13 August 2013


I made a friend! Thursday I wrote about my incredibly boring life and Friday morning I made a friend. How about that!

Paul left early that morning to do a few observation flights on Air Niugini, which allow Paul to sit in the cockpit jump seat while flying to one of many domestic locations so that he can see the terrain and get a feel for the takeoff and landing conditions. A third-world country, Papua New Guinea lacks a lot of infrastructure and roads exist within cities but very few roads go far beyond the cities. There are, however, nearly 600 airports within the island nation and Air Niugini flies commercial service to 21; many airports are unpaved and are only suitable for bush planes.

Instead of sitting around the house by myself all morning, I Thursday night decided that I would take back my Fridays. In Singapore, I had a great weekly routine that typically started with a morning to myself at my neighborhood Starbucks. I would drink a coffee, sometimes have a muffin or scone, do some RDA work, read or write a bit. I had roughly two hours to do whatever I wanted.

When I had had enough, I usually ran a couple errands or went to the grocery before coming home in time to make lunch. I loved my Friday mornings. They were sacred.

I had an idea to walk down to the hotel restaurant and enjoy a quiet breakfast for one on the patio. Then I contemplated driving to one of two cafés in town to again enjoy a nice cuppa in the sunshine before lounging next to the pool later in the day.

My morning started off right – I relaxed in bed until I felt like moving. I had a thought that I should check the breakfast service times and, sure enough, I had about 25 minutes until breakfast was over. I didn’t like feeling pressured on my perfect morning but I hurriedly got dressed, grabbed my Nook and checked the clock as I locked the door behind me.

When I arrived at the restaurant, I was advised that there was a buffet and that I had five minutes before they would start clearing the food. That’s fine, I thought. I only needed one trip.

There was a decent spread. I helped myself to some sketchy scrambled eggs since the man at the egg station was MIA. I viewed the bread station but opted for a couple small pancakes instead. Again feeling the carbs, I loaded up on some fabulous breakfast potatoes and some fruit.

I paid my kina – a bit more than I anticipated – and sat by the pool until I got a message from Paul stating he was back in town. Itching to get off the complex, I messaged him and stated that I would go get him. He declined my offer. I might have pouted for a minute before I decided that I would head to the pool.

I changed into my swimsuit, strapless cotton top and cotton shorts and headed down to the pool with my tanning spray, sunglasses and my Nook. (At this point in time I was completely obsessed with J.K. Rowling’s new book, The Cuckoo’s Calling and I was just a few chapters away from the big reveal).

When I got to the pool area I observed a rare sighting – another Caucasian woman. And, bonus, she said hello when she noticed me. We both sat in the sun for a while and, as I got up to leave, I offered a good-bye and a conversation sparked.

Lisa, a New Zealander current living in Brisbane, was in town for a long weekend visiting her husband who lives in the complex. After a short chat, I invited her to join Paul and me for a later lunch at the Edge Café and she amiably accepted.

“I made a friend at the pool!” I excitedly announced as I walked into my apartment. “She doesn’t actually live here but that still counts, right?” I told Paul about Lisa and that I had invited her to lunch with us. Then, something even more amazing happened. Paul backed out of lunch and said that Lisa and I should go without him. I questioned this decision first because Paul had me feeling like a grounded teenager that couldn’t go anywhere unsupervised, and second because he had previously stated an interest in trying the café. Apparently, a nap was calling and the power of the nap was stronger than Paul’s desire to venture out. He did take the time, however, to pray over me before I left the house.

And then, for the first time, I left the compound without my husband.

Lisa and I drove down to the waterfront and made our way to the Edge Café, a Kiwi-owned business located in the corner of a parking garage overlooking the Yacht Club. The food was great and the location was ideal but the wind was so strong that pop cans, napkins and straws were constantly flying away.

After a very tasty light lunch, we went next door to the Yacht Club and walked alongside the boats for a while before heading back.

We met again Monday and enjoyed a great lunch at the Lamana Hotel’s Palazzo. The food and the atmosphere was so inviting, we decided to stay for coffee and cake. That was the first day that I really started to enjoy PNG.

Lisa went back to Brisbane today but I am sure we will see each other again soon. 

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