March 9 - 15, 2014: Issue 153

 Malae Bulla – Crazy Foreigner

by Lucinda Rose 

Often as we are walking along, we hear ‘malae, malae’. I’ve mentioned this before, but it comes to my attention on the evening that we fly down the pebbly roads to the creek, that the word ‘bulla’, by one of the drivers, has been added. 

They cackle a short while, and continue on down the road. One of us inquisitive ‘foreigners’ in the back enquires… 

“Why, bulla… is crazy!”  

And they laugh again. 

So, malae bulla. Foreigner crazy. Why are we crazy? For swimming in the creek where there may be crocodiles? (Highly unlikely in this dry season where we walk along a creek bed with water, some of the time, not past our shins). 

It seems to cause a bit of a giggle across Soibada’s community. Are we really that adventurous? Maybe we are. But here we are, in a village where the people live through the land – it’s simply what they do – whereas we here, in our new hiking boots soon fly back to our comfortable homes of limitless clean water, too much choice of food and a variety of means to any place we choose (and a real toilet!) 

After all, Soibada is a place of contradictions… where satellites for television poke up alienously beside grass-woven huts, where children drinking milk play with their machetes, where white Portuguese architecture, pink bougainvillea and eucalyptus trees challenge the physical associations I have of being in Portugal, Greece and Australia, though I haven’t yet visited the former two. 


What am I saying? I couldn’t tell you. All it seems in this funny little place of inconsistencies and quirks, is that an open sense of humour can do you good when life throws upon you its foreign and often crazy qualities.