Thursday, 29 April 2010

PNG part 2

We're sitting in the Brisbane airport, waiting to get me checked in, but the airport is really strict about opening only 3 hours prior to leaving, so I guess it's a good thing the plane this morning was so bloody late, cause it means Sara & I don't have to hang out here as long as we might have . . . still a bloody long time!

So here's an update about what we did when in PNG:
  • Kate & Sara walked into a freshwater stream and fed eels - apparenlty they LOVE mackerel & are super slimy when they swim around your legs, glad I didn't have to participate in that part of this ATW trip!
  • Took a trip 200km down from Kaveing to a Shane's place called Central New Ireland Surfing & Rubio Plantation for the weekend.  Where Sara, her cousin Tim, Kate, and her dad all did a hike on the Saturday morning through a rainforest along the coast & up onto a cliff over looking the Pacific Ocean.  Sara & Kate went boogie boarding all morning & again in the afternoon, until Sara got bite by a shark . . . okay not really, but that sounds way cooler than got thrashed by a wave & pushed into a bed of coral, which cut up her leg rather well, so that ended her boogie boarding for the weekend.  She will be okay, thanks to Kate's fantastic first aid kit from Canada, she's now wearing a large clear bandage which breathes, but doesn't allow anything else to get into it.  Sara is sorta hoping it leaves a cool scar, but with this new bandage it might heal well . . . only time will tell
  • After Sara's dad left, she & Tim went snorkling one afternoon around Raul island, about 40 minutes by boat outside of Kaveing.  They saw tons of fish, coral & Sara saw her first sting ray & reef shark!
  • On the flight yesterday from Kaveing to Port Moresby (POM), the flight stops over in Kokopo to pick up some more passengers, but before landing the pilot took us over the still actively smoking volcano - SUPER COOL!!!
  • This morning after I was checked in at POM the plane was delayed & Air Niugini offered up free crackers, cheese, tea & coffee - how nice right?  Well until Sara realised the cheese was rather warm & looked kinda oily in the package, so she looked at the date (thanks to cousin Tim saying he's been burned a few times with out of date items in PNG) and discovered it was 1 month old, so she skipped that!
Well that's my PNG experience in a nut shell!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Kokopo, Papua Nwe Guinea

We all made it safely in Papua New Guinea

Dad & Sara arrived last Thursday into Kokopo and their nephew/cousin Tim & partner Kate arrived Friday morning.  Kokopo is the town right next to Rabaul, where the volcano erupted in '94 and destroyed the city of Rabaul, so people sometimes say they're going to Rabaul, but what they really mean is Kokopo, cause the airport doesn't exist anymore & the volcano still smokes today!

We had quite an adventure our first day out, we took a PMV (public motor vehicle, aka a minu bus van) to Rabaul to check out the volcano ash.  We ended uyp having to walk 2 miles from the last bus stop to the Rabaul hotel for lunch (one of two hotels left in the city, which during the volcano explosion they stayed to keep the place safe) and it's a rather depressing state, with the foundations of houses but no roof on any of them & hardly any people around.  After lunch we decided to go see General Yamomoto's bunker, which supposedly had a map on the ceiling.  It started to rain & the sky was rather black, but we headed in that direction & along the way picked up some local children who showed us right to where we wanted to be, which we wouldn't have found without them cause it's so dilapidated.  It was SUPER cool!  But on the way back to the PMV stop (ya know 2 miles back) we got caught in torrential down pour, so by the time we were at the stop we were SOAKED!!

After waiting for 20 minutes Kate went to check into other options.  Turned out she found out the road washed out & so now "buses" (mini vans really) running, so we used my dad as an excuse to get a ride in the back of a pick up truck.  Kate knows the local Pidgin language, so she convinced this guy to take us back cause "the poor old white man needs his evening medicine" (this cracked me up so much I had tears running down my face, cause anyone who's met my dad know's he's in great physical health, but the PNGian man didn't know that) so after an hour long ride in the bed of a pick up truck we made it back to the hotel we were staying at.  On the bakc of the pick up we met a great girl who told us a story about how missionaries got eaten by the locals many years ago - I'm going to write a book called Tim & Kate's Outrageous Adventures, cause it's impossible not to have crazy things like this happen in a country like this!

Thank goodness the locals are friendly & helpful or we'd probably still be waiting at the bus stand, cause the road was washed out & had a raging river in another section for a few days! 

The weather is very hot & humid & of course there is not A/C, we're lucky to have electricity throughout the night to keep the fans going.  We're having a great time, I think dad might not have been prepared for it quite as much as he thought, but he's taking it all in stride & keeps on smiling.

Now we're in Kaveign at Tim & Kate's house, where today it's been pouring rain all day long - thank goodness we did the laundry yesterday!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Palm Cove part 2

only 3 minutes left on internet, but wanted to say all's good here, heading to PNG in the morning,will try to catch up more then.  also have sent out my resume, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Palm Cove (Cairns)

We safely made it to Cairns, where so far the weather has been 30C and sunny, tomorrow's forcast is not looking as good, but whatever.

