It is only fitting that I found myself in an airplane to begin the dawn of the new year. This past year was a whirlwind of travel, airplanes and airports. With 28 countries and territories visited in 2012 (including my home country) – 2013 is off to a good start!
Papua New Guinea has long been on my list of countries to visit for a number of reasons: incredible array of wildlife ranging from the untouched marine environments to colorful birds, to giant butterfly’s, remote highlands, a wide diversity of culture among the various provinces and a tourism industry that is certainly not yet fully developed to its potential.
After much research on places to stay, I reached out to Joseph and Rosie, the husband wife team who run Bulls Eye Lodge, one of the few affordable alternative options to the extremely expensive hotels in Port Moresby. Joseph indicated via email that he was going to treat us to a Mumu (a traditional feast) that afternoon.
Upon exiting customs at the small International terminal we felt like celebs; we were promptly greeted by cameras flashing and a large video camera. Joseph had arranged for a media production company Cold Media Productions to cover our arrival as well as additional journalists from the two major TV stations in Port Moresby.
We headed to the Bulls Eye Lodge where a family friend Veronica had spent two hours prior adorning her body with traditional attire worn at special events – an elaborate display of feathers, fur, orchids, plants and body paint.
We held a short press conference at the Bulls Eye Lodge where additional journalists showed up. Our arrival was going to be covered on the main television station in Port Moresby that evening with additional print stories to follow. We were then treated to a traditional mumu which involved cooking chicken and various vegetables in the ground using hot stones and coals. And knowing my enjoyment of wine, a bottle of Australian Shiraz made its way onto the table!
Tomorrow we take a short flight over the mountains to Popondetta – where we will begin our trekking and will stay at local villages in the remote jungles of the northern part of the country.