This weeks’ PNG experience was Loloata. An island resort about half an hour out of Port Moresby.
To get to the islan one has to take a boat from this jetty.
This fellow organised for the boat to come and collect us.
This chap is carrying a “billum” – the local term for a bag. They are often brightly coloured like this one, but they are also made from woven leaves. One sees people walking around town with them all the time – both women and men. In Canada, we would call it a “Manbag”.
The boat arrived and this chap took us over to the island. Smoking cigarettes while sitting right on top of the petrol tank and the hoses connecting it to the outboard motor. Nothing will ever go wrong, right? He certainly wasn’t worried about the entire boat exploding in a giant fireball, so why should I be?
One arrives and walks along a long jetty to the resort.
The island offers snorkelling, diving, swimming and canoeing among it’s activities.
In the office, there is an interesting display of fighting axes from the Mt Hagen area in the highlands.
This is what happens when we allow our pronunciation to stray from the way words are written – people write words phonetically and misspell them. By the way, there’s no “H” in “issues”.
We took a smaller boat across to the other island in the resort, where there are beautiful white sandy beaches and some wonderful snorkelling to be had.
The reefs are somewhat bleached thanks to global warming (we do love our cars don’t we?), but what’s left is quite spectacular.
This large blue fish is known as a “Parrot Fish”.
I got the feeling that I was playing in an underwater wonderland.
There is a lovely yellow and black striped fish in the top right of this photo.
The water was teeming with fish – both large and small.
Here is a picture of me snorkelling.
The highlight for me was the bright blue coral. The photos can’t capture the vibrancy of the colours.
One thing that I found surprising was that there was garbage on the beach. I can’t understand how a place whose livlihood depends on pristine beaches and water can allow so much garbage to build up. My friend Oke emptied his carry bag and gave his stuff to me so that he could fill it with garbage and take it back with us.
After snorkelling and sunbathing for a couple of hours, everyone was ready to go back to the main island for lunch. In a typical PNG moment, we discovered that we couldn’t get back because the guy operating the boat had fallen asleep. The boat was about 30 metres offshore so despite them yelling at him to try to wake him, he remained fast asleep. Eventually, one of the tourists there with us swam out to the boat and woke the chap up so that we could go and eat.
The resort is home to a group of wallabies. They are frightfully cute, but they tend to startle easily when one tries to photograph them.
This friendly tree kanagaroo lives in the zoo section of the resort.
The wallabies seem to cohabitate with these giant pigeon fairly peacefully. Although, when I was feeding dates to the wallabies, the birds would come over and scare them off.
Yes, those are its testicles hanging down at the back there. That can’t be comfortable.
After lunch, I went kayaking. I tried a double kayak with a friend but the kayak was defective and kept sinking. It turned out that the plug had been removed and not replaced. After getting very wet, we decided to abandon the double kayak and took off in single kayaks. That was a lot of fun. The wind was howling along the water so moving against it was quite a challenge. I decided to skip my daily trip to the gym.
After a lovely day at Loloata, it was time to return to Port Moresby. They took us back on the big boat and this is the view from the top deck. The resort is run by a German guy and he was captain of the big ship taking us home. It was a lovely day out. That is the way life works in PNG. Some days it’s lying on the beach, snorkelling and kayaking. Other days, it’s being chased down the street by bands of criminals. One takes the good with the bad.
One of the most common and also the most frustrating experiences in the developing world is that of being let down by unreliable suppliers. In the developed world, we take for granted that most of the time, companies will deliver what they’re expected to. If you walk into the supermarket looking for apples, you will probably find some there and walk out satisfied. In PNG, that does happen, but it’s also frequently the other way – the product is not available. This is common phrase “due to non-supply by the supplier…”. Sometimes the power or the water supply just disappear for a couple of days. In Canada, or Australia to make sure that your apples are there waiting for you, some guy called Kevin, who you will never meet who works in a warehouse somewhere, did a little overtime last night just to make sure that he hit his deadline and got the delivery out on time. We take that little bit of effort for granted, but it’s what keeps the wheels of the economy rolling smoothly. Try living without it for a while and you’ll appreciate it a whole lot more.
I was at the mall the other day and tried out the detailing service. For once, something was cheaper and easier than in Canada. It only costs 18 kina – about $9 to have the car washed and vacuumed and they do it while one is at the shops. They even have a television set up for customers to watch while they wait. The seats are taken from cars and welded to a metal frame – complete with seatbelts still attached.
I saw some flyers for a band called “Classic Creedence” that was coming to town. The band plays exclusively Creedence Clearwater Revival tracks. The tickets were $50, which I thought was an outrageous price to pay to see a cover band. I saw the actual NOFX in Vancouver last year for $40, so why would I pay more for a cover band? But then I realised, “I live in PNG and there is nothing to do here, so of course I will pay $50 to see a cover band”. I relented and bought my ticket and in the end I was glad that I did. The band were very talented and the singer really did sound just like John Fogerty. It reminded me of how great those old rock tunes are. It was a big night – there were about three hundred people there and there was dancing and much frivolity.
Life is about taking in new experiences and this week’s novelty was Mangosteens. I don’t know how I missed this little gem of a fruit, but they are glorious.
One breaks open the husk and inside is a white fruit a bit like a lychee, only sweeter and without a stone. I was most impressed. At $10 a kilo, I loaded a bag of them into my shopping trolley (cart for my North American readers).
Vegetable oil anyone?
This t-shirt amused me. It says, “I have plenty of talent and vision – I just don’t give a shit”. I was mostly amused because the girl wearing works behind the bar of an upmarket restaurant in town. Clearly, the dress standards are a little different here for serving staff.
Oke and I were out at the supermarket the other day and he spotted this product and asked me to take a photo of it. Who wouldn’t want some “A1 Sechuan Ta Poo Soup”? He has now received multiple requests from friends asking him to bring them some so that they can try it for themselves.