Sunday, January 4, 2009

Morobe Province

Ah Lae, I like the place, it’s kinda like my home away from home when referencing my time in PNG. Lae is the provincial heart of Morobe and is the link that PNG has with Asia. This City exists for its shipping, because there ain’t much else to see in Lae. Moresbians don’t like Lae and Laetians (I made that one up) don’t care too much for Moresby. In fact Lae can’t wait for the day it has to avoid Moresby to get anywhere internationally; mind you it is only a 40 minute flight, Moresby to Lae and there are three flights a day. Ahem. That’s also forgetting the 40 minute drive required from NadzabAirport to the City of Lae itself.

But I digress, despite the copious amounts of razor wire, the Guard Dog security guard on every street corner and the security screens welded to the outside of the windscreen on the bus you catch from the airport, Lae has an attractive underbelly to it. 4 metres of rainfall each year means the grass is always greener and hidden amongst the termite infested Rain Trees are some exquisite orchids, zygos, broms and ferns. There are some hidden Horticultural delights in the main streets of Lae. There’s also that laid back approach to dodging pot-holes (called driving elsewhere) that exudes the charms of a big country town, and the way that on every pot-hole corner there’s a dozen people makes one think that one is caught up in a thriving metropolis.

One time, I managed to escape the allure of Lae itself, and I managed to get up into the mountains behind the City to Bulolo and Wau, towns of a decent gold rush in the 1930’s and a new prospective happening at the moment up in Hidden Valley. The locals today still continue to pan the streams and rivers looking for their fortune while the big mining boys manage to divert and redirect the watercourses upstream. It must be frustrating for the little guys, but eh, that’s business.

Wau was gorgeous, should be renamed Wow, and had a real charm to it, after you get over the initial What-is-this-white-guy-doing-in-town introduction. I will admit, Wau gave me the most aggressive of all welcomes by any town in PNG. Shortly afterwards, once it was known that I wasn’t here to dig a massive hole in the ground and shortchange the locals, I was received more comfortably. If you are ever in Wau, go to Donna’s Stoa, see Dannielle or Tim and they can give you some good guidance in a real pretty part of Morobe and far removed from the aggression of Lae.

I only regret not making it to Finschafen. Footy biang!


Karl said...

Wau sounds like a beautiful place to visit and even more so to preserve. The weekend violence in the region over gold producing land is a typical by-product of the inaccurate economic policies Aust & NZ have given the Pacific. I feel frustrated and wrote this piece to try to explain a way of harmonising indigenous and western economic cultures: Land frustrations in the Pacific.

Would this be a fairer way to share the wealth between communities and companies?

Steve Bennett said...

Karl, I now get a 404 page while trying to link to your site mentioned... have you removed it?


Karl said...

HI Steve,
thxs for feedback....think i may have changed the title and that changed link....

Visitors can now click on the 'pacific' tag to see other commentary...for example the interview we did last week with melbourne based Fijian Academic Mosese Waqa.

Anonymous said...

I think wow gold and world of warcraft gold

Yvane M. said...

Hi Steve!
I really like your blog and you've got helpful comments. I'm going around Rabaul this October, but I would like to stay until the end of the month in order to go to Morobe Show in Lae. So which places could be good for a low student budget as mine?? Moreover, is it not too dangerous for a girl alone?

Thank you for your answer,


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