The Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea & Cruising

The Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea

When travelling by cruise line there are a few different scenarios when disembarking at port.  The easiest for the passenger is when the ship is docked at the wharf and you can just walk off the ship.  Another scenario is when the ship cannot dock at the wharf because the water is not deep enough or for any other number of reasons cannot pull up to a wharf.  This means that the passengers have to be transported to the shore by tender.  A ship’s tender is a boat used to transport people or supplies to and from the shore.  Smaller boats like yachts usually have tenders that are dinghies.  In the case of the Pacific Eden it was the lifeboats that were used to transport the passengers ashore.

Arriving by Tender from the Pacific Eden
Arriving by Tender from the Pacific Eden

The trip from ship to Kiriwina Island was no problem at all but when we got to the Conflict Islands the wind was so strong and water so choppy that it would have been dangerous to transport us to shore.  Therefore we spent around four hours being able to see the shore but no one was able to make it onto the island. Continue reading “The Conflict Islands, Papua New Guinea & Cruising”

Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

SEATTLE

Seattle.  What an attractive and beautiful city.  It was lovely and sunny.  I was staying in the Queen Anne district which is northwest of the city and only about a block from the Space Needle.  The Queen Anne district was very pleasant area to stay in and explore. Lots of good things about this city – aesthetically pleasing to the eye, great attractions to see, free wi-fi in public places etc.  The area around the Space Needle has plenty to offer and I went to the Experience Music Project on the first day.  However, I was a little underwhelmed by the music museum.  It was one of the main reasons I went to Seattle.  I think I just wanted it to be bigger and more of it.  What they had there was good but I went through it and wondered if there was any more to see.  Today the Experience Music Project is called the Museum of Pop Culture.  The name change occurred in 2016.  They have had dozens of exhibitions, 17 of which have toured internationally.  I did love the guitar sculpture which dominates the foyer.  The distinctive building was created by famous architect Frank Gehry.

The Pop Culture Museum
The Pop Culture Museum. Architecture by Frank Gehry. 

Continue reading “Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada”

Acoma Pueblo & Albuquerque, New Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

While in New Mexico travelling to Albuquerque I decided to visit Acoma Pueblo on someone’s recommendation.  This turned out to be a very good recommendation.  It was about an hour’s drive from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and then another hour to Acoma Pueblo which is west from Albuquerque along the I-40.  I am so glad I took the trip – it was fascinating to see the way the Native Americans live and their traditional dwellings.  It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the U.S.A.  No electricity (although some have generators), no running water (they bring in water from one of the three villages) and no sewerage (I noticed they had portaloos).  The Pueblo was atop a hill (a sandstone mesa to be precise) and the scenery was magnificent.  Wide sweeping vistas reminiscent of any of the old westerns I saw as a kid.  It was very hot up at the Pueblo and luckily I had brought an umbrella with me so I was shaded from the sun bearing down on me.  The language of Acoma is Keresan which was an oral language only.  Recently they have taken to writing it down phonetically using the English alphabet (modern Latin alphabet) so that their language may survive.  Many of the inhabitants are artisans and had their wares for sale outside their houses.  There was a cemetery and mission church called San Esteban del Rey.  Out of respect we were asked to not take photos of these areas.

Continue reading “Acoma Pueblo & Albuquerque, New Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.”

Dallas to Amarillo, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.

It was nice to leave overcast Dallas and get out on the road.  I got lost on the Dallas freeways several times again.  The GPS kept turning itself off.  But eventually I found the correct freeway and then the highway north toward Amarillo.  The weather turned out to be beautiful the further north I got.  I guess Dallas was getting some of the rain from Hurricane Alex which hit northern Mexico that night.  
The highway went through several rural cities and towns – some with populations as low as the 300s.  It kind of felt I was going through the real Texas.  Places such as Decatur, Rhome, Bowie, Clarendon, Quanah, Memphis (not the Tennesse one!), Childress and Claude.  In one place I asked a girl in a restaurant for some ‘take away’ food and she seemed completely perplexed.  After explaining I wanted to take the food with me she said ‘oh you mean “to go”‘ and had a little giggle at me.  About three quarters of the way there I needed to get petrol so I pulled into a ‘gas station’.  When I looked at the pump I couldn’t work out how to use it.  So I asked a lady on the other side of the pump and she admitted she didn’t usually come to this station and she didn’t know either.  Together we worked it out with a queue of cars forming behind us.  The lady asked where I was from and said we had cute accents!   Continue reading “Dallas to Amarillo, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.”

Texas, U.S.A.

