Last fall, I guess I should say spring, in September; my manager encouraged me to take vacation over the Christmas Holiday. From December 21 to January 5 most of the departments on Center close. So Jay was off of work unless there was a telephone emergency. Elijah was off of school. The store and the post office were closed. The clinic was open for acute patients in the morning with a nurse (and doctor) on call the rest of the time. Jay suggested if we wanted an actual vacation we should take a break from PNG life. So we decided to go to Cairns Australia using extra gifts of money and savings.
Because I wanted to experience Christmas on Center in our home, we decided to leave on the 26th. Aviation was closed for the holidays, so we had to find another way to Port Moresby. Airplane is the only possible choice. Our friends wanted to visit the port city of Lae, and offered to take us to the airport there. So on Thursday morning we left with our friends, their 3 kids. We made it through the mountain pass noticing the increase of temperature and the straightening of the roads. Car sickness only threaten one child but did not succeed. Fortunately the roads were fairly good (few potholes), little traffic and no rascals(thieves). Unfortunately Lae has many potholes on their roads. They do not have stop signs or stoplights but turn abouts. However our friend did a great job of driving. After checking in, the adults headed to the store to do some shopping. The stores in Lae have more choices and better prices than our little store on Center.
After the store we gave the kids an opportunity to swim at the guesthouse pool. In the evening, Elijah stayed with the kids while the adults went out for Chinese. Elijah was happy as we had got him a frozen pizza from store. We enjoyed a fun evening of conversation. Early the next morning our friend took us to the airport. Our flight left at 7am. It was a 45 minute drive out of the city and we made it there around 6am. I booked an early flight because we had heard of many flights being cancelled for no reason and I wanted to have time to catch other flights the same day. The one thing odd Elijah saw was a bush knife taped to a suitcase by a fellow passenger. See our friends blog on their time
We arrived in Port Moresby around 8am. A friend met us and took us to visit the guest house there. The people supervising the guest house are friends from POC. They are missionaries from New Zealand. This couple spent the day visiting with us and showing us around the city. They explained how the city is growing and expanding. The roads were paved without pot holes. There were lots of stores including a mall with a movie theater. Around 4pm they took us to the airport and we boarded our flight for Australia at 645pm arriving there at 835pm. We were greeted by another friend who was vacationing in Cairns. He took us back to Tree Tops lodge saving us taxi money.
Tree Tops is a guest house in Cairns operated by Wycliffe and MAF for missionaries to stay at for an affordable price. www.treetopslodgecairns.org We had a kitchenette dining area that had 2 bunk beds and couch. Another room with a double bed and bathroom was attached by door. In the room we were greeted by a gift bag from a local church. It included many goodies such as candy, cookies, juice, and pancake mix.
|Elijah's favorite spot. His bed was the one behind the couch.|
Our fiends invited us over for breakfast Saturday morning. After that we caught a bus and headed down town to the mall. We went with a list of items hoping to purchase and a list of food to eat. We actually did a lot of walking before we found the mall. We ate at Outback Jacks, the boys having hamburgers and myself nachos.
|on the bus|
The weather was very warm, hot actually. Before taking the bus back we stopped in the grocery connected to the mall. Australia does not have JIF peanut butter or a large selection of sugar cereals. We did manage to buy some good non expired cereal with actual milk (not powdered) for breakfast. While waiting for the city bus, the boys got Subway and I got a burrito from a place similar to Chipotle.
When we were at Treetops we enjoyed the fact that internet was free. However the connection still gave us difficulty at times. Elijah spent most of his time connected to Facebook. We enjoyed the air conditioning and the ceiling fan above our beds. Below are some of the plants outside our door.
