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.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Crazy Israeli

While up in Goroka I met an Israeli backpacker. He had a week to spend in the highlands before joining up with an Israeli tour group in Lae to white-water raft down the nearby Watut river. Then after this he was going to hike from Mount Wilhelm to Madang. And then go on a 3-day sea-kayaking expedition around Madang. After all of this if he had time he was going to go to the Sepik River. Lucky bastard.

I think this is all great and the more that come the better. Of course there are a few problems for the backpacker market in this country. One is cost of getting here, another is the cost of getting around and then there is the cost of accommodation - you can see a trend there. It is not a cheap place. And then there is the reputation of the place being violent. In some cases deserved and in some overstated.

Meeting the Israeli does reconfirm a suspicion of mine that Israelis like Germans are absolutely adventure travel mad. The only other backpackers I have met in this country were a German and Belgian couple climbing Mt Wilhelm. And previously to this I have met numerous Germans doing mad things in other parts of the world (like riding around Iceland on a bike).

I asked him if he was worried about his personal security while travelling in PNG. His response was "People don't come to Israel because they think they will be blown up, PNG can't be that bad". Right on.

Though after he had said this he did mention that he wanted to hire a car and drive to Tari in the Southern Highlands in his time before going on the white-water rafting trip. I assured him that even though he wouldn't get blown up doing this there would be a chance he could get held up.

* Update * - Monday 16th May
Saw our Israeli mate at the Yacht Club on Friday night (13th). Didn't get a chance to speak to him or any of his new tour buddies. The story of them coming was all over the news, on EM TV and in the newspapers. Didn't see them either.

And speaking of craziness a German has recently run across Australia in 43 days.