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Going to a Village in Papua New Guinea #265

Going to a Village in Papua New Guinea #265

Going to a Village in Papua New Guinea

In Blog 264 I Talked about Going Down Under for some R and R. In this blog I am going to talk about Going to a village in Papua New Guinea.

 

1/26

 

The next day we would go to the cruise terminal which is always fun. Picture the worst day at Disneyland and you have a cruise terminal. You had to wear a mask and since Linda’s carry on was open we couldn’t check it and it was a good fifty pounds.  I was worried I’d get denied because my temperature was high from lugging this 50lb. bag through the terminal. I was sweaty, my nose was running, luckily the mask hid that though. I think I was just worn out by not having any sleep the last few days. Everything turned out great though. The Oscar goes to…

 

Linda got us both nice suites with balconies. All I wanted was to eat a little something then go to bed. It was 7pm lol. I took some nighttime cold medicine and was lights out. I woke up around 4am and there was a “pillow barrier” between us lol. You got to love her lol. 

 

1/27

 

Today we cross the Great Barrier Reef but you can’t really tell from the ship. I decided to take it easy today and write my blog. Of course Linda worked out and is getting a massage today with her mom. The big question is tonight is formal night with steaks, will I make it, to be continued.

 

Decided I was still a little rough so missed steak night. Yeah I must have been rough to miss a good steak, well I probably could have cooked it better anyways. So went to bed early around 7pm. Woke up at 4am and felt so much better. Catching up on your sleep does wonders sometimes. One more day at sea and we port in Papua New Guinea. 

 

1/28

 

So far the food has been what you would expect for cooking for the masses, not real great but adequate. The cappuccino’s are good as are some of the items at the international cafe. We plan to try an Italian restaurant Monday while at sea after the first port. There is an additional cover charge of 34-40 to dine at the specialty restaurants.

 

1/29

 

We arrive in Alotau, Papua New Guinea. We were to take a tour of a Milne Bay village called Bibiko. It was hot and very humid. We get on our tour bus which is one of five. Our tour guide was a local. We would take a scenic bus ride through endless Palm oil plantations. This was a big source of income for this area and provided many jobs for the locals. The oil comes from smashing the nutlike seeds the tree produces, the tour guide demonstrated it for us.

 

After we pass the palm tree plantations he gets right into the cannibalism the island practiced until 1970. They ate human flesh out of anger not need or want. It was to take their soul away from them in death because they believed the enemy had been possessed by demons. There still is a tribe in Papua New Guinea that still practices this but is pretty much isolated from the world. From what the tour guide said they live in tree houses. Papua New Guinea is one of the largest islands except for Greenland in the world so a tribe could very well be isolated here without a problem. 

 

Going down the road and seeing the locals and the buildings, it was like going back 50 years or so ago. The buildings were old and weathered as were the cars. People were walking mostly and it was common to see nude people in the streams as we passed. People were friendly as we passed them with either a smile or a wave. Tourism and the oil from the palms were the big sources of income for the area. I’m sure this is why the cannibalism was mentioned so often.

 

According to our tour guide there are close to 7,000 different cultures here. Each has their own distinct language and traditions. Some of the traditions are fading due to modernization. The country is broken down by clans, tribes and villages. The country is matriarchal in nature. A man can only inherit land from the mother. A father may be part owner of land but when he passes, his share goes to the other owners. Education has become more important and the younger generations make it a point to be educated. The village we went to, the children walk two hours to go to school. The families live together with no walls in the structure but boundaries separated by rocks or sticks. They sleep on mattresses made by the leaves of palms and other trees. Some people practice polygamy here as well.

 

Our first stop was a scenic lookout point. It was a very beautiful view of the bay and our ship. There was a little girl and her dog at a nearby house and she had the cutest smile. I think more people were interested in taking her picture than the view. She loved every minute of it.

