Back in Papua Indonesia

After crossing back from PNG to Papua Indonesia. I took an ojek (motorbike taxi) and then three separate buses to get back to Jayapura. I stayed one night with my wonderful couch surfing friend, Indra before flying to Manokwari, capital of West Papua. Once there I met up with Edwin, who took care of me for three interesting days. We drove into the Arfak mountains along bumpy steep track roads, crossing rivers without stopping or slowing down – a very bumpy and bouncy ride. Eventually we arrived in the small village of Anggi. Edwin is an engineer and oversees a project to bring electricity to the mountain area. Once his work was done, we proceeded to Lake Anggi. A lovely peaceful spot. The following afternoon, accompanied by a funny nice guy in his early twenties and a lovely girl named Evo, and Edwin, we headed to Mansinam Island. This is where the first German missionaries landed in the mid-nineteenth century. We walked up a steep slope after taking a small local boat to the island. At the top of a steepish hill stands a white statue of Christ with his arms outstretched, similar to the statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A lovely afternoon spent with nice people.

The following day I flew to Sorong, the westernmost town in Papua. I spent one delightful day and evening in the company of Edwin’s sister and brother-in-law, in their luxurious hotel before heading to Ternate. Here I had no couch surfer so spent three hot days in a reasonably priced hotel in the main town. A young guide named Batri took me around Ternate and Tidore islands for a small fee. A nice guy. On Ternate we visited the former Sultan’s Palace and mosque, plus several old forts built by the Dutch, who fought for control of the island of spice against the Portuguese, Spanish and British. The Dutch were eventually removed in the early twentieth century. Whilst visiting one fort we heard a traditional musical performance and headed down to watch the dancing and in my case hear and feel the music. First just drumming and metallic instruments, but later replaced by something sounding like a violin, but not, and drums and also accompanied by loud singing. This went on for over an hour. My guide also took me to Batu Angus, a rock of lava which had spilled from Gamalama Volcano high above. The lava had hardened into this large black rock. Two crater lakes were also visited where I was able to enjoy the tranquillity away from the traffic din of the many motorbikes that traverse this island.

The following day we travelled to Tidore by a basic simple wooden boat, a journey of roughly 15 minutes in hot sunshine. Once on the island, Batri got his motorbike, and off we flew for an hour’s drive in strong sun and wind to explore, Soasio, the island’s capital. And we visited more forts and another grand palace. Here we climbed many stone steps to each building – some of the steps were broken and dangerous! Lunch was rice and fish, which was delicious, before another long drive back to the small port of Goto for the even hotter boat ride back to Ternate.

Next came Abon Island.

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