Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Don't party like it's 1999


My mind goes back 15 years to Dec 31, 1999, Y2K year, when everyone was saying computers would go haywire and the world would end at the stroke of of midnight.
The missus and I lived in a big three-bedroom house at Rotary Park, West Goroka, and had no kids then.
An apocalyptic, surreal, silence shrouded Goroka that day as everyone stayed indoors and said their last prayers.
The hellfire and brimstone mob had been working overtime in the markets, shops, and sidewalks of our town.
Such was the end-of-the-world feeling you would have actually thought that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalyse were riding into town that day. 
I told Hula, my missus,  that if the world ended, we might as well go out it in style riding on chariots of fire, so we went to the Bird of Paradise and drank, hugged, and kissed each other as if the world would end (I'm not recommending that you drink today or am I promoting alcohol).
Even the bar at the Bird was so quiet, (on a New Year's Eve) you could have heard a pin drop, and we thought we were in some mad scene in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.
That night, some of our guys from Butibam village in Lae, Egi Luther Daure, and his elder brother, David, drove down the highway from Mt Hagen in a 10-seater.
To cut a long story short, the world didn't end at midnight (contrary to what the prophets of doom and righteous brothers were preaching and singing on the streets), and on New Year's Day 2000, with the Highlands Highway being scot-free of vehicles (as Papua New Guineans, being Papua New Guineans, thought the world would end with a religious fervour), music blaring to silence any sad dirges, and eskies full of beer (our driver didn't drink), we hit Lae in a record three hours (thank to the Y2K paranoia and mass hysteria).
That's my little tumbuna story about our younger and wilder days (I'll write a book about it if I can find the time in 2015).
Happy New Year one and all, and stay sober...don't go out drinking like it's 1999...

1 comment:

  1. I was in Simbu at that time and the paranoia and fear of the end of the world was quite astounding to witness. The charlatans that were also fleecing villagers of their hard earned cash since they weren't going to need it after the end of the world was also a real eye opener. I was denounced and chastised by more than one of these fake "religious" mobs for speaking out against their fear mongering and at one point they even burnt photographs of me in a bonfire for contradicting their message of imminent global catastrophe.