Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Twin Lakes or a Tale of Two Waters.

Lake One. Lake Sentani.

Our small baby Toyota wagon pulled off of the smooth two-lane road and parked amongst the mud and mosquitos. The driver told us that this was Lake Sentani, so we left the car and stood in the mud and admired the view.

Lake Sentani is 45 minutes drive from Jayapura, the Capital of Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya and Hollandia). The road to the Lake is smooth, well sealed, and complete with sign posts, armco barriers and line marking. These things are a rarity just east of the border.

The small group of us took photos of the view and appreciated the stop. We then asked the driver what was next on the agenda, and he said we should wait for the boat.

Well, the boat arrived and aboard we hopped. The small outboard motor buzzed away and was only disturbed by the dial tones of the driver's mobile phone. How a mobile had range in the middle of a great lake 45 minutes from a major Capital centre was a mystery for those of us who had made the journey west into Papua.

The small timber boat chugged around the lake and we passed by stilt villages where the locals waved with excitement and went about their daily routine. We passed fish farmers, large 'Dutch' churches and larger smiles from the kids whom would cry "Foy".

At one Island we stopped and disembarked. There on the Island, the women of the Village showed us some traditional bark paintings which were beautiful in design. Needless to say, we handed over some rupiah in exchange for some of their artwork. The people of the village lived in and amongst the graves of the Dutch settlers whom sent their missionaries some years ago.

After the lake, we visited the Town of Sentani which is a bustling small community of shops, cafes (re: take aways) and traffic all trying to view the concrete bridge which collapsed during the last heavy rain. It was impressive to see the damage that the rising river had caused to some of modern bridge construction... Still, the scooters and Kiangs drove happily over the temporary wooden bridge.

Hati hati.

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