An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Slushie Sense

Some sense has come across finally in PNG .. or at least to a couple of its members of parliament. Member for Nuku, Mr Andrew Kumbakor, had previously proposed an increase to the MP's "slush fund" from 500,000 kina to 1.5 million kina per year. Now he has had the sense to withdraw the bill.

In case you didn't know, the 500,000 is for the MPs to do as so he or she wishes for their electorate and here is the best part for the member .. without any accountability. You can see why it is popular to become a MP here. "woohoo, I have 500,000 to give back to my wantoks, after all, they helped me get elected anyway".

The reasoning behind the increase was of course that the MPs needed it so they could provide services to their community. Despite the fact that after the 500,000 now being in place for the last 4 or 5 years many electorates have seen zero benefits.

If the thing hadn't been withdrawn it looks like it would almost have been passed unanimously. All the MPs were supporting it, all the public was in anger. Most saying correctly that there was already existing methods of allocating funds for projects, without the need for an unaccountable slush fund.

Global corruption watchdog Transparency International was the driving force behind getting the bill rejected or withdrawn. Their petitions in the daily newspapers seems to have been a major factor in helping the conscience of Mr Kumbakor, and justifiably the PNG chairman of TI, Mike Manning, is quite a happy chappie at the moment.

On the same day that the slush fund bill was withdrawn, another controversial bill was also withdrawn. This time the member of Lagaip-Porgera, Mr Karpa Yarka, had put forward a bill to amend the Leadership Code. It would have allowed MPs to be exempt from dismissal from the parliament in case they were found guilty of an offence.

More sense. Can it be true that there are MPs in this country who have a conscience, and not just looking to board the good-time gravy train?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Black & White & Read All Over

The joy of weekend newspapers came flooding back to me over the weekend. It has taken a while but I have finally got around to buying one of those big half-a-tree weekend papers that do make their way up here.

On Saturday I picked up The Sydney Morning Herald and hooked in reading the reviews, the magazine, the (old) news and doing the puzzles. Admittedly the paper was actually last weekends, but only the news was out of date, the rest was great, and of course it cost a pretty price (K18.90) but hey I enjoyed it.

Then yesterday I discovered that my flat-mate had the same idea. But this time he managed to pick up this weekend's Weekend Australian. Noice. More puzzles and stories and reviews to keep us busy for the entire week. And the Australian only cost 13 kina.

Not sure why I didn't do this before and then I remembered that every time I have previously looked at the news stand at the big in town supermarket they have only stocked out of date (by at least two weeks) Queensland Courier Mails (and I am not reading that rubbish). It just seems you have to time it right to get the best paper. ie Sunday morning.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Shipping News

Time to crate up my shite. Books, DVDs, clothes, camping equipment, bush knife, letters, cards and two halves of a bloody heavy giant clam shell.

I got a couple of plywood boxes made especially to hold the shells I brought back from Manus. If I loaded them and the rest of the stuff into cardboard boxes, it would fall out the bottom. Unfortunately I told them not to bother with handles. I will now have to get them to stick some on.

The next problem is how to get them back. My next-door neighbour who has just gone pinis, had half a dozen boxes totalling 160 kilos and he told me after ringing around, he eventually had to get them posted back - air mail. Can you imagine being in a post office for three hours with the clerk sticking on 2,000 kina worth of stamps onto your packages. Well this is what he went through.

Fortunately I have access to a car and yesterday I went around town and visited a couple of spots to find out the story with shipping this stuff back. Luckily there is a guy in town who does it, part of a removalist mod, and they measure by volume not weight and send by ship. Exactly what I want.

I think he is used to dealing with large volumes though and not under a cubic metre like I have. I am waiting for a quote.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Up Close and Personal

I have been checking out Google Earth ... as you do. I am supposed to be busy during my last few weeks of work, and I am, but you know how it is. Besides I blame a mate who mentioned it the other night, when he told me to look at the difference between Port Moresby and Jayapura (at least I now know for certain which is the bigger city on this big island of New Guinea).

Anyway, I am sure there is a good work related reason .. just give me a few minutes. But I thought now that I have been tinkering with it I would say how that it is a great program .. except if you want to get up close and personal in PNG.


Here is where I used to live in Sydney - right in the middle of the image from an altitude of about 350m.

Lovely spot, near the water close to the centre of the city, with lots of pubs and a massive tollway out the back (see that big square roof on the left, that is where you cough up your $4 something). Anyway notice the resolution. You can see cars parked and a bus clearly visable at the right of the image. That is good resolution.

Now here is where I used to live in London from the same height of 350m. Not as nice a spot in this case, sandwiched as it was between the A4 motorway and the District Line (oncoming tube can be seen in bottom left). But again pretty good resolution, not quite as clear but not bad.

And here we have where I live in PNG from the same height again. I think if you squint you can see something. Perhaps it is blurred on purpose. Sensitive military area or something - Igam barracks is nearby afterall.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Drink. Drive. Drunk. Drove.

Time to highlight a niche of life I have neglected about PNG - the old drink driving thing (no reason why I have suddenly decided to post about this .. although did go out the other night).

After two years of careful observation I think I can safely make a few conclusions about life without breathalysers. Some people seem to get on fine without them. Others are a true worry.

One in the former category is the driver of my regular ride into town to the yacht club. I have seen him knock back quite a bit and not have any problems getting home. At first, with my upbringing of a "thou shalt not drink and drive" mantra being hammered home through the media, it was a bit of a worry - getting into the car of someone with quite a few beers under the belt, or as many as myself at least, and knowing they will be driving for the next 10 minutes or so to get you back home. But then you grow in confidence, as you discover they seem to have learnt to either not be affected or not let it show.

Then there is the latter category - too legless to walk, certainly should not be driving type. One night driving into town, about 7, we followed a vehicle that veered all over the place - head on into on-coming cars, before swerving abruptly just before impact, slowing down, speeding up, around double lane round-abouts in the wrong lane. If the guy made it home I would be surprised.

The thing with PNG though is this is expected. The drink driving thing I mean. The completely drunk driving is I dare say not, but alas there is no highway patrol which seems to operate at night anyway.

From what I hear it stems all the way from the grassroots (the ones that have access to a vehicle at least) to the top. There is a good story (although probably now a tad embellished) I heard recounted about how a charitable organisation from Australia decided to donate quite a lot of breathalysers to the Port Moresby police back in the 1990s. This was something new for them, and they even got training in how to correctly use them.

So out onto the streets the cops went one night to put into action the new equipment. They set up a road block on one of the main thoroughfares in town and stopped all cars passing through. Anyone over the limit was taken away and locked up. It seemed like a great success and proved just how many people drink and drive.

The problem was half of the people caught were politicians. After they were released a bill was put forward and then passed banning the use of breathalysers.

It seems though there are attempts to bring them back, according to this old article I have found at any rate. Since I have been here I have not heard anything new about it and I could probably safely say it has been forgotten about.

As to whether they should be back is another question. As the article stats the only way to go out at night is with your own vehicle, due to the law and order issue and no night public transport (although in Moresby there are at least cabs that can be caught, although I am not if they operate at night).

On the other side of the argument there are claims that it is just a need for re-education. The designated driver scenario seems to have taken hold down south or at least getting someone to come and pick you up and there shouldn't be any reason why it can't here.

At the moment though, while it can be got away with, "designated driver" is certainly a phrase you won't hear around here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Mercenary, Mis-Fit or Missionary

Which one is Corey?
"I'm a junior at Davis College which is located in Johnson City, NY next to Binghamton. I am planning to go to Papua New Guinea full time, Lord willing, after I graduate from College in two years. I am looking foward to see what God is going to do in my heart and life this year. He is AWESOME! HE is my LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. I must decrease and He must increase!"

I guess he is in the middle, with bible in hand

There is lots more to check out about Corey's PNG Discovery Trip. He got to see "God work in amazing ways" while here and got possibly challenged by the devil with his post PNG bout of Malaria. Thankfully he survived and is coming back. PNG really needs more missionaries like him.

No sarcasm intended .. or not much anyway.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Core's A Bit Rotten

You know it is time to leave when you start to find out more than you want to know. After numerous offers to stay (almost pleadingly sometimes) I am glad the end is nigh. There is one thing I really can't stand and after thinking this place was not as bad as elsewhere it is turning out that in the end it is not.

Wantokism, nepotism or straight out corruption, whatever name used its previous occasional wiffs are now turning into something more fetor like. It has been lingering for a while in various small guises, but now some previously unplumbed depths of rottenness are being uncovered. Like I said before it takes until we have an accountant poring over our books that we dredge it up. Unfortunately now the finger can't be pointed elsewhere.

I am not going to go into details, but lets just say my trust in certain people has now been greatly tarnished. And it certainly makes me feel ashamed. I'll see if my leaving and some exit interviews will be able to make a difference, or at least highlight these issues with people who should know.

It is good though to first shout out here anonymously.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Season Of The Go-Finish

The guards are changing, an end of an era, the closing of a chapter ... yada, yada, cliché, etc.

It is all a bit sad though. Lots of people who have been here since I first came are all heading off roughly around the same time. Doing a count I have tallied up eight mates around the country who are leaving for good within a month of each other.

Just here on campus there are three of us. Me and the other two who are departing during this week, including my good mate and next-door neighbour, Martin. I am going to miss popping around to his house, having a tea, or a beer, or a campari and soda and having whinge about Howard or Costello or Abbott, or hearing stories from taim bipo (before independence). Like I said a closing of a chapter is happening. I will make sure I continue the talks at some stage in the future down in Melbourne with him and the fam.

Yesterday we had a send off for another long-termer, who I will stick into the hardcore volunteer category (three years now completed in PNG and nearly four years in Vanuatu before). He is a little different, as even though he is heading off back to the Netherlands, he will most likely be back somewhere in the Pacific, either in PNG or in Samoa. He loves this part of the world too much.

The send off involved a mumu and lots of home brew, which unfortunately was mostly a tad warm (PNG Power gave us an 8 hour blackout). We still drank a fair few litres of it. Quite a lot (although not as bad as the other time 18 litres between four of us, was it?).

My own go-finish is closing in. Only two weeks away now for a big party at my place and then another week at work. The invites were sent out a little while a go and I am guessing with all the work colleagues and the mates left around the place, it should be a fairly big do. One last one at least before the coconut trees fade with the tropical sunset.

Off into tropical sunset

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Discovered a new drinking hole last night, and unlike everywhere else to drink it is not a night club, a club, a hotel or some rough back street beer house. It is a Bar. A proper one, with bar, bar stools, loose collection of tables and chairs, music and that is it.

Its name is Clashes, and so far the location is being spread by word of mouth. Nil publicity. And it seems to working, attracting a good clientele of well off working locals.

My only question is why this only kicked off now when I am close to finishing up.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I Want One ...

... and it would be good for PNG too.

If you missed it the $100 laptop made its debut yesterday and personally I think this is one of the best ideas I have ever come across. A rugged portable, cheap, wind-up laptop that can be distributed to the developing world, and it uses Linux to boot (screw you Microsoft).

What a brilliant, brilliant invention. It is so good I want to get one and use it for travelling. It is small to cart around and I can type my emails and blog stories up anywhere and not worry about power converters and adapters - hey it is wind-up - and then transfer it to a USB flash drive and go to an internet cafe and upload.

And of course, after my discussion yesterday with the new German director of IT here at the Uni, his dream of giving a laptop to every student and using wi-fi to connect them campus wide suddenly does not sound like the pipe-dream I was nodding away to at the time.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Time-Line Last Night

  • Settled in for a night in front of the box (still got it, left over from the Ashes).

  • Was ready to cheer and whoop to see Aus beat U-R-Gay (a banner at the stadium had this on it and I laughed myself silly ... simple things ..) and qualify for the world cup.

  • Dinner was had early. Beer was ready and cold in the fridge.

  • Watched the hour of pre-game rubbish (there is only so much you can discuss surely).

  • Saw the size of the crowd and the patriotism and parochialism and wished I was there (it's really a fantastic stadium, isn't it ... at least I can say I was there for the 110,000 crowd to watch Aus get beaten by NZ in 'the greatest rugby game ever', although I needed a telescope and tissues to stop the nose bleeds cause of the altitude up the back of those wing tiers, much better now that they have gone and the roof is all the way around).

  • Chewed the nails after the kick-off and thought we were rubbish. What was with all those free kicks we were giving away (I am suddenly now an expert football, when did this happen?).

  • Leapt out of my chair when we scored (a spilt second before I thought Kewell had botched it). Got looks from the flatmate, he was less animated.

  • Ready to get beer at half-time .. and then black-out.

  • Hunted around for candles, found the last two, got some light flickering.

  • Went next-door and complained with the neighbour, he is not as bothered by sport.

  • Had a campari there, chatted and the power came back on.

  • The power goes off two minutes later, but only it seems for my neighbour's and my house, everywhere else has lights a blazing.

  • Wander down and check the power box in pouring rain, all looks good there.

  • Go back and have another campari and wait.

  • Ring PNG Power ask them what the story is, they said they will check it out.

  • Go home and lie down try to listen to the game on the radio. The radio has run out of batteries. Add batteries, along with candles, to the shopping list.

  • Send text message to mate in town to keep me updated on the score.

  • Wait, for the power to come back on. Curse PNG Power Ltd (just like I did during the day, after standing in line for 15 minutes to pay my bill, only to be told "the system is down" when I got to the counter).

  • Get message that it has gone to extra-time and then into a shoot-out.

  • Discover that we have won the game via text message. Can't believe it.

  • The power comes on two minutes later! Manage to watch some of the post-match interviews and analysis. Very happy chappie.

  • Cursing PNG Power has now been tempered by the result.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Connecting The Dots

Alleged terrorists have been training out near Bourke, New South Wales, at the start of the year.

My new flatmate was out at Bourke at the start of the year for four months. He was also supposed to go on assignment to Afghanistan instead of coming to PNG. And he doesn't like John Howard.

Should I be worried by the mild mannered 50's something former school teacher sharing my house?

Well no, but we are having a good laugh at the recent coincidences. Although the clicking noises on my phone when I have tried to make a call, probably mean others are. I just thought it was the usual problems with Telikom.

(ok, the last bit is made up bullshit)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

"Couples For Christ"

Banner on campus. Fluttering all weekend outside the main uni hall. Unfortunately brought down before I could snap with my camera. Really wanted to photoshop out an S.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


A change of pace last night. Instead of just the usual drinking of a Friday night, it was this time peppered with a concert. My first in a long time. Although a PNG concert of course is a different experience to anywhere else you care to name.

The artist in question was long time PNG music legend George Telek, probably PNG's only really internationally known act (although O-Shen perhaps is now known throughout the pacific). The man has toured world music festivals in Australia and is loved throughout PNG and especially in his native Rabaul.

He is probably credited with a lot of the sound that PNG music has now. If you don't know the music scene here is quite impressive. There is prodigious output from the major local label here, CHM, which is then sold through their stores and others around the country. CHM also produce a couple of music video shows which are shown in prime time on EMTV (the only local TV station), and these show the local music acts performing their songs in bad (oh yes they are bad) videos ... (think girls on the beach dancing poorly, cut to long lost boy walking up the beach, back to girls, back to boy who finds girl, he then sings his song to her while cutting back to the dancing girls occur).

Anyway last night me my mate from next door (the only other person interested) got to the Aviat Club early to buy tickets at the door, just in case there was a rush and it was sold out. We then headed off to meet up with friends and dinner before heading back around 10 (the guy on the door when we got the tix said "10 na bout" when questioned what time he would be on).

The place was far from packed, but still had lots of people. We had a few beers sitting outside by the pool, watching and observing all manner of locals in different states of inebriation, some falling over, some throwing up in the pool, others getting half naked on the dance floor. A quick scan showed that we were the only whites in the entire place.

A DJ was busy keeping people on the floor, but as I have observed before the tidal action was happening again, even though in this case the DJ was mixing the songs successfully. There is just something about Papua New Guineans and the transition between songs. When one finishes they have to disembark the dance floor, wait until they hear what it is, decide if they like it and then go up and dance again.

Eventually after a little while an MC came on to introduce the main act, he repeated the words "legend", "eight albums" and "now without further ado", multiple times. From then is when the real differences between concerts I am used to and the PNG variety came into focus.

The most obvious thing was that nobody was crowding the stage. Everyone was hanging back around the edges. It was only when Telek came up with his guitar and started to sing did anybody come up close and that was to dance. The crowd around the stage was so fluid that it enabled me to get up close and snap a picture before returning to hang back and listen on the fringes.

Unfortunately the listening didn't happen as much as I would have liked. I was discovering another area where the concerts I have been to are different from PNG ones. It involved being chased for the entire event by a girl who wouldn't leave me alone. She seemed to take quite a fancy to me ("mi les long PNG man, mi laik white man") and I couldn't shake her. Not that I have objections to being the centre of affection for a pretty young thing, but I had come to see a concert and wasn't particularly interested in giving up my life story to a fawning 16 year old still in year 10 at school. Call me strange, but I would have liked to have heard the legend sing ... and also I am sure there are some laws that could be breached there.

We ended up leaving before the end and before the fights took hold, and drove back in the pouring rain.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lae's Law

It takes getting caught in the rain walking home for the thoughts to come flowing. The rain clears the clutter. Things come into vision. And as they say you don't need eyes to see, you need vision.

So here is where the vision led me, my Lae Theory of Weather.
Lae in the Dry season will be dry during the day and wet at night. Lae in the Wet season will be just wet. The Dry and Wet seasons are interchangeable.
Profound I know.

Oh and I think we are somewhere in the dry season.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Cut-Throat or Die

I hate shaving. Just really loathe it. Some people enjoy it, but not me. Not because of the look or the time it takes, but because well every time after I do it, my skin seems to go on revolt. So when my trusty beard trimmer died the other day, it was either grow a beard or revert back to the blade and let my skin scream.

My beard trimmer and I have been through a lot together. Aside from keeping the ol' stubbly look happening, it has also helped cut my hair while on the road (flashbacks of Moscow September 2002, sitting in a hotel room, towel around the shoulders, the ex with device in hand and a ... well unexpected result). I picked it up for a bit of a bargain in Argos 4 years ago, and has worked faithfully since then, until now.

(Argos if you don't know is a weird shop in the UK. Weird because well you walk into an empty-ish shop, go over to some catalogues on benches against the wall. Grab a pencil and paper. Write down the code for the item you want and then pay for it at the till. The till girl gives you a number and you wait until it is lit up on a big board and then your item comes down a chute from the large warehouse behind the shop front.)

So after the long time together I was disappointed to discover it not doing anything at all the other morning. In true "technician" style I did pull it apart, checking all the different components, but still could not make it work. So this morning unfortunately I had to revert back to the blade lest I start looking a bit too scraggly (which I was).

Sometimes after about six months of stubble I think what the heck and attempt the shave again. The last time just happened to be in a Indonesian barber shop. If you want an unpleasant experience, you would be hard pressed going past this; Next to no shaving cream. A very sharp cut-throat razor blade scrapping across your face and neck. Getting nicked. Feeling the sting when barber continually rubs balm into the nick to stop the blood. And then at the end discovering that he missed patches anyway. Then again what do you expect for 3,000 Rupiah (US 30 cents).

I will save my money next time and spend it on a new beard trimmer.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New Player Flying

There is a new player on the PNG international flight market and about time I have to say. Air Niugini has had their monopoly for far too long and are keeping the prices extremely high.

The new mob is Airlines PNG. A second level domestic carrier in PNG that are now offering flights from Port Moresby to Cairns starting at the end of this week. It looks at this stage like they are starting small with the idea (my speculation) to build it up into something bigger.

The good news is for all the budget conscious travellers - and who isn't - is that their fares will be K299 (approx Au$125) one way for an inflexible ticket and K459 (approx Au$190) for a flexible fare. The bad news, and as is usually hidden in the small print, is that the taxes will be K359.

They are also, if you are quick off the mark, offering a one off K99 deal for this Friday, one way from POM to CNS and the return on Monday for the same price. Unfortunately the taxes still stick at same rate (if anyone really knows what these taxes cover let me know).

The plane they are going to use is a simple DASH-8, a small twin prop thing which I have flown in once before (Port Moresby to Popondetta for the Kokoda Track), but still it is better than nothing. And they are not that uncomfortable either.

Hopefully I see this leading onto bigger and better things, and more competition in the international market. I think PNG laws state that only a PNG airline can fly internationally, hence why we have only had Air Niugini and their inflated ticket prices.

