Top-notch Thursday in Port Moresby

January 30, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are well. Today has been the best day yet this survey. One of those days that when it ends you think “this is why people travel”. This is why this job is so cool. It doesn’t hurt that I’m in an excellent hotel. Despite going to bed really late, I woke up before my alarms to a nice bright room. Turns out, my window looks out over the water. I didn’t know that last night because it was already dark when I got in. I started my work in the room by making phone calls and setting up meetings.

IMG_0844The hotel concierge manager, Arare, was so nice and sat down with me and helped me figure out a schedule for work, telling me what would be closed on Saturday. He set up with a driver, Michael. We went to some grocery stores, some home goods stores, and he dropped me off at a mall for a few hours and then came to pick me up. Our phones connect when I call him. He calls me “sister”. Another woman also called me “sister” at the hotel “good evening sister!” I think this is so cool.

Australia was nice and highly enjoyable, but Papua New Guinea is so much more interesting. I feel like Port Moresby is comparable to some of the cities in West Africa, just greener. Some of the customs are different. In the mall and in the markets, I saw a bunch of people walking around barefoot. I saw a dead dog on its side at the edge of a field where kids were playing football and doing conditioning training. That wasn’t that great to see, but definitely interesting. I didn’t get a look at the dog’s face so I don’t feel so terrible about that. There are a lot of products at the markets that cater to the Asian expat community – huge sections of Chinese, Thai, and Indian products.

IMG_0882I happen to like hardship locations such as this one (as long as I’m in a decent hotel). I enjoy the routine of it. I work efficiently because I don’t want to waste any time with the driver. I enjoy getting to know the driver and about life in the as we work together to cross off the places on my list. I go back to the hotel because it’s unsafe for me to wander around or do other things, work out, sometimes have a glass of wine, and eat dinner. I had a late lunch at the mall, a grilled eggplant sandwich, and hope it doesn’t make me sick. It was hard to find somewhere acceptable to eat. In part because I’m picky, and in part because there’s a high chance of getting food poising here, so I can’t just eat anything.

Tonight was even better than the routine! After getting back to the hotel around six, I had an excellent work out. I walked into the bar area and realized that my hotel is a big hangout for expatriates and a hangout in general. IMG_0842I was going to go somewhere quiet and transcribe my work but got invited to have a drink with a group of men from all over the world. They knew each other because some worked together. There were two from New Zealand, one white and one Maori, two Australians, and English guy, an Irish guy, a guy from Papua New Guinea, and me. They said that as an American, I rounded out the group. We ended up having dinner and everyone had the special lobster and steak dish that I would have never ordered on my own. It was delicious.

The group was great company and it was a fun, goofy dinner. One of the men passed out for a half hour right there at the table. He woke up happy that he had a “power nap.” Everyone made fun of him but not too much because he was the one paying. I got to learn all about working for a company in PNG. Most people in the group were based in cities other than Port Moresby that have traditional tribal laws governing the cities. I got to learn about how these people from different nationalities view each other and view Americans. Most of the men work for companies based in Texas and in my opinion had a strange view of the US. They couldn’t believe a “yank” had traveled to so many countries because apparently Americans don’t travel.

After dinner everyone moved into the bar to have more drinks but I’d had enough. After thanking everyone for the companionship and dinner I excused myself and now I’m about to sleep. I’m looking forward to some meetings tomorrow!

Love, Annie


One Response to “Top-notch Thursday in Port Moresby”

  1. Marlene clayton Says:

    Wow, that’s what traveling is about. Meeting people is great. Enjoyed the blog, thank you, 143

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