KiwiExpat beginners guide to Port Moresby 2015 edition – part 1

  1. Port Moresby’s International Airport is called Jackson’s, and so is the domestic Airport. This is abbreviated to POM, which is also what we call Port Moresby to other people from Port Moresby. Eg: “When are you going back to Pom?“
  2. Port Moresby is also called Moresby or Mosbi, as well as Pom. Often the names get interchanged whilst talking (just to confuse you). Eg: “Hey, how’s life in Port Moresby?”, “Oh man, Moresby a bit crazy at the moment”, “No shit?”, “Yeah – when you coming back to Pom?”, “Ahhh – dunno bro, all my Mosbi wantoks want me to come back – but not sure when”….
  3. Port Moresby is spread out along an old main route called the Hubert Murray Highway. This is the old way old of “Town” (the modern way and most used is via the Poreporena Freeway (Spring Garden Road)).
  4. The CBD location beside Paga Hill is called Town, and the old Hubert Murray route is used for naming locations along this route
    1. Town
    2. 2 Mile (Badili Area)
    3. 3 Mile – Although this is actually called Murray Barracks
    4. 4 Mile (Boroko) – but normally refers to the 4 Mile PMV (Bus) Stop
    5. 5 Mile – 5 Mile roundabout (has a Mobil Service Station) – beside Jack Pidik Park
    6. 6 Mile – T intersection, left takes you to Jackson’s Airport – right takes you down the Magi Highway
    7. 7 mile – Jacksons’s Airport
    8. 8 mile – ATS settlement, Malolo Estate
    9. 9 mile – 9 mile settlement, right hand turn off to Sogeri
    10. 14 mile – Pacific Adventist University (PAU), Adventure Park, Orchid Gardens
    11. 16 mile – Hugo Canning factory (Ox and Palm)
    12. 17 mile – Bluff Inn
    13. Sogeri
    14. Turn right for Crystal Rapids
    15. Veer left for Koitaki
  5. The main suburbs/area’s are:
    1. Town
    2. Ela Beach/Ela Makana
    3. Touaguba
    4. Konedobu (Kone)
    5. Hanuabada
    6. Hohola
    7. Koki
    8. Badili
    9. Gabutu
    10. Korobosea
    11. Gordons
    12. Waigani
    13. Ensisi
    14. Erima
    15. Gerehu
  6. Suburbs/area’s you may not want to visit without a local are:
    1. June Valley
    2. Morata
    3. Sabama
    4. Erima
    5. Gerehu past stage 3
    6. Gordon’s Market
    7. Koki Market area
  7. Where can you get a Coffee? There are lots of places, however my favorites are:
    1. My Place :) (we only drink PNG coffee – yum!)
    2. Other people’s places – especially when they like PNG coffee too ;)
    3. Duffy’s
    4. Edge Café
    5. Fusion Restaurant
    6. Airways Hotel
    7. Brumby’s at Vision City (when the machine is working)
    8. Royal Papua Yacht Club
    9. Espresso Café – Deliotte Tower (only cause I work upstairs)
    10. Boncafe – Deliotte Tower (Only cause I work upstairs, they open at 7:30am, and we get to see their pet rats that run around behind them…)
  8. So, you are now hungry – here’s my favourite eateries
    1. Fusion Restaurant – Wonton Noodle Soup
    2. Duffy’s – for their beef pie’s
    3. The Edge Café – The steak sandwich or Egg’s Benedict
    4. The Imperial – Salty Fish Rice
    5. Asia Aroma’s – Salt & Pepper Squid
    6. Stone Grill or Tapa’s at The Yachty – RPYC
    7. Friday night Fish n Chips at Sail’s Café – RPYC
    8. Sail’s Café – Egg’s Benedict
    9. Ten Japanese Restaurant – It’s all good, but try the special buffet lunch
    10. The Aviat – Burger and Chips. But standard lunch menu is a good pub lunch
    11. Koitaki – for local beef
    12. Bluff Inn – for a burger and chips
    13. Airways – Buffet Lunch
    14. Ela Beach Hotel – Pizza
    15. Foodstation – Pizza and Fish n Chips
    16. Ang’s – Best duck in town
    17. Sunset Lodge Lea Lea – BYO food to cook on the wood fired BBQ
    18. Big Rooster – for Fried Chicken (which I don’t eat BTW) and the best chips in PNG
    19. Tasty Bite – for steaks and Mexican… kidding Indian ;)
  9. And if you really have to eat at home, then you need some groceries
    1. Waterfront Supermarket (is 10 to 15% more expensive, but it’s nice, so we go there :) )
    2. Boroko Foodworld at Gordons – still the best damn sausages anywhere… and I mean anywhere!! Was the place to go a few years ago until the new supermarkets opened
    3. RH Hypermart in Vision City – I really like their Ham, and quite often are a lot cheaper than anywhere else, they also have a Brumby’s bakery onsite
    4. SVS Harbourcity – used to be our old supermarket, now it just looks old… pretty grotty place, but you can find things here that you can’t anywhere else. Might be because they have less clientele now
    5. Waigani Central Stop and Shop (or Stab and Grab for a bit of fun) – has some of the best range of cheese around.
    6. RH Hypermart opposite Brian Bell – grotty grotty grotty, hold your fecken wallets…. Actually not a bad place ;) you can get items here that no one else stocks
    7. SVS 2 Mile – has possibly the best stock of spices around
    8. SVS Koki – used to be (a long time ago) part of the Anderson’s Chain. Been there, not worth going back
    9. The Shed at PAU Markets – my favourite place for fresh fruit and vege, only open Sunday morning at 14 mile, make sure you spread some cash around the outside market as well – some of the locals grow the best pumpkin you have had in your life!   Even my kids eat it – and kids never eat pumpkin, they are normally forcefed…
    10. Malaro Markets – no wallets, old clothes, go with a local the first time :) best market in Pom. Although you can get fresh fish at Koki Market, or on the side of the road – this is the best place to come.
    11. Side of the road – some of the best fruit and vege is found on the side of the road by a bunch of street sellers, people like Anna Banana and Peter bring fruit down from Sogeri and sell it at strategic places around the city (like the school when it’s pickup time). You can haggle a little with them (please don’t be too harsh), and if you buy banana’s, make sure they are green – they are the bestest!
    12. Sogeri – if you drive up to Sogeri in Pineapple season, buy some! If you have never had “real” pineapple (or banana’s for that matter) before – then you are in for a treat.

