Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Port Moresby adventures – Parliament House

After going to the Botanical Gardens, we headed to Parliament House. While we were waiting outside the Botanical Gardens for the right bus to come, a van belonging to the Botanical Gardens came out and offered us a ride. It was a cargo van and just had a driver and passenger seat, so the three of us were sitting on the floor in the back of the van, with only a rear window. It felt rather funny! Here’s a picture of me in the van:

The Parliament House was architecturally designed and it incorporates several traditional building styles into this fancy modern building. Here are two pictures of the main feature of the building.

We went inside and had a tour. Photos aren’t allowed to be taken inside, so unfortunately I can’t show you those things. We saw a display of gifts that had been given by other countries to PNG, including a chair that had been given by Australia. There was a very large wood carving, which had sections of carving from different areas of the country. We also saw displays of insects that had been mounted. There were moths, butterflies, beetles, stick insects, cockroaches and more. PNG has the biggest moth and biggest butterfly in the world.

We also sat in the Parliament viewing platform and saw where they hold Parliament. Everything that is spoken is simultaneously translated into the three official languages: English, Tok Pisin and Motu. Members can wear headphones and choose which language they wish to listen to.

Outside, the grounds were pretty too. We saw the busts of the Prime Ministers of PNG, and I think this one below is of the current Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare (my apologies to him if I am wrong!)

Part of a crocodile mosaic:

It was quite a busy day with going to the Botanical Gardens first, then the Parliament House, plus doing a little bit of shopping at a market too. I was glad to be able to put my feet up at the end of the day!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Port Moresby adventures – Botanical Gardens

On our way to Buka we had to stay at Port Moresby for two nights, so we had a whole day to kill there and we decided to go and see a bit of the place, since there was three of us single ladies and we’d all only been in Moresby by ourselves previously and it’s not wise for single women to go round Moresby alone. We started by taking a PMV to the botanical gardens. It was a bit of a scary ride for me as the sliding door of the bus was open the whole trip and I was sitting opposite it. I was worried that if we turned too sharply, I would fall out the door!

Picture that I took from the bus:

The botanical garden was PNG style, not really classy, as evidenced by the dirt and leaves on the top of the shadecloth in the picture below.

However there were lots of nice plants and flowers, especially orchids. We were shown around by one of the security staff there, and we were even taken through to sections that said ‘No entry – staff only’. There were also animals in enclosures there too, including the bird of paradise, which is often hard to see in the wild. Some of the other animals/birds we saw were: cuscus, crocodile, cassowary, wallaby, hornbill, tree kangaroo

Here are two pictures of orchids and one of a tree kangaroo.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I have my blog back again!

I have been off travelling again! I returned to Ukarumpa on 26th May after Mum and Dad’s visit, then I left again two weeks later on 10th June to go to Buka (part of the Bougainville region) to help on a survey trip. I scheduled this blog post to go up today before I left Ukarumpa, as my internet access is limited on this trip.

Anyway, I am travelling around the western part of Buka island, and visiting some small islands off Buka to the west. I am with two other single ladies who are permanent members of the survey team (as opposed to me who is just a part of the team for this trip). We are visiting two language groups and asking questions and taking lists of words in order to determine what their translation needs are, and to find out how well people are able to understand neighbouring languages and dialects.

I will be back in Ukarumpa on 2nd July if things go to plan. I will put up some blog posts about this trip then, so keep looking!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Travelling home (post by Bill & Liz)

Our time with Julie in PNG has come to an end. We said goodbye to Julie at The SIL centre and went to Madang airport to wait for our flight to Port Moresby. But PNG hadn’t finished with us yet.

Madang airport terminal building.

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 11.30, but was delayed, delayed and delayed till nearly 17.00, due to aircraft being unserviceable.

Madang airport is not the most comfortable place to wait 7 hours in, no air conditioning, and hard wooden seats. We did get to see Julie’s small plane take off from another part of the airport at 15.30 returning her to Ukarumpa.

Inside Madang airport.

Well we finally got away from Madang just before 17.00, but our onward flight to Cairns left at 17.00 so we were definitely going to miss it. Air Niugini did arrange accommodation for us at Loloata island Resort, which was a 20 minute bus drive, then a 10 minute ferry trip away from Port Moresby.

