Work Permit

The news just came in from the town of Moresby, that a work permit has been submitted for a lad… Me.

The work folk have panicked, there are no weeks to spare, as I organize my Visa and get the hell over there.

Right now 500,000 people are in trouble, for soon will arrive in a very big bubble

A head nonetheless, if there ever was one, to rival the Aussies and block out the sun.

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The final leg. Dunedin-Brisbane-Port Moresby-Brisbane-Dunedin

I am so glad that in a few short hours I will be home. I am very tired. I’ve never felt this tired before, but I think trying to stay on kiwi time, but burning the candle on PNG time, the sights, smells and sounds – and the prick in the hotel room next to be (I got my own back this morning)… Have really contributed to my sleep deprivation.

I arrived in Brisbane last night, and Sue, Dion and Satu were waiting at the airport for me to arrive, it’s been 5 years since I have seen Sue, about 7 for Dion – and I hadn’t yet met his lovely bride-to-be – Satu. We had a nice evening catching up, Barramundi and Chips for dinner (considering I don’t eat a lot of fish – Barramundi is superb). And then Dion and myself caught a taxi into town so that he could go off to work and I could try and sleep.

Royal on the Park didn’t upgrade me this time around, but I didn’t have any energy for a spa anyway… :) The dickhead in the next room was having a party until 10pm when he and his friends left, but they were back at 4am, and obviously got lost as they started banging on my door. So at 6am I turned on the TV, and on leaving gave their room and door a few good bangs. I bet they didn’t hear, but I sure felt better. Checked into the flight home early, tried to get an upgrade, exit seat or something. Not sure what seat I have but it maybe right behind premium, which will give me a bit of legroom and a quick gate exit. Just had the 10 minute call for boarding, so I suppose I will find out soon.

I had a chat on the phone to my father last night, he is in Daru, which is somewhere between Lae and Madang – it was an interesting conversation, as we both have the exact same feelings about PNG. I haven’t had much to do with my father over the past 20 odd years, buts it’s obvious that we are very similar – I am taller though :). Andrew, my southern highlands friend from the plane, is only a little fella, so Dad (who is normally the shortest man around) must be enjoying the fact he is taller than most :).

On Virgin Pacific now, again, have primo seat 4C, aisle right behind Premium economy (which is empty). Empty seat beside me and yet the rest of the plane is full…. I’ll be first out of the plane which is nice. So apart from being completed stuffed, the actual flying has been well above average. For lunch today, there will be a packet of m&m’s, ham & cheese wrap, and a ginger beer. No alcohol for me today – I want to be able to function 100% tomorrow….

Some advice from me to you, my avid reader (of which I know there are just the two of you), aisle seats are better that window seats, the window allows you to look at clouds and skies, the aisle give you stewardess bums, not that I am looking of course – it’s just an observation. If you are traveling to PNG and want to buy duty-free cigarettes, buy them on the plane $15us a carton, as opposed to $75AUD in Australia, or about the same in NZ. In fact, with the dollar the way it is, I actually wouldn’t buy too much in Aussie. A pair of men’s pants cost slightly less duty free in AUD than normal but when you convert the dollars to Kiwi I think it’s actually cheaper to buy clothes in NZ… Weird, or maybe my brain is so tired I can’t get the dollars and cents right. Funny thing is, the clothes in Brisbane, were the same as Dunedin. Polyester mix pants. So I think what I have will just have to do – might have to have a wee trip to Singapore to get more appropriate clothing eh ;)

Please, if you want any information on my experiences in PNG, or indeed once I am over there for good – let me know, I’ll be happy to help. I have an extremely good recall memory, so ask away.

For now – I am going to sit back, enjoy my book on my iPad, and relax before the flurry of activity that is the wife and kids descends on me in Dunedin.

tangio tumas

Homeward bound

I have had some amazing experiences in Port Moresby, and even the flight home is providing me with more. I had a sleep in this morning, was up at 5am (7am NZ Time), sorted my bags out, did some blogging (PNG 20 Lessons), and then down to have breakfast as late as possible. Again, they haven’t sorted my complimentary breakfast, I had a chat with the young waitress from yesterday – who was pleased that I wasn’t making a fuss. Back to the room and bumped into the cleaner who has been cleaning my room, had another nice chat. This is a problem though cause a 1 minute walk sometimes takes 10 minutes…

Checked out of the Hotel, and sorted out the extra charges for breakfast. The front desk staff just removed them from the bill, which was good. Maybe I should have just sorted it out the day before…

Got hold of Syd who came and picked me up to take me through to the airport, we had a good chat in the car, and he is very keen to throw some consulting work at JB around Lotus Notes.

