Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Flipped Side: From "twilight zone" to "gringo zone" (day 2)

* by guest story-teller Steve Doenges a.k.a. Dad [with occasional commentary from Steph]

December 21, 2010

The 3 1/2 hour flight to Port Moresby, PNG kept us "following close behind" the Radcliffes as we were only 4 rows behind them on the Air Niugini flight.  Once again, we felt that US airlines could learn how to treat customers as the food was delicious and satisfying.  However, the hard "bounce" onto the runway was quite the contrast for us softies.  We were thankful that we didn't have to jump out the door of the plane to the ground as stairs were moved into place for us to walk down.  Only a millisecond passed before we were reminded that the equator was nearby.  

We were also thankful that the conveyor belt coughed up our 12 suitcases of the Radcliffe/Doenges brigade--filled with gifts, medical supplies, clothes, and miscellaneous items.  (Miscellaneous items?  The UPS driver thought we had 10 people living at our house the week before leaving Ohio.  Items included a MacBook battery and vacuum sweeper bags among other things.  We turned down a request to carry a small library of nursing books.)  Once again we found free carts and within minutes bags and bodies were piled into a van driven by a Port Moresby pastor.  It did take a while to load since there was no cooperation from the rear door.  [Boy, do I wish we had a picture of this!]

Our first look at PNG caused Dad to scream, "You're driving on the wrong side of the road!"  The pastor, after regaining control of the steering wheel, calmly explained a few things about PNG.  Dad wished he was still following the Radcliffes but quickly appreciated the fact that his seat was along the edge of the road instead of being close to the center line as the van swerved around vehicles and roundabouts.  Crowds of PNGers were out and about with their daily activities.  

In a few minutes, we arrived at a missionary guest house for our overnight accommodations.  By the time we unloaded and got settled, a rice and chicken curry meal was served to all visitors--some arriving and some departing PNG.  Mom and Dad were thankful there was a small air conditioner in their room as the room was soon cool enough for the two tired gringos.  The fifteen hour time difference plus the usual bathroom routine cause a couple of trips to the necessary room.  Fortunately it was right around the corner from our room.

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