Australia and South Pacific travel blog

At about 9 AM today we crossed the Equator . It is unremarkable except that it has become much hotter even than it had been. Fortunately , we are Houston tough ! There are a number of Brits aboard and they love it . They seem to love to toast out by the pool all day . We are now in he Phillipine Sea and will be at sea for 3 days until we reach Cebu . It is very relaxing and we are catching up on our reading as well as our Rummy game . Some thoughts on our previous ports : Wewak surprised us in being quite different from Madang which is a small commercial port on a peninsula . It is quite lush and although the inhabitants are poor there are a number of autos and it seemed comfortable . Wewak is quite different in that the poverty level seems very high . It is not unusual to see naked babies . I think they are naked until they are potty trained ( or what the equivalent is ) . I am sure there are no washers and dryers or disposable diapers for that matter . We arrived on Sunday and saw great numbers of people walking barefooted to church which made us realize that we had no reason to complain about our unairconditioned bus . Actually the common busses here are nothing more than large open sided pick up trucks . I have mentioned that this is an "emerging destination " . Our guides were very charming and helpful but really did not speak English well . There are over 800 languages spoken here ! Organization is also not a strong point here . At one point we were to visit a beach but it was necessary to enter a military base to do so . No one had gotten a pass or even knew a pass was required . It was an early return to the ship which was fine with us as we were sweating bullets . Later in the afternoon , we were amused by boats with young people aboard asking for fruit from the ship's passengers . Early the next morning , we arrived in Jayapura , Indonesia . which is part of the same land mass as New Guinea . My impression is that it is one of those places best viewed from a distance . What was lovely from afar really is rust and squalor . Pete and I decided to forgo a formal tour and just take the tender into the ship's shuttle to the handicraft market . Here we experienced another of our travel adventures . The shuttles are small and it is impossible to see from the windows . Of course , it is HOT . The " market " is really a dilapidated street with shops all selling the same nothing . We did buy one small item for Liam for show and tell . Any wood product has to be sprayed with insecticide and wrapped in plastic before it may be brought aboard . I cannot describe the street scene to you but suffice to say there is raw sewage in the street . After a short visit we decided to leave but there was no shuttle arriving to return us to the pier . Another couple and we decided to take a "taxi " . Another travel adventure . The driver did not speak English and although Pete tried everything he could ( even German which usually works ) to get the point across we soon realized we were off in the wrong direction . Somehow , we did get back to the pier and yes Bill, we were perfectly safe . We returned to our ship and were able to listen to the 3PM Muslim call to prayer . Later in the afternoon we again we greeted by boat loads young men mainly in large outrigger canoes . Again they were asking for anything the passengers would throw to them . They especially liked the apples and had no problem diving into the deep water to retrieve them . It occurs to me that apples must be a great novelty for them . I have tried unsuccessfully today to upload photos today but lost my connection both times and I am sorry about that as I think you would find them very interesting . There are about 1400 nautical miles until we reach Cebu . The sad thing about the Phillipines is that we will loose some of our crew friends there .

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