Some ports seem like it is not even worth getting off the ship and then about once a cruise one of those ends up being among the best of the trip. That describes our day today in Alotau, Papua New Guinea.
After considerable Internet research I hired Shanniah Loihai, a 20 year old girl who started Reeftours Milne Bay about six years ago. Boy is she a diamond in the rough.
Papua New Guinea is a true third word country and we saw it from the inside today unlike other excursions. Most of the tourists just see superficial examples of what locals think the tourists want to see (like above). It is kind of fun though.
First off was a visit to their world famous yacht marina. (That is a joke.)
Then it was a walk around the open air Transit Hotel. Here people stay in carport type areas that are separated by tribe.
Notice the red teeth. This is from chewing betel nut. People get high on it but it causes significant oral cancer. Besides the buzz it supposedly suppresses hunger and these folks barely eat one meal a day. Sad. All over town people are just sitting or standing with no place to go and nothing to do.
If they have a courthouse available, we visit it.
The main street in town is one block long with a few stores on each side.
During WW II Alotau was made famous because here, Milne Bay, is where the Japan forces had their very first land defeat. It was a turning point in the War in these parts.The Australian Army gets the credit. There is not much to see unfortunately. Many of our friends really only experienced this stop by visiting a plaque.
Now it really got special. We visited a local school. They have no power, water, or plumbing. All the kids walk and many 5 miles each way. Yet they were so sweet and immaculate.
Stay tuned for part II tomorrow where we will visit Shanniah’s actual home and small village. They also have no water, power or plumbing and mostly dirt floors. Plus I will have some interesting Papua New Guinea facts.