PNG National Game Fishing Titles

The week leading up to Easter is the annual Papua New Guinea National Game Fishing Titles.  This year the Titles are being held in beautiful Rabaul.  As some of you may have read earlier, our last trip to Kokopo and Rabaul ended on a bit of a low note, so flying to the Titles with Xavier is a bit of redemption for us.  Yes, that’s right – Xavier and myself fishing the Titles in East New Britain!  How many people have this opportunity?

We are fishing with our good friends Simon and Amanda on their boat that was shipped from Port Moresby free of charge by one of the sponsors Consort.  Big ups to Consort and the rest of the sponsors.

This morning, full of excitement I woke at 3am, and after lying their for a while just got up for the day.  One of my boys was scheduled to pick us up at 8:15am which is quite early for our 11am flight, but karma must have been happening as the checkin system at Domestic was down, and it was a very slow process getting everyone on planes manually.  A bit of light handed banter with some of the checkin girls and we had a counter more or less opened for us and skipped the queues.  Amazing what a smile, a no worries, and a helpful attitude does – they really went out of their way to make sure Xavier and myself got on the plane, but some nice seats too, and special fragile stickers for my fishing rods.  I just happened to ask if I could take them as carry on, but I got told that I couldn’t take them on as the could be used as a weapon, only to fish maybe:). So the smiles only got me so far…

Plane was delayed leaving, as the automated manifest system was down.  There is nothing like sitting for 45 min in a metal box on the Sunny side, when it’s 35deg cel outside and we are all starting to sweat… Yummy!

The flight to Kokopo has ended up being uneventful, but I took this photo on the coastline after going over the Owen Stanley Range

  
  
And of course to get me in the PNG mood, I’m listening to Sheppard.  Sheppard is a band loosely out of Australia, but has its roots here in PNG – fantastic sound and if you haven’t heard of them you need to go buy a CD.

We are staying at the famous Rabaul Hotel, after an aborted booking at the Travelodge.  The Travelodge didn’t turn out to be suitable for us, and Amanda got us into The Rabaul Hotel with the manager Susie really bailing us out of the shit.  Although, we could always bunk down at work:)

Really looking forward to the trip and the fishing, hopefully I bore you all silly with tall tales of the ones that got away and awesome pictures of the ones that didn’t:)

Aaron

Facebook Pages

Facebook is going great guns here in PNG, with lower internet costs, an influx of Andriod smartphones, and an increasingly  savvy population – the outlet has turned away from Blogs and Forums, and Papua New Guineans are leaving their mark on Facebook.
The facebook group: LOCAL MARKET – PNG has over 41000 members, and there is a good reason why.  With no ebay (or Trademe) a high cost to advertise in the local paper, and a rabbit warren of shops around the capital – means a high demand for PNG to buy, sell and trade.  MarketMeri is another good spot to find a bargain, but since there is little in the way of social activity (something Papua New Guinean’s feel comfortable with) it is hard finding traction in the market.

Here are some good Facebook pages to help you out as a new Expat here in Port Moresby.  Please note – these are normally closed groups and you may need to go through a vetting process.  Facebook is full of scam’s and con-artists and we want to keep our facebook groups free of these and other predators.

Expatriates Association of Port Moresby – with 1700 members a great place for a new expat to start.

POM Parents Group – over 450 members, most being expat’s.  A lot of organising of little kids functions etc.  If you have kids – this is the place to join.

PNG Expats – another Expats page, a small membership of almost 400, and a great way to catchup, find out what is going on etc

Expat Buy & Sell In Port Moresby – over 500 members buying and selling.  From cars to wakeboards.

PNG Expats – another page (same name as above) for expats that used to (or maybe still do) live here and want to catch up with friends – lots of people from Lae (from the 60’s and 70’s)

Skerah – almost 40,000 members.  Skerah is a magaziney type Facebook page as well as running a website http://www.skerah.com

Our Port Moresby – another magaziney type Facebook page (with website) – doesn’t get updated enough (a lot like my blog – hahaha)

There are plenty of other Facebook pages around, such as Humans of Papua New Guinea; Only in PNG etc – some are very political, others aren’t.  Some are bloody dodgy!  Some are bloody funny.  As with any website – be private:) stay away from politics, don’t abuse the country, use some commonsense.