Almost 28 hours after I left my house I finally arrived in Dallas, Texas.
The day got off to a slow start when United Airlines decided to delay the flight by an hour and forty minutes.  Liberace was flying the plane (ok it only sounded like him) and I had a pleasant surprise when I ran into an ex student on the Melbourne to Sydney leg.  David was on his way to New York to teach and take some dance classes.
The Sydney to Los Angeles sector ended up leaving 2 hours late but arrived only one hour late.  Oh my God this flight seemed to take forever.  I sat next to a lovely young man who was a Phd student on his way to Canada to present his paper on conservation.  I ended up watching 3 movies with sound and one without.  I just couldn’t sleep even though I was exhausted.  The first movie was Valentine’s Day (a lot of dribble).  The second was Ghost Writer (a Roman Polanski film), the third was Invictus.  The fourth I never caught the title but it had Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford.  Without the dialogue I got that Brendan Fraser had some sick children and Harrison Ford was trying to find a cure.
On the Los Angeles to Dallas leg again I was seated next to a lovely young man with dive in eyes. There is a God in Air Travel Heaven.  This flight was about 3 hours but went fairly quickly.
Ok so I’m here now.  Things that I have observed so far, are the Texans have really nice manners and they like big road signs.  Oh and they like big buildings with huge mirror type windows.  The people are also very friendly and genuinely interested in talking to an Australian.
I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer so went to bed and looked forward to exploring the next day.  Night night…

Waiting at Melbourne Airport
Waiting at Melbourne Airport
Map of Texas
Map of Texas

Continue reading “Texas, U.S.A.”

The Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea

Kitava Island

The first of the Trobriand Islands the Pacific Eden visited was Kitava Island. It is one of the four major islands of the Trobriand group and one of the most untouched islands.

Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea
Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea

The four major islands are Kitava, Kiriwina, Kaileuna and Vakuta. Kitava Island has one of the most intact island cultures in the world. Located in the Milne Bay province in the eastern part of Papua New Guinea Kitava is a unspoilt small island that welcomes visitors to explore its villages.

Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea
Nuratu Island, Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea

Life is as it was thousands of years ago with very little influence from the outside world. The residents of this island and their diet have been studied by Staffan Lindeberg, a Swedish medical academic, and colleagues because of their excellent health and traditional diet and several papers have been published on the subject.  Kitavans are acne free and this is thought to be due to their diet consisting of fresh, natural foods such as tubers, fruit, fish and coconut. The consumption of tea, coffee, alcohol and dairy products is virtually nil.   Continue reading “The Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea”

Alotau, Papua New Guinea

The three amigos head off from Cairns’ Trinity Wharf
We were greeted by some traditional Papuan dancers

I travelled to Papua New Guinea in September 2016 with two very good friends Dianne and Mark aboard the ship Pacific Eden. It is quite difficult to move between the islands of the Louisiade Archipelago of Papua New Guinea by public transport and so when we found out about a deal for $389 for 7 days to PNG we jumped at the chance. New Guinea and Australia were once one piece of land so it was significant for us as Australians to visit.  None of us had been to New Guinea before so we were rather excited about the trip.

Alotau Market, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea

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India Part 3 – Agra, Delhi

Taj Mahal Agra
Taj Mahal Agra, India

Agra
Arriving in Agra I didn’t know what to expect from this city but I knew the one place I wanted to visit was the Taj Mahal. Agra represents a golden era of the Mughal Empire and the rich traditions over centuries and other historical sites include the Agra Fort, the Itmad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb, Akbar’s Tomb, Jama Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri and Sikandra Fort. On the day I visited the Taj Mahal it was quite foggy and it was difficult to get a decent photo.  It was a wonderful experience walking around the gardens and in the buildings of the Taj Mahal.  When you hear the story of why the Taj was built it is even more amazing. Continue reading “India Part 3 – Agra, Delhi”

India Part 2 – Kochi and Train Travel in India

Elderley man in India
Elderley man in India
Kochi/Cochin

One delightful place we visited on our trip to India was Kochi, also known as Cochin.  It is a seaside city and very busy port on the western side of India.  It was lovely to walk down by the sea and watch the fisherman looking after their Chinese nets (an old tradition brought there many years ago by the Chinese). Continue reading “India Part 2 – Kochi and Train Travel in India”

India Part 1 – Chennai, Bangalore & Kerala

The other day I was cleaning out a cupboard when I came across a rather gaudy looking photo album I had made after a trip to India.  As I flicked through the pages fond memories of the days I spent in this wonderful country came back to me.  India has aways had a mystical and exotic appeal for me and so, some years back, when I had the  chance to travel to India I jumped at the opportunity.

Blue dye textiles in Chennai, India
A man goes about his work with textiles in Chennai, India

I was lucky enough to apply for and attain a fellowship with the Asia Education Foundation (Australia) and as it was funded by the foundation I only had to pay $500 for the whole trip.  This was not a solo journey, however, but a journey with a group of educators which took in tours of schools and the chance to meet some very interesting people. Continue reading “India Part 1 – Chennai, Bangalore & Kerala”