A long day in Port Moresby, PNG

It’s always going to be a long day when you are up again at 4am, with no chance of getting back to sleep. There is obviously two things to do, get up or try and go back to sleep. I tried the later for all of 10 minutes, then got up. Why can I not sleep in away from home but have no problem when I am at home…

It is amazing, when the sun comes up at 6am – the day here in Port Moresby really starts with a vengeance – the sellers on the street turn up, and the hustle and bustle of the city begins. I do think that we are going to have to change how we run our day here in PNG, no more stuffing about in the morning, up at 6am to welcome the day, and earlier to bed at night. Given there is little to do in the evenings, it’s not really a hard choice. When the sun drops at 6pm – it really drops, beautiful sunsets, and then darkness – I would love to capture it on video, but you just have to be in the right moment, and so far I keep missing it. Blink.

I have had a fantastic day, PNG people that I have met have just been wonderful. Jacinta is going to love it – I know. I feel so settled (apart from missing my family) I don’t know how I am going to go back to NZ. The heat only affected me for the first day, have hardly broken any sweat… Although I have had a killer headache since flying, but that is normal for me, and the beer doesn’t really help I suppose. I’ve spent most of the day with my Team Leader Johno, who is just so engaged it’s not funny. In fact the whole team are bloody fantastic, it’s going to be a privilege working with them over the course of my contract. There are so many challenges, however motivation doesn’t seem to be one of them, they really are the meaning of Team. You can see it when they are working, and communicating with each other and the shear hard work that they put in. I am almost embarrassed to say, that even though Kiwi’s are in the whole, extremely hard workers – we don’t treat each other with the amount of mutual respect that this team does.

Sean took us out for lunch at some Chinese restaurant in the middle of nowhere, hidden behind a 10 foot wall, razor wire topped, security guarded, with a crows nest guard tower complete with guard and shotgun. Once you are inside the compound, another guard unbolts a steel barrier that gives you access to the door. I suspect they have had a few unsavory characters in their time… 🙂

The pork and rice meal was bloody nice, and for 22kina you couldn’t go wrong. The tea was equally pleasant, and the inside reminded me of a little place in Penang that I went to back in the early 90’s. We then took Matt out to the airport, and stopped in at the Airways hotel for coffee… A VERY nice coffee, and although a very expensive place to come, I think it will be a nice break from the bustle of Town.

It amazing what great coffee does, and I felt rejuvenated coming back into the office. Another afternoon session with Johno and before you know it everyone is leaving for the evening. Everyone that buses needs to get going before dark as the buses don’t run after 6pm, and of course I am oblivious to this. I really need to pay attention to the time and not get lost in what we are doing.

Back to the Crowne Plaza and I am alone for the evening. A couple of beers (SP Draught) at the bar, introduced myself to a few people, had a chat, and then off to the restaurant for dinner. The buffet was a seafood, and price at 70 or 80 kina, so although I am not a tight arse, I am not going to spend that sort of money on food I wouldn’t enjoy. After a quick browse of the a la carte menu, decided to have Kau Kau Risotto. Kau Kau isn’t Cow, although in my accent it’s pronounced basically the same. Kau Kau is crocodile, and although I have tasted Crocodile many years ago, I have never had a meal of croc. The lady who waited my table, was so funny – she said to me, “oh, this is the nicest meal, I tell all my guests if they choose it” and she wasn’t wrong. I went up to her after I had finished and told her I though it was such a beautiful meal – she beamed.
Kau Kau tastes like a gamey chicken, and combined with a cheesy risotto – the flavours were incredible. I did ask for a glass of water, and in hindsight – everyone else was drinking bottled water, so I’m not sure if that was a good thing or not. 24kina later, and another part of this experience I will never forget. Kau Kau. (I hope I spelt it right)

Sitting now, having a SP Export and typing this up. It’s almost 9pm local time, so I am feeling like it’s 11pm. Whilst I was having my first beers, I couldn’t help but overhear a discussion between a couple of guys talking about expats, they were obviously consultants – and had a pretty poor opinion of both how expats worked and their attitudes. Personally I thought their views were very elitist and not really reflective of the expats I have met, although there are bound to be people in that mold. I feel embarrassed that I have had a lot in my life, and some people haven’t – however I am so determined to help people, gain their trust and let them take as much of my knowledge as they can… I feel like I have a purpose and I don’t understand how this has happened to me, it is so powerful I don’t think I can describe it.

So how do I like PNG…? I LOVE IT! I so hope that my family will love it here too… 🙂




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