23 August 2013


Paul and I had date night tonight – exciting. Date night in previous years would usually involve some food, sometimes enjoy some fun element like a movie or an attraction of some sort, maybe a sporting event, and sometimes a late walk.

In Papua New Guinea, it is a risk for us to be in a car after dark and there are few places to where we would walk in broad daylight. So, for a PNG date night, we get in our car, drive around the corner to the compound next door and have dinner at the open-air hotel restaurant that overlooks the airport.

The menu is tiny and hasn’t changed since Paul and I first arrived in March so I don’t expect updates any time soon. The menu items range roughly between 45 kina and 90 kina (19 USD to 38 USD) and there are typically four specials and a small buffet so there is a little variety.

The atmosphere is very relaxing. The restaurant boasts wood columns, beams and floors, along with ceiling fans and white table cloths – very soothing. The only walls enclose the buffet and the staff areas so the wind blows throughout the restaurant and bar areas. The food is usually really good so we typically have one meal a week at the rooftop restaurant.

When ordering food, the key in PNG is to find something you like 100 percent and don’t try to make any changes. If you don’t like mayonnaise, order something that doesn’t come with mayonnaise because it will be on your sandwich even if you told them to leave it off. If you are like me, my sister, Alexis, or my friend, Jen, who like to customize orders (no bread, no cheese, add some peppers, salmon instead of chicken, change the dressing and put it on the side), you will never survive, you will just waste your energy and end up with whatever was clearly written on the menu. Fish and chips is always my back up option.

Service is usually slow but tonight it was quite quick. While we were eating, Paul and I were eavesdropping on a conversation at a neighboring table most of the evening. There were two Aussie men and one local man enjoying a meal. I thought I heard the words, “Jesus” and “church” and they appeared to pray before devouring their meals and, as the meal progressed, their words elevated in volume – not obnoxiously, just audibly.

When we had finished our meals, Paul popped over and interrupted their conversation, explaining that he couldn’t help but hear parts of their dialogue and that he was interested in knowing if they could recommend a good church for expats in Port Moresby. Well who would have guessed that the local man sitting with his back to our table just happens to be a pastor at what we will assume to be Port Moresby’s largest church?

He talked about his church, advised Paul of the location and, as I approached the table, he offered to meet us at our apartment and personally take us to the church. Paul and I initially thought he was just being kind so Paul explained that we have a car and would be able to find our way with proper directions but the pastor insisted and stated that he would drive ahead of or behind us. We quickly learned that the church was in a not-so-good area (is there really a good area?) and that we would not likely see any fellow Western world expats.

We very kindly thanked the gentlemen and let them get back to their dinner and then we reseated ourselves at our own table and began Googling the church, which boasts American roots.

After dinner, Paul and I walked down the hill to the parking lot and said hello to the guards who appeared to be changing shifts, shotguns by their side. “I love this place,” Paul sighed as we headed to the car.

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