Day 53–Sun., Feb. 27, 2011–Madang, Papua New Guinea

     Madang is the capital of Madang Province, located on the north coast of Papua New Guinea.  Nestled snugly onto a peninsula formed by the Wagol River’s wide mouth, Madang is known as one of the prettiest ports in the South Pacific.  There are few traditional homes in Madang now.  In earlier times, men and women were housed separately.  Homes with woven mat walls are still built on stilts in most places as a practical measure against drastic tides.  The town center reaches into the bay.  Its market is a busy place – especially in the morning, but even with all the activity, flocks of flying foxes (bats) sleep in the trees above.  They said to look closely – what appear to be large brown leaves at a glance, are living creatures.  Popular among scuba divers, Madang province features plenty of interesting coral reef habitats, dramatic submarine cliffs, and several interesting wrecks not far from the sore.  There are no less than 34 sunken Japanese ships in Hansa Bay just north of the port.  Visibility is generally excellent.  The above is an excerpt from the map and information given to us.  We receive something for each port we go to along with a currency conversion chart.  The local money is called Kina and $1 equals about 2.50 Kina.

     I was able to send a couple of blogs this morning at 4:30 and am now up-to-date!  I did get on AOL and glad to hear everyone at home is well.  Egypt is still scheduled for now but we don’t get there until April 1.  The rumor is that if we can’t go through the Suez Canal, we would stop at Cochin, India and then head for So. Africa.  That would cause problems because many are getting off in Dubai and Athens.  I wouldn’t mind doing So. Africa, but if we leave the itinerary at Cochin, we miss the Taj Mahal.  I think we will keep the schedule, but the stops might change.  I’m glad we did Cairo in 2008.  Rumor also has it that the ship will give us a gift of a suitcase at the end of the cruise.  We only checked one piece of luggage coming down, so that won’t be a problem.  Also, some of the stuff we brought on the cruise will be used up by the time we go home.  We got on the scale this morning and the weights went up and down, as the ship was moving.  I’ll take the down weight.  At least I can still zip my pants!  Our table mates are from Munich and Christine’s sister lives in Palm Coast, FL.

Madang

After breakfast we went to the Crow’s Nest for Wii.  We did the penguin thing again, but this time they put the fitness board in the right direction.  We all have fun.  It was raining, but a hint of clear sky ahead.  I stayed in the Crow’s Nest to read while we pulled into Madang. 

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   This was the first time I have been on a ship when the ship backed into the berth.  We did a kind of K turn.  At one point we were aiming right for a container ship.  I’ll bet they got some good pictures!  This is the shot I took of the container ship through the lower portion of the window in the Crow’s Nest.  Our bow is aimed right at it.

     There was a band playing on the dock as we pulled in.  I got lots of videos.  Check out the drums in the picture.  After listening for a while, we had a bite to eat and went ashore.  It was Sunday so no shops were open.  The locals brought their things to sell and put them on the ground by the road to the pier.  The heavy rain stopped and everything was muddy.  There was a $40. pp visa needed to go ashore.  I think they could skip this stop.

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      Tonight was America’s BBQ in the Lido.  I wanted to eat in the dining room and Ray the Lido.  We ate at the Lido.  I will not eat in the Lido again for dinner.  To have a BBQ for that many people is hard to begin with and many flies from Madang invited themselves for dinner.  The staff works so hard, but it is not my thing.

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       I went to take a few more IMG_3754pictures off the stern and heard a lot of noise and laughter in the water.  I looked over the side and there were 8 to 10 small boats filled with children asking for things to be thrown from the ship.IMG_3752  I put our ship candy in a couple of baggies and Ray threw them down into the boats.

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The show tonight was comedian IMG_3757Glenn Hirsch.  He was not too good at the beginning, but he warmed up.  He had   been traveling for 4 days to get here. 

“We may run, walk, stumble, drive or fly, but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey, or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way.”  –Anon-

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