Cafe Palazzo – Lamana Hotel

Thought I would pass the time by reviewing some of the places we eat/drink/socialise…

First up – Cafe Palazzo at Lamana Hotel.

Xavier and myself came to check out Lanes, Lamana’s 10pin bowling alley (more on that later) which was advertised at opening at 10am, but in reality it’s 11am.  So whilst waiting, popped into Cafe Palazzo for coffee and hot chocolate (pic below)


I really hate the glasses that everyone seems to use, my latte came out in the same type of glass/mug.

We also got a K22 slice of mud cake, which they sliced in two for us to share, which is great service (and only AUD$5 each – which is OK)


Yum!  Mud cake was light but still had that gummy taste we like 🙂 10/10

The coffee tasted slightly flavoured, which is not my cup of tea and a bit watery – better than other places, but if they ditched the glass/mug and put more foam into the latte it would be really good – 5/10.  Hot chocolate got rated a 7/10 – so that means we’ll be coming back 🙂

Edit: The Hot Chocolate got better as it went down, Xavier changed to a 9/10

The tub chairs you sit in are comfy as and they play very relaxing Italian music (Opera)  (even Xavier was tapping his feet).

The seating is arranged around the outside of a circle with the prep facilities in the middle, which means you don’t have many neighbours


Overall – nice, relaxing, great service from the staff and Xavier looked like he could spend the day “laxin out” in the armchair :). Coffee could be better, but everything makes up the shortfall.  We both agree that Cafe Palazzo is an easy 8/10

Also of note: they have homemade Gelato that we didn’t try – so maybe next time they might get a 9 😉

http://www.lamanahotel.com.pg/

Getting to Sunset Lodge, Lea Lea

I was quite rightly informed that my blog was out of date in the weekend 😉 (thanks!) and directions to Sunset Lodge, Lea Lea were scratchy at best. Apparently the Sunset Lodge signage has disappeared, but truth be told, it was hard to see anyway, so it might still be there.

The general premise is to head out to the LNG Plant along Napa Napa Road, go all the way around the plant (which you can’t miss – I’m sure it’s visible from the moon) and then when you get to the far side, you will see the road continue to the right up the coast. Finding Sunset Lodge can be a bit of a “blink and you miss it” type deal, it’s on the left hand side right in Lea Lea, but don’t worry if you miss it – when you get to the end of the road, there is a long foot bridge going over the river, backtrack about 700 metres and you will spot it (now on your right hand side). The entrance means you drive down into a gully – park your car and then follow your nose (or the sound of the music) to the waterfront.

Now – if you don’t know how to get to Napa Napa Road, leave the Yacht Club and head up the Poreporena Freeway turning left onto the Hanuabada Top Road (police station corner). Follow this road to the other side of Hanuabada (the road has been repaired on the other side of the hill) and it will take you around the harbour a ways. You will eventually see the nice new road heading inland, follow this until you get to a roundabout, turning left will take you back to the harbour, turning right will take you to Gerehu (very close to the Nature Park) NOTE: This is possibly the quickest way to the Nature Park from Town…

So – turn left, then head towards the harbour for 500 metres or so – then turn right to follow the Napa Napa Road to Lea Lea 🙂

rpyc-to-napanapa

napanapard-to-lealea

sunset-lodge

Restaurants, Bars and Eateries in Port Moresby

So the not quite exhaustive list, I know I have left a lot of places off the list, some intentional, others because I have accidentally forgotten them, and more that I have never been too. It’s worth also mentioning that there is great coffee PNG side of Jacksons International Airport, and plenty of options inside past immigration (including Duffy’s). If you have any to add, please leave a note 🙂

CLUBS

RPYC; THE YACHTY
– MACDHUI RESTAURANT
– SAILS CAFE
– THE BOATSHED
AVIAT
– AVIAT RESTAURANT
– AVIAT FISH & CHIPS
CAR CLUB
KOITAKI COUNTRY CLUB

RESTAURANTS

SOGNO – ITALIAN
ASIA AROMA’S – ASIAN
TANDOOR – INDIAN
NAKED FISH – WESTERN
DAIKOKU – JAPANESE
FUSION – ASIAN
FUSION 2 – ASIAN
SEOUL HOUSE – KOREAN
ANG’S – ASIAN
IMPERIAL – ASIAN
FU GUI – ASIAN
DYNASTY – ASIAN – LOCATED IN VISION CITY MALL
KOPITIAM – ASIAN
TASTY BITE – INDIAN
BLUFF INN – WESTERN
MAGI SEAFOOD – ASIAN
HOGSBREATH – WESTERN STEAKHOUSE/BAR – LOCATED IN VISION CITY MALL
TEN RESTAURANT – JAPANESE – LOCATED IN VISION CITY MALL
SAVANNAH BISTRO – ASIAN (OPPOSITE VISION CITY, STRATOS AVE)

