Due to a shortage of Elcom housing when we arrived in the country, we spent our first week at the Davara Hotel. It was a bit rough on Sue, stuck there with the two children and with only one room, while I immediately went to work to get myself sorted out. It was actually not a bad hotel, and months later we went back to again enjoy their very nice swimming pool that was open-aired but enclosed within the confines of the hotel.
We had a few meals at the Davara and found them to be quite good - lemon sole on our 2nd night in town then spaghetti, baked beans and hamburger the next night! Finally it was Saturday night, so we tried their Tapa Restaurant for an 'Italian Night' experience. It was fantastic with 4 beautifully prepared courses - hors-d'oeuves, soup, lasagna and a choice of 3 main courses. We went with the Veal & Mushroom dish followed by cheesecake. After putting the children to bed, we decided to take in their Disco, since it had woken us up on Friday night! However, a half-hour power outage put an end to that. It looked like I had my work cut out for me!!
I don't know what the room rates were, the company was paying for it.
One of the best additions to the house was a backyard swimming pool that we installed very shortly after moving in. The yard was plenty big enough to accommodate this 15-ft diameter, 3-foot deep above-ground type and our large trees shaded it well, so it remained refreshingly cool.
We all really got a lot of use and enjoyment out of the swimming pool and it felt great to take a quick dip after a sweaty morning of shopping in the Boroko suburbs or when I returned home from work. With the filter on the side and the usual pool chemicals, the water stayed crystal clear for our entire stay in Port Moresby.
There was no broadcast TV in Papua New Guinea in those days. So, for entertainment, we either listened to a lot of our tapes and records or read books. Here, I am sitting beside our home-made stereo stand of concrete blocks and a few slabs of wood. When trying to get Carolyn to sleep in the evenings, walking her up and down the living room in my arms as the music played seemed to do the trick!
Also, even with all the ventilation, the country was so constantly hot and humid that I don't think I wore long-legged trousers for the whole 3-years! In fact, I had to travel to South Korea for two weeks one October on company business and was issued a 'clothing allowance' by Elcom to buy clothes warm enough for visiting those frozen northern countries!
The rest of the house, except for the bathroom, had hardwood floors as seen here. Keeping cool was a big thing, especially in the absence of air conditioning. The floor-to-ceiling louvered windows on the left side let the outside breezes waft across to the internal louvers on the right side, which led into the bedroom of the two oldest girls. In turn, the bedroom had louvers on the outside wall so the breezes could blow straight across the house. For those still days, every room had a ceiling fan like the one shown here.
You had to be careful not to drop too many crumbs on the floor because they attracted streams of tiny red ants that lived here and there in cracks. They could give a bit of a bite as our baby Carolyn found out sometimes when she was crawling around!
The inside of the house was quite basic, including the kitchen. We had brought all our belongings with us from Canada, including the old Kenwood Chef mixer, sitting in the corner, that we had received as a wedding gift while in Zambia. We still have it and it works great, thanks to a special 240-volt outlet (instead of the normal 120-volt ones in Canada) in our present home!
Almost all our socializing in Port Moresby was between the diverse group of expatriates who worked at Elcom, with a house-party being held at least once per month. This photo shows one such weekend get-together in our backyard and also gives a good view of the ground-floor laundry room with its louvered-windows and the convenient shade of 'underground' parking in the ever present sunshine!
Here, sitting in the shade of our trees are, from left to right, Sue (expecting our 3rd child), Jeanette Grey (New Zealand), my first boss Bill Johnston (Australia), Dick Hilton (NZ), Margaret and Mark Flemming (Aus.) and Don Grey (Scotland). Bill, Mark and Don all worked with me in 'Test Branch' while Dick ran the major hydro station in the Highlands near Goroka.
In the end, it took us 2-months to finally land in the place we called 'home' for the next 3-years. After the Davara Hotel, we spent time in the flat of my first boss, the Islander Hotel and then a temporary house before finally being alloted this one in the Hohola district of the city (not too far from the Airport).
Where our temporary house was built on the ground, this one with its 'concrete stilt' construction was more typical of the expatriate houses in Port Moresby. Not only did it keep you up and away from most of the creepy crawlies, it also provided more chance for the winds to blow through the louvered windows for a nice cooling effect!
I stayed at Alotau's International hotel, belonging to the same group as "Airways Hotel" in Port Moresby, but not as modern and cozy.
The rooms are spacious yet simple.
The hotel is situated on the sea, so you have direct access to the beach.
There is also a small sweeming pool.
You can rent a traditional "canoe" at the front desk, with or without a man who will paddle it for you. The best time is at sunset! A magical moment well-worth the money that I strongly recommand!
Their is a dive center run by very friendly Japanese people.
I first stayed in the Holiday Inn, but besides the fact that it's getting old, not having an appealing swimming-pool, rooms being very humid, it was also quite expansive.
I did not check out the Crown Plaza, which is set in the middle of town, but it is also very expensive.
I had a wonderful deal at Airways Hotel, AND I STRONGLY RECOMMAND IT. There is an amazing view over the airport (don't worry, it's really not at all noisy), great comfortable executive rooms (with mini kitchenette, Jacuzzi) or one bedroom apartments (fully equipped kitchen, washing and drying machines, Jacuzzi), great pool...
You can deal it for USD 100/night with breakfast and 15% discount on pone bills, business center bills and restauration! It's really the best place in town! A bit far from central town though...
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