Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Report from the wilderness...

Hello everyone still reading this!  I have been a bit rubbish getting things up recently, but that means one of three things, I am working (Good!), I am bored (Not so good!) or the internet is super-lightning slow (Typical!)  The excuse this time is both a and c from the options above and that is because I now find myself in Papua.  Yes people, Papua.  But before I get onto Papua I shall get the other stuff out of the way.

So after leaving Medan and the whole birthday month I had a short holiday and decided to give Jakarta another go.  We have new apartments in the centre of the city now so why not.  It was good!  Really good.  I could get to places without a $100 cab fair and could even walk to a civilised part of town.  I found a beach resort, a really nice cinema and had my first ever Dim-Sum in a swanky chinese restaurant.  So my feelings towards Jakarta got much better than when we were staying in Slumdog-ville.

Here is the view from my new 'home on the 42nd floor in Earthquake Central' when on stop over... And a couple from Medan.

I managed to get a bit of flying in while I was there as we were short staffed, but it was an excuse to get back to the place where I did all my initial training and see how much it had changed.  Not much!
Some fighter jets and a volcano were the in-flight entertainment, apart from that it was just another day in the sky-office.  Afterwards is was back to the apartment, not in the pictured 'green' transport!  Oh, and a picture of me, for my mum who keeps asking!

And if anyone fancies coming to Jakarta, I know a good resort you can stay in..

Now I shall explain a little bit about my new base to clear up just how far away I am!  Ok, you all would have heard of Papua New Guinnea either from David Attenborough or an Indiana Jones type movie.  Well I am on the same Island of New Guinnea, but in the Indonesian Provence of Papua, not actually in Papua New Guinnea..  So I suppose I am in Papua, New Guinnea, Indonesia, not Papua New Guinnea, New Guinnea..  Clear as mud right?!  Either way it's very different to anything I have seen before.  It's just North of Australia and is the most remote place I have certainly ever been to.

I started flying in the mountains which is a very different type of flying indeed, especially when the clouds start sinking and the terrain starts rising, but it didn't get too bad while I was there and the views through the valleys were amazing.  I have video of some flying above the tree-tops, but no chance of getting that up online from here!  You will have to make do with the stills.

The photos obviously don't do this place justice, but for those of you with an aviation mindset, the runway you see above has a 12 degree upslope on 09.  That makes it look like you are trying to land on the side of a mountain!  Great stuff!

We have a number of satellite bases here in Papua and I am now at number two doing a lot of flying indeed - which is good by the way!  The flying is different though and mainly includes flying to the various islands around here and into some remote villages.  We carry anything from petrol, rice and pigs, to people, bodies and baby chicks!  Very random indeed!  I love it here :)

Some of the 'landing places' we go to (Note I didn't use the word airport!) are barely dirt tracks, but some are 3km long space shuttle alternate landing zones!  I kid you not!  The one below is in a place called Biak (The 3km one) and it's surface is made of Coral..


The next picture is of a place called Merdey..  It's basically a village in the middle of nowhere.  When we arrive the whole village comes out like it's some sort of miracle event.  We generally deliever supplies to them and take the odd person back to civilasation for a few days.  We have to put their machettes and spears in the cargo hold though!  Don't fancy one of those things flying at me if the landing is a bit heavy!  Oh, also, for those of you who who are generous enough to drop your unwanted clothes off to a charity store and always wondered where they end up.. Here's your answer!  These people have Stoke City football kits, Fred Perry T-Shirts, beaten up Reebok/Nike trainers and 'I love London' hoodies!  Makes it all a little more worthwhile for you all.

I like it here.  I have a fair amount of time off and I am using this to build a training CD-Rom for the company.  They don't know it yet, but it will be worth paying me for :)

I'm keeping up with the news at home and am aware that we have had elections, but more importantly, Spurs bagged 4th place..  Bingo!

I leave you with one more picture which sort of sums up Papua, it's normal to a point, but if you look close there is something not quite right!

Hope you are all well!


On a environmental note... If any of you feel strongly about this cause then read this article and send the email...  I'm not pushing anyone into it, but do what you feel is right.  Palm oil is a big problem here in this corrupt country and it really is ruining things.

Greenpeace against Indonesian Palm Oil Plantations.