HOTELS

ELA BEACH HOTEL
– BEACHSIDE BRASSERIE
CROWNE PLAZA
– RAPALA RESTAURANT
– THE CAFE
GRAND PAPUA
– GRAND BRASSERIE
AIRWAYS HOTEL
– BACCHUS
– VUE RESTAURANT
THE STANLEY
– GREENHAUS
– SILVERLEAF
LAMANA
– SPICES RESTAURANT
– THE ITALIAN RESTAURANT
– RIO’S BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE
GATEWAY HOTEL
– JACKSONS RESTAURANT
– WILD ORCHID RESTAURANT
– SIZZLERS RESTAURANT
– ENZO’S TAKEAWAY (PIZZA)
HOLIDAY INN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS
LAGUNA HOTEL
– LA’CAFE
DREAM INN
SHADY REST HOTEL
– THE CELLAR RESTAURANT

CAFÉ’S

ESPRESSO CAFÉ
BONCAFE
CAFÉ ON THE EDGE
DUFFY’S
DUFFY’S HARBOURSIDE
GRAND CAFE – GRAND PAPUA
DELI KC – AIRWAYS
SEVEN C’S – AIRWAYS
CAFE PALAZZO – LAMANA
NATURE PARK CAFE

BARS

MOJO’S
OZZIE’S – ELA BEACH HOTEL
NAKED FISH
GRAND BAR – GRAND PAPUA
JACKSONS BAR – GATEWAY
HAVANABA BAR – AIRWAYS
MONSOON BAR – THE STANLEY
THE HERITAGE BAR – CROWNE PLAZA
PONDO TAVERN – CROWNE PLAZA
SANDS POKIES AND BAR – LAGUNA
POOLSIDE BAR – LAGUNA
THE TEMPLE LOUNGE BAR – LAMANA
THE GOLD CLUB – LAMANA
THE COSMOPOLITAN
CLUB ILLUSIONS

TAKEAWAY/SPECIALTY

MEAT HAUS – BURGERS
MR MIKES – PIZZA
FOODSTATION – PIZZA, FISH & CHIPS
BIG ROOSTER – FRIED CHICKEN
KMC – FRIED CHICKEN

SHOPPING MALLS

VISION CITY
WATERFRONT

Driving in Port Moresby

Thanks to the raskols and attempted carjacking in August, I didn’t really have the mojo to write for a while.  Got it off my chest – then stewed for a long time.  My head wasn’t in the right space over the last part of the year, and I needed to completely relax over the Christmas period in order to get focus for another year.  (Not sure that I relaxed but…)

I was sitting there the other night thinking about what PNG does, that makes you better at something…  And the first thing I thought about was …. driving.

So how does being in PNG make you a better driver?

1. Your reactions are so much better!  Ever had a car on the outside of a roundabout go right around it and in front of you?  yup, that’s “surfing” the roundabout…  How about being in the line of traffic, so you are driving and go to overtake when you realise there is a [insert vehicle here – truck, bus, van, car, 2 cars, truck and trailer, etc] parked in your lane, with rocks placed behind the tyres (presumably because the handbrake doesn’t work – nah – just cause you can) completely immobilised, and you have to instantly check to make sure you aren’t going to hit a car traveling at 120km/hr from behind you (yes the speed limit is 60km/hr) and “dodge” around the car on the road.

2. You can dodge potholes at any speed, including at night, after a couple beers, with someone driving towards you with highbeams on.

3. You know how to work your Hazard lights, that you sometimes have to use when there is a crowd of people walking on the road, or a car broken down (see #1)

4. You can now drive through torrential monsoon rain where you can barely still see your car, let alone the car in front of you.

5. You can ford fast flowing rivers and creeks – as that is what happens to the roads when it rains…

6. You don’t go anywhere without your license!

7. You have reminder checks on your vehicles safety sticker and registration, and make sure you get new ones well in advance of them expiring

8. Every time you jump in your car, you check that all your lights are working (instant traffic fine – no matter what)

9. You learn how to stop without a stop sign, all you need is a policeman with a machine gun standing there

10. You make sure you have every excuse, address, wantoks name under the sun dialed into memory just in case you get stopped at a roadblock

11. You never leave home without your phone – just in case #10

12. You can ring and drive (yes we know it’s dangerous!), whilst dodging potholes and random abandoned cars.  Sometimes text and drive, and on the old occasion email and drive (shock horror!).

