Saturday, July 10, 2004

lik lik balus bilong bikpela mekanis

that's the local tok tok pidgin for a helicopter, literally it means a small pidgeon (small plane) that makes a big mechanical noise

helicopter safety is something dear to my heart, well a bit of a lump on my ribs at least (I have to admit I have fallen out of them once or twice)… but I have never seen anything like technique of getting in and out of the choppers here… the basic method applied by all the locals is to run and jump, before the chopper touches down.

Getting in and out of a small chopper, like a jet ranger, is a lot like jumping into a small boat that is not anchored or tethered on a choppy sea… its easy to rock the boat… unless the pilot is very good and alert, the sudden change of weight is likely to tip the chopper over and being close to the ground you might find two different sets of long metal blades slashing at the ground and anything close by… its all very dangerous… even the military have figured out not to do it… they drop you out the side to slide down a rope with the chopper safely higher off the ground.

but here! in an instant everyone here just moves to exactly the right spot to help maintain balance… they seems to have perfect anticipation when the chopper is just about a meter of the ground, then its all away again… its uncanny for a population who's other collective skill is slow walking

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