The ticket attendant at Lae airport was pessimistic. “We have a seat for you to Port Moresby, but all flights farther south are fully booked for the next three months. All hotels in Port Moresby are full. You’d be better off staying here in Lae.”
No way. I had to keep moving. This had to work out somehow.
So, I flew to Port Moresby.
That afternoon I approached another airline ticket counter, this time in Port Moresby. This was the most critical seat of all.
(While in Bougainville and Rabaul I had loaded up on New Guinean art: carvings, baskets, bows and arrows, a set of bamboo pipes for playing music. This I had piled all around me at the Port Moresby airport.)
On the tarmac sat a beautiful TAA Boeing 727 about to load passengers.
The ticket clerk shook his head. “You’re in trouble, mate. This flight has been overbooked for weeks.”
“Well, I was all booked yesterday, but I couldn’t get out of Bougainville,” I pled.
“Can’t tell you anything. The plane’s full.”
So, I sat down near the counter with all my gear and tourist purchases piled around me.
This has to work out somehow.
OR, I’d sleep in that terminal building until they got me onto a flight south. Maybe, for weeks?