Fondest memory: Quite by coincidence, I first visited PNG on business a couple of days after the devastating tsunami in July 1998. A lot of the initial emergency response was mobilised from Oz, and so I found myself travelling from Cairns on a packed flight along with a team of sniffer dogs and their handlers who were to assist in for body recovery.
Predictably the airport was chaotic, and we had to wait in line for immigration for what seemed to be forever. Bored and restless, I kept myself occupied by perusing the signs on the wall - an occupation I've become somewhat expert in through a career of travelling primarily in the developing world - but found myself perplexed by a sign that I simply couldn't work out.
A round sign with a red rim and a red line through the symbol in the centre. Clearly prohibiting something - but what? An oval shaped object - surely they weren't banning the use of rugby balls in the arrivals hall?
Pondering this conundrum kept me mildly occupied until I finally reached the front of the queue. Once my passport had been stamped, I could contain my curiosity no longer and asked the immigration official to put me out of my misery.
"No betel nuts" was her bewildered response.
Favorite thing: On June 7, 2009, I came within 2 inches and 2 minutes of death! While traveling in Pt. Moresby during my transit stay from Madang on the way to Brisbane, I hired a taxi to take me around since I only had about 4 hours. I really wanted to see the Parliament Haus in the center of the city. The taxi driver, who quite possibly was in on the attack, took me to the Parliament grounds. I walked out and started taking pictures. The building itself was closed since it was a Sunday morning. A few minutes later, I was attacked by a mob of about 7-8 people with clubs. They beat me in the head and robbed me of everything I had on me. The taxi driver just stood by and watched the whole incident take place.
Fondest memory: Coming face to face with death by the savages that run around freely preying on tourists in this most dangerous city. Having had such a great trip in Papua New Guinea's other areas such as Madang and yet facing the destruction of all of my good memories of the place and the loss of all of my belongings while flying home with 5 stitches in my head!
Favorite thing: A view of the Elcom 'Test Branch' office where I worked for the first two years of my contract before being promoted to a new job at Head Office in the Boroko suburb. The task of Test Branch personnel was to travel around the mountains, jungles and islands of Papua New Guinea fixing up whatever transmission or generation problems were plaguing the many small stations scattered all over the country.
This was quite a nice office to work in, and the staff were friendly. Because it was air-conditioned and houses were not, my family and I would sometimes come here on the weekends to escape from some of the really hot days!
Fondest memory: When I was not in the field, I sat on the left side by the red in/out trays. Shown here from left to right are Moses Aihi and Palom Pital (our office clerks), Mark Fleming (our Australian 'Communications Engineer' for the radio system) and Noel Mohiba (Assistant Comms Eng.). We never had a secretary so my typing speed picked up immensely while working here! I had about a dozen technicians (English, Australian and Kiwis, but mostly Papuans) working for me as they scoured the countryside looking for problems!
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: Around the point from the main harbour, is Ela Beach where most of the frolicking took place. This view shows a distant view of the many colourful sails of out-rigger canoes after they landed on the beach during the opening ceremonies of the 3rd South Pacific Festival of Arts. There are also a few smoke streamers in the air from fireworks going off.
To get to this beach from our house, we had to come down off those hills in the distance, drive past a fishing village built on stilts and then round the point of dark land in the middle-right of the photo. The street led from that point along the shoreline to Ela Beach.
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: Port Moresby was developed because of its very good natural harbour, called Fairfax Harbour. This view was taken over the top of some banana trees from the hillside that leads down into the older part of Port Moresby. Most of the new development was taking place inland and up away from the sea.
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: Located in the southeast part of Papua New Guinea and about 10 degrees south of the Equator, Port Moresby lies on the coast of the Coral Sea and in the 'rain shadow' of the Owen Stanley mountain range.
Our home was located a bit south and west of the red 'airport' symbol and we did a lot of our mountain getaways in the general area indicated by 'Sirinumu Dam'. Our friend's yacht was kept anchored in Bootless Bay to the east of the city, which is over-written by the word 'Taurama'.
- Family Travel