Papua New Guinea
East Sepik Province

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    • Day 18

      Welcome to Wewak

      February 20, 2019 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ ☁️ 31 °C

      Jetzt sind wir in den Ferien. Wewak ist der Hauptort der East Sepik Province, liegt direkt am Meer und gilt als mehr, also 'höher' entwickelt als die Saundaun Province, wo Telefomin liegt. Die Strassen hier sind grösstenteil asphaltiert, es gibt zwei Supermärkte und einige Hotels und Guesthouses. Gestern gingen wir in ein Restaurant Abendessen und die Kinder freuten sich an Burgern und Frittes😁. Heute dann zuerst einkaufen: ausser Kaffee haben wir fast alles bekommen, damit wir frühstücken können und auch zum Znacht nicht hungern müssen.
      Kathrin und ich versuchen seit dem ersten Tag in Papua New Guinea etwas Bargeld zu beziehen. Das ist echt eine Herausforderung, heute hiess es bei allen ATMs: no cash in the machine. Zum Glück haben wir ja die Wantoks😂🤣😂.
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    • Day 26

      Market in Wewak

      February 28, 2019 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ ☁️ 30 °C

      Bereits neigt sich unser PNG Abenteuer dem Ende zu. So brauchten wir noch Billum und Meriblouse als Souvenir. Das Schöne auf dem Markt ist, dass sogar wir kleineren Schweizerinnen noch grösser sind als die meisten Einheimischen und so immer das Gefühl des Allesüberblickenkönnens geniessen. Dass wir nonstopp angestarrt werden gehört halt dazu 😎.Read more

    • Day 26

      Transport in PNG

      February 28, 2019 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

      Zum Glück dürfen wir das Auto unseres Hosts brauchen. Da wir zu neunt sind und der Pickup nur 5 Sitzplätze hat, fahren wir ganz PNG-style für kurze Strecken hinten drauf. Nicht gerade gemäss der MAF Regel von 3-Punkte Gurt und Nackenstütze 😬. Die Nationals fahren oft in PMVs (Public Motor Vehicle). In Wewak sei das Netz dieser Busse gut ausgebaut und man sieht sie überall.Read more

    • Day 27

      A rainy day

      March 1, 2019 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

      Heute ist ein 'Regentag'; es ist tropisch schwül, der Schweiss fliesst auch ohne Bewegung und ab und zu fallen auch Regentropfen aus dem grau bedeckten Himmel. Was machen wir da?
      Wir hängen im Haus herum 😎.
      Unser Auto wird von Dritten benötigt um den Kehricht entsorgen zu gehen, d.h. der Kehricht wird irgendwohin gekarrt und dann entweder unter freiem Himmel verbrannt oder allenfalls in eine Schlucht geschmissen, so ganz genau konnten wir das nicht in Erfahrung bringen.
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    • Day 27

      Kreuzfahrtschiff Albatros

      March 1, 2019 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ 🌧 29 °C

      Dieses Schiff legte heute früh im Hafen von Wewak an. Markus entnahm seinem Natel, dass es am 18. Dezember in Hamburg losgefahren war und am 14. Mai in Genua die Reise beenden soll. Ca. 850 Passagiere finden Platz darauf. Es kam vom Hafen Madang und wird nach Palau und dann weiter Richtung Philipinen, der Küste entlang bis Tokio und dann irgendwann ins Mittelmeer vorstossen. Heute ist wahrscheinlich auf dem Markt wenig handwerkliches zu kaufen, denn die Nationals lassen sich diese Verkaufschance sicher nicht entgehen.Read more

