What a place. My first full day in Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea. Waking late after the night before – people drink a lot here, because the climate makes it hard to get drunk – I caught up with Liam, an Australian journalist I had met at the South Pacific Motor Sports Club. He was heading out to town, to a cemetery where we met some local guys. The graves there include those of the first governor and first missionary but recently some of the gravestones have been smashed, or sold, and more recent dead have been buried on top of old bodies.
The place is filled with plastic flowers. The guys we met have been working to tidy it, and one, Lucy, offered us lunch at her house. Afterwards, she took us to Hanuabada, where the houses are built out over the sea on timber posts and the walkways between them sway beneath your feet. There were games of street cricket, betel nut sellers and kids running past with precious bags of ice. I’m trying to learn what I can about the people before heading off on my own. Speaking on her balcony, among the trees, Lucy told me “to not forget that you are welcomed, but that doesn’t mean being disrespectful of peoples’ space and area. What they most likely expect in any part of PNG is, you’re more than welcome, feel at home, but keep your ear out for things that there not telling you which you might be breaching. Because they are more than likely not going to tell you if you breach some traditional rule so keep your ear out for that.”