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Port Moresby - A travel report by Devin
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Port Moresby,  Papua New Guinea - flag Papua New Guinea
6692 readers

devinhunt's travel reports

lovely people who empty your pockets

  10 votes

after landing at port moresby airport, myself, my girlfriend jane and mad friend called mat jumped in a taxi and headed towards the centre of port moresby. after driving over a hill we caught a glimpse of the ocean and the city itself. it was bigger than i had expected however very run down and dirty. local folk with fuzzy hair and brightly coloured bags wandered barefoot past piles of rubbish that were being rummaged through by stray dogs. it wasn't too appealing to the eye but it did have a lot of character. our taxi driver dropped us off at ella beach, which was the most polluted stretch of sand that i have ever seen. a local guy soon wandered out from a dilapidated building and told us the people of png they don't know how to look after things. that's why our beach is so messy and all of our buildings are falling down. we don't have time to fix things here as we are too busy relaxing and being happy. broken things don't matter to us. he couldn't have put it better!

Favourite spots:
i loved the markets in port moresby as they were a great place to meet the locals. the people waved and yelled "hello!" to us as we walked past their tiny roadside stalls. the only thing that they seemed to be selling though were beetle nuts and as everybody seemed to be crewing them the street vendors must have been a doing a roaring trade. the people of papua new guinea constantly chew beetle nut. it dyes their teeth and gums bright red but apparently keeps them alert and stops them from falling asleep during the day. the people spit the beetle nut all over the road, staining the bitumen and concrete red.

What's really great:
i loved the fact that whenever i took my camera out to take a photo, dozens of locals insisted that i take their photos too. they certainly weren't camera shy and in order to save some film i had to pretend that i was taking their photos most of the time. another thing that struck me was that nobody seemed to do anything during the day. everybody just sat around talking and chewing beetle nut. nobody seemed to work and those who did have jobs to go to didn't seem to be doing anything anyway! it was a pretty chilled-out place however there is an element of danger in the air. whilst walking down a street on the edge of town a guy called patrick ran up to us and told us to be careful. apparently he'd been following us for quite some time as he was concerned that we be robbed by 'rascals.' he told us that the 'rascal' problem in png wasn't as bad as it was a few years ago however being foreigners, we were certainly targets for any attackers who did want to rob us.

patrick was a great tour guide and showed us some very interesting parts of the central business district. we got some great views of the harbour and ella beach from the top of some hills in town. we had to leave patrick shortly afterwards as we had to catch a flight back to australia that afternoon. he did a good job at talking me out of 20 kina for his services! if this wasn't cheeky enough the taxi driver who took us back to the airport demanded that we pay him 100 kina for the ride!! the people of this grubby, carefree city seemed friendly enough but they really knew how to rip off visitors to the area. if you ever go to port moresby keep a hand on your wallet and your watch at all times and don't forget that you can't get something for nothing in papua new guinea. always ask for a price before you're done a 'favour' by a local or you'll be paying through your teeth.

after warning us about the 'rascals,' patrick offered to take us on a walking tour of port moresby. funnily enough, our first stop was a stall selling beetle nut. i was curious to try it so i bought a couple of nuts and patrick showed me how to prepare it. after biting off the husk with your teeth you put the nut in your mouth and crew it into a pulp. it has a very bitter taste and i really didn't like it. after chewing on the nut for a while i was told to dip a mustard stick in lime and put it in my mouth as well. the foul taste soon got the better of me and i ended up spitting it out all over the pavement. it's not the tastiest thing in the world but is certainly worth trying.

Published on Thursday December 5th, 2002

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Sun, Mar 05 2006 - 05:55 PM rating by ehs1193

Ha Ha Ha! Very funny report!

Fri, Jan 09 2004 - 12:13 AM rating by willow

I laughed outloud at the description of the beetlenut! I often had the same circumstances in Peru- being followed and "helped" and I was told to watch out for people who were "rats"...I could see it all so clearly. Thanks!

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