Well, today is my second-last working day in PNG. I'll be flying back to Melbourne next Tuesday. But not before eating all of these mangoes, which just came into season a few days ago.
I am definitely glad that I was able to spend another six weeks in this country - my experiences in Alotau and Rabaul have been vastly different, but still overwhelmingly positive, and it's provided me with the scope to experience a wider range of what this country has to offer. And still, I can't help but feel that I've only merely scratched the surface of what this country's culture, history and people are all about.
I do hope that I'll be able to visit again. One of the unfortunate realities of most of Pacific Island nations is that it's an expensive place to visit - especially compared to their Asian neighbours. Combined with PNG's unfortunate international reputation, I have to admit that I would never have considered visiting in the past. However, the people here have been far more friendly than most places that I've travelled, and whilst it's true that there are sometimes security concerns, it's by no means any more dangerous than some of Melbourne's suburbs.
Given Australia's interests in Papua New Guinea, and my current career trajectory into international development work, I don't think it's the last I'll be seeing of the Land of the Unexpected.