It seems my blessed run into Port Moresby just continues, although the beef/chicken thing reversed itself this afternoon, ordered Beef Vindaloo, got chicken … Something.
Got into Port Moresby with the temp at 33, first in the queue for a visitor visa which only cost 100 kina – maybe she liked the look of me… And then, the bag carousel wasn’t working so they offloaded the bags, my one was 2nd. Customs agent barely looked at me and waved me through to arrivals. I am expecting a crap trip back… My luck can’t continue.
In arrivals, and no Sean to pick me up – but lots of laughter from some locals when I went to step outside – then said… Bit cooler in here, think I’ll wait inside. A lovely lady came up to me to ask if I was OK, then said “you are much better to wait in here” – I tried some tok pisin to say thanks, which only brought out more laughter from the people there – obviously, I need to work on that quite a bit more.
Sean turned up, apologizing for being late – more giggles of “you found em” or samtin lik that (you see I need some lingo lessons). And we were off – and I mean off… The speed limit according to the signs is 60km/hr, speed limit according to Sean is anywhere from 80 to 100, with swerving to avoid cars that only see the 6 so are driving real slow, the odd pothole, dog or person wandering across the road.
On first impressions Port Moresby is a lot like other tropical islands I have been to. Quite dusty, but also green, and lots of people just hanging out. The razor wire is everywhere, and there are lots of people sitting under umbrella’s trying to hawk their wares. Although it doesn’t look far on the maps, POM is quite deceptive – but it doesn’t take long before we are waved through the gates of the Crowne Plaza. Quite a funny check in process – poor girl had me telling her that the booking was spelt incorrect (as per my documentation) so she was looking for a Mr Baird, Sean was getting impatient, but I was just switching easily into PNG time – so no worries :). Turned out they had fixed my name up, moved me into a smoking floor (yes they have that here!), so we got sorted out into non-smoking – phew… Note to self: you can buy a carton of cigarettes for $15US on the plane….
A young porter named James took me up to my room, big smiles – a bit of a chat and he was off – loving it.
Quickly off to work, although technically I am not working – which is nice, as I don’t feel pressured. I just went and talked to people – had lots of interesting discussions, and felt that we were all engaging. One thing I have noticed, is that ‘some’ Australians are a bit rip snort over here, I don’t think that I will ever be like that, however I can see that you can’t stop and thank and chat to everyone, you’d never get anywhere. I am hoping to be the calm individual I know I am, and direct traffic like a set of traffic lights. Traffic lights – yes Port Moresby has them, I think two or three sets. They weren’t working when we through on the way to lunch at Lamana Hotel, and as usual – just like everywhere else in the world – chaos ensues. Cars, people, all in a bit of a panic. I think people just naturally panic when control has been put in (sometimes when you don’t need to) and then you take away that control. Not that people really care about giving way whilst driving here, but when you take awai the traffic lights everyone mouths “you go” “ok you go” “yeah you go” “ok I go” ” yeah I go” “oh shit”!
Lunch at Lamana was interesting, really nice place – in fact in some respects much nicer than the places we go to in Dunedin. So we decided to all have Indian. I ordered Beef Vindaloo, and got Chicken, Matt (consultant from Oz) ordered beef and got prawns, Sean got Prawns – but they were cold. So they took Matt and I food away, even though I was OK eating it (I am not a chicken eater) and after a while the Beef Vindaloo came out, and it was quite tasty, glad it wasn’t too hot – as I was already cooking with the heat.
A quick trip to pick up Sean’s daughter from the school (Ela Murray) and try and organize a school visit on Friday. It’s a nice school, looked like 3 or 4 teachers in the class, lots of artwork, and kids having fun. Sean said, that if you don’t pick your kids up on time – they have to sit outside the principals office. Can’t imagine Xavier doing that, however he will just have to learn. Sean was saying that his daughter often has to sit and wait – busy busy you know. :). Then off to Era Dorina to drop off Sean’s daughter, through some dodgy area that Sean said not to go through. He obviously felt comfy with the gangster in the back seat (a story for another time)
Rounded the day off by talking – something I do quite well, and listening – something that I am going to have to get better at…
Then off to the Yacht Club for a couple of SP Exports and Steak Night, Syd joined us for a meal and I finally rolled into bed at midnight NZ time, a very long 20 hours…
A few photos for your pleasure