Going to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea has been one of the most random turn of event during my one year around the world trip. In a previous blog post, I explained how I ended up in PNG. And, also how I ended up in a FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup.
All of a sudden, I am in an expensive yacht going to a secluded island with Port Moresby socialites.
It was my second day in PNG in the capital city of Port Moresby. Daniel’s friend went to pick me up where I was staying and we drove to the Port Moresby Yacht club. With us, was coolers full of alcoholic beverages to bring to the yacht full of rich Port Moresby expats. I guess it’s going to be a party.
Upon boarding the yacht, Daniel’s friend Leonard introduced me to his friends.
The first question they all asked me is, who am I and who do I know in the yacht. I guess this is a very private party and they’re trying to figure out who this random guy is. After all, the expats all know each other and they would know right away when there’s a new guy in town.
The same conversion was repeated several times within the first few moments of departure: “I’m Daniel’s friend” I tell them with not much else to say. “Daniel Berry? How do you know him?” curiously (suspiciously for some) asked each person. “Oh, I met him in an event in Portland, Oregon in the US” was my reply to everyone. Then pretty much the conversation ends there.
Honestly, I don’t fit in with these people. Their values, interest and personality was just so different from mine. Many of them would spend plenty of time talking about who owns the helicopter that just few by, what new expensive cars they want to get and other topics that only I suppose very rich people can appreciate.
Regardless, I did my best to mingle even as I died slowly on the inside from all the shallow conversations. On the surface, they were all really nice people but some of them also put out a very cliquey vibe which was off-putting. I was feeling of isolated and awkward the entire time we were sailing towards the secluded island.
Learning more about Port Moresby expats
I did learn a few interesting things about them. Most of the expats are very hard workers typically working six days a week. Their hard working trait is something I respect very much. When they get free time like the day we are sailing, they make sure to go all out partying and drinking to make up for all the hard working days. It seems that living in PNG as an expat is all about relationship building. As long as you are willing to be part of the crowd, then money comes easy.
Most of the expats are from different racial backgrounds. In the group, there are Chinese, Kiwis (from New Zealand), Australians, Americans, Europeans and mix races (PNG native mixed with White or Asian). For many of them, their parents migrated to Port Moresby when they were young looking to get ahead in life. Despite the safety concerns in the country, the opportunity for making a lot of money is also there. Papua New Guinea is after all, rich in minerals and natural resources.
Appreciating the Port Moresby waters
When my attempts to get to know people failed, I did the next best thing and that is to appreciate the beauty in front of me. Port Moresby and the entire country of Papua New Guinea is definitely underrated as a travel destination. The waters reminded me so much of the Caribbean. The scenery was so beautiful and apparently, the weather in Port Moresby is nice all year round. Despite being close to the equator, it’s not as hot as it’s neighbouring countries (though if you are not careful, you can get a really bad sunburn just like I did).
Upon arriving at the secluded island, we took a smaller boat to ferry us across. I spent some time swimming and exploring the island. Honestly, the beach is nice but the sand is not. The sand was full of sticks, random debris and star fishes that would stab your foot. Definitely not a great place to swim but a good place to sail to and lounge by the beach.
After spending some time in the waters, we went back to the yacht. We then ate a big meal consisting of many seafoods before heading back ashore. Overall, I am grateful for the opportunity to visit the secluded island and to go sailing on a yacht. Leonard was certainly an awesome guy to show me around before Daniel arrived.
Finally, my friend Daniel was arriving the very next day. From there, my adventures in Papua New Guinea continue on with him as my guide to this mysterious place.