Sunday we went to church with our friends. In the afternoon Jay and I went on a drive with them to Kuranda. It is a tourist shopping village. We also stopped and hiked a little way into the forest to see a waterfall. That evening we ordered out pizza. We were not impressed with the thin crust and lack of sauce but to have dinner made for us was still a treat
|On the drive|
Monday we headed back to the Mall with the plan of picking up a rental car on the way home. Elijah enjoyed “Hungry Jacks” which is like Burger King for lunch. We enjoyed BLTs and sandwiches for supper. We spent time that day planning the rest of our week. Elijah seemed to be happy staying in the room on the internet but……
Tuesday we headed off to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure. www.crocodileadventures.com
We drove by some pretty ocean on our way. The boys enjoyed this adventure.
We drove by some pretty ocean on our way. The boys enjoyed this adventure.
|Can you find them?|
|Can you see the lizard there?|
On our way back we ate lunch at Kentucky Fried Chicken and local fish and chips place. We took Elijah back and Jay and I headed back to the beach to enjoy the ocean. It was not suggested to swim in the ocean because it is jellyfish season.
New Year’s Eve we stayed in and enjoyed “American Hot dog", French fries and baked beans. Jay had to go the International section of grocery store to find the baked beans. We watched a movie "Back to Earth" and ate real ice cream made from dairy.
New Year’s Day we took it easy and after lunch headed to Cairns ZOOm and Wildlife dome. www.cairnszoom.com.au We parked in a free parking area so we had to walk a ways. The walk is on the Esplanade. It is along the ocean front. There is walking path with places to sit along the way and historic monuments. They have grills available to cook food, huge swimming, wade pool and an area with work out apparatuses. Of course there are lots of tourist shops to see. The dome had a high ropes course which the boys did and a power jump that Elijah did. I took pictures and enjoyed the wildlife.
|The tide was out|
|What the boys zip lined over.|
|Elijah on the top of free fall|
On the way home we got ice cream from “Cold Rock.” (Similar to “Cold Stone”) That evening we grilled steak, had baked potatoes and sweet corn on the cob.
Thursday Jay and I headed off to do some shopping for friends who needed items difficult to get in PNG. That evening we treated ourselves to dinner at Hogs Breath. Jay and Elijah enjoyed barbeque ribs and I had prime rib. Then we walked along the Esplanade looking at the tourist stands. Even though it is warm it gets dark around 7pm.
Friday we headed downtown to catch a boat to Green Island where we had an opportunity to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef. We rented “jellyfish suits” to protect us from jelly fish and the sun. The boat ride was about 75 minutes long. It was a fun day. We saw some beautiful fish and sea turtles. It reminded us of “Finding Nemo ” which Elijah informed us that he did find.
|Leaving the city|
|Jay always looking at the sailboats|
|Putting on the jellyfish suit|
|the boat we came on|
Saturday Jay and I got up early and went to the shore around 6am for the sun rise. We met a local and chatted with him for a while. Jay fixed pancakes for our breakfast around 10am. At noon we headed to the mall. Jay and Elijah saw the new hobbit movie while I shopped. I also enjoyed a frozen yogurt bar.
Saturday night we went out to a “Mexican” restaurant. No free chips and salsa but what we ordered was good.
Sunday we went to church. We dropped Elijah of and he ate left overs while Jay and I headed downtown. We ate Chinese along the Esplanade. It was buffet style. I tried octopus just because. We dropped the car off and walked around some picking up Subway for supper.
Monday we awoke at 3am so the taxi could pick us up around 4am. Elijah did not sleep but stayed connected to Facebook all night. Our flight left Cairns around 6am and got to Port Moresby around 8am. We were picked up and take to the SIL hanger while we waited all day for a flight to bring us back to Ukarumpa. We arrived home around 5pm. Fortunately our friends invited us for supper. I had Tuesday off of work to unpack and now life is back to the usual, except Elijah is on Christmas break until January 22.
|The SIL flight from Port Moresby to Ukarumpa|
|PNG from the sky|
Some unusual pictures that show we may not be in PNG but we are not in the States.
|Kangaroo crossing signs|
|Speed limit says 80 and we are driving on the left hand side of the road|
Thank you for allowing us to have this time of rest, relaxing and making memories. Blessings!