Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea Report of what it's like to live there - 01/13/24

Personal Experiences from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea 01/13/24

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

UK, India, Canada, Tanzania, Uganda, and Mexico.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Seattle.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Six months.

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4. What years did you live here?

2023-2025.

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5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing in the peninsula is great. New. Gated community. Safe.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Expensive, but everything is available, essentially.

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3. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There aren’t a lot of great places to eat out, but there are some decent places. We usually eat at home.

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4. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

The housing is sprayed regularly, which unfortunately kills all the awesome bugs, as well as mosquitoes.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Through the pouch. It’s very slow, so allow at least three weeks.

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2. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The peninsula has a fantastic gym.

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Yes.

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4. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

No, they are not safe.

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2. What kind of vehicle(s) including electric ones do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, infrastructure, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car or vehicles do you advise not to bring?

SUV.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I have an iPhone 14 and eSims are available and work fine.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

We had every intention of bringing our pets here. We searched every option and it would cost $17K for each animal (dog and cat). There are two vets here from the Philippines. They have decent equipment to work with and they sterilize their surgical equipment.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

It is very difficult to work as a spouse. The govt is very strict about working or volunteering in this country.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. Very unsafe. I drive to work every day and am vigilant at all times. Violence blows up out of nowhere.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Little to no medical care here and you must be medevaced to Australia for anything that needs real care.
There is an amazing dentist and an amazing chiropractor though.

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3. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Island fever - it’s suprisingly difficult to travel around this country. Many people leave for Australia at least every few months.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot/humid. It’s shockingly windy for a few months of the year.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

TEMIS through grade 8. TEMIS is currently considered adequate by the US embassy, but I suspect they are revisiting this as it is definitely not adequat. Some parents are sending their kids to boarding school in Brisbane (avaialble from 7th grade), homeschooling, or sending/taking their kids back to America while their spouse finishes their post.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small. Poor morale, but improving slightly as it grows.

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2. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Women are treated so poorly. The violence is unbelievable, even when you expect it to be horrible.

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3. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

My spouse and I love our work. We look forward to traveling around the country (if the flights ever function), and we love diving. As adults, we actually enjoy it, for the most part.

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4. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Scuba diving, hiking.

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5. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Decent art here.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

The school is so beyond awful, I would never recommend children come to this post. Overall, kids seem very unhappy.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Not with kids - no way.
Yes, if we didn’t have kids in tow

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

winter clothes.

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4. But don't forget your:

vigilance and your sense of adventure.

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