Mount Hagan (provided like Hagan in haagen-daz)
Woke up again at 3:30am to go to the car that would get me to my 6:20am flight from Rabaul to Port Moresby. I learned to grab my bag quickly from the vehicle in order to beat all the other families and couples to the front of the check in line. It worked. For some reason it took forever to check someone in. I was third on line and it must have taken 25 minutes per person!
Then I waited in the general waiting area for my connecting flight to Port Moresby.
In Port Moresby I had to wait 5 hours for my next flight. But it didn\’t feel very long probably because I got a coffee, one of my favorite banana muffins which I ate the first time I was waiting there, and read my book! Which I continued reading on the plane. Also the plane actually left on time this time, hooray!
I landed at about 1:30. My guide Andrew and driver Joe meet me at the airport. The first thing I noticed in Mount Hagan was how there was still people all over the place on the sides of the roads looking like they weren\’t doing much. Also they picked me up in a very large van with lots of seats, and I\’m only one person!
I asked where we were headed and they said the hotel. I asked if we could make a stop or two they said of course. So I had them stop in the Mt Hagan market, which was swarming with people. I asked the guide if he would come with me and stay by my side for safety, he laughed. Then said of course. First because I know about pickpockets and the gang called the rascals, I only took 50 kina ($18) with me and left the rest in my hidden pocket. My guide half jokingly said that because I was with him nobody would mess with me because it\’s mostly Melpa people which was his tribe and they respect tourists with one of their own.
But there were so many people there it felt like I was tripping over them all the time. And as the only white person, and having weird glasses made me someone to look at by everyone. My radar was on and twice I felt like I was getting followed too closely, perhaps someone trying to get closer to my pockets, so I stepped aside and let them casually walk in front of me.
I also learned a few words, which always got a smile and a laugh when I used them because nobody expected it.
Here are the word I know across 2 languages
I wound up buying 10 short fat bananas for 1 kina (33 cents), a bilim bag meant for groceries 16 kina ($5.33) and a hat for an unknown amount. All of this was strategic.
I missed a real lunch, this is ignoring the small amount of air plane food and decided bananas would be good to eat. I know it gets cold at night and I needed something warmer which explains the hat. And the bag I thought would come in handy when negotiating my later flights as each had a weight limit that I may be able to get around with a second small carry-on bag.
Then we got back into the van and headed to Rhondon Ridge hotel located on Rhondon mountain 7100 feet up it. At the top the view was amazing. I also get a great view from my room which is ginormous! It has 3 floors and some outdoor space! The whole place is powered by hydro electric power.
One interesting note. I am one of three people staying here my first night making the hotel pretty empty. The two people are a couple.
Given that there are 7 districts with many many tribes I\’m looking forward to meeting some of them tomorrow.
Tonight I decided to hang around a bit. I love the art that they have here and took some time exploring it. I took advantage of my rooms view by watching the sunset, which got cancelled near the end due to clouds that are hanging lower than the hotel.
I also spent some time counting and organizing my kina cash.
Then I took a little explore of the hotel things such as the shelter area that they have for wallabies, tree kangaroos, cockatoos and deer. Which were all cute and fun to mimick.
Back at the hotel I saw a sea eagle eating some food left out for it with 2 Willywagtail birds chasing it around.
My hotel is Rhondon Ridge. Each night includes a hearty breakfast and dinner and a packed lunch. My 3 story hotel room has a living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and outdoor patio. It\’s huge and had an amazing view.
Dinner was awesome.
I organized some laundry for the next day and made some quick videos for my family that I CANT upload due to terrible wifi. Also I\’m no longer using the terrible wifi!
hit the sack