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.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Go West Young Man

It has been mentioned, but now it is nigh. I am escaping the country at last, and making a border run for Indonesia.

On Sunday I will be heading to Goroka, meeting my accomplice, and then on Monday fly down to Vanimo town this side of the border. A little bit of diplomatic wrangling in getting a visa will ensue and then over the border we shall go.

So all this going to plan, this time next week I will have added a new country to the list - it is somewhere in the 30's at the moment - and I will celebrating another birthday in new country, something that I have managed to stretch back to 2000 (Luxemburg in 2000, UK in 01, China 02, Australia 03, PNG 04 and Indonesia 05). Next year being my 30th, I should, and probably will, have it back in Oz again - I try to avoid over hype about turning another year older but hey any excuse for a big party I figure.

Anyway before I get too far into the future I should contemplate making it there and back safely. I will be sure to check the bags before venturing in either direction across the international barrier. There have been enough news items about Australians in Indonesian jails without adding myself to the list. Besides by the time I got on the evening news, the majority of Australians would be inclined not to give a shit, probably because I am a) not female and b) not a model or beauty student. The incident would be left on those ticket-tape scrolls along the bottom of the screen: "... Another Australian arrested in Indonesia, maybe drugs, who knows? ... Sport: ..".

Before that improbable event, I will be watching the AFL grand final on Saturday at the Lae International hotel. I am actually taking more notice of AFL this year (most likely because the Swans are going well) than I have in the past and I have noticed that it is quite a good game, especially when you get those close finishes. It is certainly for me beating the inanity of Rugby League. Who gives a toss about the Eels and the Cowboys ??? Even when Newcastle won a few years ago, it was like yeah cool whatever.

Although some knowledge of Rugby League has been beneficial in living in PNG. Everyone seems to follow a team in the competition and the grand final is a big watched event here. So I use it to break the ice when meeting new people. When I have been giving speeches at schools that we go to promote my department, I tell everyone I grew up near Newcastle and Andrew Johns is a wantok (a slight stretch of the truth, but hey, depends on your definition of wantok). This always goes down extremely well.

Certainly the State of Origin is a huge event here as I have mentioned before and admittedly this is probably the only time I do actually enjoy watching Rugby League at the moment. I have a real team I can barrack for in NSW. This was reinforced for me a few years ago when I was working in Brisbane at the time of the games and overhearing comments in the office like "there are only two things I hate, a New South Welshman and a such and such... ". The speaker sounded like Pauline Hansen, so I didn't blame her too much.

Anyway enough digressing. Signing out of here for a little while. Tune in later with new tales from another land ... different, yet similar.