PNG here I come

Sitting on a Fokker F100 bound to Port Moresby from Brisbane. Up at 4am this morning – still on kiwi time (6am). Arrived in Brisbane last night, and to be honest I think this trip has been blessed, I had a window exit seat, with the middle seat empty from Dunedin to Brisbane, sitting next to a girl, those parents just finished building a helicopter hanger up in Haast – and yes, they engaged Calder Stewart to build it… It’s a funny small world. Then when I went through baggage claim, I spotted my bag getting spat out, so grabbed it and off to customs. I have one of those smart card passports, so missed the queue and used the auto system – which didn’t work.. So had to go past a real Custom Officer who just shook her head at the machine, and stamped me through. When I got through, the people in front of me in the auto system were having issues looking at the camera, so I jumped the queue.. Again. Through to baggage scanning, and the lady there just waved me straight through to the exit. I was like – what? How did that happen… Here I was getting in a taxi 15 minutes after exiting the plane. The longest part of the process was the walking. The trip from Airport to Royal on the Park was uneventful, the taxi driver couldn’t speak very good English and I wasn’t really in the mood – relatively mutual. The passenger seat was bloody comfy though. Arrived at the hotel, and I had been upgraded to the Spa Suite – w00t. 60sqm of hotel rooms – proper lounge/dining, separate spa, separate bathroom, and king size bedroom… Bliss. Of course, I had a spa – just to annoy Jacinta. Hahaha
Crawled into bed at 8:30pm local time, and was woken by some bloody awful drone at midnight that went on for half an hour outside. Then woke up at 4am local time… Cold. Yes you heard me – cold. Apparently it was like 4degrees outside. So I got up and organized myself to catch my 5:30am taxi into the airport – with a taxi driver who liked to talk, which was nice. Entry desk for Air Nuigini was open with only 2 in the queue – so I was really quick to the counter. I cheekily asked for an exit aisle and she said, I’m sorry Mr Bird, but that is a long way back down the plane – I have put you in the first aisle behind business. lol so here I am, window seat, huge legroom, and the seat beside me is vacant. Awesome. The only drama I had was when I went to change AUD $200 for Kina, expecting to get close to PNK550 but only got 366. Was explained to me that the bank rates were much better – no kidding Sherlock.
And they charged me $12 AUD for the privilege – that is terrible… I decided that I was pissed off enough to go back and complain – which fell to deaf ears of course.
Again, straight through customs without so much as someone blinking. And yay – got an exit stamp, unlike Dunedin which didn’t bother… The Air Nuigini plane is tiny, we had to go out onto the Tarmac to board tiny. But it is so much like the old twin-prop fokker’s that used to do the Christchurch – Invercargill run (but with jets). The service is quaint but very friendly – however the plane stinks of curry spices tickling my nose. The food is just like old skool Air New Zealand, nice wee hot meal (I asked for chicken as I couldn’t hear the announcement – but got a curried beef on rice) YUM… Cracker and cheese, glass of apple juice, and water, finished off by coffee from one of those old metal coffee jugs… It was all very nice, and I really couldn’t fault it too much. A LOT better than the food on pacific blue which had to be paid for…. We are half way through our journey, and I have been belatedly warned (too late) that because of my dress, customs may not give me a tourist visa. Apparently, if you aren’t dressed in t-shirt, shorts and jandals – then you aren’t a tourist. I suppose I will have to see what happens when I get there. The pilot has said that it is 29 degrees in Port Moresby, so the t-shirt, shorts and jandals might come out really quickly!

Getting close now 🙂

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