Loloata Island Resort

The next morning we left Port Moresby on the 09.30 flight to Cairns, but PNG kept calling us back. Half way to Cairns the pilot announced, ‘We have an engine malfunction indicator and are returning to Port Moresby’. After a 3 hour wait in Port Moresby, we were on our way again in the same plane, hopefully fixed.

The troublesome plane.

We made it to Cairns safely and stayed at the Tree Tops Lodge, which is in a lovely location. We went into Cairns and wandered around Cairns city centre and visited the Night Market which is very touristy.

Tree Tops Lodge

Port Moresby was very hot and humid, but Cairns at this time of year was a lovely 30 degrees when we left to return to a very chilly 12 degrees in Melbourne.

Well that’s Bill and Liz’s incredible adventure to visit Julie in PNG over, so I hope that anybody that read this blog enjoyed it.

BYE for now.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

PMVs (post by Bill & Liz)

Public Motor Vehicles known as PMVs are the most common way of getting around in PNG. We used PMV’s to travel to and from the village and also when we went into Madang. The man driving the PMV is universally known as ‘Driva’ (driver). In the picture below, the man just inside the door with the red shirt collects the fares and encourages passengers to use this PMV to go to their destinations.

Just like all public transportation systems, there are specified routes and each PMV has the route number displayed on the front of the vehicle. Nearly every PMV has accident damage, but while we were there we never saw an accident even with road rules that seemed very flexible. PMVs have passenger load limits, but this also seemed to be very flexible.

Inside a PMV:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Madang town (post by Bill & Liz)

Madang is a large town on the north coast of PNG that in some articles is described as the prettiest town in the South Pacific. Well, the location is certainly picturesque enough but the urban area is not really pretty.

There are quality schools.

There are many small stores that sell small amounts of all sorts of goods.

There are larger shops as well, the pink coloured building was the Papindo store which had a supermarket on the ground floor with a clothing and general merchandise area on the first floor. This store is air-conditioned. The closer building, ‘Beckslea Plaza’, had a chemist and several shops that sold clothing, sporting gear, CD’s and electric goods. A large proportion of local people use the second hand stores to purchase clothing.

This is the street where most of the banks were located; the security guards prevent people loitering in front of the banks.

And the Post Office was just around the corner.

This is the view from one of the restaurants that overlooks the main shipping channel into Madang harbour – large ships and local water PMV’s (water taxis) could be seen while eating your meal.

There is a Coastwatchers memorial overlooking the sea in Madang. This memorial honours the men and women who observed Japanese military movements from behind enemy lines during WWII and reported this intelligence to the Allied forces.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Flowers – part 2 (post by Bill & Liz)

More flowers, and leaves. Lots of photos in this blog post!

A selection of flowers we saw, some from Ukarumpa and others on the coast.

A leafy plant with bold markings.

Palm tree patterns.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Flowers – part 1 (post by Bill & Liz)

PNG is a haven for flowers, here is a selection of Hibiscus. A keen gardener could spend a lifetime photographing flowers up here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

SIL Centre (post by Bill & Liz)

After our stay in the village we returned to Madang and stayed at the SIL centre. This was a relaxing time we shared with Julie. The SIL centre is located opposite the sea about 10 minutes PMV drive from Madang town centre.

SIL Centre unit.

View looking directly out from the balcony.

Here we are relaxing (posing?) on the balcony.

The sea was directly in front of the unit, and although there is no beach, the sea is easily accessible, and was lovely to swim and snorkel in. The coral may not be the most colourful, but still looks impressive. There are many fish to observe, from little blue or orange fish that dart in and out of the coral, to larger schools of fish that swim by.

Looking along the coast in front of the SIL centre.

The Madang Lodge restaurant was a 10 minute walk away and had a lovely setting.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fruit (post by Bill & Liz)

Fruit is in abundance in the local markets, there were some fruits that were unknown to us, such as sugarfruit and galip nuts.

These pictures show pomelo, soursop, pawpaw and bananas.

In PNG there are many types of bananas, from finger sized ones up to really big ones. The bananas are really cheap in markets, only K2 (80 cents) for a hand of bananas, they don’t always look as pretty as in Australian supermarkets but certainly taste much better. Another banana that we are not used to are cooking bananas, these are treated more like potatoes and do taste like sweet potatoes.