Nob Nob and Kar Kar

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Today’s post title mimics the sound of baby talk. Nob nob kar kar goo goo. Maybe that’s a stretch. I’m going for a little humor today and finding it more difficult than usual. Some days are easier than others. It’s a roller-coaster.

A few persistent and pedantically observant readers may note that my spelling seems inconsistent. For instance, in an earlier sentence I used the word humor. In other posts I have spelled the word as humour. The machine which I am using today has a US English dictionary installed in Firefox, my web browser of choice. I usually use my computer at home or in my office, both of which have Australian English dictionaries. One might ask why.

Okay, since you are so inquisitive, I’ll tell you why. Having lived in Papua New Guinea so long that I can’t remember how to behave anywhere else, I have observed that Australians are laudably picky concerning spelling. I care about spelling only to the extent that I prefer not to appear as if I don’t care. Strangely enough, Americans seem more tolerant of UK/Australian spelling preferences than Australians are of the “Americanisms”. Therefore, I learned early on that, since a great deal of what I write ends up being seen by those who adhere to UK/Australian spelling than the American standards, it is prudent for me to use the Australian forms. It is simply too onerous a task to have to switch from one to another according to who might be the predominant audience. Australians seem to stumble over every Americanised (Americanized, if you are an American) form while Americans simply zip through text littered with Australian forms.

So, in the text of MPBM posts when there are alternate spellings you will usually not see the American forms. I’m not anti-American. I’m just catering to the closest audience and the one which finds the American forms to be a little odd. I’m not saying that Australians are spelling snobs. They are snobs about very few things, certainly no more things than Americans. However, there are some things which can set them afire. One is the American preference placing the letter z  near the end of words for which Australians insist must have an s.  For example, let’s take the word recognise.  To Americans this spelling appears strange, possibly exotic or even wrong. The Amercan form would be recognize. However, most Americans can recognise/recognize the word. They are not outraged by recognise.

Some Australians, however, would be compelled to point out, after careful consideration assisted by a healthy slug of Foster’s Lager, that is American  spelling. This might be accompanied by a slight frown.

So, there we have it. Now I have managed to insult both Australian and American cultures in a few brief paragraphs. If you are not already tired of the subject, you might look at an interesting Wikipedia item on American vs British Spelling Differences. I learned quite a bit from it.

Having dispatched my insults to my homeland and my favourite playground, it’s now time to proceed to the subjects. Last week I had the great blessing of a house guest. Dr. Riley Savage, a young Australian physician, has been in Madang several times working with the local hospital. Each time she was here she went out to dive with us. I invited her to take advantage of the guest rooms that Eunie and I had prepared so that visitors to Madang could economise by staying in a bed and breakfast atmosphere. It was a wonderful treat to have a friendly face for a few days in the big, lonely house.

We could not dive on the day before Riley was to fly back to Australia. This is because it is unwise to have any excess nitrogen in the blood before traveling to a high altitude. It can lead to symptoms of “the bends”. Instead, we went to visit old friends on Nob Nob mountain. Tag Tap took us for a brief bush walk. On our way up to his house we stopped at the Pacific Orientation Course camp to take in the view of Madang, Astrolabe Bay,  the North Coast and Kar Kar Island.  Here is a shot of Kar Kar Island  taken from the ridge upon which sets the huge TELIKOM communications tower:

The air was too hazy for a good shot. I had to massage this one very roughly. Kar Kar Volcano is potentially very dangerous. It is not gentle on our minds. One of the more interesting recent events occurred on the 4th day of December in 2009 when Kar Kar did not  erupt.

Here is a slight telephoto shot. I was attempting to get a better balance of tones. I tried combining multiple exposures including one underexposed, one normal and one overexposed. I then combined them in Photoshop for a single High Dynamic Range image:The resulting image is no improvement, but does have a point of interest. Look at the top of the big towering cumulus cloud (Cumulus congestus)  to the right of the peak. The rate of vertical development at the top of the cloud is so rapid that the two or three seconds between my exposures was long enough for multiple images to develop. Photoshop did a good job of lining up the three hand-held images, but it couldn’t cope with the motion at the top of the cloud. I’m still learning the HDR process. I was disappointed in this shot. I expected to be able to see detail in the brightest area of the cloud. I think the reason is that my underexposed frame was still washed out in the bright part of the cloud. I should have reduced the exposure even more to capture detail in the brightest areas.

