December 2003

12 December - PNG

PNG Report

  1. City in PNG: Port Moresby
    1. Crime Rate.

      Would I feel comfortable walking around at night? No, definitely not. I have heard that the crime rate has been getting worse over the years, and that it doesn't show any signs of getting better. I have also read that Australia has decided to help by sending in large amounts of police to help with crime. I hope this really helps, and PNG becomes a better place to live.

    2. Poverty.

      Would I help? What could I do? I would like to help, but in essence, the situation is very complicated. One of the problems is that people come from small villages to Port Moresby. This problem might be created in several steps. People come to P.M. in the hopes of getting a job, making a living, and then they arrive to find reality is different. They find they've made a commitment to live here, and they find it is hard to return. Maybe they made friends, or maybe got married, had kids, and there they are, stuck in a place where they don't want to be. I also read in December 12 The Courier Mail, Brisbane's newspaper, that Australia is spending $800 million to send police and government officials to help the the economy and crime. Alexander Downer, the foreign minister of Oz, Said “ It's our view that this will make a decisive difference to the law and order situation in PNG and be crucially important for investment in the country and for business confidence and obviously for the security of the people in the country”.

    3. Life.

      Would you like to live here? If I had a choice, I would not live here. If I had do, I would live on a boat in the Yacht Club, where there is a minimal infection of poverty and crime. If I had to live in PNG, I would live on the islands. There is none or very little crime, and I like the lifestyle.

    4. Work.

      In the Royal Papua Yacht Club, it seems that all the people that work there are Natives, and the people that manage it are white “Invaders”. Do you think its fair? Shouldn't it be the other way around? I think that it would be more fair if the natives were the managers, but I have seen (from walking around Port Moresby) that buildings with white managers usually look nicer. We have also been to a museum in Port Moresby. It was nice and well organized, but you could see it was a bit shabby in some places. I think it should be the other way around, people should be more active in managing their own country. But this whole issue is very complicated.

  2. Islands in PNG

    1. Making a living and living there.

      Would you like this life? I, personally would love to live this type of life. Never having to be anywhere at a certain time, swimming every day. Hunting would be fun, as would canoe making. Staying up late, having parties, I would groove this way of living. While we were staying at Samarai and Pit Bay, the people were always up late and seemed to be having a lot of fun. We heard singing and laughing and music from the shore.

    2. Yachties.

      What would do if some rich Yachtie came near your village? I would paddle out to them, just like everyone else. I would try to make friends and trade. From what we've seen, that is what the villager do.

    3. Crime.

      Why isn't there as much crime as in Port Moresby? I think there isn't as much crime crime because the people are satisfied with what they have and aren't confronted with all those fancy and expensive things every day. If you are happy with what you have, you won't feel you need something. Think about it. Most spoiled kids know that when they want something they will get it almost immediately, so when you don't give them something, they will throw a tantrum. Poor kids, on the other hand, do want things, but they know that they can't get it immediately, so they work extra hard, do chores, and get jobs, so they can save up and get it.

    4. Work.

      Would you be O.K. living with what you had or could get off the land? I would be fine. It would add a sense of reward to what you use or eat. You wouldn't take anything for granted, all the work you do would go directly to your and your families food and transportation and shelter. This would create a healthy, active and fun environment.

  3. How does this differ from the life were used to?

    This life has a sharp contrast to the life most people reading this report have. On the Islands, the natives have no T.V., no toy shops, no big department stores, and have to farm food for themselves. I think it might be a hard but rewarding life. Hunt for crayfish, get rewarded with a nice dinner. Put a lot of work in a canoe, and get rewarded with the envy of the island. It is really a simple system, and I think it works very well. Port Moresby, however, is a different issue. From what I could see, it was almost the same as any city I've been to outside PNG, and even more so when you look at, lets say, Sixth Street in San Francisco. There is the same contrast between the richer people and the homeless. I think life in PNG is interesting, but I like my life now a bit better, because I like the island lifestyle.

13 December - GBR snorkling trip

[written in (truthful!) brochure advertisement form -ed]

Experience the Magic of The Great Barrier Reef on Sea Quest!

Snorkel or dive in the magnificent Great Barrier Reef on Sea Quest!

Wetsuits, snorkeling gear, diving gear, a snorkeling tour, and a smorgasbord lunch are all included!

A unique and exciting once in a lifetime experience!

Snorkel and dive spots include Norman Reef, Saxon Reef, Hastings Reef, and many more

Meet Wally, the friendly 1.5 meter Maori Wrasse!

We receive rave reviews, and people remember this trip for the rest of their lives.

"We saw a giant clam that was about sixty years old. He was at least a meter across, and his insides were a awesome blueish-green color.” said one passenger “We also saw a large variety of fish, including Unicorn fish, a Moorish Idol, and a whole lot of Clown fish."

"The coolest thing we saw was Wally and Mrs. Wally. You could swim down to him and pet him like you would a dog." said an excited diver.

"I saw were 2 turtles that I got to touch, an Emperor Angelfish, and a Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, or Reef Triggerfish" exclaimed a snorkeler "Everything was so beautiful, I almost fainted"

So come aboard, and have the experience of a lifetime!

16 December - Kuranda

[written in recipe form -ed]

Kuranda Adventure Recipe

Ingredients

  • 15 minutes walking to station in Cairns
  • 90 minutes on train to Karunda through a maze of tunnels, turns and bridges
  • 15 tunnels and 2 waterfalls
  • 3 hours in very touristy Karunda
  • 30 minutes finding lunch
  • 1 hour having lunch
  • 45 minutes in the Butterfly Sanctuary which is in the Guinness Book of World Records for largest Butterfly Sanctuary in the world ( and I was impressed, and I got a few butterflies to sit on my finger).
  • 15 minutes walking to Sky Rail station
  • 45 minutes in Sky Rail, a gondola that goes over the Rainforest canopy with the possibility of getting off along the way
  • 30 minutes walking around at Barron Falls Station, where there is a lookout over the waterfall and Red bluff station where there is a boardwalk through the rain-forest.
  • 15 minutes waiting for bus to take us back to Cairns
  • 20 minutes in bus
  • 30 minutes talking about adventure at home

Recipe

Mix walking to train station with taking the train to Karunda with 16 tunnels and 2 waterfalls. Set aside for later. Mix walking around in Karunda with Lunch, the Butterfly Sanctuary and walking to station. Set aside for later. Next mix Skyrail ride with walking around at different stations. Once again, set aside for later. Finally Mix waiting for the bus with riding the bus and talking about the adventure and mix together with everything else and cook for 45 minutes. You should come out with the word FUN!

The History of the Karunda Railway

It's 1882 and the miners of Herberton are on the edge of starvation, unable to get food because of flood. A route to civilization was needed badly. The Government hired adventure bushman Christie Palmerson to find a starting point for a railway. The line was to be built in dense jungle and cliffs with steep drops of up to 327 meters and a slope as steep as 45 degrees was a death trap for workers. Somehow, without modern machines but simply Dynamite and bare hands the team slowly finished the job. After taking out 2.3 tons of ground and making 15 tunnels, 93 curves, dozens of bridges, and 75 kilometers of track, a Banquet with General Sir Henry Wiley Norman marked the completion of the track. Later that year the railway was officially opened for the public to enjoy.

19 December - Papua New Guinea Report

27 December - The drive to Lake Barrine, Alara Boulders, Josephine Falls, Mount Bartle-Frair,LOTR The Return of the King, Sleepover, Staying in the Raddison.

Since I last wrote, we have had many grueling, fun, and exciting adventures. Mount Bartle-Frere and the drive to Yungabarra both fall underneath the grueling category, the rest of the activities in the title all fall under the fun and exciting categories.

The first thing we did was stay at the Raddison Hotel at The Pier Shopping Center. The main reason we did this was because of the rain. It had been raining two days straight. On the third day we were sick of having to open and close all the windows every 5 minutes, as well as soaking our beds with sweat every night. Before Nikki and I went to bed that one night in the hotel, we had already played in the pool and watched two movies. The movies were Daddy Day Care, and The Lizzie Mcguire Movie. The next day, we rented a car and drove inland.

Our first destination was Lake Barrine, in the mountains. The main attraction there were the twin Kaori Pines. They were so big they reminded me of the Redwoods. On the way back we made a song about getting carsick, because we were on a windy road and feeling carsick ourselves.

Two days later, we went to our first ever freshwater swimming hole. It was in the Alara Boulders region, which is known for it huge granite boulders. The best thing to do there was jump. There were countless trees to jump off. Better still, there was a bridge crossing the stream. At the base of the bridge was a sign that said: “Please do not jump off the bridge”. I jumped anyway. The bridge was at least 20 feet off the ground, and the depth at the landing area was only around seven feet deep. I did this leap many times. There was also a swing that was 4 feet off the water level when you let go. Although this may sound good, Josephine falls was better. Even though there weren't as may things to do, there was a rock slide. The slide was about 20 feet long. It had a fast section, making a slide twice the speed of the normal one. There were also lots of spots that hurt if you went over them, so you had to avoid them. The point was to try to get into the fast section by jumping off to the side. There was a kid that was a little older than me, and he kept on standing up on his feet the whole way down the slide. I wish we could go back there so I can practice that. Earlier on that day we took a six kilometer hike on mount Bartle-Frere. You might as well take a bath because we sweated so much. At the very end of the hike we went skinny dipping in a pool in the middle of a waterfall. When we got to the bottom we changed and went to Josephine falls.

On Christmas day we slept over at a friends' trimaran on the trampolines after playing on his PS2 for an more than two hours. I woke up a 5:30 in the morning, got John up, then we woke up the girls and played Playstation all morning. When their dad woke up, he looked at us and groaned: ”Ten past six in the morning. Where has your decency gone?”. At 7:30 we where whisked off by momma to get ready.

At eight o'clock we left for Cairns Central Shopping Center to see the very first show, on opening day, of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King. It was an awesome movie. I really want to see it again. This is probably the best movie in comparison to the books. As far as I'm concerned, it has all my favorite parts from the book in it. I would have like it even better if it would have had the “Scorn of the Shire” in it. My favorite parts are The battle of Pellenor Fields and the very end when Gollum bites off Frodo's finger. The movie was three and a half hours long. I am looking forward to getting the DVD, which has another hour of footage.

So far I think Cairns has been great fun, and I hope there is more to come. If anybody reading this web site ever goes to Australia, Cairns is a great place to visit.

31 December - Springmount Station Horseback Riding

At 7:30 on Monday the 28th of December John, the owner of Springmount Station, picked us up to go on a two day horseback riding trip. After a 1½ hour car ride, we arrived at the ranch. There we were treated with a coffee or tea and delicious scones made by Grace, John's wife. After tea we were led down to the stables to meet our horses for the day. My horse was called Fosters. He was a brown and white mare who liked following other horses and was very eager to trot or canter. Nikki got to ride on Abby, a friendly light brown mare who tired out quickly. Stitch, a temperamental gelding was Karin's horse. Scott ended up really liking his temperamental, stubborn gelding called Ben.

Once we were saddled up we were led out of the pen by the guide. You really don't need much experience to ride here, because the horses just follow each other. The first thing we did was stop at the main gate to check the girth strap. Once that was done, we crossed the road and went into the stream. The guide told us that the stream was usually not this high, as it hadn't rained this much in a long time. The scenery on the rides was quite amazing, especially the termite mounds. Some of the mounds that we passed were at least 5 feet high, and 3 feet wide. They were also rock hard, unlike what I expected. On each trip we took a rest stop half-way through. This was to to let the horses rest and the humans drink. On the first trip, we rested on a hill top, where we tried to make an echo by screaming Q-E. Once we got back, we had a delicious BBQ lunch, and the opportunity to bottle-feed a Joey. I declined politely, saying to myself I had done enough of the sort to last a lifetime. As soon as all the various bottle-feeding activities were over, we saddled up and left of the second trip.

Once again, we crossed the stream, and rode into the seemingly endless bush, trotting and cantering the day away. Upon our return we were offered to go swimming in the same stream that we had just crossed. While we had afternoon tea we decided that none of us were in the mood for swimming, so we settled for just boomerang throwing. I was one of the best, I must say, because I got closest to having it come back, save for one of the guides that came with us. A little while later, all the other visitors left to go back to their hotels in Cairns.

As soon as the bus was gone we were asked if we wanted to come and feed the baby goats. Grace told us that she had to feed the goats herself because their mother was old and couldn't produce enough for her twins. There was also a third kid that needed feeding. It was a true mad struggle, as there were only two bottles and 3 kids. Each goat required two bottles each, so the one loner had to wait, while being restrained so he did not knock the bottles out of the the other kids' mouths. After this odd experience, we were seated in the living room for some appetizers and TV. While we were seated momma felt something scuttling across her hand. She jumped up and looked for the culprit. She found it in the form of a large hairy centipede, which Scott immediately proclaimed to be poisonous. Gary, one of John's sons, picked it up with a pair of scissors and took the centipede outside. When he came back in, he said in a manly voice “Centipede relocated”. Dinner was Spaghetti Bolognese. And finally, out of the mists of uncertainness, came the time for us to go to bed with sores in the oddest places.

Day 2

Day 2 was almost an exact replica of the first day, save for the fact that we got put in the advanced riders group, which basically means that you take a different path and trot and canter more often. I have found that I like to canter better. It gives one more of a feeling of being in control, while still giving me that out of control feeling that you get on rollercoasters. Today we helped with putting away the saddles and bridles. Nikki even washed several of the horses. I decided this was Nikki's area of expertise, so I retreated to the homestead for tea, scones and a book. Besides from that, nothing out of ordinary happened.

This was an amazing experience, and I heartily recommend it to anybody who ever comes to Cairns.