My Travels Around the World

Category: Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Part 9, Faces of PNG – October 2014

The faces of PNG were varied and beautiful. The young and the old. Each told its own story. Here they are in no particular order.

Papua New Guinea Part 8, More villages and final thoughts – October 2014

October 19, 2014

Once again we were treated to a beautiful sunrise, The skies were so clear as it rained all night long, with the rain hammering down on our aluminum roof.

Since it is Sunday morning, on our drive to our next set of villages, we saw everyone dressed up to go to church. One woman was carrying a huge bouquet of about 30 Calla lilies, and another had a multicolored bouquet, all to take to church. Many of the women were wearing colorful dresses although a portion wore black skirts with white shirts. The children wore dressier clothes then we had seen during the week.

Papua New Guinea Part 7: The Mudmen – October 2014

October 18, 2014

Mt Hagen and a day of villages

We were greeted this morning by another spectacular sunrise. The fog sat at the bottom of the valley like a field of snow. And the sun turned the sky into the most beautiful blues and pinks and yellows, looking more like a painting than life. Whether you believe in G-d or Mother Nature – it was a work of incredible art.

Papua New Guinea Part 6, Mt. Hagen – October 2014

October 7, 2014

Last morning on the Sepik

We had to wake up early today, have a quick breakfast and get back in our canoe at 6:00am, bags packed, in order to make the 1.5 hour trip up the river back to Timbunke to catch our next flight. We watched the sun rise over the river as we glided along. There were very few other canoes out and the ones we did see where busy cleaning the fish they had already caught.  The trees reflected in the water, looking like a cityscape and teeming with life the way a city would be, but with birds rather than people. The Egrets were out in full force, flying about and landing, feet first onto trees. They fly along, legs out straight behind them, and all of a sudden they bring their legs into a standing position and just land on a branch.  I watched lots of them in the last 2 days and they always reminded me of an airplane letting down its wheels.

We were all very quiet, just watching the scenery and trying to memorize that feeling of the wind in our faces so we could always remember it.

Papua New Guinea Part 5, Sepik – October 2014

October 16, 2014

Floating on the Sepik

(or the white man came and it was a mixed blessing.)

The morning started with a beautiful sunrise and breakfast on the ship. We got back into our lawn chairs on the canoe and headed down the river. This time, in addition to umbrellas, they gave us straw fans to help keep cool. Today’s plan was to visit two villages along the Chambri Lakes and Blackwater Lakes area. These are a series of swamps and canals that are filled by the flooding of the Sepik River. The villages along these shores see few tourists and were once headhunters, but no more.

We were again treated to the site of the egrets flying and landing, men and women fishing from their canoes, or cleaning their fish on their canoes, and all sorts of other birds such as kites, gliding overhead. The water again was so still and the sun was low on the horizon, just beginning to rise, and the clouds and sugarcane reflected in the water just like a mirror. And there were birds everywhere The Chambri Lakes are a fantastic wildlife reserve (a real birders paradise). Although we were gliding quietly, it still disturbed the birds and each time as we passed, the birds would soar into the sky. The birds were in all shapes and sizes, black, brown, royal blue and red, with many white long-necked herons (egrets), cormorants, terns, and other brightly colored tiny birds. We passed one tree that was covered in white – like cotton balls. Those were the terns and as we glided by they all scattered into the sky covering the sky with the fluttering white wings.

Papua New Guinea Part 4, The Karawari and the Sepik – October 2014

October 15, 2014

Leaving Ambua for the Sepik

We spent the morning hanging out at the Ambua waiting for information about our flight. The sunrise was again spectacular, with a fog bank that looked like snow.  

I stepped outside of the main lodge and Thomas immediately pointed out a Prince of Princess Stephanie’s astrapia bird of paradise. So now I’ve seen two! Princess Stephanie’s astrapia (Astrapia stephaniae), also known as Stephanie’s astrapia, was named in for Princess Stephanie of Belgium, wife of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary. When seen close up, which of course we did not, you would see an iridescent blue-green and purple head, silky plumage below and two very long, broad purplish-black central tail feathers.

We were supposed to leave on a small chartered plane from a small runway at the Ambua,but instead the plane was going to meet us in Tari. So after breakfast we got back on the bus and headed down the mountain back to the Tari airport. Although at first were disappointed, it turned out to be a great ride and we got to see and take pictures of some things we had not seen along the road before, like the “gas station,” some more “recycling,” a “car wash,” a woman walking her pig, some more men on the street with their headpieces (just to prove that they don’t just dress for the few tourists that are visiting). 

Papua New Guinea Part 3, Paint and Wigs – October 2014

October 14, 2014
Today started out very early as we were going birding again, this time just as the sun was rising. The view from our hut was magnificent. The sky turned a light pink and the flowers around us glistened. Ambua is filled with all sorts of beautiful flowers in all different colors. Joseph once again took us out birding along with Thomas and our driver (who actually was the best in spotting the birds). Once again we lucked out and saw several different ribbon tailed BOP. This time we could see the blue crest on the bird and the ball on its beak.

Papua New Guinea Part 2 – Tari, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014

Always expect the unexpected

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise, one of many we will see here.
The air is so unpolluted and the clouds and fog just hang in mid–
air like a lake of white. And then the sky turns yellow and pink and
purple and mountains glow. That is Papua New Guinea.
Haro picked us up at 630 this morning to get to the airport
(remember 3 min away) for an 800 flight. We were the only white
people in sight. We stood on line with Haro waiting our turn to
check in. The woman behind the desk saw we were flying to Tari
and asked if we would be staying at the Ambua Lodge. When we
said yes, she got all excited. Seems she is from Tari and she
could not stop praising the beauty of the place. She was so happy
for us that she put priority tags on our luggage (you will see why this is funny a bit later).

Papua New Guinea Part 1, Arrival – October 2014

PNG – The land time forgot

We traveled to PNG in October of 2014.  That was before I had a blog, so my diary was in PDF files.  Those are attached for you to read and to see the photos.  PNG is a magical place full of contradictions.  I hope you enjoy this.

The first white men to enter the interior of Papua New Guinea (PNG) were the Leahy brothers in 1930. It was the last place on earth to be colonized by Europeans. Australia tried to bring civilization to PNG and used the people as cheap labor for the plantations. But there was little to attract the white man until gold was discovered. The natives had no idea about civilization. They thought the white man was lightening from the sky or that their ancestors had turned white and were returning g from the place of the dead.  They knew nothing of the outside world; in fact they thought they were the only people in the world. The Leahy’s had backpacks with them and the natives thought that the white men’s wives where inside their backpacks.

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