According to the news there was an earthquake in the Soloman Islands yesterday, so once again we have evaded a natural disaster (earthquake in Melbourne 2 days after my first trip there, tropical storm here in Cairns when I was in Alice Springs, earthquake in Chili & I'll be there in late May!) . . . just hope we're able to keep it that way!

Sara & her dad spent yesterday out at the Great Barrier Reef snorkling & got stung by blue bottle jellyfish, that'll teach them to leave me behind in the hotel room!  Apparently they didn't learn their lesson cause they're off today to the beach to swim between the flags (life guard protected area) and with in 2 nets, the further out one is to keep the sharks away and the closer one is to keep the jellyfish away.  Not sure how the jellyfish one works, but good luck to them!  Also on today's agenda is to find a few items to bring up to PNG which her cousin has asked for.

Last night they eat dinner at the Reef House Restaurant (in Palm Cove if you want to google it), which is rather posh, but well worth the price!

We all leave the hotel Thursday morning at 4am to get to the airport in time for our flight to Port Moresby, where we have a 6 hour lay over & aren't allowed to leave the airport before our second flight of the day to Raboul (or at least I think that's where we're going first, since Sara hasn't taught me to read, I just carry the paperwork, but don't actually understand any of what it says)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Sydney & Melbourne revisted

Dad & I are safely in Melbourne now, after spending 4 days in Sydney seeing the Blue Mountains, including the famous Three Sisters, taking a cruise around the harbour, a dinner with cousin Ern, wife Gill, her son Peter, his wife Michelle, their 3 children Ellen, Jess and .  Cousin Ern & Gill also took us on a tour around Sydney one day, we went to Coogee beach, Bondi beach, Double Bay, and a also to the cemetary where relatives are burried, but we couldn't find the grave stone cause we had the polt M42, but there was no map to tell us what the grid system was, so after 45 minutes of all of us seperating & searching we gave up, plus being Easter Monday the office was closed.  After that we went & had a picnic lunch near the cliff where people try to jump off & kill themselves (forget the name right now).  But here is a photo of cousin Ern & dad with the city of Sydney behind them.  You can see the Opera house & harbour bridge.  Cousin Ern lives in Lane Cove which is sorta located between dad & Ern's heads.   
Since being in Melbourne, I've gotten my hair cut at a hair salon school & all I'm going to say is I got a great deal!!  $20 (that's about 15 quid) for wash, cut, & blow dry!!!!!!!!  Can't find those prices in London can you?

We also went on a river cruise, went opal shopping (bought an opal too) and met up with my mate Tania & her boyfriend Cal for dinner.  Yesterday we took the train to Tan's shop which is called Rock Paper Scissor and then a taxi over to the family reunion dinner.  There we met cousin Vicky, her husband Chris, cousin Howard, his wife Hillary, their son Scott (a few months old), cousin Susan, her husband Dave, and their sons, first one I can't remember right now but he's about 14 and the yonger one who's name is Matt.

Today we're off to Phillip Island to see some penquins and tomorrow we're spending the day with cousin Vicky & Chris.

Saturday we're off to Cairns to see the barrier reef!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Hunter Valley & Coolmore

I'd love to write & say that the weather has been wonderful & I'm super tan, BUT the reality of it is that this week has been kinda uneventful, I got back last Saturday from my travels within Australia & first thing I had to do was laundry!

The day I did my laundry was very warm & sunny, so I just relaxed in the yard while waiting for my laundry to dry - every now and then you need a day of no touring, no driving, just doing nothing.  The next few days I thought I'd go for some fun in the sun at the beach days, but the weather man was not working with me and it ended up raining heavily & my plan of going to the beach was ruined, so we rented some movies from the video shop and just chilled out at home.  I also spent a lot of time uploading photos to facebook. 

On Wednesday I went into Sydney to have lunch with my mate Simone who works here, but who I met when she came to the UK over a year ago and we went on a road trip from Glasgow to Innverness and back over a long weekend.  I got to meet her boyfriend too when we went to a Greek restaurant, where the food was GREAT! 

That evening I went to Cafe Sydney and had a wonderful dinner with my London neighbours, who are in Sydney en route to the Solomon Islands.  The restaurant has a great view and best of all the rain/fog from the day had sorta lifted so we had a good view of the harbour bridge!

Yesterday I got to go up to Hunter Valley for some wine tasting.  I learned I'm not a fan of oaked wines, which means I'm never going to be a fan of red wines, so best for me to stick to fruity whites or dessert wines.  Of course I can drink others, but according to the wineries we visited my preference is unoaked, which I think is the opposite of my sister & dad, which explains why I never like their wine choices.

Then once the wineries closed we went to visit my mate's sister who works at Coolmore, a famous horse stud north of Hunter Valley is Jeffery Plains (I think) and we got to see some of the famous race horses, which was fun.

Today dad arrives so I'm going to meet him at our hotel later tonight.