Port Moresby has a bit of a rep. The Economist rated it the world’s least liveable city. But things alwasy look a little different on the ground. Jade, an Aussie who lives there and works for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, writes:
“I believe Port Moresby is a great place to live, if you are an expat. Everyday life for the PNG people is tough & its a divide I struggle to live with, everyday. However, the level of energy, spirit and resilience of the PNG people is truly inspiring. PNG has taught me what truly matters, it’s a unique place, it will push all your buttons, so if you haven’t already made friends with patience, I suggest you do, it will be your new best friend. Things dont happen here fast, I have a saying, things happen either before or after lunch…
It is a violent place and as you are no doubt aware, its the economist isted worst liveable city in the world to live ( outside of a war zone ).There is a strong pay back culture here and wantok system.
Dont get me wrong, random acts ( break ins/ car jackings etc ) do occur. It’s all about using common sense & seeking advice first. I wouldn’t recommend driving with a window down or doors unlocked, taking a taxi, walking the street alone, driving late at night in certain parts of town etc going to a settlement alone or venturing off on your own…..Of course, there is different risks/pressure for journalists here , I am sure Ilya would talk you through that. I recommend you have good medical insurance cover, ie medivac and that the limits are high enough to cover.
We have some great restaurants in town, a large expat community with a “we are all in this together” attitude, its much like living in a small, very small town. Which creates the feeling that you are never on your own. It’s a welcoming place , PNG people are very friendly, warm and open people….they are straight talkers, which can hit hard especially if you have put on weight over Xmas break. There are stunning beaches once you get out on a boat, hygiene is not great for swimming local , which is a true shame as its very inviting. Shanty towns are scattered around the water and the ocean is often used as a toilet. You know the deal.
In some respects the town reminds me of a wee coastal country town in OZ. Its not as busy on the streets as I expected it to be when I arrived. It looks very much like Fiji , if you have been there.
We have a new Governor who is on the mission to clean up the buai spit , betel nut is culturally acceptable here, even for little ones to chew. The streets are looking cleaner than ever, good too with the concern around TB infection rates.
You can get any groceries you need here, imported goods are expensive, inflation is thru the roof, so it can cost 10 AUD just for a lettuce ! Its remarkable really, I might actually be one of the only ones who will save money when I move back to Sydney !!! J”