In Blog 265 I Talked about Going to a village in Papua New Guinea. In this blog I am going to talk about Going to visit Rabaul and a Volcano.
As we were sailing today we passed a mountain that may be an active volcano, there were fumes coming up from what appeared to be a hole in the mountain, I’ll have to research this further. Yes after doing some research it is in fact an active volcano and very dangerous to this area. It last erupted however in 1994 and devastated the city of Rabaul. There are several in the area but most are dormant with this one the only one that is active.
We arrived in Rabaul today, we heard it wasn’t a very safe area so today we are going to just shop the area near the ship. We went to a little street near the ship where the locals are selling crafts they made. I found a wood carver who carved tribal masks. He had many to choose from so it was difficult to make a decision. He asked for 60 but after a few rounds with Linda he sold one to me for 40. It’s really cool and he signed the back with his name and also the city. Linda’s mom bought some scarfs and Linda didn’t get anything. I hope she’s not sick. Tomorrow we go to another village to see a mask ceremony.
Our view of the bay at port is spectacular, with the suites Linda arranged and the luck of our side facing the bay it’s quite nice. Today we go to a mask ceremony. It was a village similar to the last village we went to but the focus today was the mask ceremony. The first dance signified the dance of the lady spirit. Two men were dressed like women. From what one of the locals told us, there was a spirit that dressed like women to have sex with men but killed them instead. They were pretty creepy so i guess they did good job. After each dance they brought someone up to give thanks to the performers. I volunteered Linda which she gladly accepted. The guy kept calling her Glenda and it wasn’t worth a correction so we just rolled with it.
We met a guy who was cooking local food, I tried one piece I thought was a root of some sort but it turned out to be chicken. Hopefully it won’t make me sick. His teeth were either red from the nut that is popular and rotten too. Dental hygiene isn’t a thing here. He explained the meanings of the costumes to us and gave us a demonstration on how to do the betal nut properly.
Next was a group of women in colorful outfits and lastly a night of the dead group that had scary masks and painted skeleton bones painted on their bodies, this one was really cool.
I was a little disappointed they didn’t sell any of the masks afterwards but oh well I have a cool one to bring back with me. The tour guide went into great detail how life around the volcano was, her village was right near it, so if there are earthquakes they leave. In 1994 they left for a year before they could come back. 80% of Rabaul was destroyed with very few signs of buildings that were there, all buried underneath.
Today we tour the island of Kirwina. We will take the tinder boats to the island where the locals have set up shops on the beach to sell souvenirs.
I heard this was the best place to get wooden bowls and masks if you missed out the first time. Early in the morning the captain informed the ship that due to high winds it was unsafe to use the tinder boats so we would not be stopping at this location. Bummer. The boat continued to go out to sea. We would be arriving at the conflict islands where Linda set up a snorkeling excursion as well as a bay cruise.
We arrive at the conflict islands. They got the name from a ship that wrecked near the island called the HMS Conflict. In 1942 there was a huge conflict between the Japanese imperial fleet and the US and Australia. It was the first time the Japanese were forced to turn back since the start of the war. The next month the Battle for Midway happened which was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
The islands were beautiful, turquoise blue waters and 21 islands in all. We were told only one of the islands is inhabited and by only 30 people full time. There is a big conservation effort to keep the waters pristine as the turtle migration is important to the beautiful reefs below. It reminded me of “Finding Nemo” where the turtles were migrating.
Linda went snorkeling and experienced it first hand. Due to the timing of the cruise we were later taking, I stayed back with her mom to meet her there later. Linda took some underwater pictures with my underwater camera. There were mostly beautiful coral formations and a few fish with bright colors, but not like we experienced in Fiji or the Cook Islands. The tour guy looked familiar. He was the same MC we had in the first village where his father cooked for us.
I was chatting with a lady from Australia and she had been to the Summerlin Hospital before, in our town back home, small world. I also chatted with a guy who was sporting a belt that said Vietnam Veteran. I struck up the conversation because I used to do leather work as a young teenager. In fact my grandfather William Normart Sr. carried a wallet I made him for 40+ years. He got his wear out of it for sure. The markings on this man’s belt was very similar to the tools I used, he said he made belts for veterans of the war and donated the money to the vets. It was a fascinating conversation. We circled many of the islands and learned about the history and had a wonderful lunch of different types of locally grown fruits and veggies.
It was a long day and very tiring being in the sun for so long. It was such a beautiful area though, paradise comes to mind, it was virtually untouched and they plan to keep it that way. Our beautiful vacation is coming to an end soon. We have a few days at sea on the way back to Brisbane then one night there and our flight home on the 7th. Should be back in Vegas on the 8th to pick up my little guy Teddy who I really miss.
SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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