Friday, November 20, 2009
Getting Personal…Village Hike
Day 6. Today was a really special experience. Wesley, one of the locals who works at the dive shop, took us on hike through his home village. We started the trek with a super steep hike up a muddy path where Brock almost fell, but for Wesley this was his normal daily “commute”…oh, did I mention he does this barefooted every day? We came up to his cousin’s fishing house where this little girl was holding 2 little kittens. We took a few pictures, gave her a little hair barrette, and kept up the trail with her now following us. Up the trail a little further there were 2 more kids doing some chores – they were uprooting plants to be replanted at a different garden. The little boy – who was maybe 5 or 6 – was completely naked and his name was Willy. For some reason that struck us as funny. Another boy – probably about 13 – was walking down to go fishing. Wesley told us he had just gone out for the first time by himself fishing and caught 4 Spanish mackerels…we caught him on his way down for his second of I’m sure many solo fishing trips in his life. We stopped one more time along the way to give the kids little trinkets and take a little break. They loved getting their picture taken and we got some great shots. We kept on hiking up until we got to the highest point, which is where the village was. Everyone lives so simply…no electricity, no unnecessary clutter, just the essentials…and everyone seems really happy and so welcoming. Except for one guy…Wesley was going to take us to the end of his village, but this guy who looked like a Papua New Guinea version of Tom Seleck in his prime – mustache and abs galore – did not want us on his land. Wesley said that he had a personal problem with that guy and he was trying to embarrass him in front of his guests. We didn’t push it, but instead just went back to Wesley’s house for a break. Each little house is built on stilts and sits about 3-4 feet off the ground, with a font porch where the women and kids hang out during the day. Wesley’s mom and small sister (rather than calling her his little sister) had bananas they shared with us during our stop. They gave us fans woven out of the bark of a tree for us to shoo the flies away. After a quick break – and Brock breaking their bench…oops – we went on our way back down the other side of the mountain toward the beach. We walked past their church – a thatch roof covering rows of log benches – and the site where the old church had burned down. Wesley told us stories along the way including the reason the church burned…there was a crazy guy who snapped and stabbed his son and burned down their house, also burning down the church. He also told us of the marijuana that is grown there and the young men go out and sell it to the yachts who come up to their bay. It’s crazy to know that half way around the world in a place where everyone lives in paradise and seems happy with their lot, they still have problems like we do in the US. We walked by a few more houses, one with 4 dogs that almost ate Christina, and then made it to the most beautiful beach in the world! White sand, turquoise blue waters and the whole thing surrounded with lush green rainforest…unbelievably gorgeous! The boat had brought our snorkel gear and lunch for us to hang out on the beach for the afternoon…and they knew us well…they had also packed the cooler with lots of beer! We took the afternoon to relax, take in some sun and just enjoy paradise. After we finished everything we could drink, we reluctantly radioed back for the boat to come pick us up. Headed back to the resort where we spent the afternoon resting and cooling off from our afternoon in the sun. Another great dinner and a game of boys vs. girls joker to wrap up a really amazing day.