Birthdays and Vomit – not mine

On Wednesday, we finally moved into our new home. Not Era Dorina as planned – a long story that one… But in true PNG style, we have unexpectedly dropped into Pacific Vista, and boy does it have a Vista. Fantastic pool, great neighbours, and 4 toilets! Of which we do need all of them…. Later my friends later.

Firstly, lots of sad news, in no order except what is in my mind.

1. Dr Wendy, of Educating Wendy is leaving Lae and off to Borneo.. Yay for Wendy! I will miss her musings about Lae, but happy that she is happy. Still read her blog though eh! In true expat fashion, leaving is called – go pinis (go finish), however I was told by my PNG team, that to go pinis, is to be said when you have actually gone… I have so much to learn.

2. And Airlines PNG plane crashed the other day, and killed most on board. Yesterday, we found out that one of the guys that was in at work doing a phone system audit for me the other day, was amongst the departed. RIP

3. One of my team, Geraldine – was robbed on a PMV on the way to work, by two men at Koki. Whist organizing a lift home for her, and getting her some counciling, I found out our HR Manager had been robbed at the same spot earlier in the week. I will never stop outside Koki markets again! Earlier in the week, one of our expats smashed his car up going past 2 mile settlement, thankfully he is OK. But not a spot I would like to have an accident…..

4. It was my 39th birthday the other day. Does this make me middle aged? I think, I don’t look 39, no balding head, no midlife crisis (no marathon or triathlon here), and I so don’t feel that in 363 days, I’ll be 40. On the bright side, it was also the companies birthday – so we had a BBQ lunch, and then after work I got half drunk at the Yacht club, came home and passed out on the couch. My day did start out in typical Bird fashion, up early, then Xaria (X3) vomited all over me – yay!

So on Wednesday, we moved into our new place. Customs still haven’t cleared our container, and now I am being asked for 4000 kina for storage charges. This must be why, in the past 12 months, the customs department has been the most profitable government department in PNG. When you make more than the Tax department, then you must be doing something right/wrong/dodgy.. (delete the most appropriate)

Thankfully, our new place has 4 toilets, even more if you count the ones out at the pool. And this morning we need them all. It started with X1 vomitting, then X3, then JB, then X2 shat himself, X3 had the runs, then JB, then X1 with the vomit again (in the bed), then X2 shat himself, then vomitted, I then ended up on the bog, JB did too whist trying to clean sheets. I was dry retching whist trying to clean vomit and spew off the floor, and finally – apart from us all being very exhausted from being up all night, we might be OK.

Something tells me, I won’t be going to the Yacht club to watch the league or the rugby today….

Let’s hope our container gets here soon, so that at least we have spare sheets!

On the awesomeness scale, digicel have released new prepaid data rates. 500mb of goodness (to be used within 30 days) on the mobile 3G network, for just 80kina. Beats the hell out of 100kina for about 150mb! And thus, my portable 3G Huawei mifi hotspot is getting a hammering – hello world!

And finally, on actually the saddest note. My hero: Steve Jobs passed away. Steve had a mantra, which I use every day: “The journey is the reward” – yes Steve, it certainly is. RIP you genius of all technology, everyone will miss you – but everyone won’t miss you. Your presence will endure for ever, and you will be remembered as the revolutionary of our generation, our century.

Potholes and fun in Port Moresby

Let me begin by stating; Lae is the unofficial pothole city, Port Moresby is a cheaper cousin, but much more fun! In Lae, you get potholes the size of cars, Moresby – just tyres :)

The kids love potholes around Moresby, I swerve to avoid – but sometimes clip the odd one, and after every rain there are extra potholes for twice the fun. For extra points, we hook up the hill behind town and hoon around up there – great fun. And when it rains… The potholes get lots of buddies…

So the last couple of weeks have been quite eventful, we are still living in a Hotel, Jacinta had a birthday, the kids started school, and I cracked 120 on the freeway in an emergency dash back to the hotel when Xaria fell off the bed, and knocked herself out. I bit of a drama, but she is OK..

Talking about car driving, the speed limit here is 60 km/h. Nobody drives at 60! It’s either 10 or 100. The police setup roadblocks to check registrations and collect revenue – they also drive at whatever speed they feel like, and there is no speed guns, or cameras – so if you have the balls, and a clear road, with no potholes… and you can do 200, they isn’t anyone here going to stop you!

Jacinta finally got her license yesterday, her first question: do I have to drive as fast as you? lol. – nope, but just don’t dawdle. In the wrong place, at the wrong time – you are an easy target for a good old fashioned carjacking. Here in Moresby, the saying “the faster you go, the bigger the mess”, translates to “the faster you go, the less of a mess”.

The other unique thing here in Moresby is the fun times you have, when the power goes out. As I am typing this, the power has dropped out twice. I have also just been about to jump in the lift, when the power died… So jumped out really quick! And at Brian Bell (home centre shop) last weekend, the power went out, just as we were about to purchase our goods, however instead of coming straight back on, it just stayed off. The staff put “counter closed” signs up, and they finally let everyone that could, pay by cash. Every PC at work has it’s own UPS!

We are still all getting used to the food, the heat (yes, it’s getting hotter now), the crowds, the cars, the buai (betel nut), the newspaper reports of rapes and murders, the political murmuring, and of course Island Time!

Above all the horrible things you hear about PNG – still, the people are amazing. And yes, although frustrating at times – I love it here….