agree.
Anyway look forward to more info. Regards Kim and Phil

Aidan said...

Hey Muzz,

You're insane.