 

Part 2 to come…..

Jackson’s Airport Port Moresby

I’m sitting in Brisbane International airport with a 4 hour delay till the plane leaves for New Zealand, and. I was thinking about the changes happening at dear wee airport – POM.

Right now Port Moresby International Airport (Jackson’s) is going through a major refurbishment. But this means reduced services, no cafe’s, limited duty free, less seating, and NO AIR CON! I know…. Basically, they have a bunch of high wall aircon’s around the place trying to cool down a couple of hundred people. In outbound customs there is 1 AC… And lots of big fans that will chop off kids hands if they accidentally poke their fingers in there.

So, what are the benefits of all this change? Well, for one – outbound customs have a proper dedicated express lane (where you can use those express passes that you have collected). There will be new services and shops, and generally they will try and bring the airport up to modern standards.

No longer do you have to go through a scanning machine at the entry to the building (thankfully), and security after customs, although only one machine, is quite fast with guys that seem to know what they are doing…

We still have lots of confusion around though so here is my cheat sheet:

1. Grab lots of customs cards, fill them out at home before you go to the airport – there is no pens, no anywhere currently to fill this out.
2. Go early! Then, go have coffee at airways. Get an express pass so that you can clear customs quickly
3. Join a frequent flyer program! For the record Virgin Australia have cheaper flights, and better program for families. Both Jacinta and myself are Platinum or Gold with Virgin due to family pooling of status credits.
4. Your bag gets checked for liquids just before you board – be prepared!
5. When checking in, make sure they put your bag tag on the bag
6. Listen carefully, the screens are small and the boarding calls can be missed. 45 minutes from flight departure should have you listening to the calls – especially as sometimes there are 5 flights very close together
7. Did I mention getting an express pass? No one ever takes these off you, so try to beg borrow steal – or earn one, then use it just to get through outbound customs. The guy at premium checkin will give you one each :) (that’s 5 for us)
8. Don’t wear jeans! It’s hot in there…
9. Flying at the pointy end is better than the back ;)

Domestic next time :)

The great Expat Exodus – PNG to the World

Well, it’s that time of year, when the schools are finishing up, kids and wives go away for Christmas waiting for hubby’s to catch up later, and then all those families that go pinis (go finish – leave) after finishing up 1, 2 or 3 year contracts, and even those that have moved on from life here in the tropics – the long termers…

This time around is having a profound effect on the Bird family with lots and lots of our friends and PNG family leaving this December. Most people are now finishing up 3 years and some 2, but it’s the ones that came up the same time as us that is really hard to say good bye to. They were the families that shared the shock of new culture, of living behind razor wire, and of finding their way in the Land of the Unexpected.