13. You identify approaching hazards well before you get to them…  The dog on the road (he will just cross it), the pig in the village (heaven forbid you hit one of those), the pikinini playing by the side of the road (omg – lukautim pikinini lo yu!), the people waiting to cross – running directly in front of you…

14. You know how to use a horn, whilst dodging potholes, texting, dodging abandoned cars, and avoiding stray dogs that someone, somewhere will claim ownership of.

15. You know how to yell at the taxi or PMV driver so that he knows that you aren’t some dim dim with no idea.  KKK isn’t a white supremist here – is abbreviation for the swear words that you yell in tok pisin at the taxi/pmv driver

16. You can line up the coke cans on the road to crush them using your tyres for the locals (lotsa Kina in crushed cans)

17. You always have a few Kina on you to pay someone to change your tyre

18. You know exactly how to change your tyre (see #17) so someone else can do it for you 🙂 (it’s no fun doing this in 30+ degree heat!)

19. You routinely run carjacking exercises, where everyone in the car ducks and you can still drive 500 metres up the road without looking at the road, driving by feel – hehehe

20. You learn to love the AC, leaving your windows up and your limbs inside the car

21. You know exactly how to jump into your car and lock the doors in under .23 of a second

22. You learn how to change oil, water, check tyre pressures etc – all because you actually have too

23. You can reverse (super fast) back down a road, in the middle of the night without crashing

24. Who needs 3 point turns, you’ve now mastered the handbrakey turn

25. You can park exactly in the middle of a carpark (actually, excludes those with DC plates – they can’t park)

26. You have no issue sliding from lane to lane, at speed, whilst talking to someone on the phone and yelling at the kids to shaddup..

27. You don’t need a GPS – you know exactly where you are going, and if you get lost you just keep driving whilst ringing the person to where you are going to and see #26

28. You can identify a police car, not because is says police on it – you just know

29. You learn how to travel in Convoy following a madman who does #26 #14 and #19 routinely

30. You recognise all your friends car’s, and know all of their number plates (so you can tell the guards to let them into your compound), you remember all their phone numbers too.

31. You see dead dogs on the road and you don’t flinch, waver or cause an accident.  You slide the car past as if it wasn’t even in the way – without taking a breath.

32. Bonus: Your kids learn how to count (How many dogs were dead on the freeway today?  2 Dad!) and learn the alphabet by playing I Spy (I Spy with my little eye, something beginning with D D…   Dead Dog!)

33. Riding shotgun takes on a whole new meaning in Moresby…  You strategically place your passengers in the car, intimidation sometimes is best 🙂

34. You figure out who to wave to, and you can spot a roadside fruit seller 300 metres away

35. You learn the international signs for:  I don’t want any; piss off; come here; I’m watching you buddy; I’ll see you later; yes, its me, I live here; look at my sticker!

36. You figure out what #35 means

37. You know where to get air for tyres, and what fuel station doesn’t have water in the fuel problems.

38. You can shift house with someone standing on the back of your ute holding on to everything

38. And just for my mate Andrew – you can reverse a boat up 400 metres of winding narrow road, through a security gate, up a hill and into a garage – without a permit or anyone getting pissed off

love it 🙂

Finally, a car-jacking in Port Moresby

Blogging can be a bit of a blessing and a bit of a curse. The great thing, is that it is therapeutic to get something off your mind and down on paper. The other side – is that sometimes I just don’t want to write, no matter how many months go by – I start, I finish, I read what I wrote, I delete it – it’s not what I wanted to write.

On August 18th, I officially completed 5 years here in PNG. It seems a lifetime, and in fact for one of my kids – it basically is. She doesn’t remember our dog, our cat, our house, she remembers nothing of her previous life – but she was only 1 when we arrived. 
In 5 years, we have had our share of ups and downs. So many people have left – do they miss PNG? I’m sure they do.

Our downs have been bad, but we’ve come out of them with a big of anger, and sometimes just a laugh. Like the time Xavier and myself were driving down the road to do some fishing, and some idiot decided to throw a big rock at my ute. I swerved and almost collected him with the back side of the ute as the rock went sailing over us – still not sure who got the biggest fright, me (watching a rock get thrown at us), the idiot who threw the rock (as he was a second from being crushed by my ute), or Xavier (who thought we were doing wheelies). Or the time that my mate Troy and myself drove one of my company fleet cars down the road so he could see how they drove. A little Ford Fiesta, most likely the smallest car in PNG – and some idiot decides he wants to run out from the side of the road and swing a big massive pole at the car…. And it went straight over the top – missing us… The damage that could have happened if we were in the 4×4… I can only imagine! hahaha lucky!

