Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Off-Station Activities...

Where we live is considered remote…by American standards…but Teddy and I are enjoying being away from the hustle and bustle and eagerly join in opportunities to explore the area surrounding the mission station. Spontaneous outings are nearly impossible to come by…a lot must be done before anyone can leave the station for an extended period of time. Outings require: alerting others of our absence, scheduling the use of one of the station vehicles, finding a local “wasman” (a man who guards the vehicle/people/merchandise), and finding a few other missionaries to join in on the outing to split the mileage/fuel cost of the vehicle.

I have recently had the opportunity to go on several outings with some of our fellow missionaries. A couple of weeks ago, a group packed into the 15 passenger van and took a quick trip to Banz…a small town about 20 minutes away from Kudjip. The fun part about this trip was that I got to drive! Having received my PNG Driver’s License a few weeks prior, I was antsy for a turn at the wheel. It’s quite fun driving a manual transmission on the left side of the road...but driving here requires heightened senses and quick reflexes…potholes, pigs, and people need to be avoided at all times.  :)  In Banz, we had a blast shopping at a few second-hand shops…one of my favorite pastimes. I was able to purchase an immersion blender, supplies for our Harvest Party costumes, and a few blouses. We also perused the street market wares as well. It was a great morning! 

Last weekend, we drove into Mt. Hagen and spent the day with our friends & neighbors the Crouch family (Mark, Esther, Anna, Levi, & Lucy). We went to visit a monthly craft sale/fundraiser and purchased a few local works of art to put on display in our home. We then made a stop at Best Buy….not the electronics shop…but the largest grocery store in Hagen. Mark and Teddy kept the kiddos busy, while Esther and I ran through the aisles grabbing essentials. I’m only guaranteed a trip to town once a month on teacher shopping day…so I took full advantage of being in the store and knocked out about half my grocery list. 
After shopping, Mark & Esther introduced us to a place that is a slice of heaven in the bustling metropolis of Mt. Hagen….the Kofi Cave. This cafĂ© is located in a beautiful little nook tucked behind the airport that is shaded by a canopy of tropical trees. There are a variety of scrumptious items on the menu…and it was fabulous to sit back, relax, and have food prepared and delivered to our table. How quickly I had forgotten the luxury of eating out! We ate on the patio overlooking a lovely fish pond, and observed the other attractions of the Kofi Cave, including, a small crocodile and an exotic bird. All in all, it was a splendid day and we look forward to many more similar adventures exploring the local attractions. Below are pics from both outings.

The Trip to Banz
Driving the van!
Checking out the merchandise with a couple of my students.
Mmm...chicken pieces...see them up close below
Cooked chicken bits for sale...including the head!

Trip to Mt. Hagen
Teddy posing with the craftsman who made the necklace
Inside Best Buy...the grocery store
A busy intersection in Mt. Hagen
Arriving at the Kofi Cave!

Exploring the cave...
Levi, Uncle Teddy Bear, and Anna

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