They leave, and we consider the journey, friends lost today, but gained forever.

PNG does strange thing to people, brings us together even though we might never be “mates” anywhere else. Gets us tolerating those little issues that might piss you off back home, and gives us an appreciation of other countries, cultures and ways of life. It changes you… Mostly for the better, and that’s why it is so hard to say goodbye, so we don’t. We say “congratulations” and plan to meet one day, somewhere else, if only for a short while. And we do…

Our children, so resilient, see their friends depart. The tears, the frustrations, but also the knowledge that the world is a small place, and they will always have their PNG friends.

You all know who you are, you are still reading my blog :). Thank you all for being a part of our adventure. Remember, when you want to get away from the craziness of the world, there’s always beds here in Port Moresby – the insane sane place in an insane world.

And once you have left, and can’t hit me, I’m gonna post photos!

:)

Aaron

Expat Living in Port Moresby

There is something to be said about life in another country, it either makes you a more tolerant person, or less so. Sadly, here in Moresby it can flit from one day to the next, but there is one thing most people here can’t abide and that is those expats that think they are better than everyone else.

A prime example today, we were grocery shopping and on leaving the grocery shop, here’s a van blocking all the traffic whilst a bunch of young expat blokes disembark, only for the van to move forward 5 meters and drive into a vacant car park – sorry guys, but that’s just rude. A little sign in the front of the van “ADF”…

Then there is the big white Prado, that sits blocking the entrance to whatever entrance it can find so it’s passengers only have to walk 2 meters to the door. These big white Prado’s are pretty recognizable as Exxon Mobil vehicles – commonly with people inside that get told off if they stand in the sun….

And then there is the van that takes kids to the school and parks on the pedestrian crossing where the other children have to cross. It has diplomatic plates too….

Or the guy that yells across the cafe for another coffee because he is now a lazy shit that realizes he can only get away with it here.

And the diplomatic plated car that always takes 2 car parks at the grocery store, same one everytime. Maybe drive a smaller car bro.

And the guy who can barely dress himself, yelling at the store assistant because it took a little longer for the assistant to get the computer to record the transaction.

Or the car driving up the freeway in excess of 140km/hr during the school run when there are little kiddies walking up the side of the road.

So, if you are coming to Port Moresby, or Papua New Guinea. Forget about being the “big boss man”, drop your baggage at the airport, embrace your new expat life, try to be respectful to the locals, and remember – there is no need to do things here that you can’t get away with at home…

Aaron

The wages paradox here in Port Moresby

I’ve been thinking a lot about the wages situation here in PNG, lots of us talk about the same issues….

The big issue for our National staff is family commitments, with no social welfare, and very little in the way of significant employment, our teams by default start being the caregiver for their whole families. Where we in NZ get plenty of government assistance, Papua New Guineans are reliant on family or the village in order to live.

And here lies the paradox – the wage trap, the skill trap, the sole earner trap.

As soon as someone starts earning more, there is a lot more pressure to ensure that they are looking after everyone else. As income rises, so does the expectation. And don’t get me wrong, I think it’s amazing that this happens, and maybe it’s a blueprint for crowd sourced social welfare. But the impact is significant, and as the expectation grows, the employee may start slipping in those standards that got them there in the first place. All of a sudden, they are the taxi driver, or the funeral director, or the university funder. So often I watch young Papua New Guineans drift from being the person at work first in the morning, to now not getting in on time due to having to drop off cousins, brothers, sisters etc, or ensuring that the family is OK. I worry that this will then turn into performance issues, then disciplinary action, then all of a sudden – the rising star with the big ideas and great opportunities ends up with no job, no money, and having to create a new start.

It is also amazing watching those that earn the least, being the ones getting themselves into work early, working hard, and doing their absolute best. They really need to keep their jobs, and having less money means a lessened impact on family commitments….

So today, I coined the phrase with Jono (one of my team) “the minimum for the maximum”

In other words, we need to get people to live the minimum way of life, to maximize their income, to maximize their opportunities, and to maximize their future. To work like they are just starting out, to live comfortably, and maximize the growth that they have by ensuring a future that exists for all.

Can it be done? I don’t know, but unless we do something for our young men and women, they may not be the future of this country, they may be those that just get chewed up…