Arrived at the airport, and set off the first metal detector with a pen in my pocket. They scan all your luggage and yourself before you checkin, then through checkin, up to Duty Free, and then to customs – where I had to get screened and scanned again. Again the buzzer went, so I am holding the queue up trying to find the pen, which I didn’t have on me. So took off my belt and watch, and went through fine.

Got a bottle of water for the plane ride, and sat reading a book until departure. Meanwhile an Aussie lady with a wee boy named Jaxon sat next to me, he was a bit hyper and giving his mum some grief so I started up my iPad and we played one of the kids puzzle games until boarding. It is amazing how kids just get how to use an iPad, he figured it out pretty good. Then we had to go through another set of bag screening checking for liquids… Manually opening the bags, and of course my bottle of water was confiscated… Hmmm.

Sitting now next to a chap from the Southern Highlands (Andrew), who lives in Mosbi and works next door to work in the BSP bank. We hit it off pretty quick and had many discussions over a couple of hours. I am going to catch up with him when I get back up into PNG and he is going to take me out and about. I am normally a good judge of people, and felt like I had known Andrew for ages. I’m a little concerned that he is going to take me into the settlements, however I have been in the slums of India, through some pretty dodgy places in Africa, and am most likely to be silly and go into the settlements by myself – so more than happy to be going in there with someone else. It will diffuse the temptation for me :). Andrew is part of the credit department at the bank, it’s his job to reclaim money’s owing or repossessions. I don’t fancy that job, people can get pretty particular if you take their stuff away, but imagine taking away something from the entire family and extended family (wantok). wantok – pronounced wontok, is a more complex family group similar to whanau and iwi. You are responsible for your wantok’s and they you, wantok’s could be family, tribe, village and I think even friends. Something else really interesting about PNG is that even though someone might come from Port Moresby, born and raised – they don’t seem to call Mosbi home. Home is where their family comes from, it might be a coastal village or highland village, which is maybe why there is a lot less pride in Mosbi. I am sure it is a lot more complex than this, but that is what I get the feeling… It’s like that saying “you never shit in your own backyard” well, Mosbi isn’t their backyard – it’s just where they are living.
I also get the impression, that lots of people don’t actually go “home”, net migration to the city does create a disparity and with poverty, there is possibly just no way that they can get back to their villages, if in fact the village is still there.

What is also amazing about PNG people is how different people look, I know that Kiwi’s look different to Aussies, but these are tribes that look different. It’s just, so amazing. I never thought to ask what tribe Andrew is from, but I am sure that we will be able to have many discussions in the future :)

I am sure that I am really going to enjoy the PNG cultures, and hope that it shines through where corruption, poverty and crime are normally in the limelight.

Right now we are an hour out of Brisbane, the seat I am in is killing my back, and I need a sleep… Fat chance there eh :)

Last day in Mosbi

I have picked off just about everything on my ‘wife’ list to do:

Nappies/Diapers – check. Heaps of them, not too expensive. Modern Cloth nappies would go down a treat here

Hardware Store – well, it isn’t mitre 10, but it has the normal fare, no sandpaper for JBs mouse sander, so need to bring that :) – check.

Are laundry rooms separate – depends on the accommodation – check

Storage – lots of storage and room, won’t need bookcases etc

Coffee – mocona coffee is over NZ$25 for a small 50gm jar. The local coffee is cheap and good. Comes pre-roasted, ground or you can grind your own.

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Supermarket – didn’t see Baked Beans with sausages. But you can certainly get most thing we eat

Markets – A bit dodgy, even the locals are wary at the markets. A couple that are OK to go to, one of which only a bloke should go to, and with not much money.