While still on the ridge I shot this rather plain flower. It is not a very interesting shot except for the discoloured areas of the petals:

I’ve seen this on many flowers here. Red hibiscus blossoms often have bright blue patches which look a little wilted. It appears to me as if there is a base colour on the petal which is overlaid by another colour. If something happens which disturbs or removes the top layer of pigment the base colour shows through. You can get a hint of this by the general appearance of the petals. There is a hint of blue showing through.

When we started on our bush walk, I was strangely uninterested in shooting. I took only a couple of exposures. Riley was shooting everything, but I failed to get any images from her before she returned to Australia. This line of mushrooms up the side of a rotting tree did catch my eye:

Tag Tap said that they are edible. I’m cautious. I never eat wild mushrooms unless I find them at the market. These looked as if they were safe, but I don’t trust my extremely limited knowledge. Even if they are not poisonous, I might still be taken on a trip for which I’m not prepared.

I was greatly amused by this very elaborate flower. I think is is some kind of Pasiflora:I hope that Anne-Marie sees this and let’s me know what it is. Tag Tap says that it is used to combat fungal skin infections. If one has an itchy patch all that is needed is to find some of these and rub them vigorously on the skin. I had no itches, so I didn’t try it. Pasionfruit and Sugarfruit flowers are very similar in configuration and general appearance to this, but are much larger.

UPDATE: Anne-Marie rescued me with the species name. See her comment.

Getting back to Kar Kar, here are a couple of panoramic stitches of multiple images which include the island. You can see it in the distance at the left end of the large island:

With my equipment and skills images without obvious geometric distortion seem out of reach. I have seen a few, but the requirement for this seem complex to me. The shot above has no troublesome distortions, but it sags a bit in the middle. I ran out of time before I figured out how to correct this. I’m sure that Photoshop provides a method, but I couldn’t find it quickly.

A second series of exposure and a different style of stitching yielded this image:

The water line in this one is straight and most if it looks more realistic. However, the distortion at the right is distracting.

These images are for Rich Jones. Rich asked that the shot include the swinging rope from the Tarzan post. There was a Big Event at Blueblood recently of which I hope to write soon.

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23 Responses to “Nob Nob and Kar Kar”

  1. Mary Cole Says:

    Hi Jan,
    The flower the PNG National is holding is a wild passion flower.
    It produces small marble seed pods and when ripe they are yellow.
    They are edible passion fruit. 🙂

  2. Steve Bennett Says:

    MadDog, only you would have noticed those ever so slight imperfections in the HDR shot. And in regards to the Passionfruit, it is indeed a wild passionfruit which is edible, although very tiny little yellow fruit are borne.

    The purple flower is right on the tip of my tongue…. hang on…

  3. Steve Bennett Says:

    I think it maybe a Melastoma polyanthum, but they may have change the names on us…

  4. Justin Friend Says:

    I am one of those Australians with little tolerance for American degradation of our language!! So thanks for thinking of me :p

  5. Anne-Marie Says:

    It looks like Passiflora foetida. This sprecies is widely naturalised (z?) in the tropics, smells bad, but still looks funky.

  6. Jill Says:

    Since no one at this point has responded regarding your spelling discussion (which I found enlightening and enjoyable), let me write a few of my thoughts.

    When first coming to PNG and trying learn Tok Pisin, one of the things quickly pointed out to me when I was in town was my “Canadianisms”. I can honestly say that now I smile and take some pride at my uniquiness in pronunciation.

