Day 1,750 of Traveling the World | Alotau, Papua New Guinea | November 21, 2022

Alotau was quite a contrast from the Conflict Islands! It sits on the northern side of Milne Bay, which is the gateway to some of the most remote island communities on the planet. It was in this area that the Japanese had their first land defeat in WWII.

Alotau is a poor village, really, with dirt sidewalks and a few businesses. Most of the businesses were stores selling basic goods, such as groceries, clothing, and cell phone top-ups, as well as the ever-present “Beer Store.” Often, likely because nearly all customers were locals, one couldn’t really tell what most stores sold from the exterior. The most common signs were just “wholesale and retail.” There was no attempt at aesthetics.

Everything for sale in the markets and stores is just laid out for you to….seek and find. Most stores we entered, even quite small ones, had a security guard checking everyone as they left and several more guards spread throughout the store. Of course, as tourists from a cruise ship, they barely glanced at us. Cruise ships bring a lot of people – and money – to communities like these and it was clear the people were aware of it. People were very friendly, conscious of the clear difference between tourists and locals, waving from their vehicles, with children running up to us just to say hello, without expecting money.

Photos from the ship make the area look beautiful. The natural beauty of the ocean and landscape is the lure here. Snorkeling and diving are very popular sports in the area.

Early morning on the ship, our first glimpse of Alotau.
Also taken from the top deck, Alotau looks like it is nestled in the arms of the mountains.
The clouds are always beautiful and expressive in the South Pacific.
The water here was more of a deep blue.
Outside the ship were these locals, dressed in native costumes to greet us with instruments as we disembarked. Hours later, they were still there. WE were dripping with perspiration – these folks? Not a drop!
The local grocery store.
The lunch counter in the grocery store.
Walking along the sidewalks, they were all dirt.
We passed a small marina, and again, the clouds dominate the photo.
As we walked around, there were many groups like these, a dozen or so people, just congregated and doing nothing.
A lot of the city looked poverty-stricken.
The market is where the locals shop for bargains.
Chicken feet cost 1 kina, equal to US 28 cents.
Milne Bay War Memorial commemorating the Japanese Army’s first land defeat in WWII. These are a few members of the ship’s crew, who were being photographed by a couple of the ship’s passengers.
Colorful cloths for sale, blowing in the wind.
A typical street scene.
Clouds and palm trees everywhere!
Guess what this is? They were all waiting at the port. It is the local bus!! You climb in through the back, duck your head, and find a seat. You are on your own to decide when to get off!

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