Monthly Archives: November 2009

Quito. Ecuador

Quito. Ecuador

Plastic hat. Central Bougainville 2007

A day well spent so far. The morning was time out in the sunshine, snapping a few pictures, bumbling around on Quito’s trolley bus and generally wandering aimlessly and enjoying it immensely. The afternoon has been a little time set aside for chores and a lazy rest (because I can…).

As always my thoughts briefly drifted to work underway, and the boy wearing his plastic hat (snapped a few years ago in Central Bougainville) returned as I day-dreamed about projects to finish when I get back home.

 I think he is beautiful.

He came floating down the road as I stumbled towards a village polling station set up for the 2007 Papua New Guinea general elections.

I stopped him (probably with inappropriate desperation), and he humoured me for the few seconds it took to take the picture.

The equator

Ecuador… the equator… ahhh, got it (ding, the light bulb in my head illuminates).

We were off to a large market a few hours from Quito, but the stop at the equator did it for me. Heard about all the different methods of determining the lines position, the historic relationships people have had with the equator, the ability to see out into the milky way and view constellations at the same time that are often hidden because of geographic location… it was a cracking morning.

Best bit, of course, was standing in both the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time.

Straddling the equator

no photography

Museums can be such incredible things! We spent the morning at the Museo Nacional del Banco Central (Quito), dumb struck by the collection of archeological pieces. Further more the colonial and modern art galleries on the second floor kept us busy. Magnificent. No photograhy allowed, so a good amount of postcards were pilfered from the shop in the foyer. Great to see a good number of school groups in all parts of the museum taking advantage of the resource.

Back to the old town to do a dance with the pick pockets and laze about. The Basilica stands tall above the city, and of course we had to climb up into the belfry for a look out across the buildings.


The afternoon ended with crummy jobs (post office, picking up the repaired pants and bag, washing clothes etc), followed by a warm dinner and early night.

street. Quito

Drummer at Kessa, Buka, Bougainville

The ability to play an instrument has always alluded me. I’ve never made the commitment to it (other than the usual high school flapping about).

The last few years have seen me eyeing off the percussion instruments, as the ‘idea’ of drumming appeals. With a few people around town who could show me a few things, any number of drum kits available for practice and a pair of sticks already purchased by Unky Ho Tien (with mandatory flames painted on), I may just have to start making a hell of a noise when I get back to Buka. Apologies to the neighbours…


A painful start to the day with the body screaming out that it was not morning, nor a good time to be crawling out of bed. Still, a quiet breakfast and coffee made things alright.

We did a few quick jobs around where we are staying, then back onto the bus to the old part of town. And that is where the trouble started…

It was crowded, we are tourists (and dressing the part), so inevitably my bag was slashed and Edwina’s money belt had a razor put across it as well (ballsy, they went through the front of her pants to try for the cash!). They are a talented bunch, you think you’re being careful as you squeeze into the bus… and then you notice the damage. Still, no luck for the crims, nothing lost for either of us except some damaged goods and some money with a nice long cut through it.

Another coffee/hot chocolate break to get over our little episode, then off exploring and enjoying more of the old town in Quito. We got up onto the top of a hill for a glorious look out over Quito in the late afternoon sun, then rolled back home to find a tailor to stitch the pants and bag (two days in and we’re already repairing things…ahhhh!).

Plaza San Fransisco, Quito

Rolled out of bed this morning for a late breakfast.

The decision was made that coffee and lazy food up in the old colonial part of Quito would be the deal for the day, so we wandered out and found a bus headed south.

Once we got to our stop we stumbled up the hill and found ourselves in Plaza San Fransisco, where some sort of festival/celebration/general letting down of hair was on. A large stage was erected for the pop music that was blaring out of a huge PA, and small bands were scattered around the plaza with people dancing to the different tunes. So we hit lady luck and enjoyed the spectacle.

Plaza San Fransisco, Quito

The rest of the afternoon we spent seeing a few of the old churches and walking the streets, no big plans or need to be anywhere else.

