The world is a troubled place and some of the dangerous locations in which I have previously lived continue the downward slide towards chaos.
I was deeply saddened to hear about the horrific bombing in Abuja, Nigeria this week that killed 71 people. Abuja is another of the dangerous places in which I have lived and I am sorry to see that the troubles in the North of that country have spread to the normally-peaceful capital. It seems to be part of the ongoing tensions that are threatening to break the fragile peace between the Islamic North and the Christian South. Nigeria has a difficult road ahead, I fear.
For the final leg of our great North American expedition, my colleagues and I travelled to Vancouver in British Columbia.
It was time to farewell Québec and its quirky passion for all things Francophone. It’s the only place where I’ve ever seen an attempt to translate the signage out the front of a Starbucks.
We bundled everyone into two vans and drove out to Montréal airport in some of the heaviest snow that I have ever seen.
There’s something unexpected and slightly discordant about seeing snow collect in a Papua New Guinean’s afro.
The airport was coated in a thick blanket of snow. I tried to remind myself that these people operate aircraft in such conditions every winter so there was no need for alarm.
The aircraft in which we were supposed to take off was completely covered in snow and ice.
We boarded and made preparations for take off, even though we couldn’t see out of the windows because of the snow. The captain announced that we would have to wait for the de-icing process before we could leave so we sat there for 45 minutes while they removed enough snow for the aircraft to be able to take off. I find it incredible that aircraft can be operated safely in such a climate.
But take off we did, and I lived to tell the tale. The view of farmland covered in snow could not be more different from what one sees through the aircraft windows when flying into Papua New Guinea.
So we loaded our luggage into the limo in the rain.
So naturally, the first priority was to snap photos with our phones of us in a limousine.
The port is the busiest in Canada and rail yards next door help to ferry the cargo rapidly to its final destination.
Cruise ships dock here at Canada Place.
If one times one’s visit to the revolving restaurant correctly, one can enjoy the view of the city by both day and night.
My colleagues from Papua New Guinea enjoyed sightseeing, but more than anything they were excited about the shopping downtown. It is a reflection of just how limited the shopping options are in Port Moresby. The range is limited and the quality is frequently sub-par in PNG, while prices can be exorbitant, so any chance to shop abroad is a golden opportunity to be seized with both shopping-laden hands.
One outing that my colleagues agreed to that was not shopping-related was a trip to the “Comedy Mix” stand up comedy club. I have been there a few times before and the standard is always excellent. They enjoyed the show a lot and certainly laughed. However, a couple of the regular church goers complained afterwards about the number of times that the comedians said the “F Word” (as they put it).
The hotel in which we stayed had a pool in which I enjoyed a swim. However, I was unimpressed by the sign on the wall that claimed that the pool is “Heated to 84 Degrees”. This is Canada, where the Metric system is in force and if the pool were really heated to 84 degrees I wouldn’t have survived to write another blog post.
We booked another Limousine as everyone enjoyed the trip from the airport so much we figured we’d do the same on the way back to the airport.
As is my custom, I decided to “Suit Up” for the journey.
Next stop was Cebu in the Philippines.
This chap on the left decided that what the world needed to see more of was his beer belly.
I enjoyed shooting an innocent target full of arrows at the archery range.
They also had a firearms range and a rather impressive collection of guns to shoot. What can I say, I like big guns. So sue me.
The resort included a huge pool with a restaurant in the middle.
As the sun set over this little piece of paradise, it was time for us to load up and head back to the airport for our flight to Port Moresby.
The security at Cebu airport is almost amusingly inadequate. There are literally two security checks one after another. They seem to take the view that the quantity of security checks is the key, not the quality.
Airport lounges: places where people go to look at their phones for an hour before their flight.
I recently looked up the map on the statistics page for “Postcards From Dangerous Places”. I was most surprised to find that beyond my friends in Canada and Australia for whom I began writing the blog, people are tuning in from all over the world.
(both of them).
Until next postcard…