After travelling a month in the jungle I came back to Melbourne. The first thing that I noticed was the cold, my god it was freezing! It was only 25 degrees and I was cold! Ugh, its only a week back in melbourne before we head up to the warmth again. So yeah Im definitely looking forward to tomorrow, when we head up to Bali in Indonesia. Another thing that I noticed is Christmas. Eventhough they celbrate it in PNG (Papua New Guinea), the society doesnt drown you in the whole event. Now that I came back from the jungle I noticed how many christmas songs there were played everywhere and all the christmas s*** in the shops. Do we really like to indoctrinate our own minds like this every year? is this what Christmas is about? Its hard to notice when its all around, I got used to it already... Merry Christmas!
Papua New Guinea. Wow what a country... The primitive way of living, the purity of the people and their warmth of generosity was a real shock for me. As you might have noticed, before I left to PNG I was a bit scared. All the messages in the news papers and the terrible weather forecast, I really had second thoughts to this trip. When you have low expectations of something, it will never dissapoint. And that was something certainly happend, I had the best trip ever!
I was first overwhelmed by the the city Port Moresby where all the crimes and shootings take place. Going out on your own or in the nights was just not possible. I didnt feel like being on a holiday, more like in a prison. I decided to get out of there, my best option was flying to Alototau. A town described in the Lonely Planet as safe and quiet. Exactly what I was looking for. I arrived in Alotau, a little town in the Milne Bay Province where they have the popular canoe festival every year. Of course I happen to just miss out on it, it was just the week before I arrived. Walking through the little town I noticed they have a little Tourist Bureau. I wondered in asking about the province and what there was to do. The ladies behind the desk didnt know where to start! Because they dont have many international (white) tourists coming to their town, they were very excited to have me. First they sent me to a guesthouse in the jungle, a 3 hour ride on a banana boat. A stayed here for a week, untill my phone got stolen in the guesthouse. I had nothing to prove, except my dissapointment so I left as soon as possible. The ladies in the Tourist bureau were very suprised, but there wasnt much to do than move on. So they sent me to Eastcape, the most eastern town of the mainland and gateway to normanby island. The bureau gave me alot of adresses to stay and so we organised a big hike over the island to see the 'popular' Dei Dei hot springs. The walk took 2 days to get there and 2 days back. Normally tourists hire their own boat and spend s***loads of money, but I found it more adventurous to go travelling as the locals do. Which was walking. After two days of hiking we got to the end of Normanby Island and from there we had to get the boat to Fergison Island to see the hot springs. While we were taking the boat, my guides told me I was the first dim dim (white man) to carry his own backpack. I was a bit ashamed of all the lazy tourists, but more proud of myself for being different. The hotsprings were to hot to swim in, but a little river coming from the springs mixed up with the cooler ocean waters, so that was perfect! After the long walk it was really nice. This was my first and only warm bath/shower in PNG too! I guess they dont believe in warm washing...
After my adventurous jungle hiking it was time to take the fortnightly boat going up the coast to Lae. Suprisingly this cost me almost as much as flying, but as its the only boat they have a monopoly on the market which they take advantage of. The crew is constantly drunk, the sanitary is the worst ive ever seen (and ive seen alot..) and the trip is extremely slow. But it was also a trip never to forget. Being on a boat with 300 other people, complaining about the service makes it is easy to break the ice with the locals. Your all on the same boat, as the dutch saying would be. The boat stopped at many little villages on the coast, where they have a big market for all the people on the boat. The people on the boat made me taste so many kind of food on these markets that I have never been hungry during these 4 days. Ive tried to write down most of these exotic foods, but even then I couldnt remember all of them. All I remember was that all of it tasted pure. Even the patatoes would have a stronger taste to them. Only then you can realise what kind of s*** food we actually eat. The bananas, pineapples, mangoes, patatoes, pumpkins even unions and garlic looks the same but taste more! Its amazing!!
After the boattrip I arrived in Lae with two locals from the boat who would like to show me around in this part of PNG. They knew a great number of people, as everyone is related in PNG. I think I might of shaked hands with a few thousand people, everyone wanted to know everything about me. The two guys, vincent and jones (yeah I called em vinnie jones, but they didnt know who he was), told my whole story to every one of these people. Even to the last person they were still very enthusiastic to tell my story. I would never have that patience, so I was glad they did most of the telling. I spent my last week with these two guys, but they really showed me how most of the PNG people lived. We even stayed in the police headquarters because one of them was related to the head officer.
Most of the tourists come to PNG for diving in the clear waters and the spectacular reefs. I bought a snorkel set and whent freediving in a lot of places, which was a real eye opener for me. I have never seen such clear waters and so many kinds of fish. The corals looked all so alive and no tourist to be seen. Still Im glad that I have seen a side of PNG which hardly any dimdim or tourist has seen. The politics are very corrupt and its a very expensive country to travel in, but the people are so warm and friendly it was worth every penny. I think one day, when the politics settle down and the country becomes cheaper, there will be many tourists travelling to this place. Unfortunately this means that the culture will be worn down soon for commercialism. So people grab your chance now and see the untouched before its too late.
Tomorrow Jasmin and me will travel up to Bali in Indonesia to begin our big trip. We have both saved up enough to travel for a long time, so when were heading back to europe is still very uncertain. Ill just say, when the money is gone...