So this is Lae…

by Priya Chandra

We’ve been in Lae, PNG now for 5 days and it is nowhere near as bad as we’d been led to believe. Bit of an overkill really, but better safe than sorry I suppose.

The countryside itself is absolutely stunning with mountains everywhere, covered in green and stretching right down to the water’s edge. In the morning they’re cut in two by the mist and when the sun lights them up, it is just spectacular. And the people themselves have all been very friendly and extremely curious about us – not one Rascal in sight so far.

242568_10150609031490153_120670700152_18921531_7637148_o

The opening ceremony was an absolute delight – music, dancing, colour. We even got offered a traditional feast for lunch! Completely different to Vanuatu, and much more similar to what we experienced in Tonga.

The video here is of a spear dance – a traditional welcoming ceremony. It is just a snippet of what we saw when we got here – the original went for about 10 – 15 mins I think!

PNG_spear_ceremony.m4v
Watch on Posterous

The biggest problem so far has been transport and security. Because of the perceived threat level here, we can only go ashore at certain times via the ship’s boats – no liberty boats here! – and must all travel in convoys as set groups. So, the photographers (and me) go to a site and must remain there all day which can be painful if you’ve gotten all the shots/stories you need and you want to go back to the ship and process them.

We’ve also had problems with the ship’s boats. On one memorable night, 100 odd people were shuttled from the wharf to the ship (out at anchor) by 2 RHIBs (like a small dinghy) that could carry a total of 30 people. The round trip was 1 hour until 1 RHIB lost an engine, increasing the round trip to 90 mins or so!

I got back to the ship at 2030 – after waiting for 3 1/2 hours on the wharf. The last group got back about 2200 apparently. I dread to think what the warmed over leftovers of dinner might have tasted like. I personally had peanut butter and jam toast for dinner that night!

Still it is all an amazing experience one way or another and I’ve been very lucky – I’ve had the opportunity to visit quite a number of the Lae highlights over the past few days but more on that in another post.

Advertisements

One Comment to “So this is Lae…”

  1. Snap, I had jam on toast for dinner too last night. But I had mine with brie not PB…..sorry, probably not much good cheese where you are right now. One of the perks of living in EU I guess. But you’ve got those great mountain views, looks amazing…and scarily a little like Jurassic Park.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: