Travellers in a hostile land

Trip Start Jan 02, 2011
Trip End May 09, 2011

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Where I stayed
Central Inn

Flag of Papua New Guinea  ,
Thursday, March 3, 2011

After reading various guidebooks and talking to other travellers we had hoped to bypass Moresby during our visit to PNG. However, with sporadic flight schedules that is an unrealistic desire. So it was in the early hours of the morning we left our secure compound in Lae for a new secure compound in Moresby.

Moresby is certainly more threatening than Lae, although 99% of the people are just as welcoming. As we venture out into the capital we try to be sensible. No fancy cameras on this outing! Flash cash ready in one pocket, dollars to change at the bank in another.

We soon find that, as in Lae, banking is a slow and tedious affair. After queuing for 40 minutes to change our USD's into Kina we are told that ANZ in Moresby requires a passport. Strange, they do not in Lae! So after a wasted morning we manage to grab coffee and a pie at Mr B's! A mall cafe that acts as a haven to the jaded Moresby traveller.

With a bare minimum of tourist attractions we take a PMV from Boroka into Town. Our 10 minute journey through the city is at break neck speed. One might think that the driver is a close relation of our minibus driver in Lae! However, we arrive in Town unharmed and spend a little while wondering the streets, using one of the few Internet cafe's in Moresby to check on emails.

With little further to hold our attention we head back to Boroka and our hotel. It is on our returning PMV that our visit to Moresby becomes what we had hoped it would not. Despite our vigilence a couple of raskals manage to grab Trey's flash cash. One grabs her left arm, whilst the others grabs the Kina in her right pocket, as she is distracted. Barely three steps in front of her the bandits are running through the crowded market before I have time to react. Clearly, they had watched us on the PMV pay our fare. They knew where our cash was kept and appeared well practiced at grabbing it!

To shouts of 'thief' from the many market shoppers we are at first annoyed that we have been robbed so effortlessly but then comforted by the succesful decoy of the 'flash cash' and that no real harm was done. The raskal has gained 50 Kina (about 20 USD). We are safe, unharmed and with the bulk of our cash (fresh from the bank) safe! Needless to say we head back to the hotel and minimize further outings in the city.

By early evening a heavy monsoon has descended on the city. Unable to venture outside of our compound during the hours of darkness, anyway, we are asleep early, anticipating a very early morning trip to the airport and our departure to New Britain. Surely, our first trip to PNG will get better!
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