Monday, November 07, 2005

In The Pigeon Hole

The last month has proved to be one of the most bountiful - parcel wise. Six in just the last five weeks. How cool is that! I really am not worthy.

Admittedly most of the packages have been birthday related, which even doubles the reason for me to be shamed. I would have to be the laziest gift giver I know. Just ask my sister who not only didn't receive a present this year for her birthday, but did not even receive a phone call. I completely forgot about the whole event. Five days after she rang me in a huff.

There is something brilliant about receiving packages in the mail. Especially when they are from overseas. I am thrilled seeing them in my pigeon hole, looking at the bold PAPUA NEW GUINEA on the front, the customs form stuck on the back (which I try to avoid reading, lest it spoil the surprise) and the different stamps (although this area now is increasingly and sadly being invaded by those awful printed receipt stamps that the post office till spit out. Bring back real stamps I say!).

All the packages have all been great to receive, but I have to say that the last two have been special. The first was a box full of muzak. Eight CDs of stuff I have been denied here - the pirate entertainment shop in town occasionally gets some good stuff, but usually it is the same old bland crap that today's youth listen too; R&B shite and Pop Idol assembly line types. What's wrong with these kids? Gee I am getting old when I start saying that.

Anyway back to the package, even though the music was copied - sshhh don't tell the record labels - all the discs came with colour photocopies of the inserts. Very impressive. When I queried my techie unsavvy sender as to why she just didn't rip them to MP3 and stick them on a single disc, this I was informed is of course too hard - I used to do this sort of thing for her. So instead I get a heavy box of tunes with a hefty postage price. I told you I am lucky.

The other package arrived today. All the way from the UK, and only in a little over a week. The hefty music box took about three, and that was just from Australia - what's going on there? Although perhaps it was delayed while PNG customs could copy the contents (I wouldn't be surprised, though at least it arrived).

Ah, back to the second package. It was from my creatively-minded politically-active English mate and delightfully contained a book I have been wanting to read, The Life of Pi, and a home made designed T-Shirt. The design is of a tree and contains a Ghandi quote which I have not heard before but when I read it, it immediately resonated like a giant tuning fork in my head; "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not for every man's greed" (not to mention any names or the fact that maybe man may outgrow the "provides enough" bit, he says while thinking about all the pikininis running around here).

I wore the T-shirt home, feeling good.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Indon Panorama

Biak accom was so good I am reminiscing about it. The main reason for this yearn is because the room was built on the water. We got to view the sunset every day, turtles being released and a sunken boat that the kids jumped off every afternoon. Bliss.

Boy & Rock

Sunken Boat


Boat Sunset
Click for big versions

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


The new flatmate scenario is working out alright. He is trying to make heads and tails of how things work here - as you do when you come to a completely different country and you know you have to stay for the next two years. So far he is succeeding pretty well, though perhaps a tad daunted.

And the daunt-ness certainly went up a bit for him last night when we all went down to the yacht club. The beer was flowing readily, more readily than usual as a few free kegs were put on by what I gather was a happy Makybe Diva supporter, and the stories started. Just the usual type to begin with - what people had been up to, the Melbourne Cup, the storm brewing nearby (that later hit) - and then onto the favoured topic of discussion when a new guy is in town, the scare stories.

Part of any new person's entry into PNG is the telling of the scare stories that go around. There are plenty of them and most people have one or two to tell regarding incidents they have been in. Poor old newbie was wide-eyed when we started recounting some of them, even I chipped in with my Highway Survivor tale, which always seems to go down well.

The stakes were upped a tad when one of the local ex-pats, who had joined us, told how he had numerous death threats on him at the moment and that was the reason why he carried around a 9mm automatic pistol with him at all times. With this he proceeded to pull out one of the magazine clips from the weighed down 'bum bag' strapped to his front.

Even I raised my eyes at this. A little bit of discretion is usually applied to when talking about guns. Plenty of people have them, and others usually know, but not many people like to advertise it openly.

From the way it was discussed on the way back it is obviously something that will stick in my flatmates mind. Just like the incident when I first saw a real gun in PNG. That is when you realise that this place really is cowboy country. When people arm themselves all the time. This is not something that I am going to miss about this place at all.