Saturday, 19 March 2011

Back from our travels

                                                                                     Kamarau School in Buka
We arrived back safely from Wewak (having escaped the flying foxes in Madang).  Had to get up at 4.00am to ensure we got a seat on the plane as once it’s full they tend to take off! Also check-in is so slow you need that time to get everyone checked in and the bags loaded by cart onto the plane (A Fokker 100 if anyone’s interested – the big plane was back as the lightning strike on Madang airstrip had been repaired). Fortunately we had the inappropriately named Paradise Lounge to relax in prior to departure.
 Sadly despite verbal and email confirmation as to where the car should be it wasn’t at the airport when we arrived (for the second time – cue tantrum from Phil!)
We got picked up eventually then went to the office for meetings and so on.
We flew out Friday morning to Buka which is part of the autonomous government of Bouganville. This was a lovely location and felt very safe. We visited the school and due to Sandra’s insistence that we took part in the afternoon cricket game got completely saturated due to the humid 38 degrees. Phil would like it known that despite his promising batting (2 runs scored) he was needlessly run out by Sandra (who scored 1 run) – she said it was a deliberate ploy as it was too hot but this is not accepted by Phil. Eventually cooled down in our hotel. The accommodation would probably be described as basic and modest (think backpacker hostel). Once again the people were lovely and we had a very interesting time and another very long list of things we could do to help the school.
On the journey back they used a very small aircraft and none of the cabin bags would fit in the cabin. Our bags were put in the cargo hold. Upon arrival at Rabual airport our plane to Port Moresby was ready to take off (unexpectedly on-time). Having been parted from our cabin bags with laptop and camera etc Phil was keen to get reacquainted before the Port Moresby plane took off. He expressed this view to several official looking people who went to try and recover the bags before the plane took off. Insistence levels grew somewhat and eventually the bags were found before they were slung onto the wrong plane. We were officially the last ones on the plane and our seats had been given up to someone else. There were 2 seats remaining one in business class and one next to a hugely fat man. Sandra didn’t fancy being squashed by the fat man so we negotiated that the fat man moved to business class (thereby getting a complimentary plastic cup of orange squash before take off) and Phil and Sandra sat together. The pilot apologised for the delay (on our behalf) and we took off. Once again we were treated to a snack meal of a carton of apple juice and a shortcake biscuit (scotch finger). Sandra no longer eats biscuits so Phil enjoyed two scotch fingers!
It is too hot for this!
This time we had planned a strategy to make sure the car was at the airport when we returned. We didn’t tell anyone – so the car would stay there. Having cleared the airport quickly and full of expectation we searched the car park. The car wasn’t there. Phil was speechless (apart from expletives). Sandra phoned to see what had happened to be told they had picked the car up on Friday. Unfortunately despite this efficiency they had failed to return it when we flew back. After 20 minutes we were picked up and driven to our car. It took a couple of beers at the Yacht Club for Phil to fully recover his composure. He is still plotting his revenge.
We are flying out again towards the end of the week. Phil and Sandra would welcome your suggestion as to how we can ensure our car is parked and available at the airport upon our return.

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