Monday, August 3, 2015

Masks & Fire

Cruising has a lot of positives. You become more flexible. You learn to live simply. You slow down. But these mental shifts have their drawbacks. Primarily, you (read: I) lose all perspective about what "normal life" looks like. Cruisers live in a world where you wake up in the morning, discover the local conga festival is starting, and spend a happy day admiring costumes and eating meat-on-a-stick. There is no planning. There are no logistics. Wake, discover, enjoy. That's it.

The problem comes when you return to regular life with a regular schedule. Suddenly, your vacations have to be planned - ahead of time and everything. Book travel, book hotels, try not to cringe when you think of eating restaurant meals for a week. And not only do you have to plan, but your years on the boat have given you a warped notion of what a vacation should look like. There will be no beach holiday at an all-inclusive. There will be no Disneyland. No, what you are looking for is more along the lines of sitting in the grass under an umbrella and hanging out with the locals. Hopefully with a snappy dance number.
And that is where we are now. Instead of trying to make our cruising life replicate our land life, we are making our land life replicate our cruising life. As it happens, PNG is perfect for that.

We had a very busy weekend in Kokopo and Rabaul. Driving off into the wilderness, coaxing vulcanologists to give us a tour of their facility, eating fried chicken by the roadside, exploring WWII tunnels, ripping weeds off Japanese bombers, visiting hotsprings and sifting through volcanic ash. It was a busy time. But you are here for the mask festival. I have far too many photos to show them all; here are a representative few:

As a bonus for those of you who made it this far, here is a sample of the Baining Fire Dance - the undisputed highlight of our trip:


Anonymous said...

Fantastic. I am especially intrigued by the BVM who sits prominently in a few of the masks. Were the missionaries able to reach out & "convert" some of the locals?
Love Mom

Karen said...

OK - those masks are pretty amazing!