Hello again, and welcome to Postcards From Dangerous Places! Today, a little insight into daily life in Port Moresby.
There were two big stories in the headlines yesterday on the front page of the papers yesterday. First was of course the horrific events in Boston, which just left me dumbfounded and very angry. I find such senseless violence most troubling. The second was a local story about the takeover of Bemobile (the second biggest mobile phone company in PNG) by Vodaphone.
The last couple of posts have been a little on the heavy side, so I decided to lighten things up a bit today.
I don’t think there’s a single ‘drive-through’ restaurant or store in PNG. The concept hasn’t caught on yet. And frankly, service is so painfully slow in most stores that I’m not sure they could meet the ‘served in 90 seconds’ standards. Nevertheless, PNG has its own version of ‘drive through’. There are some parts of the city of Port Moresby where the traffic constantly builds up due to bottlenecks. Enterprising vendors walk along the line of cars offering all manner of goods for sale.
Often they are cold drinks, cigarettes and betelnut. However, there are some more unusuall offerings as well. I bought a handful of mangoes through my car window the other day. It’s a bit hard to see from this photo, but this chap in blue is selling some kind of bizarre bird mobile.
This woman is offering me the Pepsi challenge right there in my car.
Rather than the usual, “How’s My Driving?”, this vehicle is a bit more direct – it says, “Contact My Boss” and provides a telephone number.
In other news, PNG does, however, have “Star Wars Angry Birds” swimming trunks – in case you were looking for some.
This amused me – in a store last week I spotted this military style shirt with some mixed messages – both US Army and a Nazi Swastika. Nice work there guys in the research department of whatever dumbass Chinease company produces this crap.
On a recent walk through the streets, I took a photo of these adorable children.
This old armoured car near an army barracks caught my eye too.
This country is amazing for stark contrasts and confounding inconsistencies. One that I encountered recently is this mural in the foyer of J-Mart. It shows people in traditional dress, including two topless women.
However, if one were watching television here one would never see breasts because they would be pixelated or have black bars covering them – ostensibly to save us all from the moral corruption of pornography. However, when walking into J-Mart, small children can see murals of boobies and nobody seems in the least bit concernd. I’m told that on TV they make an exception for coverage of traditional events, in which women go topless in their traditional outfits.
For the last week, a fellow has been selling cassette tapes on the street in my neighbourhood. The last time anybody paid $9 for a cassette tape, Ronald Reagan was President.
Most things are available here in one form or another, but sometimes one has to close one’s eyes, grit one’s teeth, ignore the horrendous price and then hand over the cash. Like when I paid $14 for this Australian Men’s Health Magazine this week. They cost me $4 in Canada. But I was impressed that I was able to buy the May issue in mid-April.
The air conditioning in my building was down for two days this week. It was brutally hot.
And since it is a “modern” building that is designed to have air conditioning on all the time, none of the windows open. So we were baking in there and the air became increasingly rank as the days wore on. People resorted to holding open the fire doors just to get a little airflow up through the stairwells. Fortunately there was no fire, and the air conditioning was back online yesterday.
Since I’ve joined the new gym, I have been practicing yoga more, which I am loving.
Here is a picture of me in “Eagle Pose”.
When life in PNG gets me down, I try to remember: Sith Happens.