Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Never trust a sailor

There was a beautiful sunrise this morning when I went out to get the paper (with my Wales story in the travel section - and in the post today a travel trade publication with my Northern Territory story - and on the newsstand at the supermarket this afternoon a magazine with my Quito story. Feast or famine, that's how this job goes) from which I learnt two things.

The first was that it is indeed autumn, because the sun is getting up later now; and the second is that the 'Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning' doggerel is as dodgy a weather forecast as the other half of it. It was a perfectly acceptable day today - bright, warm and dry, I wore summer clothes in complete comfort and the washing, had I got around to hanging it out on the line, would have been ready for folding and putting away when I got home from school.

'Red sky at night, sailor's delight'? Yeah, right: the photo above was taken on our first evening on Aitutaki last week. The next day it rained, showered, rained, showered; and the day after that the same. All right, so it was the rainy season, and the locals were keen to get some rain to fill their tanks and get the vegetation growing again; and it was still warm, and the snorkelling was unaffected, and the lagoon as glorious as ever - but even so, bummer.

And the same for going there two weeks after a category 3 cyclone. It's such a beautiful place, and at the moment it's such a mess. But the people are working hard, and have total faith that soon it will be back to normal, the brown gone and the green returned, and all the rubbish cleared up. Like this man, just him and his wheelbarrow to sort out the complete collapse of his house. He stood in front of this pile of rubble and insisted that all he had to do was to lift up the front and pop back the roof and it would be as good as new. It was quite touching really - and reminded me irresistibly of the Python Pet Shop sketch: "Legs off, fins on, pipe through the back of its neck so it can breathe, make good..."

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