Tag Archives: Travel

Papua New Guinea

One of the most culturally diverse countries in the world with more than 600 islands and 800 indigenous languages (25% of the world’s spoken languages) and 1,000 or more tribes.

The plane from Brisbane had about 100 passengers – 4 women and 96 guys in levi’s or shorts. This is mining country. LNG, oil, precious and industrial mineral resources abound and exploitation has taken place since discovery about 45 years ago. Whether the country is benefitting is open for debate, but they do have a leg up on the typical island tourist economy.

That aside, the recreational opportunities are purely world class – just maybe not the accomadations. The water is pure, there are many, many planes and sunken ships to dive, and fresh and salt water fishing is peerless. It is difficult to get here, and then go further by boat, chopper or small plane, but maybe that’s why it’s still worth it . Combine this all with visits to or staying in tribal villages where pigs are still the currency but cannibalism is passe and it’s a trip worth seriously considering.

We flew to the most populated city of Port Moresby.  Roads in the country are mostly nonexistent.

We hired a guides to take us around the city. It was not built as a tourist destination. Similar to Port-au-Prince, Haiti I was mostly able to photograph from the car window.  Poverty has led to an exorbitant amount of crime and muggings.  

A drive around the city allowed us to see street markets, stilt water villages, the nature park,  Koki Fish Market and kids playing in the gulf of Papua.

Our guide’s families live outside the city and have neither have running water or electricity much like 85% of the country. One is from the highlands where tribal warfare is still a way of life.

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Western Australia

Lucky for us our dear friend Lauren has been living in Australia for the past 2 years getting her PHD and it just so happened that we were going to be in her time zone. 

Western Australia that is. Perth – arguably the most remote city in the world.

We flew into Perth but stayed a short distance away in the beach town Cottesloe, driving into Perth for dinner and a stroll through Kings Park.

The highlight was our stay was in Yallingup (3 hour road trip south), where stunning beaches meet the Indian Ocean, the Margaret Valley River region offers winery after winery and there are kangaroos galore.

Close friend’s of Lauren and her fiancé Marcel, Karen and Paul, own a lovely home in Yallingup and were our gracious hosts – treating us like family.

It’s the end of winter, the temperatures are cool and the winds blow steady. Over and over we were told that it gets even better in the summer. It must be remarkable because in this moment the countryside is in bloom with vast varieties of flowers everywhere, breathtaking turquoise waters and colorful lively, wildlife plentiful.

It was a quick trip and left me longing to see more.

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Hello Singapore

WOW – was the first word and impression that came to mind as we travelled from the airport to our hotel. Immaculately clean, beautiful roadways surrounded by luscious greenery. A city like I’ve never seen before. As we neared the downtown corridor phenomenal architecture appeared through the trees. WOW.

We were told by friends that either lived in Singapore or travelled there that everything was new – all of it’s history removed and the laws are strict. I expected a homogenous city and was super surprised to find quite the opposite.

Singapore was a 3rd world country – a seaport – wild, dirty, poor. In 1965 the country gained it’s independence from British rule and became a 1st world country in a single generation. Now the most expensive in the world.

Population 4,000,000 – 2,000,000 Singaporeans and 2,000,000 expats. The religious makeup of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian co-exist perfectly and have no influence on the government.

Home to one of the world’s busiest ports – it’s also a major transportation hub and tourist destination.

Most of the city was leveled and built from scratch however areas such as Little India,  Chinatown and Little Arab still remain intact.

The diversity of nationalities have created the best food court. For some reason wines from America were not available and the countries represented were sold at a premium.

We’re going back.  Generally we use Hong Kong as our hub but will use Singapore next time – after we save some jingo.

 

 

 

 

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Brunei – an independent and Muslim enclave (two separate pieces actually) on the Island of Borneo surrounded by Malaysia and Indonesia.  Governed religiously by a 600 year bloodline of Sultans, it has since its 1984 independence from Great Britain been governed politically by the same man as King.  The current King/Sultan ( Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam), 71, has served as Sultan for 50 years this week.

The population of 440,000 is 78% Sunni, 15% Buddhist and 6% Christian. Guest workers from neighboring countries provide most of the low skilled work force. Taxis are scare since most everyone own cars.

Kampong Ayer – Water Village (referred to as Venice of the East) are wooden homes built on stilts housing approx. 10% of the population. A bustling community with taxi boats buzzing about.

Oil and gas provide for perhaps the highest standard of living in the developed world, but the application of Sharia law (e.g. death for blasphemy and blatant sexual discrimination) moderate the praise for this clean, healthy little country.

Click on photo to enlarge.

 

 

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Snap shots from Cebu

10,000 Roses Cafe located in Day-as, Cordova, Lapu-Lapu City. A real gathering place day and night.

Close up Roses

Lantaw Floating Restaurant in the Background

A man and his outrigger. Mactan

Mangrove tree in the breakwater in front of the Costa Bella Hotel.

Fun in the sun. Kon Tiki Marina, Mactan, Cebu

Lantaw Floating Restaurant in Cordova next to the 10,000 Roses Cafe

San Pedro Fort in Cebu City, Phiippines

Balloon time in Cebu City

Lighting candles at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebú

The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebú

Magellan’s Cross – per wikipedia: Magellan’s Cross is a Christian cross planted by Portuguese and Spanish explorers as ordered by Ferdinand Magellan upon arriving in Cebu in the Philippines on (depending on source) 15 March 1521.[1][2] This cross is housed in a chapel next to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño on Magallanes Street just in front of the city center of Cebu City. A sign below the cross describes the original cross as encased inside the wooden cross that is found in the center of the chapel. This is to protect the original cross from people who chipped away parts of the cross for souvenir purposes in the belief that the cross possesses miraculous powers.[3] Some people, however, believe that the original cross has been destroyed or disappeared after Magellan’s death and the cross is a replica that was planted there by the Spaniards after they successfully Christianized the Philippines.

Jellies

Faded Glory

Diving in Cebu

23 years ago Bill traveled to Cebu in the Philippines to dive. It was remote, pristine and quiet – as advertised in the back of an airlines magazine. The warm, clear water and humongous fan coral left a lasting impression. Something that had to be shared.

Today, it’s a diving Mecca. With hundreds of daily divers mostly from Korea and Japan.

The muddied potholed entrance to the Kon Tiki Marina reminded us that it’s the first week of the monsoon season and like dive towns around the world the trash, rusty rebar ridden buildings and worn out scuba gear told us we were in the right place.

Bill met Simon via the internet. A Brit who opened a dive shop here 17 years ago. One of too many to count.

We hired a dual outrigger boat to Olango Island to dive Barring and Talima.

The cloudy day didn’t affect the clear 85 degree water. Spoiled, I had my own dive master who offered an interactive dive where I was able to cautiously touch the sea life and to see what impressed Bill 23 years ago.

Magandang umaga po Philippines

Good morning from Manila. Typical South East Asian weather – humid and rainy. All resulting in lucious greenery.

San Francisco to Seoul, Korea. Sleep, for some strange reason, escaped the both of us.

Needless to say we crashed on our next flight to Manila. Bill said I was drooling.

5 hours of sleep in the hotel were blissful.

Equal to the luxurious breakfast.

Off to the airport again. Heading to the island of Cebu.