    • Day 12

      Road to Kanganamun

      April 30, 2019 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ 🌧 29 °C

      As our flight left at 05:50am we had to drive with a boat to Kavieng very early morning. This time our flight went via Hoskins and Port Moresby to then reach Wewak. We arrived in Wewak 11am among an Aussie military unit that had training in the area. Again, the luggage drop was just a park bench where the employees would take the bags.
      Getting out of the airport we got picked up by our new guide, Albert, and his nephew. We fueled up the car and continued to the supermarket to do grocery shopping. After some problems with withdrawing cash we actually managed to do so in a bank. He was in PNG for months already, only travelling via missionary flights and only sleeping for free in churches.
      We took off to Pagwi, the drive took around 3-4 hours on the most horrible road. On the way we stopped at a few street vendors to buy, well, betelnut. In Pagwi we hopped on Albert’s canoe to visit Sepik river villages. You would probably rather describe it as a tree log. It was roughly 10m long and not even 50 centimetres wide. It had a motor and in the middle they put two amazingly chill chairs for Lio and me.
      We drove with the canoe to Kanganamun, the village where we would stay for the next few days. We didn’t take the regular route but went via shortcuts that were accessible only during the wet season. In that period all villages are flooded by the Sepik river so you can go through the middle of the jungle with the canoe and don’t have to go through the mainstream. On the flipside it means you always have to be on a boat or in your house and it’s more dangerous. The reason why the wet season is more dangerous is because when everything is flooded the crocs could be literally anywhere: below the house or in the reed that we were just passing. While in the dry season the crocodiles are usually hanging out only in the river, now they can get close to where people stay. Still there are only a few fatal cases (apparently).
      We arrived in Kanganamun around sunset. The entire village was flooded with water and you had to go around with a canoe. The houses were obviously prepared for that and built on pillars. You access the house by stopping with the canoe just next to the house where they built a little pier from where you go directly from the canoe to the steps of the house. Our house was a little hut, inside there was basically just a table and a few mats with mosquito nets on the floor. During the wet season there are relatively less mosquitos, which still means that there were more mosquitos we had ever seen in our lives. People basically constantly clap with their hands on their skin to get rid of them. Albert warned us that from the white mosquitos we get Malaria. Once that happens we are in for a horribly painful day trip to the next hospital.
      There were cats walking around everywhere, once even a cat right next to our beds ripped a mouse. The toilet was outside, a little hole from where everything would fall directly in the river.
      Albert prepared the dinner which was usually very basic pasta and rice. Afterwards we went to sleep. There was basically no electricity and service at all. The neighbor had a little solar panel that would charge 10% of your phone if you gave it to him for the entire day, so it was pretty useless. After it was dark, there was not much to do apart from reading Lio’s Lonely Planet about all of Papua and Solomon Islands or playing Sudoku.
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    • Day 13


      May 1, 2019 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ ☁️ 32 °C

      We woke up and had breakfast. We prepared and got into the canoe to explore the area. We first went around Kanganamun which is a beautiful village with really nice huts and an over 300 year old spirit house.
      First we went to a village called Palimbe. We got there via some shortcuts through reed and swamp. The first stop was the spirit house. Every village in the area has a spirit house (or “Haus Tambaran”) which is basically where all the guys hang out and chill all day long while the women work. The tribes around Sepik river also had their specialties: women in their view to them are dirty especially during their period. The guys basically live alone and the women only once a day bring them food and take care of all the annoying things.
      The kids grow up with them until they turn 14: then, boys move out to the spirit house and get their crocodile skin during a crazy ceremony. Basically what happens is that somebody takes a razor blade and makes hundreds of cuts on the boy’s back until it’s bleeding as hell. They would do that multiple times within a month on each spot so that they get scars all over their back which looks like crocodile skin. After a month in the spirit house they become officially reborn as men and move to their dad’s place.
      Once we arrived we had to put off our hats, next to women not being allowed to enter probably being the only enforced rule here. In the spirit houses the guys pretty much just create art and carve woods. Two guys performed a little concert on some kind of a wooden drum. We checked out the local art: mostly wooden carvery and masks that looked super crazy. We hung out with them and bought a few items, Lio got a massive mask with straws coming from the sides.
      Afterwards, we went around the villages and ended up in the spirit house of Kanganamun. This definitely is the most impressive one being several hundreds years old. Not much has changed since then. In the 20th century the Germans came to the area and taught the tribes how to handcraft proper floors and some basics in medicine. But that’s pretty much it. We had a nap here and Lio shopped some more art.
      We went for lunch back to the house and returned next to the spirit house. A few guys were carving new canoes for their children. During wet season the villagers do that because it’s a lot easier to carry the logs around (basically, just make them float over the water). And also, there’s pretty much nothing else to do during that period as you can only hang out in the houses. It takes 2-4 weeks to create a canoe. We were chilling the whole afternoon with the guys in the sun while they built their canoe. In the meantime, some guy climbed up the palms to get coconuts for us that we ate and drank. The vibe was really chill and the guys did enjoy our Spotify playlists a lot that we put via the UE Boom.
      In the early evening we went back to the house and had dinner. This time, a few fishes that the women had caught during the day on the nearby lake together with some sort of local pancakes made out of palm trees. Albert instead grilled a turtle that he had gotten from the women that day. He ate literally everything which was really disgusting. Lio and me tried as well, tasted somewhat like chicken.
      Afterwards we had a “shower”. So the villagers use their river for everything - literally. They fish their food from there, they use it as transportation, they use it as their toilet (remember, the toilet just went straight to the river) - as well as their shower. Basically you either jump from a tree in the river or just get in and wash yourself with a little bit of soap. The bottom is of course really muddy.
      This whole situation was even more disturbing, because just after that, when it was finally dark, we went for a tour to catch crocodiles. Equipped with nothing else but a spear, a canoe, some sticks for moving forward and flashlights we left the house together with the neighbor and his kid. The little kid and Albert started imitating crocodile noises to spot crocodiles. Just after a few minutes a few meters away from the house (where we just before have had the shower) we stopped for the first time. Lio and me weren’t sure what was happening but apparently the guys had seen something. We got closer to some reed and suddenly the man went with his speer in the water and pulled out a fucking baby crocodile. He threw it alive into the canoe and the little kid grabbed it and kept it in his hands from there on. They wanted to use it as a bait. Now the kid did some things to the croc so that it makes some noises so the bigger crocs could speak up. We caught it just a few metres away from where we had just showered in the river.
      We kept going through the wilderness. The silence was only interrupted by jungle and animal noises as we went through swamp, reed and jungle forest. A few times we spotted the noises of crocodiles. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to actually catch a big one. They were going for crocodiles of multiple metres of size - with only a canoe and a spear. After roughly two hours we returned. The little crocodile was released again to nature and we went to bed.
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    • Day 14

