We just got back from a few days away in the city of Lae. Since I ended up with a bunch of photos from the trip I decided to go ahead and post them now. Besides, Friday is Christmas, and I sure hope you all have something better to do than to read my blog! Here is your photo fix for the week, a bit early.
We felt that we really needed a change and to get away from our regular routine. As you will soon see, however, a "holiday" in PNG is a mix of fun things and "why-do-we-do-this-to-ourselves?" moments.
Kate is super excited about spending 3 1/2 hours in the truck in close proximity to her brothers. (Especially since we don't have air conditioning, and as soon as we get out of the mountains we get to spend the last two hours of the trip all hot and sweaty.)
After being on the road only 30 minutes or so, we lost a tire. And when I say lost, I mean, like totally annihilated. Brian saw this photo and said, "Don't post this one... it makes me look totally useless." In his defense, we happened to break down right in front of an SDA church on a Saturday morning, and so there was a huge crowd of people standing around waiting for church or for a ride into town. A big group of guys jumped in a grabbed the tools right out of Brian's hands, and they didn't even give him a chance to change the tire himself.
Not Brian changing the tire. (We did give the guys a little monetary thank-you afterwards, which is probably why they were so helpful.)
See what I mean?
The kids watching from the church yard let out a collective whoop when they saw my camera pointed their way.
While we were on the side of the road, one of my boys suddenly had to do a number two. Had we been in the middle of nowhere, we would have found a spot in the tall grass on the side of the road, but since we had such a large audience, I asked around to see if there was a liklik haus nearby. A man led us into the school yard to use the teacher's toilet, which was probably a bit nicer than other options:
My son, having never experienced a PNG pit toilet before, was a little disconcerted... Where is the toilet, mom? But we managed.
At this point we almost scrapped the whole trip. Did we trust our spare to get us all the way there? We knew we would have to wait until Monday to buy a new tire in Lae. After some debrate we decided to soldier on.
Along the highway, there are lots of little "gas stations" along the road. I wouldn't recommended it though, as the fuel might not be very clean.
The drive through the Markham Valley might be hot and noisy with the windows rolled down, but it does provide some nice views.
PNG beef cattle are raised in the vast grasslands of the valley.
At last we arrived at the guesthouse in Lae and immediately turned on the air conditioning in our flat to recover from the drive. We didn't get to rest very long though, because the kids wanted to jump into the pool.
We did a LOT of swimming, a little bit of shopping, and eating out in restaurants. That's pretty much all there is to do in Lae. But really, with kids our kids's ages, the pool is mostly the reason we went to Lae. It's a really special treat for them.
Feeling all tropical. Hard to believe that Christmas is this week.
After a few days, it was time to go home, and I think we were ready. Two out of three kids were starting to get sick, and the boys had finally had enough of the pool.
Waiting for daddy to come back from the tire shop so that we could drive home.
And then the long drive back to the highlands. It's wonderful when you start going up the mountain pass and the air gets instantly cooler. Makes you excited to get home!
Oh, the excitement in our truck when dusty, dirty Kainantu comes into view. Only twenty more minutes to home! But first we had to stop for fuel. The first service station was out of diesel, so we drove down the street to try the next one.
There is always lots of people watching to do in town:
So now we're back home, trying to change gears for Christmas in a few days. It was good to have some time away, but also very good to be back.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas!