August 03, 2012

Family Conference Part 2

After our time at family conference, we took a short plane ride over to the interior city of Wamena, also in the Baliem Valley, for a few days of vacation.  Wamena - the largest city that is totally supported by air travel - is the site of an MAF base, and a hub of sorts for many different mission organizations and NGO's.

I saw something on the MAF base I had never seen before - a house in the tropics with a CHIMNEY!!!  Yes, the nights are cool enough in Wamena for a fireplace, and we sure did enjoy some fires while we were there.

Another thing that was new and different for us was taking a ride around town in a becak, a bicycle taxi.  

Our friends the Ringenbergs took very good care of us - feeding us and taking us on outings.  One night they cooked a turkey dinner, and the electricity went off, as it often does.  If you've never had a turkey dinner by headlamp-light, well, you haven't lived.

One day we went fossil hunting in a river bed and Luke found this really cool fossil.  He's in a rocks and fossils stage right now and so I was happy for his great find.

Another day we went on a drive through the beautiful countryside outside of Wamena and saw honai...

...goats and pigs...
...but the best thing we saw, or at least I thought so, was a man wearing his traditional Dani outfit, consisting of nothing but a gourd.  However, in an effort to keep this blog G-rated, I will decline from posting the picture of the Gourd Guy.

We went with the Ringenbergs to a very cool cave, so cool that David thought he should have an Indiana Jones type moment and fall through the rotting floorboards of a bridge inside it and dangle precariously above a 100-foot ravine.  Okay, there was no ravine, but it was all quite dramatic, and thankfully a Dutch mission doctor was also hiking in the cave and was able to check out David's injuries.

The entrance to the cave looked very Lord of the Rings-ish.  

We were well-equipped with head lamps and flashlights, but we did take a moment to turn off all the lights and experience the spooky pitch-black darkness.

Our time in Wamena seemed to be over way too soon, and then it was back to the big city of Sentani. I can see why tourists spend a lot of money and effort to visit the Baliem valley - it is a wild and beautiful place, and I look forward to going there again.

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