Archive for the 'PNG time' Category

Three more sleeps.

Yes – three short nights and then we’re outta Sydney. One night in Cairns, then into Port Moresby.

Hole-ee sheeeeeet.

Astute readers will note the significant time lag between now and the last post. The delay in getting our visas has been significant to say the least. The best reason we have been given is really a layered effect – incompetence stacked upon lax ethics with a steamy heap of poor timing for the heck of it. Here’s a summary of the causes of delay:

1. The PNG immigration department in Port Moresby must process the visas, but they don’t have the best reputation for efficiency and diligence.

2. Said inefficient work practices are severely tested when a few hundred (thousand? million?) pilgrims stroll out of the steamy PNG jungles looking for tickets to Sydney for World Youth Day in July. They want to get on planes. Many don’t have passports. Many don’t have birth certificates. Many don’t have anything except faith – handy for a pilgrim I guess. It’s a great time to be a bureaucrat.

3. Finally the pilgrims are dispatched and the immigration depatment confronts the backlog of other work. Many are waiting for visas. Some are volunteers, like us. Some are from gigantic mining corporations oozing with money who have invested way too much to quibble about ethics. A number of men in dark shades and open-necked safari shirts step out of their Range Rovers outside the immigration department in Moresby. They hand over bulging envelopes and brown paper bags. The mining company employees miraculously get their visas confirmed in minimum time with due diligence and professionalism. I’m happy for them.

4. We wait, and wonder, and wait. Just over two months in fact.

5. The gravy train finally pulls to a halt and it’s the turn of organisations that cling to their ethics as tenaciously as their frayed patience. But it all happens in the end…

…and we discover late last week that it could be a next weekend departure. This is confirmed Monday. Passports arrive with shiny new permits stuck inside. Mmmmmmm. Perrrrmmiiiitts.

Three more sleeps!

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Another month.

Word arrived the other day. A reappraisal of the situation. No more week-by-week plan, no more living tensed and on the brink of sudden departure with belongings poised to be stuffed into suitcase and backpack. We wait another month. Hopefully a realistic date to work towards, otherwise who knows how long before whichever ineffectual bureaucrat manages to do some data entry, click ‘print’, and apply a rubber stamp of authorisation.

Meanwhile schemes to avoid glassy-eyed ennui are flapping around in my head like a fish trying to extricate itself from the dry world back into water. Frantically at first, but not for long. Soon the same answer presents itself as it does every other time, almost inevitably – booze! Or thinking practically if not realistically – a job. Wait a second, I just quit two of those.

It’s cash I’m worried about pissing against the wall. The same can’t be said for time.

PNG time.

There is a concept called ‘PNG time’ that we’re supposedly going to have to get very accustomed to. It is a similar notion to ‘hippy time’ and ‘koori time’, so if you’ve not heard of or encountered these things I won’t bother trying to explain them too deeply – suffice to say you either learn patience, grit your teeth, or lose the plot.

PNG time is I suspect why Kitty and I are still in Australia as I type. Which isn’t necessarily all bad. If it weren’t for PNG time we’d both have flown out of Sydney a mere day and a half after finishing our respective jobs, with no chance to ease our way into our imminent new lives. As it happens we’ve managed week up north to see friends of mine in Burringbar, Brisvegas and family up near Melaney – a blessing in hindsight. Now however we’re back in Sydney again, with no news regarding visas and departure dates.

Seeing as Australian Volunteers International (AVI) handle the visa negotiations and plane tickets we can’t complain too much, although I’ll be squawking when the cash runs out. At least we still have a room, albeit a smaller one – thanks guys, you know who you are.

Now we wait, and find more stuff to do and buy. Shoes. Find a new home for my bike and ugg boots. A new backpack (maybe). Some condiments to fire up what I am told is a rather repetitive diet (kaukau and meat from tins, ahoy). Stuff to shave with, assuming I bother with that. Negotiate a price for Larry’s camera. More odds and sods from the chemist. Last-chance beers with those who missed the farewell party.

The buffer of the mundane before the clutching terror of the new.