smw, slt has been back from the 1.5-week Australia holiday for three weeks, and tomorrow we’re off again for meetings in Amsterdam, the annual gathering of us all from the various parts of the world to talk about strategy, planning, management, what have you. It’s been nearly a year since I last had much in-person interaction with my peers and HQ colleagues, so I’m quite looking forward to the meetings, even if I’m not so excited about the 30-hour transit time it wil take to get me from a Port moresby mid-day to an Amsterdam early morning. With such long flights pending, and deep vein thrombosis always a known risk, I’ve been out diving and hiking, swimming and playing tennis to keep this old circulatory system and these weary bones working as well as possible. Herewith a few shots from the most recent bushwalk, up to that lovely hike along the ridge and mountains through the rubber plantation to where the world falls away in one of the most dramatic cliff drops I know of. (Ok, it’s not grand canyon, but it’s pretty remarkable, no?) This time I remembered to record a bit of the rubber-tapping and collection process for your enjoyment or edification. Enjoy…or be edified :-).
When you see wide, skinny shots like this it means I’m trying out my camera’s panning panorama function. The one above should have been tatken at higher resolution b/c now it appears a bit pixellated…but let me know: aside from the image-size and pixellation issue, do you find these panoramas an interesting addition to the mix, or do you prefer standard-format shots? Also, you will have noticed that we’re fairly well into the dry season at this point. Quite a different level of vegetation, lushness and greenery from, say, a highlands rainforest walk, suh as these shots from earlier in the year up at Ambua: https://somuchworldsolittletime.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/moss-mushrooms-a-rainforest-walk/
I admit that I love that shot below: it’s a hardened blob of tapped rubber, after being tipped out of a drip bucket like the ones you see in both of the prior shots (immediately above, and higher up)…but doesn’t it look almost like a luscious dollop of whipped cream atop a mug of mocha with a sprinkle of nutmeg? 🙂
smw, slt has been back in the hills, able for the first time in very nearly a month to get out and about. It was a gorgeous day – dry season has arrived, so it’s not too terribly hot…which was a real gift, since there was such an enormous group out for this popular hike through a rubber plantation near Port Moresby. With such a large group, after our brief stop at the waterfall you saw above, our group got a wee bit split up and I & some friends ended up with the group that didn’t follow the sanctioned path, and ended up doing a rather fun bit of bush-whacking – fun for some of us, not enjoyable for others who I think found it more than they’d gambled on. I’m glad of the good weather because I would not have enjoyed the bush-whacking in the wet, humid, hot season nearly as much…probably not at all in fact. As an aside, I’m sorry I was too wrapped up in a great chat with a(nother) friend to get any photos of the rubber-tapping cups on the trees. But you can always go back here if you wanna see yours truly’s take on rubber trees being tapped: https://somuchworldsolittletime.wordpress.com/2006/08/20/rubber-trees/, from a stroll through another plantation in Malaysia some years ago. If that’s not enough, we’ll likely go to this plantation again and I’ll try to get some more rubber-tree shots for you then…I must also offer a FAR MORE important apology, right: turns out my lens had something on it, which I didn’t notice. I’m hoping it’s not a permanent scratch. I’ve decided most of the pics are still worth showing despite the fuzzy bit, and I hope you agree…this shot immediately below, taken during the up-and-down bushwhacking part that was not in the original plan, is an example. Cross your fingers with me that this is not something permanently on the lens… Above and below, and then again several times, you see the extraordinarily sheer and steep cliff drop-off where the water fall was. It’s shocking, dramatic, scary, and very beautiful all at once. I’d been on this hike once before last year, and forgot my camera that time. This time I was determined to have it along so I could catalog the views for myself.
I suspect I’m overdoing the shots of the cliff and drop-off, but it truly is so startling and compelling that I kept snapping. And I’ve been selective about what I put up on here, honestly! As you see, the walk took in grasslands with gum trees, steep hills strewn with boulders as though a giant had gotten angry and started throwing them about, and lots more. It’s great hike – I just wish my camera didn’t have that obnoxious bit on the shots of some of my favorite parts!