      Chambri Lake

      May 2, 2019 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ 🌧 25 °C

      In the morning after breakfast we geared up and drove with the canoe roughly 1-2 hours through shortcuts to Chambri lake.
      The first stop of the day was Aibom pottery village. We had a hike through the village and got to know about their pottery techniques. Also they showed us some of their crops. It was nice to finally have solid ground below our feet again. Afterwards, there was of course a mandatory stop in the spirit house. Also, Albert had gotten lunch with us. We ate it here and took a little nap.
      We kept going to Kamanibit village which is located directly on Chambri Lake. This is a comparably big village. After checking in at the spirit house we went for a few hours through the village. Also here there is proper ground. We arrived at the local elementary school and checked out how the kids were learning there in the classrooms. They had pretty decent text books that were usually sponsored by the Australian government. Their classes included regular English and Maths but also “making a living” or “personal development”.
      After coming back to the canoe we went back to Kanganamun which again took us 1-2 hours. Back in the house we hung out, had a “shower” and dinner.
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    • Day 15

      Road to Wewak

      May 3, 2019 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ 🌧 28 °C

      In the morning after breakfast we drove back to Pagwi. On the way back we actually met the first and only tourist in the area: once Albert saw him he was excited to tell us that he saw a “Whiteman”. We started talking to him. Turned out that he was a British dude with nothing but a backpack, a hammock and an inflatable canoe. Which is somewhat crazy given the fact that there are crocs all over and he had nothing in between him and the lake apart from an inflatable canoe. He was travelling down Sepik river for 3 months (!) which is not only dangerous for the crocs but also the tribes. Albert always mentioned how dangerous the other parts of Sepik are “because of rascals” and apparently in the other parts of Sepik they were saying the same things about everybody else, including Albert’s villages. He told us how one night he was sleeping in his hammock when a fully grown 6m crocodile was standing next to his hammock. We asked him for travel tips and funnily enough he first mentioned Iran where we had gotten the tip to go to PNG in the first place. So he came up with Mongolia. He bought a horse there and went for 3 months through the country. “Crazy whiteman” was Albert’s comment shaking his head once we left him.
      In Pagwi we first visited a crocodile farm. We then hung out at a “guesthouse”. Basically, you could sleep in this place but calling it a guest house would be a bit too much. In Pagwi there was actually one little shop which was also on the water and you got there with a canoe. We put our luggage in the car and drove back for 3-4 hours to Wewak.
      In Wewak it turned out that Albert had forgotten to actually book us a guesthouse. After going to a few guest houses that were all full we ended up in the “Airport lodge” right next to the airport. So this was a weird place: it looked like it used to be somewhat modern is quite run down by now. It had a rooftop restaurant which was destroyed and thus not open. PNG women were working here but also some really big Aussie women with the weirdest skin you can think of. It did not look healthy. We spoke to her later, apparently she was the owner and had left the house to her daughter while she had gone for treatment (probably for her skin) to Australia. After coming back after multiple years she found the house completely broken and stolen. Now she was building it up again.
      We took a bus to Wewak which was an experience in itself. You sit with way too many people in a van and always have to get off once somebody wants to get off. We were of course the only white people in the entire city and thus got some weird looks. In Wewak we walked around the market and then kept going to a more luxurious hotel that Albert had told us about: In Wewak Boutique. We were starving for some Westerner food. The restaurant was not yet open so we just hung out on a balcony with access to the internet for the first time in days. Once the restaurant opened we entered and had a pretty good meal with proper food and even smoothies.
      We wanted to go back afterwards but the restaurant didn’t let us, apparently it is too dangerous to go outside in the dark. We tried to call a taxi but there is no such a thing in Wewak. The security from the hotel ended up calling the police and the police guys themselves gave us a ride to our hotel. On the way we had to stop for cash. These were two fun guys, we gave them a bit of tip and once we arrived in the hotel went pretty much straight to bed.
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    • Day 19


      February 21, 2019 in Papua New Guinea ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

      Gestern am Strand beim Restaurant, heute am Town Beach. So starten unsere Badeferien. Man beachte: Badekleidung inkl. Hosen bis zu den Knien und Oberteil.

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    East Sepik Province

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