11 March 2014


Port Moresby has a pretty sizeable expat population considering its city population. Many expats come to start enterprises, plan projects and then turn the positions over to local representatives once the major phases are completed. In order to cater to Western comforts, Port Moresby has developed some outstanding properties, most of them with steep rental rates. 

The Airways Hotel and Residences is one of the most prestigious and most populated long-term stay compound. Boasting two restaurants, a small café, a convenience store, on-site bank branch, hotel pool and a membership fitness club that offers a gym, tennis court and lap pool among other things.

The rent at the Airways is beyond ridiculous. Rumor has it that an executive for Exxon met the owner of the Airways one night at one of the compound’s restaurants. After some drinks, at least one was completely sloshed. When the Exxon executive told the Airways owner that he would be sending people over for a big project and needed some condos, the Airways owner supposedly agreed to construct some buildings for the incoming expats and, when discussing pricing, the owner offered an outlandishly high rate. The Exxon executive agreed.

What we would consider normal Western apartments are now as expensive as residences suitable for the ultra-elite. I just did the math. For the list price on our current two room, one-bedroom apartment with the red leather loveseat, Paul and I could be living in a spacious two-bedroom apartment in Midtown Manhattan’s Trump Towers. No joke.

After a lot – I mean A LOT – of research, phone calls (some which were actually returned), and random driving in search of residences, we were able to tour more probably two dozen units.

The last post revealed some non-contenders; today I would like to introduce you to the contenders: places that were absolutely doable, if only…. If only it were in a better location; if only it had one more wall; if only there were actually one available.

First up is Paul’s dream compound, the Airways. Every time we go for a meal or to pick up something from the deli, as we walk out to the car, Paul begins to whine: I want to live heeeeere. At times he talks about all of the reasons why he wants to live at the Airways:

·        It’s pretty
·        It’s super safe
·        The guards yell, “Pass through!” every time we drive through the gate
·        There are restaurants on site
·        We have places to walk
·        They import air like in The Lorax movie (not really but there always seems to be a breeze at the Airways that we do not receive two blocks away)

When we first visited PNG a year ago, we stayed at the Airways Hotel. Paul was proactive and contacted someone about rental units. We never heard back from them…until two weeks ago.

Already having seen more than a dozen and a half units and having driven for days, we had decided we were done hunting until we received a confirmation that we could absolutely move forward with a relocation plan.

Then Paul received an e-mail from the Airways regarding available units. With that, we were back on the hunt for one more prized location.

Unfortunately, the units we viewed were not what we sought. We did not get to view the newest properties, which were idea. Instead, we saw two units, a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom, in an older complex that was so well hidden that we did not know the complex existed.

The location was the closest to the airport (we already have noise issues), close to a road and adjacent to a large construction site. The complex also sat just above the main security gate where the guards yell at each and every vehicle. Paul’s biggest complaint, however, was in the kitchen.

While I was not a fan of the cramped space and not completely ideal layout, one of the biggest downsides of the apartment itself was that the washer and dryer were located in the kitchen and most dryers here, like this one, vent inside. We don’t know why but it is common practice to have dryers vent hot, humid air and the accompanying lint, all make their way into the apartment. And it drives us nuts.

This is the two-bedroom view from the door.

Let me tell you how much I enjoy having a washer and dryer in between my oven and my refrigerator...
The layout of the one bedroom was smaller, complete with a table for two in the kitchen in lieu of the four-seater in the larger unit

We viewed six units at a place called the Fair Haven, located on a hill above the CBD. Paul really liked the complex but I was not as keen. The apartments were nice but I was not a fan of the location or the roads leading up to the complex. There were bars on the windows and bars protecting the doors, neither of which thrilled Greg nor me. The property is still on the list of contenders if we want to revisit the property at a later date.

Yeah, barbed wire is really common here - even at the top of a massive hill

Two places we really liked – as in we were sold from the moment we walked in the door. But, alas, no units were available.

Savannah Heights = huge and insanely cheap, which is probably why there are no available units. The day that we saw this one (the only one on the market at the time), we were the eighth group to tour the unit by midday. Can we say massive kitchen? This kitchen, by the way, came fully stocked with plates, cutlery, pots and pans, barware. The only thing it didn't have was a dishwasher and, apparently, the men are totally against that sort of thing.

How about powder room? Can you say powder room? Awesome.

Spacious bedroom

Welcome to the King Fisher, located next to the Yacht Club

Sing it with me: Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

This place had space and a bit of style

And a view of the boats

The final property on today’s tour lands us back at the beginning. The Era Dornia did have one property that really stuck out to us – the Phase 5. The modern architecture led us to believe that the interiors would be more desirable than what we had previously seen.

The interior were brand new and were definitely more upscale. Only two elements knocked this place out of the running: a common washer and dryer in a room shared by five units and the lack of a bedroom door. Loft spaces are great on the eye but do not always function well. I love the look of a loft and Paul and I both agreed that if we were single, we would have jumped at the place. However, Paul and I do not always have the same sleep schedules and having a bedroom door – and a wall for that matter – allows one of us to get some sleep when needed. A loft space at this point in our lives is just not practical. But it was pretty. Sorry, we do not have photos of this place due to photographer error (not mine, btw).

No comments: