An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Monday, September 13, 2004

In Hiatus

Today is my last day of work for a while as I first head off to Goroka for the Australian Volunteers In-Country meeting. It should be a good laugh as I will get to meet up with all the Vols that I came over here with and quite a lot of new faces who live in various parts of the country.

I am also picking my mother up from the airport this afternoon and she will be here for close to three weeks. First up, unfortunately she will have to endure the conference and all the volunteers. When she had booked her tickets AVI had still not pulled out their fingers, and I had no idea when the conference was going to be on. She should have a good time though, as Thursday is Independence day and there will be plenty for her to see.

After the conference on the weekend is the Goroka show, which should be a huge spectacular spectacle, that will blow away someone uninitiated to this country like mum. This is partially why she had booked her tickets at this time, because I told her that if she was going to come to the country she should at least catch one of these shows.

Following the show I have been trying to organise to take her out to Crater Mountain Wilderness Management Area for a stay at a village called Maimafu (here are a couple of pics I found of the place approach pic and coming in to land). This has been a good exercise in the way PNG works or usually doesn't work.

The organisation that you book stays there through, The Research Conservation Foundation, initially told me that flying in on the Monday and out on the Friday was not a problem and it would cost me K154. So I booked it. Then a month later I receive an e-mail saying:
We have made a booking for a return trip for 2 to go into Maimafu on Monday 20th Sept and return on the Monday 27th Sept. This is because there will be no flights on Friday 25th Sept. Please confirm if this is OK. Otherwise, maybe you should plan on coming out earlier perhaps Thursday 24th Sept which means you will be pushing for time and would need to squeeze some of your plans in Maimafu.

Firstly I was confused because Thursday is actually the 23rd, so I fire off a reply saying:
Thanks for booking the flights. But could you make the flight out for Thursday the 23rd (not 24th as stated in your last e-mail). One whole week is a bit long as my mother is here for 3 weeks and I want to spend it in various different places.

So time goes by and I figure that this is OK. Then on Thursday last week, I decided that I should ring RCF and make sure that this is OK. The response I got from them was that it was and we were booked in as stated. I wasn't totally convinced, so I decided to ring MAF (the airline) to make sure. The response I got from them was that they don't fly in to Maimafu on Thursday and it is only Monday and Wednesday and it will be K160 one way per person. Hmmm OK.

So I book it anyway. If you have looked at the pictures above, partially the whole reason to go is just for the plane ride and landing on the strip. 14° up a hill, one of the steepest strips in the country.

Anyway, hopefully we should be able to have a good time there, even for only two days, it will be an experience for mum though as it will be all new to her. After the village stay I have yet to make any plans, but we will probably go for a PMV ride down to Madang and stay there. Possibly doing a trip out to Kar Kar island, an active volcano that plenty of people live on.

So don't expect any new posts for a while. I will be taking my laptop up to Goroka for the conference, so I may post a bit while I am there. It should all be good fun and it will be good to have a break from work, see my mother for the first time in 9 months, experience new things and have a holiday.