Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Madang

We took a long weekend (you can do that if you're volunteers...) and went to Madang "Most Beautiful Town on the Pacific".

We left Friday morning, walking down to the markets to catch a PMV. They are vans that drive around with the driver yelling what their destination is "LaeLaeLaeLaeLaeLaeLaLaLaLaLae" etc. Found one for Madang pretty quickly, then drove around for another hour before it filled up. That's the usual thing apparently.

The rest of the day was spent sitting in the van marvelling at the scenery. After descending a few different mountain ranges, I thought we must nearly be down to the plains when suddenly we went down through some clouds and I saw how far we had to go (this was on Kasam Pass). There was a change of vans on the way down when a landslide had cut the road. Some vehicles were getting through (with the help of ropes and hundreds of willing helpers), but the lineup was long, and one clever passenger went and found another 15 seater on the other side of the landslide who was willing to swap passengers. The last few hours before the coast is a punishing dirt road over a small be RUGGED mountain range.

Arrived at Madang around 4pm and went to our accomodation - Madang Resort. A bit nicer than our usual style of accomodation, but volunteers get half price, so the three of us shared a room for about K140 (AUS$70) per night for two nights. It beautiful - located right on the tip of the Madang peninsula, looking out at palm fringed islands with a large volcano island in the distance. John Howard stayed there last year with the other Pacific nation leaders for a conference. I checked under our bed to see if he had scratched his name there, but we mustn't have had his room.

On Saturday, after a morning foray around town - picking up some wood carvings, Sago palm weavings and food, we took a water PMV out to Krangket Island for some snorkelling. Krangket is pretty close to paradise... palm trees, villages, kids swimming, crystal clear water with coral and fish... We walked to the tip of the island and hung out for the afternoon snorkelling on the reef and eating pineapples and avocadoes. Pretty much the perfect afternoon!

Sunday was another long day in the PMV. This time the main event was overheating on the way up Kasam Pass. They managed to cool it down and we kept going. Coincidentally it was an ideal spot for some photos though.

Back to work, Di is loving AT Projects so far this week and I'm making some progress with my stuff at CRMF. Only two weeks left though!

On Monday was our wedding anniversary - we went to the 'Bird' for dinner. They do GOOD pizza.
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