A little slice of normality (almost)

Drove up to the American Residential compound at the end of our street today. Xavier had a playdate with his mate Ty. Ty’s a kiwi too, or at least his mama is, and his dad’s American. His mum Liesa is one of my dear friends, and one of the coolest teachers at the kids school.

Their compound is gorgeous with lots of grass and gardens, not like our concrete jungle. Was funny to see all their cars lined up with their red diplomatic license plates too.

While there I sat down and had a coffee and girlie catchup with Liesa … and not just any coffee, Kahlua flavoured coffee beans served with Bailey’s flavoured chocolates. Devine!

It’s turning out to be a busy weekend. Last night was “happy hour” at the Australia High Commission in Konedobu, and tomorow we’re off to the Teddy Bear’s Picnic.

However, we’re all on high alert now with the lead upto the elections. Last night, a state of emergency was declared here in Port Moresby (NCD) and two other locations in PNG. However, the NZ Embassy risk assessment level remains the same. But if your new to PNG or planning on moving up, it’s worth while reading the NZ Govt Info on their Safe Travel website.

Papua New Guinea
Reviewed: 25 May 2012, 15:40 NZDT
Still current at: 26 May 2012
 
There is some risk to your security in Papua New Guinea due to violent crime and the potential for civil unrest and we advise caution.
 
Elections and tribal tensions
National elections are held every five years and are occasionally accompanied by election-related violence. The next election is mid-2012 and New Zealanders in Papua New Guinea are advised to monitor local events closely as the situation is unpredictable.
 
The law and order situation in Papua New Guinea continues to pose risks to travellers. Tensions between ethnic or clan groups, particularly in the Highlands region and in larger cities such as Lae and Port Moresby, sometimes lead to outbreaks of tribal fighting, often involving the use of firearms. New Zealanders should stay clear of settlement (squatter) areas.
 
Violent crime
Violent crime including armed robbery, carjacking and sexual assault is common across the country. Organised criminal groups operate in Papua New Guinea but opportunistic crime is also a problem. Robberies have been known to take place inside business premises in Port Moresby and other urban centres. The settlement (squatter) areas of towns and cities, including in Port Moresby and Lae, are particularly dangerous.
 
New Zealanders in Papua New Guinea should exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, especially in public places and areas frequented by foreigners. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery or carjacking, as this could lead to an escalation in violence. Avoid walking alone during the day and especially at night, and avoid displaying visible signs of wealth (i.e. don’t wear jewellery or carry any items that may be attractive to robbers). Isolated public areas such as golf courses, beaches and parks can be dangerous.
 
Armed and unarmed carjackings in Port Moresby, Lae and Mt Hagen continue to be a problem, as well as in the area between Lae and Nadzab Airport although the use of violence in such cases is uncommon, especially if victims do not resist. Travel along the Highlands Highway can also be affected by tribal and community disputes. Armed robbery is also a regular occurrence, and road security conditions should be checked before commencing travel.
 
Drivers are urged to take extreme caution when driving at any time of the day or night. Always drive with windows closed and car doors locked. Where possible, avoid smaller or remote roads with less traffic. Should a driver be involved in or witness a road accident he/she may find themselves at personal risk as crowds tend to form quickly after an accident and they may attack those whom they perceive to be responsible. Persons involved in accidents should proceed directly to the nearest police station rather than stopping at the scene of an accident.
Visitors to Papua New Guinea should avoid using buses, known as PMVs (public motor vehicles) as they are poorly maintained and are targeted by criminals. Vehicles hired from a reputable car hire company, taxi company, or hotel transportation are a safer alternative. Well established taxi services are only available in Port Moresby.
 
Local travel
New Zealanders travelling outside the major cities in Papua New Guinea, especially to more isolated areas, should seek advice from the New Zealand High Commission before beginning their journey. Travel plans should be left with friends, relatives or reliable local contacts.
 
New Zealanders planning to travel to Bougainville should discuss their plans with the New Zealand High Commission before setting out. The central mountainous area around the old Panguna mine on Bougainville is a “no go zone” and New Zealanders are advised not to enter the area without seeking updated local advice. Foreigners who have previously entered without authorisation from the government have been questioned by the authorities and had their passports confiscated on departure from the zone. Travellers are advised to seek updated local advice before travelling south of Arawa.
 
New Zealanders intending to walk the Kokoda Track should hire a guide from a reputable travel company and ensure that the trekking permit is paid before embarking on the trip. Kokoda Track Authority Tel: +675 325 5540 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +675 325 5540 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Caution should be exercised as there have been attacks and robberies at each end of the trail. New Zealanders are advised to register with the New Zealand High Commission in Port Moresby before setting out on the walk and make contact again after completing the walk.
Unexploded ordnance from WWII still exists in Papua New Guinea, particularly along the Kokoda Track and at Milne Bay and Rabaul.
 
General travel advice
Medical services in Papua New Guinea are very limited and New Zealanders travelling or living in Papua New Guinea should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Papua New Guinea are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
 
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2 Responses to A little slice of normality (almost)

  1. Flying Blind says:

    You should get a job with the tourist info guys!!

    • Jacinta says:

      lol … probably turning off all those other expats busy googling the internet about living in PNG. Sorry about that :)
      but …

      a) if your aussie high comm, aussie defence or aus-aid the two main family compounds you get housed in are fantastic
      and …
      b) if your with the American embassy, your compound will be pretty cool too 😉

      sadly, we’re just little ole Kiwi’s up here with a PNG company. On the plus side, we don’t have company enforced curfews, we’re not forced to wear long sleeves and pants at night, and we don’t have to submit to random blood testing to ensure we’re taking posion (aka anti-malarials) like those who are up here with the LNG project (Exxon Mobil). Also, I’m one of the few wives I know whose allowed to drive their husbands company car *yay* … complete with panic button / gps tracker, and a can of pepper spray :). Helps that the CEO of our company is an expat who raised his kids here, so our company’s family friendly:)

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