 

When we arrived to the Bibiko village there was an amazing dog in front. Not sure what kind of dog he was but he was beautiful. as we walked towards the village there was a tribal adorned group of people that performed a welcome dance. The men wore feathered head coverings that looked intimidating but beautiful at the same time. All the men were in incredibly great shape. The dance group was lead by the tribes chief who held a spear with jagged but intricate edges. We were told it was designed this way to pull someone’s guts out when speared. Nice thought. Especially after the MC explained again about the tribe’s cannibalism past. The women of the group had beautifully colored skirts and soft white feathered head coverings and were topless. I donated money to the chief for a picture with a few people from the tribe with Linda and I. One of them apparently thought he was being funny by putting the blade of the spear by my neck in one picture and my groin area in the next shot. I wish I had more time because I’d like to chat with this guy, his sense of humor was aligned with mine so it would be interesting to have a talk. I did talk to the chief of the village, he was very stoic and had a pleasant chat with him.

 

Meanwhile Linda’s mom had 4 of the group of younger kids, two girls and two boys, around her and she talked to them about education and how important it was. They were very attentive to every word she was saying. It was quite impressive. Their names were Jenny, Timar, and Enoch. Didn’t get the fourth persons name. The other thing that stuck out here was everyone in the village had red teeth. This is caused by eating what’s called a Betal Nut. To get the red color though you have to crack the nut open and chew the meaty center, then after a few minutes you dip mustard seed into a bag of lime powder, bite the mustard seed, this causes a chemical reaction and provides a mild high. Our tour guide told us it makes you laugh a lot. He demonstrated how it was done to our group on the way home.

 

The father of the MC cooked a meal for the group, it was mostly fruits and veggies as that’s their main diet. Papaya, pineapple, bananas, yams, taro, sweet potatoes, they use coconut and palm oil to cook with. 

 

After lunch they had a farewell dance and escorted us out of the village. As we were leaving Jenny who was a young girl Linda’s mom was talking to yelled out Bye Angela! It was very endearing. We travelled towards the boat and made a stop at a war memorial and local flea market where locals sold handmade craft items, bowls, jewelry and such. Linda and her mom supported a few of the merchants with some bowls.

 

Tonight we dine at an Italian restaurant, we will see if it’s worth the extra $34 cover. The food was actually quite good, we had to choose from 4 courses, soup or salad, appetizer, a side dish like pasta and main dish. I had the Ribollita soup plus Burrata Caprese, Pappardelle Bolognese pasta and Branzino. Linda had the first two courses I had but had the Pappardelle as her main course. Her mom had them make up her special pasta dish with penne pasta this time. She had a salad and for dessert she did a fresh berries dish. Linda and I shared a Tiramisu for dessert as the Panna Cotta was just ok. The presentation of the desserts was top notch. Overall it was a great meal but you paid the covers plus you had to pay for the alcohol so for the three of us around $160 bucks Aussie dollars vs free at the main dining room. 

 

After dinner we walked around the ship to see what was happening. There were a few bars with music and the international cafe which is where we got our cappuccinos in the morning. They had a little egg bite dish that was basically a small quiche. The photography area was on this level too as well as the second dining area. Our dining area was on level 5. We snagged a window table and was able to get this table for dinner at 5:20 every night. Dinners were different every night, and you had 4 courses to choose from. Linda paid extra for a drink package so the wine and scotch was no charge and you could have as many as you like. of course my limit is two drinks anymore as I don’t like the hangovers in the mornings like I used to enjoy earlier in life.

 

We headed up to level 7 where the shops were located. There were several jewelry stores, an art gallery and a general souvenir type store. The next levels were all the rooms then at the 14th level you had the buffet, the gym (kind of funny when you think about it) the spa and the pools. One of the pools had a gigantic movie screen you could watch under the stars, Ad Astra was playing this night with Brad Pitt. On one side of the pool was a pizza place and on the balconies were a bar and a burger joint. All in all pretty cool set-up. Thought I’d see if a work out early in the morning would be cool tomorrow, as it overlooks the ocean.

 

Tomorrow mid morning we head out to Rabaul which is an area that has several volcanos one of which is still active.

…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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