Thursday, 2 October 2014

My Unforgettable Trip To Lea lea Beach

Four years have passed since the first time I set foot on Papua New Guinea, and since then I was starting to wonder what it's like beyond the self-imposed limits that I had put myself into.

What it's like outside the 4 corners of my room? Well, technically, it was a patio which was changed into a canopied aisle, but beyond the patio and what's behind those hills in the horizon is still unknown to me.

What's preventing me from exploring POM is something that must have originated from various unsolicited advice that tells me it's not safe to go out there . There's probably an elephant in the room and I can only guess that the answer closest to reality is being afraid of uncertainty.

Well, I was given a chance one day, when a persistent cousin and his brave friend visited me and Harold (my cousin and an office mate) to brave those anaphoric warnings of don't go over there, don't  lose your life. They want us to try a place where they had previously 're-discovered' unintentionally.

Living off the grid is the metaphor for that day. So we didn't try to bring anything but the camera. We nearly tried, as I believe, Harold and kuya Jun bought their phones anyway only to find out that they were almost useless later on.

Pinoy In Papua New Guinea - Pinoy In PNG
The red circle is where I'm staying at. Lea lea beach is near the top-left (cyan colored marker).

Pinoy In Papua New Guinea - Pinoy In PNG
They say that water reaches up to those greenery edges during high tides. Low tides bring about a
bare landscape that lets everyone walk all over it. 
I am not really sure if Digicel or BMobile's signal were clear but I do remember they were either ON or OFF most of the time.

It was windy but mild, more like a breeze that didn't leave a sticky sensation on the skin. The sky was cloudy and there seemed to be a notion that rain would pour anytime. The water was resting not too far away from the beach so bringing a volleyball with us could have been a good idea.

Pinoy In Papua New Guinea - Pinoy In PNG
Mangroves stood around like soldiers on guard ready to defend the beach from strong waves.
Mangroves were the first line of defense against tidal waves and their roots harbour a diversity of exquisite marine lives.

Pinoy In Papua New Guinea - Pinoy In PNG
Empty seats were inviting. Within the shades one can enjoy the views either by being sober or under the influence of an alcoholic beverage.
When we arrived at the place which looked like some sort of a club, there were empty chairs and tables on the balcony. 

Pinoy In Papua New Guinea - Pinoy In PNG
It's pretty obvious that you are free to find a spot where you can bask in the glow or roam around to pick up tiny shells.

As time goes by, vacant chairs are filled. The mundane feelings slowly vanish. People started coming almost instantly. Each knows where to sit, like they know the place like the back of their hands.

Pinoy In Papua New Guinea - Pinoy In PNG
A child looks at me as I took this picture of a band playing PNG songs at the stage.
It wasn't too long and the empty stage where unattended musical instruments were idly sitting around became alive as the same people who greeted us at the entrance picked up those instruments and started playing local songs.

Pinoy In Papua New Guinea - Pinoy In PNG
I'm not sure if they were Aussies or Kiwis but I was glad they were there.
And so the empty chairs were empty no more. The air was filled with chants of activities, and the sounds of bottles clinking amplifies the sense of happiness that encourages everyone to speak even more.

Pinoy In Papua New Guinea - Pinoy In PNG
These are my two cousins. Harold at the left and kuya Jun at the right having a shake hand to reaffirm
a bond for secrecy and loyalty.
As the bottles become empty, so does one's space for being reserved. Each plunges into audacity and silliness becomes a common thing. We start to forget about where we are and we laugh like it's our last laugh as kuya Jun offers more jokes to crack.

Pinoy In Papua New Guinea - Pinoy In PNG
Kuya Jun volunteered to do the grilling provided that an SP beer never leaves his side.
The place has fixtures that allow you to grill meat or fish. We bought a couple of fish and squid beforehand from RH Hypermart and we did the cooking on those fixtures. One thing worth noting for is that the firewood provided for cooking shall come from the owner of that place and is for sale.

Pinoy In Papua New Guinea - Pinoy In PNG
The man wearing a blue jacket is the one who discovered this place for us.

We end our day with feasting on the grilled fish and squid. The trip back to Boroko would take another two hours at least so we thought we could make use of all those meat that we had consumed.

I know some may ask about the safety of the place.

Is it safe to go out there? Yes, or maybe, not. Because the question is subjective, we may want to boil it down into something less generic. Is it safe to go out there late in the night? Perhaps not, unless you are in a convoy and have chosen the safest route. But I do recommend that you go out there on the day. We safely arrived there and the residents of Lea lea are friendly.

Is it safe to go out there in day time? Yes, with or without a convoy, it is. But I suggest that you remain vigilant on the road. Some roads are too narrow where a collision is likely to happen. If it's possible to have a convoy, it would be better. Just be careful when you go out there. As I mentioned earlier, it took us more or less two hours to go there from Boroko.

Always drive safely. Trust me, you may not want to bump into someone by driving recklessly.

Reminders on what to prepare for the trip:

  • Check for fuel. Since Lea lea is a bit far, have enough fuel for the trip.
  • Check for tire's proper inflation. The road to Lea lea beach include rough roads.
  • Make sure you have a spare tire and is properly inflated.
  • Tools for changing tire like, jack and cross wrench. Make sure they're in good condition.
  • Emergency light, if possible. Just to prepare you for "What if" circumstances.

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