Harley Madness – The Ride to Balek

No Gravatar

After a week of being sick with sinusitis and bronchitis and not having time to take off of work to heal, I was ready yesterday to cut loose for an afternoon. Having a boss who is particularly in tune with my needs (my wife of 45 years, Eunice) gave me the privilege of saying, “I’m going for a Harley ride this afternoon, to which she responded, “Get out of here!” Long-term monogamy has its advantages.

My dear wife was likewise approving of my riding companion, Jo Noble, who had been . . . ah . . . shipwrecked here in Madang for several months. Jo is the Steward (I think that is the correct term) on a large yacht which is here in Madang awaiting major repairs before traveling on to where it is that large yachts go. I’m sure that I’ll never know. Jo is the very nice young lady you met on our trip to Nob Nob for the post Lightning Down a few days ago. Here she is fooling around with the Harley on the road out to the mountains on the way to the Ramu Valley:

The road this far is “improved”, which means there are fewer giant potholes and the gravel is not so loose that you risk a rash at every corner.

We took a couple of breaks for photos. Here Jo tries to remember how ‘left’ and ‘right’ are somehow magically reversed as she attempts to photograph herself in the rear-view mirror of the Harley:

I didn’t ask to see the resulting image.

Our plan was to cross this river ford and ride for a few kilometres up into the beautiful mountains. However, when we looked at the deep mud at the ford, we decided not to spoil the day by wallowing in the muck with the Hog:

So, we turned around and headed back to town to the Balek Wildlife Reserve, using our noses to guide us to the famous “Stinky River”.

For this shot, Jo asked if I thought that she looked “too silly”. Little did she realise that she was asking the wrong person. Silly is a way of life for me. I’ve made a career of it. I think she looks just fine:

One wants to visit Balek in the morning hours. In the afternoon the giant limestone cliffs from which the spring emerges block out the light and make photography a challenge.

I did manage one nice shot of Jo in the cave with only the natural light coming in. The colours on the rocks in the cave are psychedelic:

On my last trip to Balek, I had forgotten about the giant eels. This time we managed to coax one out. This was the best shot that I could get:fdsa
There are several that live in the river, along with some fairly large turtles.

At the village, we got the classic “Baby in a bilum” shot:

Babies are normally hung in string bags from trees for their naps.

I hate to do a post without a weird critter shot, so here it is:

This giant millipede seemed to be curled up for a nap in the sun.

Back safely at the office, we coaxed Eunie out to take our picture with the Harley:

I needed a fun day. Sometimes we all do.

I got one!

Be Sociable, Share!
Tags: , , ,

6 Responses to “Harley Madness – The Ride to Balek”

  1. Jay Griffin Says:

    What the heck! If I saw that picture in any other context and without an explanation—I’d a been wondering how the heck babies would ever put up with such things. He doesn’t even look all that comfortable either.

    I can see the wisdom of it when it comes to various critters..but it doesn’t look like it would keep any insects at bay.

  2. MadDog Says:

    Nice observation, Jay. It’s such a common sight here that we simply don’t notice it. Women carry their babies around in string bags and hang them from trees or whatever. It does keep them off the ground and safe from snakes and millipedes and other creepy crawlies. It also keeps them out of the dirt and allows them to remain healthier. The seem quite comforted by being put into the bag. They can see out and be heard.

    An interesting side observation is that PNG babies never learn to crawl. The go straight to walking. Babies are never allowed to be on the ground They are either carried on the hip or shoulders or in a string bag until they can walk.

  3. Kate Says:

    Looks like a great trip. Thanks for looking after my Celestial Twin!! Kate

  4. MadDog Says:

    WooHoo, I had no idea Jo had a celestial twin. I just sent you a FaceBook friend request. We had a great time. I needed to get out of the office and she needed to get off the boat. My wife needed to get me out of her hair for a while. Everybody wins!

  5. Lauren Wright Says:

    i have been suffering from sinusitis for so many years and i can only relieve the stuffiness of the nose by means of decongestants.~-;

  6. MadDog Says:

    My problems turned out to be a double bacterial infection. It took three courses of different antibiotics to knock it down. I have no more sinus problems, but I have lost all sense of smell. I can’t smell anything!