    In writing however, I will tell you that I have a list of words that just seem wrong if they are written in any other way. For example: Colour has more beauty for me. Saviour makes me see a Risen Lord. And at my age I do need more fibre in my diet. And finally I feel like I got some real money when someone gives me a cheque.

    Thanks for the humour of your writings and also for the beauty of the photos that you take.

  7. MadDog Says:

    Right, Mary. Anne-Marie commented with the species name. The fruit tastes like tiny passionfruits.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Steve. we sampled some of the fruit while we were up at Nob Nob. Tasty, but very brief.

  9. MadDog Says:

    Steve, I think you have it nailed. It looks right to me. The common name seems to be the wild Chinese peony.

  10. MadDog Says:

    Justin, you are entirely welcome. Any time.

  11. MadDog Says:

    Anne-Marie, thanks for your cute and accurate comment.

  12. MadDog Says:

    Thanks for commenting, Jill. I like the British-style spellings of most words. Colour is one of my favourites, eh?

  13. Fortescue Bullrout Says:

    There was a 404 error on that Wikipedia spelling site, by the way.
    And put me down as an Australian is firmly in favor of the American pragmatic and utilitarian approach to spelling.

  14. pvaldes Says:

    I zink thiz iz a Pazziflora foetida ozz courze XDDD…

    For the curious foetida means smelly, is a latin word easily recognisable in the spanish form (fétida), I think this is for the scent of the leaves, maybe you can smell it an tell us what do you think about it, in any case it’s a beauty.

    The other flower belongs to family Melastomataceae at least, probably form genus Melastoma but I can not guarantee this. Nice shoots

  15. Peter Lyne Says:

    Good morning Jan, When I lived in Madang (1956-1961) I remember it as “Nob-a-Nob”.There was a Girls’ School up on the plateau run by the Lutheran (?) mission.I rode up there on a push bike with one of the Black girls.

  16. Peter Lyne Says:

    I was with Kay Black. We rode from Madang to Nob-a-Nob,must have been in 1959??

  17. MadDog Says:

    Fortescue, several people caught that one and let me know. How embarrassing! Thanks.

    If you’re able to say that about American spelling, you are an unusual Australian, mate. Good on ya.

  18. MadDog Says:

    Pvaldes, I zink youse iz rite. See Anne-Marie’s comment. And, I believe you are right. It’s the smell of the leaves. I did not know that while up at Nob Nob, so I haven’t checked. I probably couldn’t smell it anyway. (anosmia)

    I think you nailed the other one also.

  19. MadDog Says:

    Peter, that goes back a way. There is a community school there now at the level just before reaching the top where there is a small Lutheran Church. There is a girls’ school at Baitabag, just up the north coast road from Nob Nob. You rode BIKES up Nob Nob? Yikes!

  20. MadDog Says:

    The good old days, Peter, eh?

  21. kristy Says:

    Having lived in England, I do not really see the spelling differences. Normally, I do get caught up in spelling errors though!
    Beautiful pics as always!

  22. Peter Lyne Says:

    Hi Jan, Ha we didn’t ride up NOB-A-NOB rather got off the bikes and pushed them up the track to the top of the plateau. The Kunai grass was about 6ft. high either side of the track (road).Such a spectacular panoramic view looking down on Madang as your pics depict. I took some shots up there in B&W back then.Unfortunately they got lost over the years. About the same time (’58/’59) I went out to Peter Houses’ place with my father and Don Ryder (Lands Dept. surveyor}to survey Peter’s property.Remember going into the jungle with some locals to shoot Guria pigeons.I had a ball in those days as a teenager.My ‘backyard’ was the exotic jungle, the Gogol river and the islands and inlets of Madang Hr. exploring war time relics.The Madang people were very friendly in those days before the Highlands road was built.

  23. MadDog Says:

    Peter, “shoot Guria pigeons” reminds me of how easy it was to buy shotgun shells here in Madang when I first came here. I’d buy a box and take it out to the Sepik. A local hunter would hunt for our meat for us. He never missed. One shell one pig or Muruk. My son was here as a teen for five and a half years. It was a wonderful time for him.