Day 13: Lake Murray to Mount Hagan to Port Moresby – Papua New Guinea

Woke up at 5am
Enjoyed crickets and bird sounds. I\’m relaxed, I\’m ready to travel.
Hit breakfast at 7:30am then sat on the porch. I\’ve been gifted a cool day. A day where I won\’t need suntan lotion even while waiting on an open field. I enjoy the view, the quiet, the coffee until about 8:15. Then I head back to my room to finalize my travel prep
We are leaving at 9:15 now, it\’s 8:55, I just saw a mosquito in the bathroom… So it couldn\’t be too soon.
I tipped my guide and handed him a piece of paper with my email address on it for the tribe elder. I confirmed that the elder had access to email.
My bags are packed, so I sit on the public porch where it\’s quiet and enjoy the last few moments of it. With just a bit of quiet banter going on inside. This is the last day with deet applied. I tossed it out after applying it this morning, so there\’s no going back. Somehow my bag weighs less than when I started, it\’s now 7.5 kgs.
Got to the grassy airport via boat. The border of the airport was teeming with locals, just hanging out waiting to see who leaves and who arrives and most likely watch the show of the airplane landing and taking off. When we board and once we start moving we get them to wave to us.
This plane goes to mount Hagan, an airport that I don\’t remember. We will arrive at about 11:45am. My next plane is at 4:25 pm and brings me to Port Moresby. I\’m going to find out two things. One, whether I can switch to an earlier flight. Two, if there is a store there, or if I can get to a store nearby. I need to buy a tourist t shirt and coffee beans for Stacey before I leave png and this may be my last shot!
I land in Mount Hagan and I\’ve had to pee for the last 3 hours. I am greeted just off the plane by my mount Hagan tour guide and driver! They remember me and greet me with smiles and hand shakes, I cheerily told them that I would introduce them to my new friends who were their next tour. Then they introduced to two other guides who will be driving me to lunch. I whisper to my old guide \”I need a bush\” and I am pointed to the waiting area that I sat in before I left mount Hagan, I know where the bathroom is! And it\’s a relief.
It was nice to chat with my old guide and driver, I told them to take care of my new friends.
Lunch – I was driven 2 minutes to a nearby hotel. They tell me that they will pick me up at 2. It\’s 11:50 now. By 1 pm I\’m finished eating, but I was really looking to buy coffee beans and a tourist t-shirt! Maybe I\’ll have luck at the airport.
I spend the time catching up with Stacey and Dad via WhatsApp. I consider taking out my book, but I don\’t want to have to repack everything in 20 minutes. I can wait for 2pm.
It\’s 1:40 when I pay the check, I waited some time before asking for it. The waiter told me that she see\’s my driver. So I head out and ask for a favor. I want to get local coffee! For me and one for my boss and I want one that\’s produced in Mount Hagan. But I see no opportunity to get one. I ask the driver if there is somewhere we can get one. He says probably yes! I tell him I want to avoid any Rascals (known thieves gang) , he says they are not here, but watch for pick pockets. I separate 60 kina from my wallet which is behind a zippered pocket just in case. First we drive to this local Mart, where the floor is dirt / mud and look for coffee. There is no local stuff, only Nestle instant.
He had a second idea. So we head to the local super market, which is in better condition. Still watching my pockets…. They have a bunch of local brands! I buy 3, I thought about a fourth that I had my eyes on but skip it. At the register, the woman recognizes the necklace around my neck, I\’m wearing the one that the young lady gifted me in Lake Murray. This woman was excited to see it and I told her how it would up in my possession. She is happy to hear the story.
After my purchase he drives me to the airport, and I go through security, where I need to empty my pockets into containers. That is a first for papua new Guinea, elsewhere I really had no need to empty anything out of my pockets at all.
I find out their scanning machine is broken… The only scan is a human prodding my shtuff.
I sit and wait for the plane, charging my phone, reading my book, buying the coffee beans that I skipped at the grocery store at the coffee shop. Yep, they had it there.
Finally got on my plane and arrived in Port Moresby.
I met at the airport by an airways representative, who tells me there is somebody else here to talk to me. Apparently someone was trying to meet me at the port Moresby airport the last time I arrived. Personally I don\’t need somebody holding my hand walking me from one thing to the next. The guy seemed a little offended and asked if I wanted a ride to the airport tomorrow. The airways hotel provides a shuttle scheduled at any time so I said no. I thought it was odd. Things like this seem overboard.
I arrived at the airways hotel and I am met with many people greeting me, treating me well. One man picks up my bag and tells me he\’s going to take me to my room. He asks me what I did in Papua New Guinea and I told him I went to Rabual, Mount Hagan, Karawari and lake Murray.
He says he is from karawari, and that is going back to get the skin tags done that make them look crocodiles in a few weeks. He tells me that they are the last tribe before you get to the crocodiles. I was very excited I told him that I visited his village and that there is a log that you have to go over to get over a gap in the land, and that their spirit house with the five skulls in it it has degraded and they are creating a new one one, and that his people are awesome and one man let me shoot his slingshot! He is very excited and he tells me that he knows that the skin tags are not necessarily a healthy thing. I support him by telling him that it is his family tradition and he honors them by going to do it – have flashbacks to my bar mitzvah… He is very excited and we chat for a while then he\’s off to his next responsibility.
My room is awesome! I\’m so excited because the room is huge; bug, leech and rat free, temperature controlled. After 2 weeks in the jungle even in my lodges, this is a real treat. First I run over to the free happy hour that ended 30 minutes ago on my floor and grab some free food. Then a nice woman gives me a glass of wine and helps me to my room. This rules! Now I have a bite and jump into the shower and start to feel cleaner than I have in my lifetime. It feels so good to shower and not have to immediately put deet on. In fact this is the first time that I am deet free in a long while. It feels great.
While drying I call downstairs to find out what time the restaurants close because it\’s already 8:15. They tell me they close at 10, so I get dressed and run up stairs and eat a good meal. I feel that I\’ve eaten well on the trip, so I get a glass of wine with dinner for the first time in a long time. The wine is bad but I feel so good!
Back in my room I connect with Stacey I\’m so excited to tell her everything and she patiently listens. It\’s very early morning where she is and she\’s whispering, its so nice to hear her voice!
Bed time!