Last week following months of waiting for the work entry visa the email landed, “You can collect your entry stamp from the Bangkok Consulate”
Awesome news, just what we’d been waiting for. Without hesitation the bags where packed, a quick flit over to Koh Tao & Samui for farewells and equipment collection (increasing the bag count to look like a packhorse) and a flight up to Bangkok.
First thing Monday morning with my passport in hand I eventually find the PNG office and receive the information that it’s going to take 3-5 days to process. “Oh god, more waiting around” I thought, nevertheless we where heading in the right direction & with a little smiling and kind words from yours truly the dragon behind the counter told me to collect my passport on Wednesday (lucky me)
All that remained was to loiter in bangers until Wednesday, some more farewell drinks from a couple of mates and as soon as I collected the passport I sent word to my new employer. The following morning I received an email asking if I could make a flight in 4 hours time, oh hell yes I can! Packing my worldly belongings never seemed so easy, and that was it, bye bye Thailand. I couldn’t help but pause for a little nostalgia at departures though to take a snap of an amazing statue which was the first & now the last photo I would take in Thailand over a 4 year period.
The flight to Manila was just over 4 hours and to be honest, relatively comfy (which is a bit of a novelty for someone over 6’tall. Having landed in Manila I was ushered towards Philippines Airways lounge only to find that I would be staying here for 6 hours before embarking on the 8.5 hour flight to Port Moresby. That’s all well and good,
“but can I smoke anywhere whilst I’m here?”
” nope not on your nelly”
Clearly this wasn’t what I wanted to hear, sat around in a room for 6 hours with my thumb up my ass and not allowed to smoke.
“thanks for the offer but I’ll see you in 3 hours I’m off outside”
Manila airport itself is quite busy but relatively small and I found 2 cafes at the entrance that served pretty good grub, coffee, beer & of course a smoking area just opposite.
Lady luck was shining down on me for the flight to Port Moresby as it was relatively empty and as soon as we reached the peak of the climb we could spread out and hog a 3 seated to stretch out. Now I don’t know if it’s the same on all aircraft now but Philippines airline have introduced Wi-Fi entertainment, which in my opinion is awesome! I could watch a movie and not have to be sat Bolt upright. The movie of choice Eddie the Eagle. A great movie and if you’re not old enough to remember him I suggest you watch the movie, plenty of comedy but also a true story of sheer determination culminating in success.
Yay, Port Moresby and a quick hello from my driver Vinny and I’m off to meet Jordan, the lady I’d been emailing back and forth with for what seems like an eternity.
It’s worth noting that if you are planning to enter Papua New Guinea is a tourist you can simply get a visa on arrival (the queue at that window was a damn site shorter than the workers entry point do it’s actually the quickest way through customs)
A cup of coffee and a few catch up cigarettes soon led up to lunch with Linda Honey (one of the resort owners) and Jordan prior to heading back to the airport for the short flight to Tufi Resort.
Fortunately the company accountant, Phil, was heading to Tufi also but alas it wasn’t to be today. 5 minutes prior to embarkation and we get the table that the flight is cancelled due to weather.
“FFS I’ve been traveling for 30 hours and knackered” said my inner monologue, thankfully it wasn’t attached to my mouth as per usual. Anyway, back into town and a bed for the night via the supermarket for some grub and I was done.
The following morning Phil picks me up and we rattle through the airport, board the flight and then spend the next 40 minutes trying hard not to ogle the flight attendant (amazing!) but I was soon distracted as we started to descend. Out of the window I can see the crystal clear waters, the coral bombies twinkling a lighter shade of aquatic blue/green and the coastline raising up to meet us.
Needless to say I could feel the anticipation and excitement welling up inside and as we cut through the air the fingers of land started to protrude out to break up the coastal waters creating great fjords between them.
Wow, just wow…. My new home to be.
The landing strip at Tufi was used during WWII as a staging post and sits at the back of the resort. Local villagers came out to view the landing and maybe view the 2 foreigners disembarking. Just a short 3 minute drive to the resort and I met Stuart the resident Manager & obviously got busy with snapping a view of my new home, now even more excited. Tufi is tranquil, the air is clean, you can physically feel it after Bangkok, wild trees and foliage are spattered throughout the resort and of course their is also an abundance of wildlife. Check out this pair…..
We (yes I said we) actually have 3 resident Hornbills but the other one is off scampering around. The wildlife doesn’t stop when the sun goes down either, last night Kevin the cus cus made an appearance…
Needless to say, I’m in love with Tufi already, tomorrow is the day I meet the dive crew and by Christ I’ll be jumping in as soon as I can. If it’s this good up top I cannot wait to see what lies beneath.
Just look at the view!!!