Day 7, Friday.
Today we were planning on leaving between 9 and 10 but the weather refused to cooperate. If the helicopter didn’t come by 3 or so we would not get out. The wind howled and the rain beat against the roof making the entire house loud. When the wind stopped blowing the fog was so thick that you could not see across the valley. All day we drank coffee and waited to see if the helicopter could make it in. The Digicell internet and phones didn’t work either so we had no way of communicating with the pilot back in Goroka. So we just rested and hung out until 2:45.
I took advantage of the time by finishing a book. Right at 2:45 I went into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. Then out of nowhere we heard the chopper. It was a beautiful sight to see it land because if we would not have gotten out we would have had to wait three more days. This would have messed up all of our flights and complicated things immensely. But God provided and after an hour ride we arrived safely back in Goroka where a man drove us 17 kilometers back to the NTM base.
At the base we had to spend time washing our shoes which were full of mud. I also did a load of laundry since all of our clothes were wet and smelled like mildew. We ate dinner with the other guests at the guesthouse and retired for the night. Prior to going to bed we set our soaked shoes under the ceiling fan and they managed to dry out before the morning.
Day 8, Saturday.
On Saturday we ate breakfast at the guesthouse then took the 17 kilometer journey back to the airport. GoroKa certainly has the smallest airport I have ever been too. The outgoing flights were written on a whiteboard that was broken. The lobby/security/check in room was about 30 feet by 40 feet. Raymond helped us check in with plenty of time to spare. Once our plane arrived he departed and we stood in line to board. They don’t clean the plane or refuel, people get off, and you get on. The plane was basically a needle with propellers that you walk across the parking lot to get on.
When we arrived in Port Morsby we had about three hours to spare. Unfortunately we did not have hard copies of our itinerary from Japan to the US and the people at Port Morsby said we needed these documents. I turned my phone on and made a very expensive call to Kathi to get them sent to the customer service counter for us, which she did after a few tense minutes. After having the appropriate documents printed we ate some lunch and made our way up to the only waiting room they have for international flights.
The flight from Port Morsby to Tokyo lasted six hours. Everything was fine until we took off. The plane shook and bounced up and down for almost an hour in the turbulent winds. And the seats on the PNG plane were so cramped my knees pressed against the seat in front of me. It was in the top ten most uncomfortable flights I have even been on. We are all ready for bed.