This is Modilon Road, shot right outside the entrance to the Madang Lodge, the property my cottage is on. It’s not quite the only road in Madang- the rather exquisite Coronation Drive winds along the coastline for a couple of miles as a sort of scenic loop alternative to ploughing straight into the city centre- but Modilon, starting downtown, is the only road that actually leaves Madang. As a result, this is the only photo I’ve ever managed to snap of the route without cars on it. For a little place, the traffic along here is brutal- it can take five or six minutes to pull onto it if you have to cross lanes during rush hour, when PMVs, trucks and cars pour down in a ceaseless stream of metal. Who would have thought of traffic jams on a Pacific Island? Really.
But the colours and scenery here are divine, even along the road. Here, a vibrant African Tulip Tree burns with angry crimson, while a broad-capped Rain Tree brings up the rear. Flying Foxes (Fruit Bats) live in the Rain Tree, and come 6pm each night take to the skies in their noisy squawking thousands, one of Madang’s celebrated colonies. Beneath the colony of bats, the bushes mark the edge of the cemetery, filled with hibiscus and other colourful flowering bushes. Off to the right of the frame, Astrolabe Bay is out of sight a hundred yards away, giving a view across to the Rai Coast and the Finnisterre Ranges on the far side of the sea.
I’ve grown quite fond of the little cottage I call home. It sits as one of half a dozen on a side-lot at the Lodge, quite pokey when my housemate Mike and I had to share, but since he’s shoved off to the US to be with his fiancee, I have quite a bit more room. The lifestyle here is gentle and full of dramatic scenery. I can’t wait to get out, but these are some of the things I will miss.