Feel free to add your comments about your favorite facebook pages in the comments :) 

Please note – I have note put any companies down.  Not really interesting in advertising for other people unless I enjoy the service, have a great time, and isn’t made up.  I will however be happy to review a business, but only if you pay me😉

Aaron

Port Moresby for Kids

As you may know (from looking at the About Me section) or you may not, we live here in Port Moresby with our 3 children, which is technically 2 children since one of them is now in Boarding School back in Auckland. There are plenty of things that the kids can do here in Moresby, including the after school activities that the school puts on (it varies a lot from term to term) as well as music lessons after school (our 2 big kids have both had 4 years of piano and a year of guitar) All very reasonably priced, and with good positive enforcement is a great way for the kids to occupy themselves.

The kids also have lots of playdates at other compounds, sleep overs are very common (both for our sanity as well as theirs).

Just the other weekend, the kids had Pee Wee Fishing at the RPYC Gantry with the Port Moresby Game Fishing Club https://www.facebook.com/Port-Moresby-Game-Fishing-Club-210181435820846/?fref=ts

It’s a great day, the club provides the rods, and sponsors provide food, drink, bait and prizes. Only lasts for a couple of hours – first Saturday every month from 2pm to 4pm

Then Xavier on Sunday was out at the Golf Club http://www.royalpomgolf.com/ where they are teaching juniors how to play.

There is also Pee Wee sailing at the Yacht Club http://www.RPYC.com.pg, which also hosts POMSAC – the snorkle and diving group.

If your kids are into water sports, the Port Moresby water-ski club has reformed https://www.facebook.com/POMWaterSports/?ref=ts&fref=ts and they have some gear for kids.

There is also the bushwalkers club, the Port Moresby Game Fishing club, as well as the Boroko Fishing Club (river fishing mainly).

The kids will also enjoy the Adventure Park at 14 mile where they have a couple of Hydro-Slides, or the Nature Park towards Gerehu where they can see Cassowary, Crocodiles and the Bird of Paradise.

There is also 2 Cinema complexes, some theatres in full 3D showing the latest (eg: before any other country) movies.

You could also take them down to Black Rock Kite Surfing (or just flying a kite), up to Sogeri to either Crystal Rapids for a sim (and some tubing) or over to Koitaki Country Club to ride the horses.

They also get to stay at home, and chill out in the pool with their mates, play nerf tag, and ride skateboards and bikes around the compounds.

There is also organised sport like Soccer and Netball, and if they are good swimmers – there are opportunities to represent the school.

The children, when they are bigger – can even do a PADI Dive course here and take up Scuba Diving – then the whole of the PNG opens up…

There are Motorcycle clubs (offroad) as well as Hash House HArriers and Road Runners (the running clubs – kids welcome).

They meet friends for life, and enjoy an international freindship. Not bad here being a kid:)

Wantok’s

Wantok (One Talk), or in Kiwi Whanau, sometime mates, cuzzies etc.

Here in PNG, everyone has Wantok’s.  Once you arrive in the Land of the Unexpected – you too will have Wantok’s (unless you are a dickhead – then you get to talk to no-one; No Wantok).

It’s pretty awesome how living a life abroad both diminishes your family, but can create another one.

Shout out to thank our Wantok’s for being our Wantok’s. :)

Is Port Moresby the worst place in the world to live?

According to The Telegraph in the UK, Port Moresby is the 2nd worst place to live IN THE WORLD!!  Over the past 5 years that we have been here, Port Moresby is often ranked as one of the most unliveable cities in the world, however who makes this shit up?

A couple of things have gotten me a little bit peaved over the past few weeks, firstly, that Port Moresby is ranked the 2nd worst city to live in, and secondly that two tourists came underprepared to do Kokoda, got themselves in the shit, and are bagging the hell out of PNG.

So, it begs the question?

Is Port Moresby the 2nd worst city in the world to live in?

So lets break down what they think makes Port Moresby so bad (according to all these people that most likely have never lived here)..

1. Rape and Murder happen everyday to unsuspecting expats (not true)

2. Carjackings are rife – you can’t leave your compound without someone trying to rob you or your car (not true)

3. You can’t wear jewellery or show too much skin – just in case the locals get a little lusty or try to rob you (not true)

4. You can’t walk anywhere and need to be escorted by security to buy some bread (not true)

5. Everybody you meet is corrupt (not true)

Since we have been here, yes, there have been rapes and murders, yes, there have been carjackings, yes, people have been robbed, yes, some people get escorted to buy a loaf of bread, and yes, some people are corrupt.  And yes – this happens anywhere in the world – not just Port Moresby.