And as I gradually creeped to the 5 year mark, I hadn’t given any thought to the fact that I had never been robbed nor carjacked, and then it happened – the Monday before my 5th anniversary and “wrong place, wrong time”.

I saw it coming, just after 8 at night, walking to my car – I just unlocked it as I approached, and they ran out of the road that leads to a local settlement. They were fast, and aggressive. I also tell everyone, just don’t worry – if you are in that situation, just hand everything over. But I didn’t. They looked very aggressive, and I quickly opened the door to my car and jumped in, one of them got the door handle and I wrestled it closed and hit the lock – really fast. I heard someone on the other side of the car – I had made it in time. Then I turned back to the guy on my side after hearing him yell at me and something banging against the window. He had a gun. He started banging it against the glass the barrel pointed at my head – trying to smash it. Breathe – calm – breathe – think – make noise – I yelled at him “FUCK YOU!” and pushed down on the horn. The gun was still there, he was pissed off. Breathe – keys – ignition – start – hold horn – no one helping – guards not coming – car started – in gear – accelerate – handbrake on – breathe – off handbrake – accelerate… they ran off behind me into the darkness. So fast…

I drive to where there are guards, they are hiding, I find more – yell at them. Breathe – adrenalin is cranking through my body. I try ringing my mate Simon who was just leaving too – no answer, I try again – still no answer. Somehow I have arrived at home – I don’t remember.

I walk into the house – Jacinta didn’t hear me. She finally spots me and asks if I have been drinking… no – I don’t tell her what happened for 2 days. I must have been wired. I get in touch with friends, they are rounding the rascals up – found out a lady got robbed. There were gunshots – I check my car – no holes. Breathe. I could have stopped that lady from being robbed – I can’t sleep – all I can see is the barrel of the gun pointing at my head – all I can think about is why I didn’t make sure no one else got robbed. Two days later – I’m pissed off and angry.

Colleagues asking if I pressed the duress button – breathe – another, are you alright? – breathe – I just need to internalise it and deal with it – breathe – normally, I would be the one helping them, so I just need to refocus and … breathe. It’s good medicine to breathe 🙂

I tell my son Xavier, I haven’t told my daughter who is in Boarding School in NZ – she will read all about it on here. (I am OK – really! 🙂 ) – Xavier basically shrugged his shoulders, he knew it may happen at some stage. What a trouper.

The next week – I am back there. There are only 2 choices for carparks, one is where I parked the week before. I park elsewhere. Not having a panic attack, but I am anxious. I am watching everyone.

I leave – and ask a guard to escort me to my car. A kid comes up and starts gobbing off at me – breathe. I feel wired again.

I drive around the corner, and here is a police checkpoint. I know that they are armed, and just doing their job – but it doesn’t make me feel any better. Breathe. I wind the window down and give the officer my drivers license, he checks it and says “thank you Mr Aaron, have a gud nite” – where was he last week!

I’m fine, but I’m not. So many people find themselves in these situations and don’t get away. I don’t know if it was dumb luck, my own stupidity, or they might have thought I was crazy… Either way, it was a wake-up call to remember – shit can happen anywhere and anytime. Here in PNG we are more exposed, poverty is so high, and it’s distressing thinking that these young men have to resort to violence to just get by. It makes me angry. I wish I could grab the little buggers and make them see that the life they are living will one day end – next time, they might rob someone who just shoots them.

I’ve always kept a balanced viewpoint of our life here in PNG. And always maintained that the majority of issues are “wrong place, wrong time” opportunistic.
And yes – it’s scary having a gun pointed at you, even worst when it is at your window pointing at your head less than 20cm away. But it also reminds me that so many people here live below the bread line – it’s sad. Such an unsustainable future.

How do we stop young Papua New Guineans from this way of life? I’d like to say I’m now sleeping well, but I’m not. I now worry that the young guy with the gun has been beaten by police/guards or worst. A week ago – I felt nothing for him, now I worry. Is it his fault that he may be uneducated, living under a tree, fearful of noises in the night, worried about how he was going to eat tomorrow? His options in life are slim, he may die of malaria, other gangs, or at the hands of people catching him, sickness, or starvation.

I feel sad.