Charity – knock yourself out. One of the guys wives here runs Stitches and Bitches. Obviously a sewing group for women :)

Photos: I was asked to take lots of photos, which I will upload at some later date. Here is the list…

School: as much as I could without taking photos of the kids
Work: it’s an office – it all looks the same
Housing: yup, heaps…
Beaches: maybe got a couple, but not beaches you would normally venture down to. Risk of cholera etc.
Airport: why? Hehe OK I got some photos out there too :)
Port Moresby – stat: yup – check

PNG 20 Lessons

Lesson 1: If you need a good night sleep, drink SP Lager.
Lesson 2: Don’t open your curtains into a hot Port Moresby sun if you don’t want to blind yourself
Lesson 3: You don’t need the aircon blasting in your Hotel room, stick it on low and in the low/mid 20′s, that way it won’t be too much of a shock when you go outside.
Lesson 4: If you like a hot shower get up early
Lesson 5: Use your cellphone as an alarm clock, the Hotel alarm clock constantly blinks having reset itself with a power cut
Lesson 6: if you have the opportunity to pee – then pee. I think people thought I had a problem, always rushing off to the loo – but, I have drunk so much water, when the need arises, I don’t want to be stuck somewhere with no toilet.
Lesson 7: Don’t bag expats or locals. Not everyone is here for the dollar, nor is everyone a rascal.
Lesson 8: Don’t forget stuff, it’s bloody hard once you are driving to turn back.
Lesson 9: No one knows how to drive! Even if they do know how to drive, pretend they don’t. Pretend you are on a motorcycle in the middle of rush hour, and you are wearing no helmet and a pink tutu. Everyone looks at you, but nobody sees you coming. And if you get hit – you get knocked off your bike.
Lesson 10: Don’t be angry – with anyone, at anytime.
Lesson 11: You can’t say hello to everyone, you will never get anywhere
Lesson 12: if you have clean phobia’s don’t bother coming to Port Moresby, it’s a beautiful city, but very dusty and pride in Port Moresby’s appearance doesnt seem to exist.
Lesson 13: Don’t be stupid. We watched a young attractive expat woman walking down the main road in Town on her cellphone, with her handbag just hooked over her shoulder. In most places I have been to she will have had her bag snatched pretty quickly. Sean was of the same opinion, and voiced it straight away.
You don’t do that in many countries in the world, it is too much temptation. And the problem is, if someone snatchs her bag – they will get caught, and have the crap beaten out of them. All you have lost is your bag – because you were stupid, they get beaten up – because they were hungry and opportunistic and you were carrying a nice cream donut over your shoulder.
Lesson 14: Be polite and respectful. There is nothing more charming than chatting to the angry looking security guard for 10 minutes. We talked about where he was from, where I was from, Rugby League (state of origin starts this week), PNG and Port Moresby. To the nice man at the gate of the Ela Beach Hotel – thank you, I really enjoyed our conversation.
Lesson 15: Sometimes you have to say hello first – don’t be a sour puss or too afraid. (that has always been my number 1 rule of travel). It doesn’t matter who it is, I introduced myself to an American man at the bar on Thursday night, asked to sit at his table – he was having a meeting soon, and we talked. If I didn’t go up to him, both he and I would have spent 15 minutes alone.
Lesson 16: Panadol and Water, both for the heat – you don’t want to dehydrate, or wander around with a headache.
Lesson 17: Always have your car licensing and drivers license on you and up to date, we went through about 5 checkpoints where the police were checking rego and safety stickers. I was warned that they like taking your money and will pressure expat wives as they normally have money. They also pull over every cab driver. Andrew was saying that the taxi’s will flick them 20kina as a “tip” to be on their way. We watched a van go through the checkpoint, and it looked like it had done about 30 demolition derbys, obviously they had no money, so no reason to pull them over – cynical I know.
Lesson 18: don’t get to close to trucks driving the freeway. A truck ran off the bottom of the freeway the other day, and killed a couple of people. Then a bus smashed into the back of a truck on the freeway, thankfully no deaths. Remember Lesson 9.
Lesson 19: Patience. Be patient with everyone. Port Moresby is a melting pot of so many different cultures. Not only do you have the many different cultures within PNG, but there are Australians, English, Filipino, Canadians, Korean, Malaysian, Americans, Kiwi’s…. All trying to find their way in the Land of the Unexpected.
Lesson 20: If you see it – buy it. I know that this message has been done to death, but it is reiterated here. Something as simple as sugar, you are only allowed 1 small bag. So if you see it – buy it.

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