Sorry all, I have a few posts to catch up on! I have figured out fairly quickly that my standard practice of working at night has been sabotaged by a fairly lousy wi-fi service at that time of day. Uploading photos means entering a whole world of pain so it’s low-res all the way from now on!
Nonetheless, we have arrived safely in Tembagapura and this is how we did it…
I left Cairns with two children, 22 pieces of luggage and 1 Litre of (necessary) Vodka in tow. Thank goodness my parents and brother were there to help with the send-off as I certainly couldn’t have managed it all on my own! The poor woman at check in drew the short straw with me and probably took a step closer to a repetitive strain injury on her wrist after hand-writing all of our bag tags and boarding passes!
A tearful farewell to Nana, Grandad and Uncle Matt preceded an easy flight – there were about 35 of us on the plane so there was plenty of room for us all to spread out and for the kids on the flight to play together. It was only upon landing that I started to feel a little uneasy about getting all of my luggage through customs unscathed. Importation of food, toys, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals is forbidden and so if you want to bring any of these things in with you, they have to come as luggage. Hence all the bags! The last time I travelled in to Timika, my luggage was given a thorough rummaging and I didn’t fancy doing that again, 22 times over with two kids in tow… However, as it turns out, it was my lucky day! They opened two food boxes and one toy box and left everything else alone, hooray!
The girls were bursting with excitement to see Daddy and we (and our five trolleys of luggage) were rewarded with a reunion at the Customs exit – yay!
We were transported to the Rimba Papua Hotel for a two-night stay in adjoining rooms. Ordinarily we would stay just one night in transit, but this time we had to spend a few hours in Timika undergoing ‘Biometrics’ with the Indonesian Government. This involved having our photos and fingerprints taken – a fairly straight forward process – with most of the time taken spent waiting our turn. From what I gather, Biometrics are taken each time a visa is renewed (um, our fingerprints aren’t likely to change are they!?) and given that our Visas expire in February, it may be an exercise we undergo again soon.
Following our stay at the Rimba, it was up early with our fingers and toes crossed for clear skies and Chopper transport (as opposed to the bus). We were in luck and ‘Choppered Up’ to Rainbow Ridge in the early morning, much to the girls’ excitement and my immense relief. Earmuffs and a bird’s-eye view for all! These Choppers are pretty impressive – 12 tonnes of armoured goodness, 2 tonnes of which is passenger and cargo weight and around 1.5 tonnes of fuel.
Fifteen minutes in the air and 205 litres of fuel later, we touched down into a magnificent morning – cool and clear with incredible views of the surrounding mountains.
We were bussed down into the town centre of Tembagapura and then set off on foot to our house. Only hand luggage travels on the Chopper – all the other baggage comes up the mountain by bus – so the 5 minute walk to our house was an easy one.
And with that, we became permanent residents of Tembagapura, West Papua. Hard to believe I know…
Stay tuned for my next post in which I’ll share some snippets from our first week in town.
(See you later)
PS – We’ve updated our Contact Us page, click here to view it