Instead of focusing on the negative parts of a city – why don’t we focus on the positive.

1. The people are amazing!

2. It’s a special treat to be invited to a villiage – people pay lots of money to do this in Vanuatu, here, you need to earn someones respect before – different cost, but so worth it

3. Traditional “sing sings” dances and song happen all year round – always an occasion to treasure

4. You have some of the best fishing at your door step

5. Every weekend you could be: surfing, camping, horse riding, mountain climbing, sailing, fishing (big game, river etc), diving, trekking, bird watching, snorkling, waterskiing, wakeboarding, kitesurfing, swimming, lying in a hammock, sitting by the pool, going to parties, playing golf, shooting guns at the gun club, offroad motorbikes, paintball, lawnbowls, watching local rugby comps, tennis, squash, road cycling, running (or walking), shopping at the market…. sounds like a pacific paradise doesn’t it.

In fact there is so much to list – I think that the actions of some of my friends here speak volumes.

Whilst lots of expat’s rush back to their home country for “breaks” or holidays, they take holidays and stay here in Port Moresby, relax by the pool, go fishing, have a dive, read a book, eat papaya and mango, drink pina colada, get a sun tan…  yes – Port Moresby can be one of those places where your time off can be as relaxing or as exciting as you make it.

If you look beyond the compound walls, in fact – if you stop thinking them as compound’s, but rather gated communities – then you will come to realise that living in Port Moresby isn’t the worst in the world for expatriates – in fact, it’s pretty damn good.

Sadly though, living in Moresby is extremely difficult for our Papua New Guinea friends, high rent, squatter settlements, poverty, lack of villiage food etc all add to a melting pot of different cultures, some still at tribal war with each other creating the “not so nice” side of Port Moresby.  And tribal conflict back in the villiage can add to or create conflict here in the city.  So many people live a traditional way of life, and the impact of the city on this is vast.  Land ownership in the middle of the jungle is defined by tradition, or conquest, or marriage – here, it’s defined by how much money you have…  And if you have no money – they you find land where no-one is living (or looks like no-one has claimed) and you start afresh not knowing that the land is owned by someone in a suit living and working in the city, or a company that is earmarking an area for city expansion…

One of my team recently purchased his first haus, a brand new 3 bedroom unit, fully furnished.  He moved in with his wife and 3 kids before christmas – I’ve been so happy for him…  but the funky thing is, that his brand new haus is cheaper than renting, he was fortunate than he was able to save enough for a deposit and of course our company home ownership scheme really does help.  And to top it off – he’s in his 20’s…  pretty damn awesome.  but pretty damn hard.

This last few weeks have also had the Kokoda Track in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.  Two tourists that set out on the Kokoda (one of the hardest walks in the world) in sneakers, without provisions, nor sleeping bag, nor arranged guide etc etc etc – what the hell were they thinking.  Anyway, they claimed they were assaulted, she was raped and they ran (naked, with no shoes – even though they were clothed in the clothes they left in when they got back) 24km’s through the hardest terrain in the world to get help (almost as fast as the record holder for the fastest running across the Kokoda Track).  Charlie Lynn who is a guide (and former Australian Politician, and Vietnam Vet) debunks the whole story.  And I am siding with Charlie nothing that they have said or done rings true, not from the people of Kokoda, nor even what I know of the Track.  In my opinion, it seems that they realised 1. they were in trouble and underestimated how hard Kokoda is, 2. they realised that they weren’t going to make their flight out of PNG, 3. they could claim being chased by cannibals as PNG is “like that – apparently”, 4. They might make some money selling their story of terror to the british papers, 4. PNG is so remote, no one here would know about the story.
And now he (the male) is calling Charlie out for “protecting his job” – what a load of crap.  Charlie is rightly protecting the people of Kokoda from defamatory accusations.  If what they say is true, then I expect they would have no problem coming back to PNG to stand before the young men accused of this crime and telling PNG and world what really happened.

PNG gets a bad rap at times, yes, some of it is true, and some of it is very scary.  But most of us can smell a story a mile away, and because the two tourists ultimately fabricated a lot of the “story” it puts lots and lots of doubt on the rest of the story.

If you want to come to PNG – be prepared.  If you want to do Kokoda, do it properly.  If you want to bag PNG and it’s people, be prepared to back it up.