Roof tops

It all sounds more dramatic if I throw that title up, rather than describe sitting in a plane across the Pacific in painful detail.

Anyhoo, happy to have landed and found a bed. Now we need to reset the body clocks.

Sydney International

And so it begins… again…

707 Damascus, Jan 2008(c) Richard Mosse

Richard Mosse, a photographer mentioned here before, is receiving quite a lot of attention for his work. Great to see. He has an exhibition opening at the Jack Shainman gallery in New York today. Seeing it is on the other side of the globe I doubt I’ll be attending, but thought it might be worthwhile to include an excert from one of the media releases and then point in the direction of the work.

 The Fall

November 19 – December 23, 2009
Opening reception: Thursday, November 19, 6-8 pm
“After fifty summers, the wrecked aircraft’s ultra-modern form becomes a part of the primeval landscape. Its shattered carapace lies scorched by the sun and scoured by extreme winters. Redolent of science fiction, these Futurist antiques have been partially cannibalized, their unwanted buckled shell listing in the mountain gales. American and Japanese automobiles lie scattered in the dangerous wastes of central Iraq. Ephemeral relics, shot to a skein of rusting metal, tremble delicately in the abrasive dust storm. Like Saddam Hussein’s shattered hilltop palace, these are the follies of globalized forgetting.

Around the time that Thoreau pegged the idea of wilderness as a cultural construct, the new technology of photography was gaining weight as a tool of Empire. This was the era of the photographic survey. Teams embarked with view cameras and mobile darkrooms to chart and document remote territories. Seemingly neutral in intent, the photographic survey was anything but. Surveyors often worked as part of a military unit, such as the British team who took part in the Abyssinian Campaign of 1867-68. This was in fact a rescue mission, but the corps of Royal Engineers produced 1,500 landscape photographs during the expedition. This was a valuable document of Abyssinia at that time, as well as being an apparatus of colonization and propaganda. 

The Fall is a photographic survey of our historic unconscious. Mosse travelled to intensely remote locations, from the Patagonian Andes to the Yukon Territories, and worked as an embed with the US military to produce work for this exhibition. The Fall is a rescue mission to try to locate our blasted sense of landscape and archeology, and reclaim the primeval waste for our imagination. Produced to an epic scale, each of the photographs in The Fall is a history painting for our times.

The Fall is comprised of work from Mosse’s first year of working with the two-year Leonore Annenberg Fellowship in the Performing and Visual Arts.”

Buka airport

The Bougainville basketball squad headed out to Moresby today. I gave them a lift down to the plane seeing we were all on it together (well, a few were bumped, but the majority got on).

All seemed excited and ready for the games. Jamie Rutana has been coaching the squad for the last few months, training hard over on the concrete court not far from home. I’ve had a run with them a few times, but a dumpy white guy on a baskeball court surrounded by athletic Bougainvilleans is more a comedy act than anything else. Proved it last night when I was attempting to play down low as a small forward, and was dominated by anyone who posted up against me.

Good luck good luck good luck to the squad!!!!

I’ll be out of Bougainville for a long break, back just after new year. A lot of work left hanging, but I’ll snap something completely unrelated while away and come back with some heat in the belly, ready to dig into the projects I’ve got going.

Ferdinand and Phillip

Team Bougainville has been slowly making its way to Port Moresby for the PNG Games. Nearly four hundred athlete heading over from what I can gather.

Down at the Buka airport this afternoon I bumped into two Mungka team mates, Ferdinand and Phillip, as they were getting ready to jump on the plane. They’ve been training hard with the squad for the last few months, and will no doubt be at their best for the competition. Ferdinand is a fleet footed midfielder, controlling the tempo of the game and confusing the opposition with his ability to beat a player when under pressure. He was awarded the best midfielder trophy for the men’s premier division this year (deserved). Phillip is a gifted striker, and knocked in some critical goals for the Mungkas during the season. He’s made many fullbacks look a little silly as they try desperately to disturb his march toward goal.

Good luck to all the athletes competing, but especially to Team Bougainville.